Checklists for emigrants, nomads and expats - WorldSupporter Theme

You usually only emigrate once and even if you do it more often, the preparation takes quite a lot of work. JoHo has put together a handy checklist, so that you can get an idea of the arrangements that await you. The exact interpretation of each subject varies greatly from person to person. Please share your experience with your emigration preparation on the WorldSupporter platform.

How to start your moving abroad or emigration process

How to start your moving abroad or emigration process

administrative work

There are a lot of things to consider when you want to emigrate to another country. Maybe you already have a concrete plan, or know where to find the right information. If that's not the case, don't worry. Here are some tips to help you start your emigration process

Emigrate: yes or no?

  • It can help to get more self-insight; what are your competencies, your character, strong and weak points and what can be obstacles during the emigration process
  • Start an emigration diary, blog or website to document your experiences. All this can be useful in the orientation process, but also for later.
  • Read the experiences of other emigrants/expats. Visit emigration events, subscribe for emigration magazines or sign up on emigration forums.

Which destination to choose?

  • There are a lot of factors that can influence your decision for a new home country. Your own preferences but also practical matters can play a big role.
  • What are the push and pull factors of the destination? What are the immigration policies like, how about the language and culture. How is the healthcare system organised and what is the situation concerning safety and criminality.
  • Read through guidebooks, visit websites or get involved in online communities to get answers to these questions.
  • If you found good option consider the feasibility of an orientation trip.

What to do in your new home country?

  • How are you going to generate income: own business, expat, job, pension? Make an estimation of the minimum salary that is needed to live in another country with your family.
  • Check the expat policies at your current employer. If you want to start up your own business, ask for professional legal advice by a legal consultant. And get an insight into (local) insurances for business liability. 
  • What kind of activities is your partner going to undertake? Is he or she able to find a local job, are volunteer activities an option?
  • Also take into account the extra training, the necessity of learning new skills and the other (work) culture. 

When and how to inform others?

  • Discuss the plan with the others involved and respect each other’s positive and negative feelings. Write down the things you discuss, this can be useful for the process or for a later moment.
  • Involve your partner or a friend in the process from start to end. Don't forget to involve children, especially the older ones, in this process. Involve your younger children when a decision has been taken.
  • Choose someone you trust, who is critical but can motivate. Authorize this person as a signatory to sign documents when you have left, such as tax documents.
  • It can also help to talk to people who have been through the same experience.
  • After you have taken the most important decisions, inform the people that you are close to. Consider organizing an information meeting. Do not defend yourself but respect all different kinds of reactions and emotions.

If you have experience with emigration and want to share, feel free to leave a comment! Or create your own Worldsupporter account to share your experiences and read the experiences of other emigrants/expats.

Emigration and living abroad checklist for legal and insurance matters

Emigration and living abroad checklist for legal and insurance matters

checklist legal matters

1. Make use of a legal advisor

  • A scan of your juridical status and the possible risks abroad may be advisable.
  • Check the consequences for inheritance tax, family law, succession rights and matrimonial properties.
  • Possibly get a review of your new international contract (mind the differences in labour law).
  • Check our blog 'How do you assess the reliability of an international insurer?' (in Dutch)

2. Look into the visa requirements & start the visa procedure

  • Expand the basic inventory that you made in the orientation phase.
  • Use online communities and forums, check recent experiences from people who requested the visa and have the same nationality as you do. Double check their advice.
  • Check for everyone if they need a work permit or residence permit, if they meet the requirements for that and which documents are necessary.
  • Some countries have extra requirements, such as medical clearances or police certificates.
  • Arrange a definitive contract or proof of employment with your future employer.
  • Contact the consulate or embassy before you emigrate and (double) check the current state of (visa) affairs.
  • Download all required documents and read the notices.
  • Plan way ahead, visa procedures can take long, up to several years (be flexible in purchasing/selling housing, finding temporary housing etc.).
  • Consider using a visa service company, especially for popular emigration countries.

3. Check which documents you need to legalize

  • Find out if your new country has a treaty with your native country.
  • Find out which documents need translation and into which language.
  • Find out which documents you need to legalize.
  • Provide birth certificates, marriage certificates, evidence of (special) (work) skills, diplomas, recommendation letters.
  • Start on time.

