How To Become An Expat: The 90-Day Countdown

How To Become An Expat: The 90-Day Countdown

Are You Prepared To Become An Expat?

So, you are going to live abroad long term. Congratulations! The expat life can be a great one but it takes a lot of planning to make sure things go smoothly and you stay safe, healthy, and accident-free. The to-dos can look quite daunting, but we’re here to help you check-off what you need in the simplest way possible.

No matter what is taking you to live abroad as an expat, be it a search for new adventure, education, volunteerism or work, you need to put the priority on preventing any travel or medical mishaps. But if an unexpected emergency does arise, you want to be able to handle it quickly and efficiently, all while keeping your financial risk low.

This is how long-term travel insurance can help!

Wouldn’t it be nice to know what steps to take, or how to properly prepare yourself for settling into life as an expat? Yes, it would. Let us help you prepare for your long term trip with this checklist of things that need to be done 90, 60, and 30 days prior to departure.

The 90-Day Countdown

90 days before becoming an expat

1. Know Your Country’s Entry Requirements

By now, you should have read up on your destination to learn about visa requirements, local laws, customs, and medical care in your host country. You’ll also want to begin keeping your eye on travel warnings and travel alerts.

2. Schedule Necessary Vaccinations

Are you up-to-date on your vaccinations? Does your host country require any additional vaccinations? You can find out about health precautions and recommended vaccinations through the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and the World Health Organization. Some vaccines require a series of injections so you’ll want to visit your doctor to begin this process at least 90 days prior to departing on your trip.

3. Share the News of Your Move

Do your friends and family know you’ll be moving abroad? They may want to throw you a going away party, or at least say, “see you soon!” Share your new address with them and let them know how they can get in contact with you while you’re living as an expat.

60 days before becoming an expat

4. Arrange Your Finances and Prepare for Taxes

Notify your bank and credit card companies to let them know you’ll be living overseas. Depending on your financial institution, you may need to cancel cards or get new ones. Check exchange rates for your destination so that you can budget properly. It’s also a good idea to do research on using cash, debit/credit cards, and ATMs abroad. Although most American expats do not pay US taxes, they still need to file annually. Make sure you understand the process and how expats should file for tax season.

5. Retrieve Your Medical Records

Visit your family practitioner to get an updated copy of your medical records. Keep these on file as you travel. If you are bringing any medications, you will want to get a letter from your doctor. Some countries have strict laws that effect even over-the-counter medications so read about your destination on the travel.state.gov website

6. Get Long-Term Travel Insurance

Make sure you have a valid travel insurance policy. As an expat, we recommend that you purchase a supplemental travel insurance policy that will cover you up to 365 consecutive days and one that you can easily renew while living abroad. A good travel insurance policy will cover medical costs and emergency evacuation.

30 days before becoming an expat

7. Reroute Your Mail

Change your address with the post office to reroute your mail. Since you’re moving internationally, you cannot fill out the form online. Instead, you’ll need to fill out a Change of Address form at your local post office. If you decide to send mail to a friend or family member’s house instead, ask your loved one to forward any important documents to your new, international address.

8. Pack Your Bags

Make sure you have living essentials packed in your suitcase. Document what’s packed, and in which bag, by taking photos of each suitcase’s contents. By photographing everything, you’ll make it easier to file a claim if your bags get lost or stolen.

9. Say goodbye to friends and family!

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If you still need coverage for your time abroad, check out these long-term travel insurance plans. Each plan will cover accidental medical expenses, trip delays, baggage loss, and more!*

*Read the description of coverage for complete details

Skylar loves to write. She's cruised the Caribbean, sailed the Mediterranean, and toured the United States. Disney inspires her, and she dreams of living in the mountains.

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