Relocation Guide Relocaton Guide

You are a JobintheSun Member, who has just been offered a job in the sunny Caribbean. As a member of this site you will have done your research on the country you will now be relocating to already.

The entire Research Library is there for that sole reason: to ensure you know enough about that country before you even start your Job Search.

The research you did before starting your job search and that used for your financial plan will now serve as the foundation for a more detailed Relocation Research Project.

Researching the country you are moving to is the single most important thing you will need to do in the time running up to your move. You will want to research issues that affect you the most in your chosen country.

Give yourself a realistic time frame to gather all of the information you need. You don’t want to leave it to the last minute and discover that you are moving your family to an area where crime is sky high. You've got the job and the move is not long away now.

Get a pad of paper, and a pen - The Countdown has begun - it's time to get organised !!

Research the country in as much detail as possible. Use the library on this site, but also, invest in some good books and even videos.

Check the electrical supply available at your destination country. Ask your local electrician if your electrical appliances will function with the use of adapters and/or transformers. TV systems will need be compatible too, don't forget to check this.

Get familiar with the currency in your destination country, some currency converters are available via Internet.

Visit the Forum and ask members who have already relocated to gain an idea of the prices in the country - prices of everything from daily shopping to real estate.

Try to obtain information about the real estate market in your destination country. Decide on the type of accommodation you will look for. It is advisable to rent for an initial period until you are sure about the country and job before committing to buy property. The type of accommodation on offer in the country will influence the final cost (moving furniture, just personal goods or storage for several years, etc.)

Begin consular procedures, request information on how to obtain your visa, residency and work permits before you leave. These procedures take time, sometimes many weeks - even months. Begin as soon as possible. In the majority of the Caribbean countries, it is the Employer who must submit the Work Permit application, so liaise with the Human Resource department of your new company to expediate the process.

Consider renewing your passport and those of all accompanying family members. These should be valid, at least, until your next return to your country. Establish international driving licenses. Depending on the country of destination, you might have to obtain a local driving license by going to a local driving school and eventually passing a practical /theoretical driving test. In all cases, keep your actual driving license with you. It may be requested by the local authorities in order for you to avoid having to pass another test.

Check the documents required for the exportation of your goods from your country of origin and for their importation into the country of destination.

Parents : now is time for you to search for a school for your children. Once again, the Forum may prove to be a valuable source of information on this matter.

Search for health information in your country of destination. Check for hospitals and how healthcare is structured in your new country.

Take out an international health insurance policy able to cover you and your family in any case for a period covering the entire move and initial settling in period.

Ask your GP, dentist, ophthalmologist and any other specialists to renew all your prescriptions so that you can continue your treatment abroad. Do not forget to ask for your medical files.

Categorise possessions and household goods into (i) items to be shipped to the new destination (ii) items to give to family members and friends, (iii) items to be sold, and (iv) items to be discarded.

Contact at least three moving companies. Arrange for an appointment for a pre-move survey with all the potential companies. Let each of the companies know you are looking at several firms - this way they do not take your business for granted. A pre-move survey is the key to a successful move. During this visit do not hesitate to ask about the period of time required for delivery, the method of packing, the transportation, and shipping route that will be used.

What documents have to be submitted to the customs?

Should you go for a full-load or part-load container ? Sometimes it can be cost-effective to have part-load, but then the shipping of your goods may take longer with the departure date depending on other goods being available.

Compare quotes (price, services, volumes/weight estimate). Following these procedures, choose your mover and determine the date for the move.

Begin organising the travel arrangements. Make Airline reservations. Make a car rental reservation if necessary.

Make plans for temporary accommodation for the post-packing period. The same should be done at destination, whilst you are waiting for the final delivery of your goods.

Change of address. Inform your local authorities of your forthcoming departure. Advise also your solicitor, bank, doctor, dentist, insurance company, building society. Inform any other organisations of your forthcoming change of address. Transfer your subscriptions or cancel your contracts. Notify schools / kindergartens and any organisations of dependent family members.

Where possible, it's recommended to shut off water, light and telephone 24 hours after moving date, in case moving day falls behind schedule. Make the same arrangement at your destination, everything must be installed 24 hours before you move in, this will avoid any unpleasant surprises.

Collate all your personal documents e.g. birth certificates, marriage certificates and medical records. It is also a good idea to get notarised copies of these. This may take a few weeks to get - but start the process now.

Cancel subscriptions to clubs and magazines

Obtain invoices for any new purchases that you will be taking with you (for customs import facilities)

Start cleaning. Have your house linen, curtains and carpets cleaned.

