Relocating in another country with a family

If you and your family are preparing to relocate to another country, you already know that you have an almost mind-boggling number of preparations to make before the Big Move. These include a lot of paperwork and logistical preparations that sometimes seem like they require a miracle to work out right. To make the best of it, begin planning early.

Legal documents

The first thing you need are passports for all family members that are current and in hand, not in a box somewhere. If someone in the family, or everyone, needs their first passport, start early! You can always get a passport expedited, but it will cost you more. By comparison, passport renewals are simple, as long as you have your most recent book handy for mailing. Visit the US Department of State website for all the information you need:

If you are employed by a business in your new home country, you will already be coordinating with them in regards to visas, work permits, and other documentation. Be sure to keep well abreast of the status of these documents to make sure everything is in order when you arrive. This is especially true for EU (European Union) countries.

If you are otherwise employed and/or web-commuting, you may need to handle visas for your family without regular assistance such as employers provide. In this case, you must familiarize yourself with how your country handles these matters. If you currently live near a consulate, going there in person is highly advisable. You can find your nearest consulate here, again via the Department State:


How you conduct your move depends on a number of factors: how long will you stay, how much stuff do you have, and where will you live? Moving an entire household to another country can be expensive and in many cases, such as with temporary moves, impractical. Likewise, placing belongings in storage, if you never intend to return, is not a good solution. After you know what you will be taking, you can hire an international moving company, preferably one with packing services, to take care of the actual move.

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Photography by Groume

Naturally, you should already have planned where you will live abroad and secured, in writing, the house, apartment, or other living situation. These days, this can be done online; however, it is highly recommended that you visit any long-term dwelling prior to the actual move, if possible.


Homeschooling is not an option many places outside the US; therefore, you must find somewhere for your children to enroll in school. If your new country speaks a different language, you should begin familiarizing your children and yourself with it as soon as possible.

Many cities with large expatriate populations have English-speaking schools; however, this is generally only an option in urban areas. Your best option in this case is to locate one of the 4,179 English-speaking international schools around the world. Also, if you are employed by the US government abroad, the Office of Overseas Schools can help you.

These issues are only the tip of the iceberg in terms of moving to another country, each of which has different legal requirements, to say the least. Once the process comes to a close, you should be pleased with the results and be able to enjoy life abroad with your family.

One of our client recently decided to move in the Bahamas with its family to start a company, called Abaco Boat Rentals, that rent boat on a long term basis. So far he is very happy with their move and the kids are adapting nicely.