Ten things to think about when you move overseas

According to Statistics New Zealand, in the year ended February 2014 around 67,800 Kiwis left our beautiful shores for more than a quick holiday. Approximately 96,800 people headed the other way. There are a multitude of possible reasons for making the move – including career, study, family and adventure – but whatever your reason there are certain chores that you will need to attend to before you head off. Here’s a quick checklist of some of the more common tasks:

  1. You’ll probably need to open a bank account in your country of destination. Depending on which institution you bank with in New Zealand, you may find that it has a subsidiary in your country of destination. If not, check out what banking options are available.  Also, currency fluctuates on a daily basis, so keep an eye on the long-term trends of your new country of residence.
  2. Check what travel and work visas you may require. The requirements will vary from country to country, so check the resources available on the Department of Immigration (or equivalent) website of your destination country.
  3. Check your health as well! You want to be in top shape when you make the move, so get a thorough health check before you leave. Remember to ask your medical provider about any vaccinations you might require.
  4. Familiarise yourself with the local laws. Ignorance of the law is rarely an excuse, so ensure that you are aware of any legal and cultural sensitivities that you may encounter.
  5. Make sure your passport has a long shelf life. Some countries will require you to have at least six months lifespan on your passport from your estimated date of departure from that country. So if your move if long-term, that may mean a passport with plenty of time left on it.
  6. Think about an international driver’s licence. Will you be able to drive in your country of destination? Ensure that you check out any requirements well in advance so that you have time to sit any tests and complete any paperwork.
  7. Investigate the medical facilities that will be available. The type (and quality) of medical care available does differ from country to country.
  8. Organise travel insurance to cover your move. Cancelled flights, lost luggage, illness or injury and theft are just a few of the mishaps that can turn your move into a mess. Consider taking out travel insurance to cover the first twelve months of your trip. You can find out more about travel insurance here. http://www.canstar.co.nz/travel-insurance/
  9. Register with Safetravel. https://safetravel.govt.nz/ Ensure that you register with the government’s travel advisory website, Safetravel, before you take off. That way you are contactable in the case of an emergency.
  10. Make a contact list for emergencies. According to the government, New Zealand’s embassies offshore received nearly 40,000 consular queries during the year to 30 June 2013. As well as the embassy, you may need to have police, ambulance and the 24-hour hotline of your travel insurance policy on speed dial. Hopefully they are numbers that you won’t need to dial!

There are countless other tasks that you may need to attend to, including finding somewhere to live, researching a school for your children and organizing the transfer of your funds and assets.

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