Have family/friends collect items for them that you will be giving away. Dispose of the items you don’t want to ship, and bring to a close any sale of goods underway.

Complete insurance forms with the international moving company you have chosen.

Supply your overseas contact address and phone number to the moving company and with all important points of contact.

Contact your local utility companies; water, electricity, gas, telephone, etc all need to be disconnected, preferably all stopping on the day after the Move. Remember, you will probably require some of these on Move day itself.... so think in advance.

Complete all outstanding credit agreements

Cancel all rental agreements

Run down stocks of food and drink

Confirm the removal date with the Moving Company


Continue cleaning. Clean your bicycles, garden tools and furniture and empty the tanks of all combustible items.

If necessary, arrange care for children and pets on moving day.

Give your new contact details to your circle of family and friends. Confirm again the moving company have both your addresses; at origin and destination. Any intermediate contact numbers should also be transmitted (parents, hotel, etc.).

Reconfirm your moving dates with your moving company. Make sure you have their addresses at origin and destination.

Add adapters and/or transformers to your shipment. These are necessary for the operation of your electrical appliances at destination. You will also be able to purchase them before the delivery of your effects in your new residence.

Begin your "Valued Inventory List" of all household goods and personal effects being moved. Fill the inventory in while being as precise as possible.

Arrange for mail to be forwarded

Confirm the disconnection dates with the utility/service companies.

Advise your newsagent and milkman and pay the accounts up to the date of the move.

Empty lockers at school and work

Return or retrieve any items on loan, e.g. hire equipment. Do not forget to return things that you had borrowed from family or friends.

Drain fuel from motor mowers

Give any plants to friends / family. If there are special plant holders you want to take (or garden ornaments), ensure these are thoroughly cleaned and ready to be packed up too.


Prepare your luggage which you will take with you. Separate all personal items which are to travel with you e.g. keys, documents, passports, tickets, certificates, currency, clothing, etc. Keep all the items apart from the goods to be shipped.

Use destination stickers to sort out your goods by destination (storage, new home, etc.) or method of transportation (by sea, by air, etc), if more than one destination or method.

Disconnect, clean and dry any electrical appliances that you wish to ship. Clean and let dry all kitchen appliances to avoid the appearance of mildew during shipping. Disconnect all electrical and cover naked wires where necessary.

Start dismantling your furniture, removing curtains, pictures and light fixtures, unless the moving company is contracted to provide this service.

Arrange with neighbours to leave sufficient parking space for the removal vehicle.

Remain on hand in case the packers have any questions.

Check all rooms, cupboards, walls, loft, garage and shed to make sure nothing has been left behind.

Put away all important documents and articles of value (passports, airline tickets, cash, travel addresses, destination country contact details, portable computers, phones, keys etc.) that you wish to carry personally. This will avoid having them packed accidentally.
Upon the arrival of the packing crew, you should go round your home with the crew foreman and point out all that needs to be packed. If you have any special requests; i.e. packing of your beds last, now is the right time to mention them.

Before the truck or container departure, you should check your home with the crew foreman to make sure no goods have been left behind.

And finally, try and relax.

Ensure the moving company you decide upon has maximum security and protection for it's storage facilities.

Your furniture should be wrapped for protection and placed inside the containers under your supervision.

An inventory for each container has to be made as each item is placed into the container. Keep a full inventory of containers provided and take this with you - it is vital to keep this safe - preferably with your ID and passports.

If it is some time before the actual shipment of your goods, check with the moving company if it is possible to add items accumulated after the packing to the shipment. For example, in the last weeks / days before you leave for your new Caribbean home, family or friends may have given you leaving presents or gifts and cards etc. Rather than weighing your personal luggage down on the flight, you may want to add these to the packed household goods. Ensure this is a possibility and try to keep the contact details to hand of the warehouse where your goods are going to be kept.

An additional point to clarify with the moving company is the Call-Off procedure. Get details from the company of the point of contact (telephone / fax / and email - get all three !!), the time it takes to take out of storage and prepare for shipment, the shipment time from departure port to final arrival port, if the shipment can be released on arrival without original bill of laiding / airway bill, and the shipping agent in the country you are relocating to.

Finally, it is a good idea to find out the customs laws on duties etc for incoming personal effects in the country you are relocating to. In most locations, "used" household goods are not subject to duty, whereas vehicles have their own scale of duties payable depending on the current value of the Car / Motorbike.

Seafreight is used for the majority of overseas removals. Shipments are normally conveyed in steel shipping containers (either 20’ or 40’ in length) which carry the packed household effects. Containers are shipped with reliable shipping lines providing modern equipment and vessels and containers remain unopened until they arrive at their destination.

