By: Sam Hoey | CRP, GMS

November 2, 2021

Moving abroad for a new position? 10 important documents to bring with you

Relocating internationally for a new job can be exciting, but just like a domestic move, an international move can prove stressful and the paperwork may seem never-ending. If you and your family are preparing to move abroad, you might be in the process of gathering any important documents you might need to get started in your new destination. 

If your company is providing you with relocation benefits, they can help alleviate some of the stress and hardships of moving. Furthermore, your relocation benefits may include working with a relocation management company that will provide you with a relocation counselor who can coach you through the global mobility process, keeping you on track.

Working with a relocation management company (RMC) for international relocation has several advantages. They can help you navigate the relocation process, assist with your visa application, arrange for household goods shipping, provide destination services, and even help with buying or selling a house or property. A good RMC will make sure that you obtain or collect the paperwork and documents necessary when starting a job in a foreign country. Here is a list of some of the critical documents you should start to collect now so that you are prepared for your move:

1) Passport

While this may seem like an obvious document to include, obtaining a passport can be a lengthy process that can take weeks to months to complete. It is important to start the passport application process as early as possible to ensure that time does not work against the moving employee or their family members. A government-issued passport certifies identity and citizenship. For example, evidence of US citizenship, a valid ID, and an official passport photo are all needed when applying for this document

2) Birth Certificate

This is another document that can take weeks to months to obtain if you do not remember where a copy of your birth certificate is. This is a vital document to have when trying to relocate internationally as many people use it as their proof of citizenship when applying for a passport and other important official documents. The time needed to obtain a copy of your birth certificate can have a domino effect on obtaining any other documents that depend on it.

3) Visa

A visa is a travel document that allows travelers to remain in a designated country for a specific amount of time and for a specific type of visit (tourism, short-term, residency, etc). When undergoing a corporate-sponsored relocation, oftentimes your RMC will provide visa and immigration assistance.

4) Work Permit

A work permit allows the relocating employee to legally work in their host country. Companies that provide employees with relocation benefits should have the work permit application process included in their relocation policies. A reliable RMC can ensure that the transferee obtains the appropriate work permit in a timely manner.

5) Social Security Cards

Another document that should already be handy while filing for other documents on this list, a social security card should be kept in a safe place throughout your time abroad. Like your birth certificate, a Social Security Card is commonly used as proof of identification to obtain additional official documents.

6) Medical Records

Healthcare systems around the world differ on many levels, but it is recommended that you ask your current healthcare provider to hand over any medical records that a new doctor should be made aware of. You will want to ask for your dental records as well. You can provide these records to your new doctor at your destination to provide them with information on your medications or past procedures. Immunization records for all family members should be present as well as many countries require various vaccinations for entry.

7) Pet Vaccination Records

If you are traveling with a pet, be sure to contact your veterinarian for all necessary pet vaccination records. These documents might be needed for allowing pets on planes or public transportation to the new destination, as well as crating or doggy daycares. Some countries require specialized tests for entry, such as rabies, and may even require a quarantine period. Additionally, if you are moving into a condo or apartment, the complex might ask for vaccination records of your pets.

8) Marriage Certificate

A marriage certificate is an important document that can come into play for citizenship and tax purposes. Each country has different tax laws, so it would be a good idea to have the certificate on hand in case you need to prove your tax filing status.

9) School Records

If moving internationally with children, ask their current school to provide an in-depth portfolio of their educational records. This will help when enrolling your kids into their new school. It could also help your kids’ application process if they are applying to a private school or getting set for college in their new home country.

10) Living Will

While everyone hopes this one will not come into play, if any of the relocating family members have a living will, it would be a good idea to know where a copy is at all times. Wills are meant to help give clarity and closure in the event of a death. Additionally, wills can give guidance to doctors and healthcare professionals who are treating the family member. 

Keep Important Documents Safe During International Relocation

It should go without saying, but these documents listed are some of the most important, not just for moving but in life. When preparing these documents for the move, do not ship these with your other household goods. They should be physically kept with you, preferably in a protective folder that can be safely stored in a carry-on when flying. Once at your new destination, store them in a secure file cabinet or fire-proof safe so that they can remain organized and safe at all times, while also accessible. It is always a good idea to make copies of each document in the event you need to provide physical copies of the document for numerous applications or other reasons. Secure digital storage of scans of your documents is also worth consideration.

Work with GMS for the Documents Needed for International Relocation

If your organization is relocating employees internationally, working with an RMC that specializes in international mobility programs can be a big help. GMS has been helping employees and their families relocate around the globe since 1987. Our team of relocation experts will guide your relocating employees in gathering the critical documents necessary for the appropriate visas and permits needed for moving internationally. Reach out today if you have any questions regarding the global mobility process. 

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Senior Vice President, Global Account Management Sam joined Global Mobility Solutions in 1996 and has a unique perspective with her 25 years of industry experience. Samantha offers her clients relocation expertise and a commitment to excellence in her. Her proficiency in orchestrating the BVO and GPO Programs, as well as relocation policy design and implementation, are invaluable assets to the accounts she manages. Her experience in administering Pre-Decision Relocation services to enhance the recruiting process further demonstrates her unique abilities to service her clients. Samantha’s diverse experience, leadership, and outstanding communication skills enable her to manage the relocation process for her clients with finesse and polished professionalism.

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