Moving Internationally: Documents Expats Need When Moving Overseas


Moving abroad can be an exciting experience, but the process is complex with tons of paperwork. Whether you’re moving to Europe, Asia, the USA, or elsewhere, you’ll need to prepare by gathering all the paperwork necessary to move your life abroad quickly.

Besides the paper works, you will also need to contact several moving companies or read quotes for moving overseas before settling for one. The entire process is nerve-wracking, and you may often find yourself off the truck. However, you don’t need to worry if you find it arduous to compile all the papers required for your relocation.

This guide will take you through all the crucial documents you’ll need before moving overseas, what each document does, and how to ensure they’re in order before you leave.

1. Passport

A passport is one of the most critical documents you need when moving overseas. It allows you to travel to and from your new country and prove your identity and citizenship. Plus, it’s required for many other things like opening a bank account or getting a job. Make sure your passport is up-to-date and valid for at least six months before your move.

Your passport photo should be current and show your full face against a plain white background. When in doubt, check with the embassy of your destination country.

2. Visa

A visa is a document that allows you to stay in a country for a certain amount of time. Depending on the country, you may need a visa to enter, exit, or transit through. To get a permit, you must fill out an application and submit it with any required supporting documents.

If you are transferring within your company’s international headquarters program, you might need documentation showing that your new position meets specific criteria. If applying for residency, some countries require applicants to demonstrate financial independence and or housing arrangements before granting residency permits.

3. Birth Certificates

Your birth certificate is a significant document when moving overseas. It’s used to prove your identity and citizenship, which can come in handy if you ever need a new passport. Remember that you’ll need an original or certified copy of your birth certificate; photocopies won’t suffice.

4. Medical Insurance

The other most essential document you need when moving overseas is medical insurance. Your regular health insurance plan probably won’t cover you once you leave your country, so you’ll need to purchase a new plan. There are a few different types of medical insurance for ex-pats, so do your research and choose the one that’s right for you.

Generally, international travel insurance will suffice if you only go abroad for a short period (less than six months). If you’re staying in the same country but not living there year-round, look into local health care providers who offer plans specifically for those who live abroad. Alternatively, you can contact your embassy or consulate for information on what’s available in your destination country.

5. Apartment Lease

You’ll need a place to stay before buying a new house. An apartment lease is, therefore,a crucial document you may need before moving to your new destination. This document will protect you from getting kicked out of your home or raising your rentun expectedly. It is essential to read your lease before signing it to understand its terms and conditions.

For example, in some countries, the landlord can evict you if they disapprove of who lives with you, which means they can discriminate against you based on race, sexual orientation, etc.

6. Academic Records

Your academic records are as vital as your visa and passport. This includes transcripts, diplomas, and any other relevant documentation from your time in school. These records will not only help you get into a good university abroad, but they’ll also be necessary forgetting a job or applying for a visa.

If you’re planning on working with kids at an international school, then it’s even more essential that you provide this document.

7. Marriage Certificate

If you’re married and moving with your spouse, you’ll need to bring your marriage certificate. This document proves that you’re legally married and will be necessary to open a joint bank account or apply for a mortgage. Without it, you may not be able to take advantage of certain benefits or opportunities.

Submit the document and certified translations into the country’s official language(s). Sometimes, such as in countries where some languages have no written form (such as Arabic), you might need to request a video testimony instead. Your destination country should have information on their specific requirements on their website.

8. Bank Statement

You’ll need to open a new bank account when you move overseas. Be sure to bring your most recent bank statement with you so that you can prove your address and identity.

Most banks will accept a utility bill or government-issued ID if you don’t have a bank statement. Once you’ve opened your account, notify the relevant State Department about the new location of your bank account and update it in the National Registry of Consular Officials (NRCO).

Parting shot

Moving abroad can be a daunting task, especially when it comes to gathering all the necessary travel documents. It’s even worse when you set foot in your new destination and realize you can’t access certain services without a particular document.

So, before you leave, research, or seek advice from the embassy consular of your destination country for all the necessary documents, you may need to stay overseas.