Seafreight is the most cost effective option for shipping anything from a single item to a full container load.

Airfreight is normally the preferred option for items which are needed in a hurry or if you are shipping goods to a “difficult” destination where seafreight is not practical.

This option is generally more expensive than surface modes.

Whilst every care will be taken by your chosen international moving company to transport your possessions safely, you will appreciate that the distances involved, coupled with the rigours of an international transit, means that on occasions loss and/or damage to your goods may occur. We strongly recommend that you take out insurance cover to ensure that you are duly compensated for any loss which may occur. Ensure that you obtain a policy providing an all risks insurance protection for your household goods, personal effects and automobiles whether being moved by land, sea and air.

Your International Move Coordinator will provide you with the necessary documentation for completion by you. It will require you to list all the items you are moving, together with their replacement value.

Remember that many countries may have import duties and purchase taxes that are higher than in your country. The value that you show on the form should be sufficient to replace the articles as new at destination. Please do bear in mind that the original purchase price, an old valuation or the second hand value are not always a good guide.

Remember to keep the cover in force until your goods arrive at their final destination. Policies usually provide some cover on arrival in the destination country but this is normally for a limited period. If you want to keep the goods in storage for a longer period may need to arrange for the policy to be extended. You will have to pay an additional premium for extensions.

Despite everybody’s best intentions, accidents do happen from time to time. In the event of loss or damage, notice should be given to your removal company within their specified time lines.

It is important that at the time of notification, full details of any losses and /or damages are provided.

Following your initial notification, you will be allowed a set time period inwhich to forward documentation in support of your claim.

Finally, we all have possessions which have sentimental value. Unfortunately, you cannot claim for distress, loss of use, consequential loss or sentimental value.

1. Get yourself organised! Try to leave yourself three months to get all of your business affairs and personal documents in order. Remember you will be relying on other people to process your applications etc. so it is out of your hands how long it will take.

2. Hire a reputable international moving company - after all, you are trusting them with all of your possessions. Make sure that the company you use is licensed.

3. If you have a pet, make the move easy on them too. When moving overseas with pets have a look on the Internet for quarantine rules and medical restrictions for the country you are moving to. To travel by air your pet will need to be in good health and be up-to-date with all of its shots and vaccinations – your pet will need to have a rabies shots 30 days prior to travelling. If you are considering tranquillisers for your pet you may want to request some expert medical advice on the risks to your pet. Remember when relocating with a pet they will be confused, frightened or even become sick. If they have a bed that they regularly use at your old home take it with you so your pet will be more comfortable.

4. Settle your family in. When relocating with young children you need to remember that after the excitement of moving wears off they will often feel lost in their new environment, leaving all of their friends and familiar surroundings behind. Try to get them back into activities they may of been involved in before the move so they feel at home - join clubs and get them involved in local activities so they can make new friends. When looking for a new school have a look through the local papers, which often contain information and statistics on the schools in your area. You can also contact the individual schools that you are interested in which will often mail you information packages on what they have to offer. Also take some time to visit the schools with your children so they can adjust to the new atmosphere. You will probably find that other JobintheSun Members have gone through exactly the same procedure for the Country you are moving to. They too will have gone through this decision making process and gathered information. Ask on the Forum for any further help you require about schools and questions will be answered.

5. Prepare for the change in living standards. Get familiar with the exchange rate with your home currency and find out about prices in the new destination.

6. Change your address. Inform your local authorities of your forthcoming departure. Inform the various organizations of your forthcoming change of address. Transfer your subscriptions or cancel your contracts. Remember to inform your bank or building society of your change of address; after all you don’t want all of your personal account details to go to a stranger at your old address.

7. Research the area you are relocating to. We cannot overstate the importancy of this.

8. Find appropriate accommodation for the “transition period”. When you first arrive at your destination it is possible that you will have to find interim housing while you are waiting to move into your new home. Remember, this will be the time when the stress of the move will be at its peak. For this reason it is important to find somewhere you will be comfortable and is ideally located near to your new home. Finding a serviced apartment for this transition period is the perfect solution as it has all of the comforts of home and includes all of the modern facilities you will need to keep your business affairs up to date.

9. Organise your belongings before the moving company arrives. Leave yourself plenty of time to organise all of your belongings logically. Go to your local supermarket and ask if you can take some of their used boxes. Then take your time to split your belongings into categories, e.g. electrical, kitchen, fragile – and then mark the boxes.

10. Don’t gamble with your health. Search for health information available about your country of destination. Check for hospitals and how healthcare is structured in your new country.

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