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Planning Process: Documentation Preparation for Your Move Abroad

The Repat Diaries 
Image result for travel documents

Documentation Preparation for Your Move Abroad 

The act of collecting all the documents you need for an international move is not for the faint of heart. However, with the proper planning this should be an easy task to tackle. Through our own preparation for our Repatriation to Africa, we have determined that there are several items to consider in order to make your transition as smooth as possible and prepare yourself for any emergencies. The following is a list of important documents you should have squared away prior to your move. We suggest you do additional research to see if there are any specific documents needed for your country of choice. Additionally, make sure to review and update your documents every year to avoid any unnecessary problems.

For all information on acquiring a passport and its requirements, click the link below.

Visa Requirements:
For all information regarding international visas and requirements, click the link below.
Medical documents and Vaccinations:
  • Research your new country’s health and medical regulations and visit your doctor to make sure you have the right shots and all the required medical documents;
  • Get a record of all your immunizations (you may also need some new vaccinations, depending on your destination country);
  • Retrieve all your medical records and get a international health insurance policy;
  • Prescription medications: Pack meds for your move and pack them in their original containers. Ask your pharmacist or physician for the generic name in case you need to purchase it abroad. Make sure that your new country allows your particular medicine into the country. If not, make a plan for how to get it as frequently as you need it from your home country. Get a letter from your physician with your prescription and why you are taking it. Some countries have strict regulations on importing medicines;
  • It is also a good idea to learn the whereabouts of expat medical centers and U.S. approved clinics in your new country before your relocation to ensure your peace of mind and to be able to take quick and adequate measures if you get sick or injured.
International medical and travel insurance:
For all information regarding international medical and travel insurance, click the link below.
International Medical & Travel Insurance

Will/Power of Attorney:
Creating legal documents in a country other than your home country can be more complicated for a foreigner and is a task that needs to be done prior to leaving your home country. Some of the most important documents to complete prior to moving out of the country is a Will and possibly a power of attorney. Find an attorney to draft you a Will to bequest your belongings. Additionally, consider if you need to delegate someone to be your power of attorney to handle concerns on your behalf in the States that may arise and which cannot be handled directly by you via phone or electronically. Due to the different types of power of attorney, discuss your options with an attorney to ensure you have the proper power of attorney in place before you leave.

Hand carry these documents with you when you move and keep them in a waterproof bag in a fireproof travel safe:
  • All Passports: Ensure that they are valid for at least an additional six months. This includes foreign passports if you are dual citizen;
  • Driver’s licenses/International Driving Permits;
  • Birth certificates of all family members;
  • Marriage certificates;
  • Divorce papers and custody agreements;
  • Legal documents related to adoption;
  • Health insurance cards of all family members;
  • Immunization records of all family members;
  • Key medical records of all family members: Especially if you have been diagnosed with a chronic illness or have a major surgery in your medical history that will be relevant to your future health care;
  • Proof of relationship to your children and consent forms from any non-accompanying parent;
  • A copy of all credit card numbers and phone numbers to cancel the cards in case of theft or loss. Keep in a separate place;
  • Contact information for the nearest Embassy or Consulate of your home country;
  • Copies of the page of your passport with your picture on it and copies of any foreign visas you have in your passport;
  • Recent photos of all family members: In case of extreme emergency where you need to provide a photo for a missing person, you will have this easily accessible.
Electronic information to gather before your move:
  • An electronic copy of all the documents you will hand carry;
  • Photographs of all the items you are moving: If you need file a claim with your insurance, you will have to state exactly which item never showed up in your shipment and that it was actually packed. Include the serial numbers and model numbers for electronics'
  • Professional appraisals of jewelry, art, and collectibles;
  • Safety deposit box information;
  • Wills/Power of Attorney;
  • Insurance policies;
  • Property deeds and leases;
  • Titles for any vehicles remaining in your home country;
  • Living will.
Copies of original documents to leave in a safety deposit box at a bank in your home country and/or provide to a trusted family member/friend/Attorney:
  • Insurance policies;
  • Wills;
  • Living wills;
  • Property deeds in your home country;
  • Titles for any vehicles remaining in your home country;
  • Power of attorney;
  • Notarized paper copies of your birth certificates, marriage certificates, divorce papers and custody agreements, and adoption documents;
  • Contact information for the nearest Embassy of Consulate of your home country;
  • An electronic copy of all the documents you hand carried: In case of emergency, your contact at home can email you all the documents you need to replace your passport;
  • Bank account, credit card, and investment account numbers and company phone numbers

P.S.  Electronic documents should be stored on a cloud app or on a USB stick to ensure that if the computer they are stored on stops working, you can still easily access your key legal and financial documents. 

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