Emigration Checklist: Preparing to Emigrate

Preparing to Emigrate

Preparing to Emigrate: An emigration should be planned meticulously in order to avoid unwanted surprises and problems in the new home. Often, steps that have been missed cannot be made up for afterwards. It also depends on whether you already know the destination and have already made contacts on site, or whether you are setting out for the destination for the first time.

Preparing to Emigrate

If you have been recruited by a company for a foreign assignment, the employer will most likely get involved in the organization and initiate the necessary procedures. A checklist is ideal for detailed planning of emigration to ensure that no important preparations are forgotten.

In the following, important tips are presented in the form of a checklist:

Planning the Emigration

1. Validity of Important Documents

The validity of important travel documents such as the passport, identity card and, if necessary, the driver’s license should be checked in advance and renewed if necessary. In some countries you can only enter with a passport that is valid for at least 6 months. For longer stays, it should be ensured that the travel documents cover the planned length of stay, as it is often more complicated to have them renewed at the respective embassies abroad.

2. International Insurance

Health insurance abroad is one of the most important requirements for a planned emigration. The emigrant should familiarize himself with the insurance conditions in order to know exactly what is covered by the health insurance in an emergency and how the insurance company can be contacted if necessary. Many emigrants spend their vacation in their home country, so it should be ensured that medical care is secured in the home country even in an emergency. It can also be an advantage to take out liability insurance.

3. Medical Check

A thorough check-up at the family doctor and the dentist is mandatory before emigrating. If you take medication regularly, you should plan a supply for several weeks. If the prescribed medication is not available abroad, comparable medication in the destination country should be discussed with the family doctor.

4. Visa

A visa is required when emigrating to countries outside the EU. You should find out in advance how the visa will be issued. For some countries this must be applied for in advance at the competent foreign authority, for other countries it is issued directly at the airport upon arrival. These are usually tourist visas that are only valid for a limited period of time. The emigrant should therefore find out in advance where this can be extended at the destination and which documents are required for this.

5. Work Permit

When working abroad without a valid work permit, both the employer and the employee are liable to prosecution. As a rule, this is initiated by the employer and the employee must submit the required documents in consultation. These are mostly training and qualification certificates with which the employer must declare that the emigrant has the necessary qualifications to fill the vacant position.

6. Household items and house

If you are planning to stay abroad for a longer period of time, it is worth giving up your own apartment in order not to bear unnecessary ongoing rental costs. In this regard, it should also be planned what happens to the household effects. It could be stored, sold or given away. If you own a condominium or a house, you also have to worry about how it goes on.

What to do with all the Junk?

If you have made the decision to emigrate, you have to think about your apartment and your belongings. Clearing out an entire apartment or even a house can be the worst part of emigrating for many. Mucking out can be overwhelming, which is why the Japanese Marie Kondo wrote the book “ Magic Cleaning ”. The so-called Konmari method is supposed to clean up your apartment and soul at the same time.

Where is the Best Place to Start?

The Konmari Method says that one should sort out by category instead of devoting oneself to a room or a specific corner of the house. So you should put all objects of a certain category in front of you and look at this whole pile first.

The first shock should speak for itself and make you aware that you have too many items from one category. Only after you have completely mucked out a category should you move on to the next. The categories of the Konmari Method should be noted as follows:

  1. Dress
  2. Books
  3. Documents
  4. Odds and ends
  5. souvenir

Decide Whether to Keep the Item

Marie Kondo says that you should look at any object and ask yourself if it gives you pleasure. In the English edition of the book this question is also answered with: “Does it spark joy?” translated. If not, then you should thank the item and then put it in a box to sort out. It is best to get larger boxes and use the following categories:

  • Keep: Everything that is supposed to be brought into the new country goes into this box.
  • Throwing away: Everything that no longer works, is broken or that cannot be reused for anyone else goes into this box.
  • Selling: Everything that you don’t need, but with which you could still make a little money on eBay or the flea market.
  • Donate / give away: Everything that you no longer need, cannot really sell, but is too good for the trash can.

Radical Mucking out Should bring Joy

According to the Konmari method, mucking out should be done in one go, rather than in smaller steps. The division of the objects into categories makes it easier for you not to lose track, but still be able to move forward in larger steps.

The advantages of the Konmari method are obvious:

  • Identify gaps and know exactly what you need when shopping: When you have finished cleaning up and lead a minimalist life, you know better what you can and cannot use in the future. Anyone who has five different types of jeans, but none of them fit properly, knows that it is time to invest in good jeans that fit you well and that you don’t just buy because they were reduced.
  • Dress faster: A better overview of your wardrobe can help you to spend less time looking for clothes, because you only have clothes in your wardrobe that you really love.
  • Tidying up is so much easier: owning fewer items also means less time wasting tidying them up.