4. Check your insurance policies and ask for advice

  • Create an overview of your current policies, contract terms, contact information.
  • Ask about the consequences of your emigration with regards to current insurance policies and make sure that you terminate them in time.
  • Make sure that you terminate home insurances, property insurances, car insurances etc. at the correct time: not too early (not insured), not too late (double costs).
  • Read up on (international) health insurances. Find orientation on
  • Get information from an insurance expert about:
    • Ending your current health insurance.
    • Whether your new country has treaties with your home country.
    • Whether to get local insurance or not.
    • Whether the insurance provided by your local employer provides enough coverage.
    • Getting international health insurance.
  • Start on time, mindful of  how long medical checks can take to complete.

4. How to prepare documents?

  • Check the validity of all passports. Or arrange passports for family members with a different kind of ID.
  • Also bring: passport photos, drivers licenses (possibly a temporary international driver's license), birth certificates, marriage certificates, last wills, documents on euthanasia, police certificates, divorce papers, death certificates (if your previous partner died), recommendation letters, diplomas, resume/CV, medical files, evidences of being creditworthy, school files, insurance papers, student ID's, medicine recipes and proof of the vaccinations you had.
  • Make an easy-to-find archive for every family member with (copies of) personal documents.
  • Make sure you know about recent developments concerning double nationalities and find out how to extend your passport in your new home country.
  • Consider using an online/digital safe or cloud functionality and give access to your lawyer or someone you trust.
  • Gather receipts of the properties you take with you (proof you own them already, to avoid breaking import laws).
Emigration checklist for financial matters

Emigration checklist for financial matters

emigration and finance

1. Make use of a financial advisor

  • Discuss your current financial situation and financial contracts.
  • Gain advice about fiscal matters and sorting things out with the tax authorities (especially in the case where your go abroad as an entrepreneur or if you keep property in your country of residence after emigration). Make use of any tax rebate.
  • Get advice about your salary and where this will be deposited or get information about the consequences of your pension.

2. Check means of payments & exchange rates/currency

  • Get an insight into how you pay for things in your new home country (cash, debit card, credit card, cheques).
  • Get familiar with new banknotes/coins and exchange rates.
  • Get in contact with the creditcard company to change the creditcard currency to that of your new home country. 
  • Get an insight into the transfer of money to and from abroad when you think you will make regular international transactions.

3. Get in touch with your bank(s) 

  • Be informed about the consequences of emigration on credit cards, current accounts or savings deposits.
  • Are there continuous costs/accounts: arrange an authorized overdraft to someone you trust. Discuss this with your nominated signatory and give him/her restricted access to your finances. 
  • Convert your bank account into a nonresident bank account and terminate direct debit on time.
  • When stopping back account, hand in any bank cards.
  • Get advice about opening a new bank account in your new home country.
  • Get advice from your bank or financial advisor about investment funds.

4. Get an insight into money lending issues

  • Gain information about terminating a mortgage.
  • Make use of experienced mediators, definitely when you are not yet familiar with financial and business related contracts in your new home country.
  • If you need extra loans, gain information about lenders.
  • Round off running debts and obligations before leaving.
  • Ask for experiences of other people who have emigrated to your new home country. 
Checklist for when you're moving abroad

Checklist for when you're moving abroad

packing boxes

What to check regarding your property/residence in your home country?

  • Sell, sublet, lend or leave your property empty.
  • At end of lease: check in what state you should deliver your property/residence. For example think about recovering your outstanding deposit. Return your rented housing back to its original state if you don't keep it.
  • Arrange a convenient time for terminating the utilities in your rented or owned residence: keep your day of departure in mind. Allow plenty of time.
  • Consider using an agent when you are planning to rent out your residence. Make final arrangements with tenants if you keep your house (Think of meter readings).
  • Hand in house keys if you have a rental house (corporation, new renters, counsellor); check if any third parties have your house keys too.
  • Check meter readings for final payment.
  • Check termination of utilities (gas, water, electricity).
  • Repair your car and have it equipped technically to suit the country that you emigrate to, mind the requirements in that country (if you bring a car).
How to make a decision about your property/residence abroad?
  • Renting, buy it directly or rent first temporarily?
  • Get trustworthy information if you would like to purchase a condiminium
  • Determine minimum requirements and maximum budget for a new house and stick to it while finding a new house.
  • Make pictures of your rental house and make a list of the state of present goods.
  • Investigate the state of your apartment for rent before buying it.
  • Organise the connecting of utilities preferably 24-48 hours before arrival.
  • Arrange insurances and security measures; expat houses are more vulnerable.

What issues to give attention on health, vaccinations & medicine?

