Moving Overseas Checklist: How to Prepare for Your Move
This moving overseas checklist outlines the thirteen most important steps to take for your move to another country. Find out what you have to arrange and prepare for an organised move abroad:
1. Passport and Visas
The highest priority on our moving overseas checklist is to make sure your passport is valid and that you apply for the right visa. Check out the government website of the country you’re moving to for more information on visa applications.
If you’re planning on moving permanently, ensure that your passport is valid for the next few years. Take a look at the Australia Passport Office for more advice about whether your passport needs to be renewed.
Tip: If you’re moving with work, check whether they will sponsor your visa for you. If you’re moving with your family overseas, don’t forget to check if their passports are valid and what visas they are eligible for.
Decide if you are going to rent or buy property in your new home country. Depending on which country you are moving to, you can look on websites online or find a real estate agent who can advise you on property within the area you are moving to.
You will also have to decide what you are going to do with your current home. If you are in rental, let your landlord know that you will be moving overseas. If you own property, think about whether you want to sell your home or keep it and rent it out.
Tip: Make sure you use an international money transfer company if you buy property overseas. They will give you the best value for money on exchange rates and can save you a lot of money.
3. Taxation Overseas
If you’re remaining an Australian resident for tax purposes, then you will need to lodge an Australian tax return and declare all your foreign income, including any exempt income. You can do this on your myGov account.
If you choose to no longer be a resident for tax paying purposes, you will only be taxed by the Australian government on your Australian income (with some exceptions).
Tip: Make sure you turn off the myGov security code feature before you lose access to your Australian mobile number.
4. Organise an International Removalist
Our fourth step on our moving overseas checklist includes organising an international mover. An international removals company can help you if you’re moving your furniture overseas with you. Always make sure to check reviews online and request quotes from more than one removalist, this will help you pick the right moving company for you.
Tip: Most international removalists will use a container to ship your belongings overseas. For more information on this, take a look at our container shipping costs page.
5. Notify Medicare
You will still be entitled to Medicare for up to five years after moving overseas. After this time, you will no longer eligible and will need to re-enrol if you decide to return to Australia.
Medicare has reciprocal health agreements with eleven countries, so if you’re moving to one of these countries you may be entitled to necessary healthcare. These countries are:
- New Zealand
- The UK
- The Netherlands
Tip: Take a look at the pages of Medicare on the Government website for more information.
6. Calculate Your Moving Overseas Costs
Moving overseas is expensive, but it’s achievable if you plan out your costs. This first comes with understanding how much your move will cost and how much you will need to save. Take a look at our international moving costs page for a break down on what type of costs you can expect.
Tip: If you’re moving overseas for work, your new job may offer to subsidise some of the costs of your move, so double check what costs you should expect to be covered.
Using an international money transfer company can save you a lot of money on bank transaction fees. If you want to transfer your wages to a new bank account abroad or pay for a mortgage or rent in another country, then check out our recommended companies below:
Tip: Every international money transfer company is different; double check which additional services are on offer to see what you could benefit from.
8. Repaying Student Loan
We have included this step on our moving overseas checklist because it’s best to get this sorted out before you move. To pay off your Higher Education Loan Programme (HELP) or Trade Support Lead (TSL) debts once you’ve moved overseas, you need to submit an overseas travel notification on myGov and submit what your worldwide income is.
Once you have done this, the Australian Taxation Office will let you know how much you must pay and when or how much you get back. We suggest to get this done before leaving Australia, however, the ATO ask that you notify them within seven days of leaving Australia.
Tip: Use this study and training loan calculator to see how much you will need to pay back.
9. Notify Providers You’re Moving Overseas
It’s important to let your service providers know that you will no longer need their services and that you won’t be at that address anymore. Providers you should remember to notify and or cancel before you leave are:
- Utilities (electricity, water etc.)
- Mobile company
- Your local council
- Car registration
- Insurance (home, car)
- Superannuation fund provider
- Real estate agent
- Australian Taxation Office
- myGov (update your contact details)
- The Electoral Commission
- Australia Post (re-direct post)
- Your lawyer
- Your accountant/financial advisor
- Cancel subscriptions
Tip: Let these service providers know when you’re planning to leave the country as soon as you know yourself. Leaving it for too long may leave you having to pay for subscriptions that you no longer need.
10. Important Documents
When applying for jobs or registering in your new country, you may need certain documents. It’s wise to make copies in case you happen to misplace the document. Here is what we recommend you take with you:
- Birth certificate
- Marriage/single certificates (for partner visas)
- Divorce/custody agreements
- Educational qualifications
Tip: There may be specific documents you need depending on which country you’re moving to, so remember to double check before moving overseas.
11. Obtain an International Driving Permit
You have to apply for an international driving permit (IDP) and carry this alongside your Australian license in order to drive overseas. An IDP is proof that you have a valid driver’s licence in your home country.
You can apply for an IDP within your home state in Australia, check out Smart Traveller for the correct information for each state. Alternatively, if you are already living overseas or intend on leaving Australia permanently, we recommend checking out the local requirements for obtaining a valid licence in your new country.
Tip: Even if you aren’t planning on driving whilst you’re abroad, it’s best to obtain one if you do have a driver’s license as you never know when it may come in handy.
12. Voting Overseas
If you intend to return to Australia within six years, then you can register as an overseas elector. However, if you’re planning to move indefinitely, then you won’t be able to vote whilst abroad. If you’re already enrolled, then you can apply to be an overseas elector up to three months before you move or within three years of moving overseas. If you’re unsure how long you’ll be moving abroad for, we recommend you still register as an overseas elector.
In most countries, you will also be able to vote in local elections, so make sure you’re clued up on how you can do this so that you can get your voice heard.
Tip: Whether you are moving overseas for a few months, six years or indefinitely, we recommend familiarising yourself with the Australian Electoral Commision website.
13. Other Important Preparations
There are some other things that you will need to arrange and think about for when you begin to settle into your new life overseas. This includes:
- Investigating schools for children
- Arranging to move pets overseas
- Organise permanent residence (if applicable)
Tip: Everyone’s move is different, so make sure you take the time to think about what specific things your move requires. Create your own unique checklist for things that you will need to arrange before you move.
We hope that you can use this moving overseas checklist as guide for your move abroad. Take a look at some of our other pages for more information on moving:
- Furniture Volume Calculator: Save time when requesting quotes by already knowing the volume of your move.
- Moving Boxes: Find out where to get the best moving boxes for your move.
Have a successful move overseas!