You have decided to move to America! You’re so excited, but then you realize there’s quite a bit to organize before your move and you’re not quite sure where to start. That’s what I’m here for, I’ve got your back!
In this post I’m going to share a little list of things I did before I moved to America. Of course this can be different for you, depending on your life situation. You might have children or are moving with your partner or pets, which will probably require a lot of extra preparation.
This seems like a lot to do and there might be times when you get overwhelmed, but I promise it’s all doable. Once you sit in the aircraft to the country of your dreams you will forget about the stress of preparation and just be excited to finally arrive.
I had about four months to get my move organized and it all worked out smoothly.
Here they are, the things to do before you move to America:
Tell your family and friends
This was definitely the hardest part for me. Even though my family and friends were involved in the process of making a decision, telling them that I wanted to actually move was a whole different story.
Get your passport
If you don’t have a passport yet, get it as soon as possible. Without it you will not be able to apply for your visa.
Get your visa
As soon as you know which visa you qualify for, apply for it. Depending on which visa you are going to get, the process might take a long time. For more information about the different visa categories click here.
Save as much money as you can
You will need it. Moving to another country and setting up a completely new life is not cheap.
Book your flight
Once you have booked your flight, it all gets real.
When I held my flight information in my hands, I thought “Wow, I’m REALLY going to move!” There’s no comparable feeling.
Visit your doctors
Get a last check up with your trusted doctors and check if you are due for any vaccinations. Also, if you take prescription medicine, ask if you can get it for some time in advance, just to make sure you won’t run out.
Write a packing list
Writing a packing list will ensure that you won’t forget anything when it gets serious. Make sure to include all your important documents and paper work you might need throughout your time abroad.
Get important papers translated
You might not end up needing it, but just in case you get into an unforeseen situation bring notarized translations of important papers like your marriage or divorce certificate and the international version of your birth certificate.
Get an international driver’s license
In many states you are allowed to drive with the driver’s license from your home country plus an international license for some time. The international license is an extension of your usual driver’s license and contains translations into several languages, so it can be read all over the world.
Pick up cash
To start out in America you will need to bring some cash. In stores it’s usually no problem to pay with your credit card. But if you would like to pay a security deposit for an apartment for example, you will need cash, as you have not set up your American bank account for payments yet.
Things to cancel before you move to America:
Your rental agreement
Make sure to check early how many months in advance you need to cancel your lease, so you don’t end up paying rent for your old apartment, when you’re already abroad.
Your utilities like electric, gas and water
Your landline telephone, cell phone and internet contract
These can be tricky to cancel. I had to send them my American work contract and a paper from our local registration office as proof that I’m leaving the country.
Some of your insurance policies might not cover your life abroad. Personally, I have kept a few of my German insurance policies because they would also cover unforeseen situations abroad. Also, the yearly rate would’ve been higher if I had canceled it then and started all over again when I got back. So make sure to go through all your insurances carefully, call them and ask if they would cover you as long as you are in America.
Things to get rid of before you move to America:
Depending on how long you will stay in America, you might want to sell your car.
Even though the last couple of weeks in your home country can be tough without your ride, you should start early to look for a buyer. Otherwise you might end up having to sell your car under value if you don’t find the right buyer in time.
Your furniture and household items
If you don’t ship your belongings to America, you will have to decide what to do with all your furniture and household items. You can put them in storage or ask family and friends if they have some space for your belongings in their basement or attic. You can try to sell furniture or valuable items online, at local flea markets or yard sales. Things you are not able to sell you can donate to people in need.
You will most likely not be able to bring your whole wardrobe to America. That’s okay, shopping here is lots of fun! As for the clothes you won’t bring, you can either leave with your loved ones, donate or sell, if they are in good condition.
Once you have all these things accomplished and when it gets near your flight date, try to relax and enjoy the rest of your time at home. Try to hang out with as many friends as possible, but don’t stress out about it. An easy way to get to see everyone again before you move is to have a nice (maybe America themed) goodbye party. Enjoy your time together, tell your friends and family how much you are going to miss them and then head off into your new adventure!
How much time do you have to plan and organize your move? Which part of the preparation was the most difficult one for you? I can’t wait to read about your experience in the comments below! Let me know if you can think of any additional things that need to be done before a move abroad.
Already arrived to your new home? Check out what to do next here!