Five To-Do’s Before Becoming an Expat

Updated: Oct 24, 2018

When you make the fabulous decision to relocate your life and experience the world, you are living the dream of all humanity. Much the way we evolved in the cradle of life, Africa, then walked our way all around the globe, you are continuing an ancient human tradition. The brave who take on this journey have the privilege of knowing they will have a full and exciting life. You don’t have to rob tombs or look for magical crystal skulls, simply changing your environment is an impossibility for most.

But like everything else in life, success blooms when you plant the seeds of preparation. There are endless tasks and things on your itinerary to take care of, and everyone is different. But below, we have compiled a few of the big things. The make-or-break “to-do’s” that can mean the difference between a seamless transition or a torturous predicament. Let’s get started.

Make Copies of Important Documents & Memories

A lot of things in life can be difficult but explaining to a local authority why you don’t have your “papers” can be especially awkward and time consuming. Consider making quality copies of everything and placing the originals in a safe or any secure location. Fun fact, lamination is still a thing. Go ahead and print/laminate your license, passport, certificate of health coverage, and anything you might need in your new home. A good idea is to leave a set of the copies with a loved one in case of emergency.

Let’s not forget the memories. Yes, we have Facebook and such. But some things such as baby photos and treasured nick-knacks could be especially important to have by your side and in your home to ease your mental health. Additionally, you may not always have internet connection, especially if you’re globe-trotting.

Update Passport and Obtain Your Visa

Make sure you know the Visa requirements of any territory you plan on either visiting or living in. Many Visa applications might take 6 months or longer to process so it is pivotal to get on this task as soon as possible. If you are moving from one Schengen country to another you will not need a visa. This is not one of the “let’s wing it” situations.

As passports frequently last many years before expiration, it is easy to forget that they may need to be updated or re-applied for. Check the dates and data on yours, if you are relocating, you may need to visit a local passport office to make adequate changes. Remember that your passport is the most important form of identification on the planet, whether you need it where you are going or not.

Tend to Health Insurance and Medical Needs

When going to a new country it is imperative that your health is taken into consideration. Keep in mind, not every country has a comprehensive health system and in most, you require to either pay out of pocket and at the time of service or have a personal health plan of one type or another.

The best solution would be to find an effecting international health insurance company that not only covers you medically but supports your wellbeing throughout.

For example, WellAway Limited has many plans for expatriates and travelers. It is unique expatriate health insurance that includes the member support, resources and tools that allow you to focus on settling down in your life abroad through peace of mind. It contains features to accommodate your expatriate lifestyle. Your personal ConciergeCare counselor will help you make medical appointments, get a second medical opinion, use case management services, arrange emergency repatriation and provide clear information about the health care system where you are.

Get Your Affairs/Finances in Order at Home

It’s natural to want to escape, but true tranquility can’t be reached without the certainty that everything in your past is going to stay where you left it, behind… Make sure that you have spoken to any company that you might be indebted to, and that either it is payed off, or a plan has been put in place. You do not want to visit home and find that your credit score is 0 and you are wanted by five collection agencies!

Additionally, did you know that some credit cards will block your accounts if you use them outside of your country without letting them know? Make sure you call every single one of your financial services companies and let them know of your plans. Many of them may charge for usage outside of the country, in which case you should consider switching to an international bank or credit card. Research what banks are located in your new home and the logistics behind getting your monies correctly and punctually.

Get a Place and Study the Culture

It’s not enough to have Airbnb loaded on your phone. Know where you will be staying ahead of time. Look online and try to find residence beforehand. Although it is important to consider many places without easy internet access may only be available in person. In this situation, have a friend or a temporary location available.

Once you have a place, it is important to become accustomed to your surroundings. There are some areas of the world that may come with a dangerous element in terms of culture. Some extremist locations in the middle east, for example, might require certain customs or you will simply not be allowed to stay. However, for most of the world, if you are capable of being open and understanding, there should not be a problem.

The biggest issues will usually solve itself after growing accustomed to everything in due time. These might include confusion, stress and inability to communicate. This might even occur to Americans in London, as dialect and customs vary more than one might think.

Solution? Study your destination, before arrival. If it is a different language, try to learn the basics. These days one has so much translation technology that it is getting easier than ever.

© 2018 Armando Antonio Diaz | | (305) 546-1301