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Checklist for moving outside the U.S.

There’s a lot to think about when it comes to moving outside the U.S.

Following a checklist of things to do before you move can help put your mind at ease, and make sure you don’t forget anything important.

Here are some steps to get you started.

Set a budget for settling in costs

There will be other costs to account for beyond flights and accommodation. These could include: a bond of deposit on a new place – depending on whether you’re renting or buying –furnishings, clothes and transport.

Make sure you budget for a decent amount of time to find work if you're planning on waiting until you leave the U.S. to look for new employment.

Explore: Creating a budget

Start saving

Once you’ve made your budget, set yourself a savings goal to achieve by the time you're set to move. Be reasonable and realistic with your goals – that way you’re more likely to stay on track.

If you don’t think you’ll be able to save enough, check your budget to see if you can cut costs in other areas. Otherwise, you may have to reduce your planned costs once you move, to make up for the shortfall.

Check your passport is valid

If your passport is due to expire within the next 12 months, it may be best to renew it before you move. That'll save you having to do it from outside the U.S.

Apply for work permits and visas

Each country or region has its own timings and requirements, so complete any relevant applications well before you're due to move, or start work.

Complete a health check

Health checks and vaccinations are sometimes required before entering a new country or region.

Make sure you're able to access any medicines you may need in your new location. Don’t forget to pack extra with you when you travel – ideally in a carry-on bag – in case your checked baggage is delayed on arrival. Chat to your doctor about your options before you go if you're unsure about anything.

Pay all your bills

Contact your gas and electricity, water, phone, TV, broadband and insurance providers to tell them about your changing circumstances and clear any outstanding bills.

Check that your phone is unlocked

If you want to continue using your phone wherever you're heading, make sure it’s unlocked. That way you can get a contract on arrival and just swap out the SIM card.

Organize shipping and storage

If you're planning on leaving some things behind, look into storage facilities and compare prices to get the best deal.

If you’re planning on taking large items, such as furniture, they may need to be shipped. Get a number of quotes to make sure you get the best price and read the fine print of the agreement before you sign. Many companies claim to be insured, but that doesn't necessarily mean your possessions are.

Set up your banking

You may be able to apply for a bank account online for the new country or region you’re moving to if you want quick access to your money when you arrive.

Another option would be to open an international bank account before you leave the U.S.

Our Global Money Account lets you use one account to access multiple foreign currencies. All you need to join is an eligible HSBC deposit account you can link to, the HSBC mobile banking app, and residential status in the U.S.

Gather key documents

Before you arrive there may be some key things you'll want to arrange, such as: an international driving license, accommodation and education for any school-aged children.

Make sure you've got the documents you'll need to arrange these things with you when you leave the U.S..

Consider travel insurance

If you want to be covered in case of any travel delays, missed departures or airline failures, it's worth thinking about a fully comprehensive one-way travel insurance policy.

Redirect your mail

Either redirect your mail to your new address or to a trusted family member.

Double-check all documentation

Collect all of the relevant documents you’ll need and put them in a file, ready for departure.

Explore more
Find out how to manage your HSBC credit or debit card outside the U.S.
Find out whether you should pay in local currency or dollars when overseas.
Learn how to send money overseas safely and securely.


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