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What Paperwork is Required before Moving Abroad?

international moving paper

Corporate Relocation Services

Posted On : Jun 16, 2015

Are you moving to another country for an extended period of time? As you are probably already well aware, there are plenty of preparations to be made in order to guarantee a smooth transition to your new home. Just like with any move, an overseas move comes with paperwork to be completed. What documents are essential and which ones might be specific to your move?


Anyone who travels overseas will need to have a passport from their home country. Even if you are only travelling to a foreign country for a few days, you’ll be required to show your passport for entry at foreign customs. Before planning a move overseas, you’ll need to make sure your passport is valid and up to date. Depending on the age of the holder, a U.S. passport is valid for 5 or 10 years after being issued. Minors age 15 and younger need to update their passport every 5 years; individuals age 16 and older need to update their passport every 10 years. If your family is traveling with you to live in a foreign country, you’ll want to make sure that everyone has a valid passport.

To obtain a passport, first visit the U.S. State Department website at http://travel.state.gov/. The website will provide you with the proper forms to fill out to apply for or renew a passport. You can also find a list of nearby places to get a passport photo taken, such as the Post Office. You should expect to wait about 6 weeks to receive your passport after submitting an application. If you require a passport sooner than 6 weeks, you can visit a nearby passport agency to apply for an expedited passport.


passport & visa application



When you land in your destination country, customs will probably issue a visa stamp to your passport. Depending on the country, this stamp will be valid for entry for anywhere from a few weeks to a few months. Most European countries permit you to stay for up to 90 days for tourism and business-related visits. However, if you plan to stay longer than 3 months or pursue employment in that country, you’ll likely require a visa.

A visa is a permit that grants the holder permission to stay longer than the standard passport-stamp period. In some countries, the visa may grant permission to work, but many countries require a separate work visa or work permit in order to be employed in the country. You can find out your destination country’s specific visa requirements by contacting their consulate office.

Work Permit

You’ll almost certainly need a work permit granted by the foreign country if you plan to be employed there for an extended period of time. If you have already been hired by a company for a job, your employer should be able to help secure a work permit for you. If you are planning to look for a job once you move to your new home, be sure that you do your research. Some countries make it very difficult to obtain a work permit for emigrants. Contact the country’s consulate to find out more.

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