  • Give yourself plenty of time to sort out the required vaccinations and medical clearances (this may take up to weeks or months to arrange).
  • Get international declarations about the medicines you bring at the beginning of your stay and find out which comparable medicines are locally available.
  • Check the options for continuation of existing conditions.
  • Get familiar with the common diseases there and how to treat them, keep updated on health advisories.
  • Read up on local health care: hospitals, doctors, dentists, maternity care, check the experiences of fellow countrymen or other foreigners who have emigrated. 
  • Get a final medical check from the doctor you trust in your home country, get a medical file that you can use internationally from your doctor, dentist or doctors for medical inspections (for your work or visa).
  • Before you leave, talk about what to do in case of  serious illness to yourself, your family members or the family and good friends you leave behind.
  • Consider taking first aid training before you leave to increase your independency.
How to check your furniture, sort and pack it?
  • Clean up, throw away, give away household contents and involve your children in respect of their own things.
  • Consider temporary storage of contents that you’re not taking.
  • Check if there are any import taxes to items that you want to bring.
  • Consider donating items to a charity shop.
  • Check if you have any lent or borrowed items.
  • Make an inventory list of all the stuff you are going to take with you; make pictures of (the state) of your valuable items.
  • Check the usability of electrical equipment in your new country.
  • Are going to pack yourself, write on the boxes what the content is. 
Why and how to request removal quotations?
  • Create one basic list which you can present to several movers.
  • Check the frequency of transport to move to your new country of residence.
  • Ask about experiences of previous emigrants.
  • Think about transport insurance. 
How to relocate (domestic) animals?
  • Allow plenty of time figuring out requirements, permits and necessary documents in your new country of residence if you want to take a pet along: including vaccinations, quarantine and import permits.
  • Check additional regulations of your transporter (e.g. airline).
  • Check what needs to be done before departure about transport, food, drink if your pet is transported by airplane.

What issues to give attention on determine date: packing and load?

  • Take into account time to sort out and packing + cleaning and drying of certain goods.
  • Reconfirm the date a week in advance to avoid surprises.
  • Arrange child care for your kids.
  • Find a secure place for essential items and documents (such as important documents, keys and medicines).
  • Arrange enough drink and meals for moving day.
  • Arrange enough space for moving truck(s) on moving day.
  • Discuss extra concerns with the coordinator at the beginning of the moving day.
  • Check and double check all the rooms before the mover leaves. 

How to unsubscribe?

  • Register that you are leaving with the authorities (municipality) 1 to 5 days prior to departure from your home country
  • If necessary carry out the necessary formalities with regards to your car registration and tax.

How to say goodbye?

  • Make clear agreements with those staying behind in case you get sick or worse.
  • Invite other people to read your (emigration) blog/ write something for your blog.
  • Check tips in organizing a special goodbyes.
  • Make a back-up plan if you suddenly have to go back to your country of origin, check if there are friends/ relatives you can stay with if you do not have your own house anymore.
Checklist setting up a project abroad

Checklist setting up a project abroad

lifting ws

Questions before setting up a project abroad

  • Are you willing to commit yourself for a long time?
  • Do you have enough of basic finances to start your NGO?
  • Do you have enough time to keep coordinating things and can you get help of the people around you?
  • Are you willing to ‘sacrifice’ your vacations the following years to visit your project?

The idea

  • Are you going to set up your own project or are you going to cooperate with an existing local project/organisation that you want to support?
  • Are you aware of the local needs and practices?
  • Do you have enough support for your idea on the local level?
  • What will you do if you want to stop after a few years and in Holland they don’t want to prolong your idea?
  • What will happen at the local level then?
  • Can the project go on without your money and efforts and where it get its financial resources from?


  • Check which organisations/persons are already active on the area of your concern or a comparable idea
  • Check which foreign organizations are active near the location of your project and/or in the area of your concern.
  • Write down what your plan is. Think about:
    • The motive and the goal
    • The activities and the target
    • What stages your project needs to pass (from the start), what you want to accomplish and the things you want to accomplish in the long run
    • The cooperation with partners
    • The budget and how you are going to finance it (where will the money come from and what is the alternative plan if a financing organization won’t pull through).
    • The evaluation and the after-care (you will have to clarify your financial spendings to grant givers or donors).

Plan your project

  • Make your organization legal (for example a foundation) or search for an existing organization, because that way it is easier to receive grants.
  • Make a protocol. You can register the protocols at the notary. The costs will be between € 350,- and 500,-. After that you have to subscribe your foundation at the commercial of the Chamber of Commerce. For that you’ll have to pay a yearly amount of € 20,- or 30,-.
  • If you would like to receive some legal advice or assistance: JoHo cooperates with an experienced legal advisor, who has monthly hours for this kind of things.

