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Moving Overseas Timeline

A detailed insight into everything you need to do before leave the UK and also what to consider in your first few months in your new home.

Last updated 3 November 2023 at 11:34

Below is an item by item suggested moving overseas timeline. Everybody has different moving requirements and timelines, so this is purely a suggested list from an average international move.

Three to six months before your move

  • Create inventory of all the items you plan to sell, put into storage and move with you (including size, value and estimated weight). Remember to check your loft or basement.
  • Visit your new city and country and familiarise yourself with your new property if you can (including taking floorplans)
  • Purchase a folder or expanding document case for all the paperwork involved with the move such as estimates, letters, receipts, phone numbers, etc.
  • If you have children, notify any schools and arrange for school records to be transferred to the new school.
  • Ensure your passport(s) is/are up to date, and renew if required
  • Confirm your visa and entry requirements
  • It is also a good idea to purchase a pay as you go SIM card in your new destination and check that it is compatible with your phone.
  • Start learning the local language as required.

Two months before you move

  • Get estimates from international removal companies for moving and/or storage of your furniture and belongings. If you’re unsure, try or similar sites.
  • Position your items onto your new floor plan
  • Purchase equipment to assist in your move including removals boxes, labels, tape, bubble wrap, marker pens and plenty of newspaper (for wrapping china etc).
  • Pack items that you will not want until after the move such as ornaments, remembering to check them off your inventory.
  • Create and print change of address letters and cards for family and friends etc.
  • Decide which international removals company you are going to use and confirm the price before booking them.
  • Check to see if you need any permits for the move

Six weeks before the move

  • If you are putting items into storage make arrangements with the storage company, if service not provided by your removals company
  • Speak to your doctors’ receptionist and discuss the transfer of your medical records to take place nearer the date of the move. Also book an appointment with your doctor to ensure your medical health and discuss any potential issues about your destination (including jabs or continuing prescriptions).
  • If antiques, works of art and other valuables are not covered by the removal firm get insurance quotes to cover the period of the move.
  • If you have a pet, find out the restrictions on taking pets into your new country and decide whether you wish to keep them or put them up for adoption.

Four weeks before the move

  • Start to confirm your personal travel arrangements, book flights and any ferries.
  • Contact the telephone company to arrange disconnection at your old home.
  • Speak to your local council to see if you are owed any rebates on your Council Tax.
  • Research telephone, internet, TV and utilities providers in your new location and organise connections, if possible, at your new home.
  • Continue to pack items that you will not need until after the move.
  • If you are moving your curtains or rugs, arrange for these to be cleaned. Once cleaned store safely.
  • Arrange for transport of any pets and plants, and organise a kennel/cattery as required. You may prefer to lodge them with family/friends for a few days to reduce the stress on the animal and keep them from under your feet during the move.
  • Check that your household insurance covers your belonging during the move, and speak to your removals company about their insurance
  • Contact your buildings insurance company, notify them of the move and find out if they provide cover internationally. If not speak to an international insurance company such as Clements Worldwide
  • Speak to an independent financial adviser about banking and currency exchange in your new destination. Also speak to your bank to see if they provide an international banking service.

Three weeks before the move

  • Get any forms from the Post Office to notify change of address for cars, television licences etc.
  • Arrange what will happen to any children on the day of the move.

Two weeks before the move

  • Clean empty cupboards and drawers - it's good to treat others as you would want to be treated.
  • Arrange for disposal of large items that are not being moved (old furniture for example). Our suggestion is either to use ebay and start auctions for 99p, or a Freecycle website.
  • If you are driving, ensure your car has recently been serviced.
  • Try to get any items that you have loaned people back
  • Cancel newspaper and magazine deliveries
  • Notify credit cards, loan companies etc of your change of address
  • Renew any prescription to make sure that you have enough medication for the move and a couple of weeks afterwards.
  • Put together a folder of information for the new owner of your home (you may wish to include information about the location of the stopcock, gas and electric meters, when is the rubbish collected, how alarms work etc)

One week before the move

  • Empty the freezer and start to finish food in the fridge
  • Check that all the light bulbs work and replace any non-functioning lightbulbs.
  • Clean the empty cupboards

One day before the move

  • Settle paper bills etc with local businesses
  • Defrost the freezer and fridge - make sure that the door is left open.
  • Disconnect washing machines etc and prepare for the move (washing machines often have a bolt that locks the drum for example).
  • Sort out items you will need in the car and put to one side, a cool bag or box is a good idea to move chilled items. Don't forget your "moving folder".
  • Pack a box of things that will be needed first at the new house (tea, coffee, sugar, kettle, cups, teapot, dish cloth, towel, tea towel, torch etc). Mark this clearly and put to one side.
  • Ensure you have prepared food, or know what you intend to eat during the move.
  • Make sure that you have some cash, both in local currency and your destinations currency.
  • Check what time your removal company will arrive the next day.
  • Deliver pets to their accommodation.
  • Charge your mobile phone and make sure that you have a SIM card for your new country of residence.

Removal Day

  • If using a removal company make sure that someone is at the old house to let them in and answer questions.
  • Read all meters (gas, electric, water) and make a note of the readings (if you have a camera you might want to take photo's as evidence)
  • Lock all windows and doors
  • Place all keys into an envelope for handing over.
  • Make sure that everything is loaded into the car - remember the 'tea and coffee' box and your lunch.
  • Check that everything has been loaded into the van.

When you and your items arrive

  • Check all your belongings carefully and note any damaged items on the removal company paperwork.
  • Be prepared to make a drink for the removal men.
  • Oversee all the unloading and unpacking - but don't get in the way of the experts.
  • If possible, read the meters (gas, electric, water) and make a note of the readings.
  • Check that all the lights work in each room when you arrive - remember that the room layouts etc will be different and you do not want to not be able to see your way round in the dark.