Master checklist for your relocation abroad

Relocating to another country is a huge task. There is so much to do and remember, and it’s quite easy to overlook key things when there is a lot going on. Finding somewhere to live, arranging work visas, deciding what to ship and what to leave behind… the list stretches on.
Here we have put together a master expat relocation checklist that looks at each of the key areas of moving abroad, and the most important things to remember to do before relocating to another country.


Location is often determined by a new work placement, but sometimes, British workers will actively seek potential work in a new country of their choice. The first step in either scenario is to research, research, research. Find out as much about the country as possible, including the best places to live and work, what it’s like for families and so on.
It’s important to know what the main languages spoken in a country are, both within the business world as well as day-to-day life. This can help with integration, especially while there is still time to take a few lessons.
Have a look at existing expat social networks in the new country. These are usually a good source of information from people who already live there and have been through the expat process. This will often give insider info and top tips.
Create a timetable for the move, with all key dates highlighted of when everything needs to be done. Make sure there is enough time so that it is not rushed at the last minute.
Gather together all important documents, and make copies. This includes wills, birth certificates, driving licences, passports, financial certificates and so on.
Contact all relevant authorities to inform them of the move, such as the local council and HMRC.

Family matters

When moving with children, research local schools as this can help determine where to look for accommodation. There is usually a mix of local schools, private schools and international schools, which have various entry criteria.
Understand the healthcare situation of the new country. This means being aware of any particular risks and therefore vaccinations needed in advance, as well as the provisions in the country, what kind of healthcare or insurance is needed, and whether any cover is offered as part of the employment package.
Find out where the local pharmacies, hospitals, walk-in centres and emergency departments are.
Research the local mobile phone service and internet providers in advance, so that communications can be set up immediately, which helps with keeping in contact with family and friends back home.
Look at the transportation system in the new country. Is it easy to get around? Is a car necessary, and if so, is it worth shipping one or buying one?
Will a UK driving licence be valid in a new country, and if so, for how long?
Are there any pets that also need to moved abroad? This can be more complicated, as there could be quarantine restrictions, immunisations and certifications needed, as well as the logistics of travelling. Sort this out in well in advance.

Work concerns

It is important to have the right visas in place for working in a new country. An employer should be able to help with this, and often is the one who needs to apply for the visa. However, it is important to find out whether family is covered under the visa conditions too.
A spouse or partner may also wish to work in the new country. It is important that they have their own work visa, or are eligible to work under the main working visa.
After being offered a job, go through the contract thoroughly. Don’t be afraid to negotiate moving benefits or discuss a relocation package.


Settle all debts in the UK and make sure that all monthly Direct Debits and standing orders are cancelled. Notify all providers of the move, give proper notice and ensure they are paid in full.
Decide what to do with a UK home, which may be to sell it or rent it out. Renting it will mean hiring a trustworthy agent who can deal with any issues that arise. It is also worth keeping a UK bank account open to deal with related transactions, and pay for fees and upkeep.
If selling a property, speak to an accountant about the best ways to transfer large amounts of money from the UK to an account in the new country, if not purchasing a property right away.
Find out what kind of bank account is required in the new country. Will a local bank account be required, or will an international one be more suitable? Consider an offshore account too.
Look at the tax liability options in the new country and ensure that tax will not be paid twice on income for both the UK and another country.
It is worth hiring an accountant to help with financial affairs, but look for one with particular experience with expatriates.


Ask on expat forums to find out the best places to live in the new country and research the local amenities.
Plan a trip to the new country to visit a few possible locations to settle; there is nothing like being there in person to get a feel for a place.
Consider renting first before buying, to ensure that it is the right place, that the commute is straightforward and that it is close to essential facilities and amenities.
Set a budget for a property and be strict. Make sure all fees and costs are included when given a price – there may be other taxes or bills due that are not obvious.

Travelling and shipping

Make a list of what needs to be shipped to the new country, what can be sold or given away, and what is going into storage. The more that is shipped, the more it will cost, and in some cases, it can be cheaper to buy again.
Use the services of a professional moving service, like Cadogan Tate. We’re experienced in international relocations and can provide lots of advice and information on shipping, storage, customs and transportation. It takes a lot of the hard work out of moving abroad, and streamlines the whole process. Find out more about our International Moves service.

Know what you can and can’t take into a country by researching their customs policy. Some items may need certain paperwork, which should be filed in advance to save delays at the borders. Bear in mind any duty tax that will be applied when deciding what to ship.