Finance your project

Money to finance your new project can come from:

  • donors: set up information activities to gain support for your organization
  • local firms: approach firms in your local network
  • grants: big NGO’s have special “grantcounters” for local initiatives, but there are also different smaller options for grants.
  • activities that bring in money: set up a tournament with your sports club, organize a benefit concert


  • Transport: transport of products will not be financed. Only NCDO potentially finances transport costs as part of a project. Transport of products often seems a good idea, because some products are cheap and plenty in our society, but often de transport costs are so high that the transport eventually is more expensive than to buy the products locally. By buying from locals the local economy is also boosted.
  • Orphanages: The financial supporting organizations are very reluctant concerning the financing of orphanages. Orphanages are an expensive way of helping orphans to have a place to sleep, because it costs a lot to build and exploitate an orphanage. You have to be able to guarantee that there is staff, money for food and education for the kids, the electricity bills can be paid etc. Furthermore, the housing of orphans in orphanages is mostly not the best way to solve the problem. (as opposed to staying with family, other inhabitants of their village etc).
  • Making movies, documentaries and books: these productions are often expensive, so it’s important to be able to answer the following questions positively if you want to ask for grants for these kind of projects: Is it clear what problem you want to show? Does the production suggest a solution? At what kind of audience does the production aim? Is the audience willing to receive the information the production will show them?
  • Once you are receiving grants from a financing organization, you sometimes can also recieve assistance with your project. The assistance contains for example trainings and workshops or sometimes the connection of your project with an existing partner of the financing organization in the local country. The assistance with projects is different for every organization. You can inform about this at the organization itself.


Tips for settling in after moving to a new country

Tips for settling in after moving to a new country

settling in

There are many reasons to move to another country. Maybe you moved abroad for work, study or family, or you want to experience a different culture and way of life. Whatever your reason is, it is common that while moving to a new country can be exciting, you will also likely experience difficulties settling in. The key is to arrange your move well, be flexible and be proactive in setting up your new life. Here are some tips on how to do that.

First things first

  • Let your friends and family in your country of origin/former home country know that you arrived safely.
  • Check where you have to register and what documents are required (passport, employment contract and sale/lease contract).
  • Register yourself at the Embassy/Consulate in your new country of residence.
  • Get to know your new first points of contact, such as neighbours, school, childcare, employer and municipality.
  • Arrange utilities and telecom services (mobile contract, internet) for your residence.
  • Get to know your new neighbourhood, such as maps, supermarkets (opening hours), public transportation and prices.
  • Update your mobile phone with correct emergency numbers and most important contacts.
  • Open a local bank account and arrange a credit/debit card.
  • Register for medical facilities: general practitioner, dentist, pharmacy (check helpdesk of international health insurance or other expats).
  • Arrange new number plate, car insurance and pick up your foreign driving license if applicable.

How to settle in?

  • If you moved for study or you relocated for your job use the available relocation services or support for settlement.
  • If you have to find a new job, sign up at employment agencies and check local job resources.
  • If you don't find work immediately or you're looking for other activities, consider joining a volunteering organization. It is a great way to meet new people and to get the know the local culture.

Start up a new social network

  • A big part of feeling home in your new home country will depend on your new social network.
  • Put your energy into building new relationships with locals. Consider signing up to an international/expat association to meet new people and to share experiences.
  • You can also sign up for a sport or club in an activity that you're interested in. It is great way to meet like-minded people.
  • Find a local who offers language and cultural lessons to internationals; or could provide insight information in local habits and traditions, local perspective and nuance.
  • Keep in touch with family and friends in your country of origin and keep your messages positive/neutral.

Organize your expectations

  • Get to know the culture of your new home country more and more and keep your habits and beliefs of your country of origin (especially during the initial period) in the background.
  • Get informed by countrymen or other foreigners that emigrated already on how to behave and how to act: don't let them scare you but be aware.
  • Accept that moving, emigrating and adjusting to your new home country is stressful and that you can feel homesick.
  • Do a lot of fun activities and try to relax.
  • Keep an extra eye on your children; give them the right example, but also time to get used to their new home country.
  • Check often if your (non-working) partner has a program for the day, and if not, look together for solutions.
  • Consider using coaching bureaus if you need more time than expected to get used to your new home country.
  • Share expectations with each other; accept that settling in will be different for everyone and will take time.
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