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The Essential Emigration Checklist

By January 9, 2019July 25th, 2020Emigrate

The Essential Emigration Checklist

January 9, 2019

As you’re getting ready to emigrate, there are a couple of things you’ll need to remember to do because the last thing you want to do while you’re packing your life up and moving to a new country is forget anything.

Checklist: Emigrating from South Africa

So you’ve made the decision to emigrate. Congratulations! You’ve got a lot to look forward to – but a lot of work to do as well, and that’s where we come in. As you begin to organise your finances and emigrate from South Africa, both physically and financially, we’re here to help you make the move as smooth as possible. We’ve compiled a to-do list for you; some of it obvious, and some of it not-so-obvious.


6 months to go

There’s a lot to do, but there’s plenty of time. Start by gathering and filing all the necessary paperwork and getting the groundwork out of the way.


Let’s get started.
  • Book your air tickets and your accommodation if necessary
  • If you are relocating your pet, check quarantine and vaccination requirements in your new country
  • Find out whether your family members will require additional vaccines
  • Inform your children’s schools that they will be moving and apply at schools in your new country
  • Research the cost of living and education in your new country
  • Check the documentation requirements of the country you are moving to and get all documents certified. Create a hard copy and an electronic copy of all your documents
  • If you are selling your home, speak to estate agents about putting it on the market
  • Create a tax and a finance folder and include any information that can be claimed back on tax
  • Ensure everyone in your family has valid passports and if not, apply now for new ones
  • Check if your driving licence is valid in your new country. If not, find out about international driving licenses and apply for one
  • Arrange moving companies to come in and quote on the moving of your goods to your new country.
  • If you plan to rent out your home, contact local rental agencies to assist with the rental process.


4 months before departure

Now that you’ve got the proverbial ball rolling, it’s time to make your way through the paperwork. Getting in touch with your lawyer and bank are important at this point; you want you and your assets to be protected throughout the moving process, and after.


Get ready to sign, sell, and scale down.
  • Prepare a power of attorney and make sure you have certified copies of all documents that the person handling your affairs will need while you are away
  • Update your will
  • Check all your insurance policies and arrange the cancellation of ones that will no longer be valid on your departure – clearly stipulate the cessation date
  • Contact your bank and explain you are moving abroad. Find out if they are able to offer you a global account. If not, speak to FinGlobal to assist you with opening up an international bank account and transferring your funds abroad
  • Enquire about any bank fees and banking accessibility while you are away
  • Pay off outstanding debt on credit cards and store cards
  • If you are planning on financially emigrating, speak to a FinGlobal expert about the process
  • Set up direct debits for bill payments you’ll still be making while you are away. These could relate to pension schemes, or the bond on your home
  • Have a garage sale or sell anything you are not taking with and don’t need in the next few months
  • Organise the cancellation of any magazine and newspaper subscriptions – once again, clearly stipulating your leaving date
  • Decide on a moving quote and confirm the shipping/storage of your goods
  • Start packing any items you won’t need in the next two months and label these boxes


2 months before departure

You’re making great headway! With 2 months to go, we still have a lot of ground to cover, but most of the hard work is out of the way already. From here, it’s all downhill – in the most positive sense possible. Keep calm, and try not to let the nerves get the most of you. You’ve got this!


Keep the ball rolling.
  • Confirm the following
    • Passports
    • Visa and relevant visa documents
    • Flight tickets
    • Travel insurance
  • Ask your doctors, dentist and vet for all relevant medical records
  • Organise a final check up for your family and your animals
  • Ensure you have enough prescription medication repeats to cover you for at least the first month in your new home
  • Find out what the local names and equivalents are for any prescription medication.
  • Get your children’s academic details and certificates from their respective schools
  • Arrange travel insurance to cover you until you have insurance is in place in your new home
  • Open a bank account in your new country
  • Change your CV to match the format in your new country
  • Ensure you have done your tax and all your financial obligations are up to date
  • Get references from your current employees
  • Contact the post office to set up a re-routing service if necessary
  • If you are selling your car, place it on the market
  • Set up internet banking so you can manage your money at home from abroad
  • Check with your mobile phone provider to ensure your phone is unlocked for international roaming
  • Cancel your gym and any other memberships
  • Check the compatibility of all your devices – especially your televisions if you are taking them with you.


4 weeks before departure

Finally – time to start packing. Organise some boxes, bubble wrap and newspaper, and begin to sort through the valuables and other items you’re taking with you to your new home. Don’t forget to take a break, and relax with some friends and family before your big move!


We’re almost there.
  • Organise leaving parties for you and your children
  • Set a date for the packing up of all your goods – this can take at least 2 – 3 days so be sure to set aside enough time
  • Contact your various utility departments and instruct them to discontinue your utilities if you are selling. If you are renting, ensure the name on the bills is changed
  • If you are renting out your house, make an inventory of everything that will be left behind
  • Notify the post office, bank and credit card companies of your new forwarding address
  • Arrange for the transfer of your funds abroad to your new bank account
  • Let everyone know of your imminent departure and either email or print your change of address details


Two weeks before departure day

It’s time to put the finishing touches on everything ahead of your departure. Start by getting all the paperwork and information required for and from the shipping company, and get a delivery date. If you are renting your house, ensure it is in good rental condition; it might be a good idea to source a trusted handyman. You can look for recommendations on local/neighbourhood Facebook groups.


It’s moving day!

Double check that nothing is left in the house by checking all rooms and cupboards and then you’re ready to say your final goodbyes. The day has come, and it’s time to leave for your new life. Enjoy the moment you step onto the plane – it’s the start of a new adventure! The next chapter of your life.

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