How to sort out Stuff before skipping town
March 12, 2010 6:46 PM   Subscribe

Looking for tried and true checklists for tying up loose ends before moving to another country.

I'm asking for a friend who is about to move to Germany for a job for a couple years. It's fairly sudden and she is in the process of closing up loose ends before the big move.

We've found relocation tips for when you arrive in the new country which is good, but are looking for checklists for the process of cleaning up your life before you leave. She's on top of the purging and storage of possessions but the rest is still a big amorphous blob of Stuff To Do.

Has anyone landed in a new country and thought "Damn! I forgot to..." What things would you recommend doing before leaving town? Apart from have a farewell bash, that is.
posted by mooza to Travel & Transportation (8 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
This might be a bit more than what you want, but check Amazon for books like The Expert Expatriate.
posted by bluedaisy at 7:22 PM on March 12, 2010

Some random thoughts...make sure the following are in order:
--credit cards
--anything with an expiration date that is important (professional certs, passport, driver's license, military ID, etc)
--all household bills are cancelled and paid off (water, gas, cable, etc)
--cancel subscriptions (magazines, newspaper)
--a dental and physical exam if insurance is currently in place
--copies of all important documents (passport, birth certificate, marriage cert, etc)
--kids school records are transfered
--copies of medical records
--change of address to: insurance companies, investment companies, etc.
--cell phones cancelled or changed to use overseas
--if you own a home that will be rented out, have a property manager in place
--if you are in an apartment, clean out apartment and sell or store your stuff (make sure storage fees are paid up)
posted by MsKim at 7:35 PM on March 12, 2010 [1 favorite]

Where is your friend now? That would be helpful for answers to your question. The things I forgot when I moved overseas from Australia were renewing my driver's license and my Medicare (govt health insurance) card, both of which were essential for swapping over In my new home country
posted by goo at 8:25 PM on March 12, 2010

Hi goo, she's in Australia. Aha! Good call on the Medicare card...
posted by mooza at 8:34 PM on March 12, 2010

When I moved to another country to work(in France) my employer handled all those little details like banking, apartment hunting etc, however they failed to mention that I'd need a French translated birth certificate to register for social security and use their healthcare system.
posted by MrCynical at 10:52 PM on March 12, 2010

MsKim's list is excellent. Some things I'd add:

-- If she's changing employers, ensure that her old employer knows where to send future paperwork. This is a US-centric example, but after I moved to a different country mid-year, my previous employer mailed my W-2 to my old domestic address, despite me giving them my new international address.

-- Change any things that she has set up for auto-billing or accounts that are linked to her bank account (like PayPal, iTunes, etc.) and/or make a list of exactly what is auto-paid from where. Personally, I maintain bank accounts in my old and new countries, but I have to be careful about automatic withdrawals because my old account no longer has a constant stream of deposits from my paychecks.
posted by transporter accident amy at 6:41 AM on March 13, 2010

Your friend might want to contact an expat tax professional in Australia to get a sense of what documents to collect and keep when abroad, and to get an overview of the tax laws in advance-- this can save a lot of time and hassle come tax-time.
posted by mireille at 6:48 AM on March 13, 2010

I almost took a job oversees and one of the things that they suggested was to appoint a trusted relative or friend in the home country as power of attorney. They could then handle most issues that might come up that would be difficult for the person abroad to attend to, even something as simple as a flooded storage space. Not that it would be an excuse not to get everything in order before they left, but on the chance that they do forget something important, the person with POA could most likely be able to handle it on that end.
posted by kaybdc at 12:50 PM on March 13, 2010

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