Moving Abroad Checklist

Moving abroad can be daunting as it involves a lot more preparation than moving a few miles down the road. You could be sat on the plane about to start your new life abroad when suddenly remember you forgot to cancel your milk subscription!

We’ve put a useful moving abroad checklist together for you to make sure you don’t forgot anything and your big move goes as smoothly as possible.

8 weeks before, or as early as possible…

  • Passports and Visas: are they up to date and valid ?
  • Storage: start thinking about what you are taking abroad with you, what you’re putting in storage and what you’re getting rid of entirely. The more you take abroad with you, the higher your shipping costs so you need to be strict with what you take!
  • Research: as you’ve chosen where you’re going to move you have probably done quite a bit of research already, but more won’t hurt. Start getting to know the local area you will be living in such as where the supermarkets and banks are, it’ll save you wandering around getting lost when you first arrive and you need to put dinner together.
  • Language: if you’re moving abroad to a country where you don’t speak the language, then now might be a good time to start picking up on some key terms that will come in handy – please, thank you, where is the bank….
  • Mail: make a list of any post you receive over the next few weeks so you what you’ll be needing to redirect at a later date.

6 weeks before…

  • Travel: make sure you confirm the date of your move with your removal company and then check any travel arrangements such as trains or flights.
  • Accommodation: now would be a good time to make arrangements with hotels or any temporary accommodation if you’re not moving straight into your new home when you arrive.
  • Council Tax: you may be due a Council Tax rebate, so check this with your local council.
  • Vaccinations: going somewhere tropical? (Lucky you!) Visit your doctor and make arrangements for any necessary vaccinations. It’s worth checking this even if you’re not moving anywhere particularly tropical, just to be sure.
  • Medical: while you’re at the doctors, make sure you advise them that you’re moving abroad, and do the same with your dentist, optician etc. You may be covered for some emergency health care in the country that you’re moving too but it may be necessary to take out medical insurance.

4 weeks before…

  • Removal Company: your removal company should give you a dedicated removal manager, so go over the moving plan with them and start make any adjustments to the plan if necessary.
  • Insurance: your removal company should be able to advise you on any insurance cover you may need for the move, such as for your belongings while they’re in transit.
  • Belongings: by now you should have narrowed down what you’re taking with you, what’s going into storage and what you’re getting rid of. Start making a list and ask yourself “Am I going to need this when I get there?”
  • Car: are you taking your car with you? Check with your insurer if you’re covered to drive in the country you’re going. Some insurers can cover your for a small length of time but in a limited number of countries. Now may be the time to arrange car insurance in your destination country. Also check now that you’re MOT/Servicing is up to date and that your driving licence will cover you to drive where you are going. If you’re not driving your car and having it exported, then coordinate this with your removal company who can arrange the certificates and other arrangements.
  • Memberships: cancel any memberships such as golf or gym and cancel any subscriptions for magazines or newspapers.
  • Payments: start settling any outstanding finance or payments on credit cards or store cards. Don’t try doing this once you’ve moved, as call charges may be higher.

3 weeks before…

  • Mail: did you make that list of post you received up until now? Start going through that list, contact the sender and request any future mail to be redirected to your new address, or if it can’t be sent to your new address abroad, give an address of a friend or family member who can forward it on for you.
  • Clear Out: start clearing out the attic, shed or garage as this will be a pretty big job! Recycle or bin anything your not keeping or take it to a charity shop.
  • Storage: begin storing items that you’re not taking with you when you move abroad.

2 weeks before…

  • Bank Accounts: close down or transfer any bank accounts. You can still keep your savings account open, if so, request a ‘Not ordinarily resident’ form so you don’t pay tax on your savings and notify the bank of your new address.
  • Milkman: cancel your milk or any other deliveries like newspapers and pay any local bills.
  • Rented Items: if you have any items such as furniture or televisions which are rented, then make arrangements for them to be collected close to your move date.
  • Furniture:  begin dismantling t any large furniture such as wardrobes or beds. Any items that may be dirty such as outdoor furniture that you are taking with you should be thoroughly cleaned. Try using a power washer to give them a good clean, as this will avoid any charges for fumigation or quarantine when you move abroad.
  • Utilities: contact your utility providers such as gas, electricity and water and ask that they come and read your meters on the day of you moving. Ask for proof of their readings to ensure that you’re not left with any unwanted charges after you’ve moved abroad.
1 week before…
  • Defrost: empty and defrost your fridge and freezer.
  • Documents: collect any important documents like birth or marriage certificates to take with you when you move abroad and make a couple of copies to store separately and safely. Making digital copies which you can store online using Google Drive or Windows Sky Drive just in case.
  • €£$: get your foreign currency for when you arrive at your new home. Make sure you have enough for a few days just in case there are any issues with your bank card.
  • Removal Company: contact your removal company to go over the plan and make any final checks. Make sure you know exactly what will be happening on the day of moving to when your belongings arrive at your new home.
  • Luggage: pack your luggage to take with you on your flight. Make sure you have enough clothes to last a few days in case there are any delays with your belongings arriving.
A few days before…
  • Travel Documents: pack your travel documents together, keep them safe in a wallet or folder to take with you as hand luggage.
  • Removal Vans: let your neighbours know when the removal vans will be arriving and request they leave plenty of parking space on the day.
Moving Day…
  • Double Check: do a thorough sweep of the house checking rooms the garage, the attic, the shed…everywhere to make sure that you haven’t left anything behind that you need.
  • Switch Off: switch off your water supply if no one is moving into your old home straight away. Lock up and give the keys to the estate agent.


Remember! Whenever you contact someone about changing your address, making payments, closing down accounts etc, always make a note of the date and time you contacted them, how you contacted them and who you spoke to. Keep this information handy so if there is ever a dispute about whether you contacted them or not then you have evidence that you did. Calls are almost always recorded so they can use this information to locate your call and confirm what you’ve said.