Skip to main content

How to move to another country: The ins and outs

minute read

    With remote work providing more opportunities for people to live abroad, you may find yourself considering moving to another country. While it could be a great experience to immerse yourself in another culture, there are also many things you may want to think about and plan for before making the jump.

    Is moving to a different country right for you?

    There are quite a few reasons someone may consider moving abroad, but it's important to decide what matters most to you.

    • Travel opportunities: Whether it be within your city, around your new country or to neighboring countries, living abroad may allow you more travel opportunities.
    • New knowledge: Even if you don't spend your weekends at museums, you will most likely learn about the country and culture you're living in. Continually learning may make life feel more exciting or help you out at your next trivia night!
    • Personal growth: Moving to a new country will likely push you far outside your comfort zone. You may find this empowering as you tackle new challenges, try new foods, meet new people and maybe even learn a new language.
    • Expanding your network: Living abroad may introduce you to a wide range of people, from fellow expats to locals to people of other nationalities seeking the same change you are.

    There are also some challenges that come with moving to another country. You may find that making a list of pros and cons of moving to a new country can help you decide. Some of the challenges you may want to consider could include:

    • Culture shock: You may be surprised at just how different other countries are to the United States as you learn to navigate the new place.
    • Language barriers: If you're thinking about moving to a country where you don't speak the language, you may struggle to communicate until you pick up on key phrases and words.

    In addition to the above, you may also want to talk to any friends who have moved abroad or live overseas already. If you don't have any direct connections to people in other countries, you may want to try finding an expat group on social media and asking if someone would be willing to share their experience with you.

    You may also want to try out a longer trip abroad before making any type of commitment. A one-week whirlwind trip in Italy will likely be a much different experience than renting an apartment for a month. This may help you envision what life would be like if you were to move abroad.

    If you don't have a specific destination in mind, you may want to consider the following factors:

    • Language
    • Visas/residency permits
    • Ease of travel
    • Healthcare options
    • Religious/cultural norms
    • Cost of living
    • Climate
    • Lifestyle
    • Transportation

    What to know about moving abroad

    Moving abroad has many more logistics than moving within the U.S. There's a lot to consider before, and you may find it helpful to make a moving abroad checklist of the things to do before moving to another country. Here are some of the things you'll want to consider before heading overseas.

    Start early

    Give yourself as much time as possible to figure everything out before moving. If you can, start planning at least six months in advance, or check visa processing times of the countries you have in mind so you can ensure you'll have enough time to obtain one. This will also give you time to do plenty of research about the country you're moving to so you can have a better idea of what to expect once you start settling in.

    Get help

    Requirements for moving abroad differ from country to country. Each country has their own rules on what documents are required, how long you're allowed to stay, what immunizations you'll need, and various other policies. Meeting with an immigration professional can help you stay organized and make sure you don't miss anything. It will also keep you on track with deadlines.

    Find housing

    You may find arranging housing more difficult than you expect when you're in another country. Many places have relocation experts who can help you find a place and make sure it's ready for you when you show up. This goes for all types of accommodations, from renting an apartment in a city to buying a house in the country. Local housing laws and real estate markets differ wildly in other countries, so you may find it easier to have an expert help.

    If you aren't comfortable committing to a place sight unseen, consider short-term housing or a hotel for when you first arrive. You can then go house or apartment hunting once you can see everything in person.

    You may be able to rent or buy a place furnished, or you may wish to bring your own furniture. If that's the case, you'll want to start looking for international moving companies to help you get your possessions to your new home.


    Healthcare systems vary greatly throughout the world, so you may want to ensure you have coverage in your new country. Depending on your provider and where you're headed, you may find your insurance covers you overseas. If not, you may want to consider purchasing international health insurance.


    If you have a dog, cat or other pet that you plan on taking abroad with you, you'll want to do extensive research on what you will need to do. You'll want to read up on laws regarding required vaccinations, quarantine and more. You may want to work with an international pet relocation company. They may help you with logistics, like documentation, requirements and getting your pet relocated as safely as possible. It's important to keep in mind that moving your pet will be an extra cost.

    Cell service

    You'll likely be able to use your smartphone as long as you have Wi-Fi, however you may wish to have more reliable service to count on. Your options include adding an international service to your phone plan, purchasing a local SIM card in your new country or getting a new phone overseas.

    What's more

    Moving to another country can seem both daunting and exciting. If you think living abroad is for you, give yourself plenty of time to prepare and then get ready for one of the biggest adventures of your life!

    What to read next