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Regardless of the duration, destination and reason behind your expatriation, such a change in your life requires much preparation ahead of your departure.
In this article, we will look at all the things you need to do before leaving, in terms of administrative, banking and medical formalities, so you can leave with peace of mind. Ideally, we recommend that you begin your preparations around 6 months before your departure date, though it is possible to complete most of these formalities after you have traveled abroad.
Administrative formalities

Administrative formalities prior to expatriation

Here are the main administrative formalities that you must complete before moving abroad, and which are very important for your stay to go smoothly:

  • Check the expiry date on your passport (most countries require at least six months validity), and the number of available pages (it is advised to have at least two blank double pages).
  • Renew your passport if necessary: plan ahead and send off your renewal application at least three or four months before you are due to leave as it often takes a very long time to receive your renewed passport.
  • Where necessary, complete any visa applications for your future host country.
  • Notify the following bodies of your change of residential address:
    • Tax departments
    • Pension fund
    • Statutory healthcare insurance office
    • Employment agency
    • Family allowance fund
  • Find out from the CFE about the impact an expatriation assignment will have on your pension contributions, and make an appointment with an advisor if necessary.
  • Terminate the following contracts:
    • Electricity,
    • Car insurance,
    • Complementary health insurance.
  • Terminate the following subscriptions:
    • Telephone
    • Internet
    • Gyms, magazines and newspapers, etc.
  • Check the validity dates of your bank cards and order new ones if necessary.
  • Subscribe to a mail forwarding service at the Post Office.
  • Sign up to the registre des Français de l’étranger (register of French citizens residing abroad).
  • Submit an application for an international driver’s license on-line, where necessary (this is sometimes mandatory, particularly in some countries in Asia).
  • Scan your important documents (family record book, identity documents, etc.).
  • Get these documents translated if you are traveling to a non-French-speaking country.
  • Get some ID photos done.
  • Give someone close to you power of attorney to complete administrative and banking formalities on your behalf.
Healthcare

Health-related formalities prior to expatriation

Sanitary conditions and medical infrastructure can vary greatly from country to country.  Similarly, healthcare expenses can quickly reach colossal amounts in certain destinations. In the USA, for example, a simple office visit with a general practitioner will cost around €100, and a day’s hospitalization would cost around €4,000.

In addition, your body may struggle to adapt to the climate or to a change in food in some countries. Follow these steps for the best possible protection against potential risks:

  • Take out international healthcare cover. This is essential, as healthcare expenses are extremely high in some countries. With MSH International, you will enjoy comprehensive international healthcare insurance (covering regular medical care, hospitalization, repatriation, etc.) which is suited to your needs.
  • Prepare a first-aid kit, following your doctor’s recommendations.
  • Obtain information from a specialist on the sanitary conditions in your host country.
  • Have a medical check-up with your primary care physician and your usual specialists (dentist, eye doctor, orthodontist, etc.).
  • Remember to scan your prescriptions and take them with you.
  • Renew your glasses, or ensure you have a stock of contact lenses.
  • Have the necessary shots, according to your destination. Start planning these formalities several months ahead of your departure to ensure you have enough time to have any booster vaccinations.
Banking

Banking formalities prior to a departure abroad

To avoid any banking problems during your stay abroad, ensure that you:

  • open a bank account with an on-line bank for expatriates or travelers.
  • if you keep a bank account in France, notify your bank of your departure abroad.
Housing

Formalities related to housing

Housing-related formalities will vary according to the situation of each future expatriate.

  • If you are a tenant, give 1 to 3 months’ notice.
  • If you are planning a short-term expatriation, lasting less than one year, sub-let your apartment.
  • If you own your home, find a tenant or a buyer if you wish to sell your property.
  • Sort through your belongings and sell anything you no longer wish to keep. You can also store your personal effects in a storage unit or at a friend or relative’s home.
  • At least three months in advance, obtain several quotes to compare the proposals of removal companies if you are planning to send your furniture abroad.
Expatriation with family

Formalities for expatriation with your family

Are you preparing to leave on an expatriation assignment with your children? At least 3 months before traveling, remember to:

  • notify your children’s school of your departure.
  • recover your children’s school reports, and get them translated if necessary.
  • enroll your children in a school abroad, in your city of expatriation.
Pets

Formalities for expatriation with your pets

Lastly, if you are preparing to leave on an expatriation assignment with your pet, ensure:

  • you make an appointment with your vet for a check-up prior to departure.
  • your pet has had the compulsory vaccinations.
  • you plan for a potential quarantine period for your pet.
  • you find out about how your pet will travel.
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What to know before you go on expatriation? All our articles for living abroad
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