7. Accommodation

Before leaving, it should be ensured that adequate accommodation is available. This is often initiated by the employer. If not, the emigrant should contact real estate agents or rental companies of private accommodation prior to departure. In this regard, information should also be obtained regarding the deposit, running costs and notice period.

8. Enough Start-up Capital

Preparing for emigration naturally includes the calculation of the starting capital . For the restart, enough cash should be carried with you to be able to help yourself in unexpected situations. The customs export regulations should be observed. Larger sums of cash must be reported. Here it is advisable to inquire about the exact provisions at customs in advance. If the employer does not take care of it, you should research yourself what is necessary in order to open an account in the destination country. A credit card can be very useful abroad.

9. Prevention

Depending on the planned length of stay abroad, you should also consider making private provision for your pension. Especially for foreign assignments that are long-term and for which a return to the home country has not yet been determined.

10. Important Documents

Thanks to today’s technology, documents can be accessed from almost anywhere in the world using the Internet. Important documents should be scanned in and saved before departure so that they can be retrieved if necessary.

What to do in the First 3 Months Abroad

Have you made the decision to spend some time abroad and have now arrived in your dream country? Great! There is a lot to do, especially in the early days, and a successful start in the new country requires good organization. Therefore, Career Abroad has created a wish list that you can consult so that everything continues to work like clockwork, even after the first few months elsewhere.

Add local cell phone number
Plan to emigrateYour very first task should be to get a local cell phone number. Especially in the first time in the new country, you will certainly have a lot to do with authorities, rental agencies and local job agencies. It is immensely beneficial to be reachable on a local telephone number.

You also avoid expensive roaming costs that can arise in Germany. It is often possible to buy a local SIM card at the airport. In some countries the SIM card is activated directly. In others, a registration must first take place, which can take 24 hours. For this registration, an ID and a home address are required. A letter from a hotel is usually recognized as proof of the place of residence.

look For a Job

Happy is someone who has a job offer in their pocket before they leave. If you have set out to your dream country to explore the job market locally, you should contact the job agencies in your new city right from the start. With a job and a regular income, the next steps of your adventure abroad often stand or fall. Many housing agencies will want to see pay slips or an employment contract before renting an apartment to you. Opening a bank account can also be linked to regular income. So: let’s go through the newspapers and online exchanges and visit local employment agencies!

Open a Bank Account

The requirements for opening a bank account vary from country to country and from bank to bank. In most cases, banks will ask for at least proof of identity and proof of home address. Additional documents may also be requested.

This can be, for example, a residence permit, an employment contract or proof of your employer, as well as a certified copy of your birth certificate. If a certain bank fails to open an account, try another. There is a chance that it will be based on other criteria. If you already have a job, the employer will help you set up an account.

To Rent an Apartment

Living in a hotel, Airbnb or backpacker hostel for the first few weeks can be born out of necessity, but it can also be advantageous. You get a feeling for good and bad residential areas, you can test the connection to public transport and find out in which district you would feel comfortable. With this new information gained on the spot, you can make appointments for viewing apartments. You are guaranteed to find a better permanent place to stay than falling for stylish pictures from housing agencies that make you offers before you leave the country.

Appearances are often deceptive and the actual condition of an apartment can differ considerably from the description. Be prepared that you will need to provide evidence of an employment contract or a steady income before signing a rental agreement. Read the fine print and pay special attention to the notice periods and annual rent increases.

Buy Furniture

If you have found a nice place to stay, you will need furniture if you have opted for an unfurnished apartment. If you are on a tight budget, online sales exchanges are an excellent alternative to store offers. Certainly there is also a local counterpart to Ebay, Amazon or Alibaba in your country.

Report to the Residents’ Office

Some countries require you to register with the local residents’ registration office after 3 months. Make sure you don’t miss this.

Obtain a Residence Permit or Work Visa

In many countries you can stay for 3 months with a tourist visa. If you want to stay longer or permanently relocate, you should take care of a long-term visa such as a work visa during this time.

If the application for a work visa takes longer, the tourist visa may be extended once (through possible departure and re-entry). In some countries, employers are happy to support their employees with visa applications and often even cover the costs.

Join Health Insurance

Some foreign employers provide company-specific health insurance packages for your employees. Membership can be voluntary or even compulsory. Often, however, you have to take care of private insurance cover yourself, because statutory health insurance, as in Germany, is not available in very few countries. The health systems of different countries differ significantly from one another.


For the first few days after arriving abroad, it is advantageous to first familiarize yourself with the new environment. The best way to do this is with other people who already live in the target area. Getting used to it can be made much easier through local contacts. This is how you quickly get to know the customs and traditions.

A well-prepared emigration enables you to settle in abroad comfortably and quickly. If the points listed above are observed, nothing stands in the way of a successful new start abroad.

Join Expat Groups

If you just want to get to know other expats in the country, you can join expat groups. In these forums you will meet people who may have been in the country for much longer than you. They can give you valuable tips and help with problems. Internations is an online platform that connects you with expats in your new home.


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