How Much Will It Cost to Move Overseas? 10 Things to Consider
Even if you travel regularly, the thought of moving overseas can seem like a grand adventure, a chance to not only explore but inhabit a whole new culture. The seventeenth-century historian Edward Gibson was once asked what it took to be a true explorer. He listed many traits, including a “restless curiosity” and being “fearless of danger.” He never listed: “a fatter wallet.”
Your initial web searches for international moving companies might be leaving you wondering: “How much is this move going to cost me?”
There’s no real way to give you an exact figure. The final costs depend greatly on where you’re moving and how much you’re bringing with you. But we can offer 10 things you may wish to consider when counting the cost of an overseas move.
Visas and Other Legal Fees
First, you have to get yourself there, which typically means applying for a visa. The cost of a visa depends on the country, the type of visa, and the length of stay. For example, a settlement visa in the UK costs around $2,000 U.S. dollars. You may expect to pay significantly more for other countries, and these fees naturally increase as you add spouses, children, or other family members. You could easily be looking at several thousand dollars for your visa alone.
Work or Study visas tend to cost significantly less, but keep in mind these visas have specifically defined parameters regarding the purpose and length of your stay.
You may also need help in navigating the visa application process. If you consult a lawyer to help you fill out the paperwork, you can expect to pay as much as $100 per hour.
The Cost of International Moving Companies
International moving companies can charge anywhere from $1,000 to $10,000 for an overseas move. Naturally, many movers choose to downsize prior to their move to save on shipping costs.
Most international moving companies can also pack and unpack your belongings for you. While you may wish to save money by packing your own things, some countries have stipulations and import duties that require the movers to personally vouch for the contents of the shipment—which means that they must do the packing for you. This can add a few hundred dollars to your final cost.
Additionally, an overseas move may require moving insurance. Moving insurance can start as low as $100, but the price can climb if you’re transporting valuables.
Customs & Taxes
Some countries require you to pay customs and taxes on anything you bring into the country. The exact fee depends on the value of your belongings, but unfortunately, the exact fee is completely at the discretion of your destination country. The staff at most international moving companies may be able to offer input on what to expect—after all, they’ve done this before.
Moving Your Car
Not all international moving companies can help you transport a vehicle overseas, and you may need to contact an auto transporter who specializes in overseas moves. The cost depends on the size of your vehicle and the distance it travels. Consumer Affairs reports that it can cost roughly $1,000 to $5,000 to transport your car by sea.
Once you’re there, you’ll have to go through the same sort of registration procedures as in America, such as obtaining a new driver’s license, registering your vehicle, and obtaining insurance. Some countries may have additional parameters related to environmental regulations. For example, the UK requires cars 10 years or older to obtain official approval to ensure you comply with all current safety and environmental standards.
Thankfully, these additional fees are not much more than they are in America, and you can expect your initial car-related expenses to run only a few hundred dollars. The rate of your actual car insurance can be more, of course, but these rates vary by vehicle, country, driving history, etc., and won’t be something to consider as part of your initial move.
Storing Your Stuff
If you’re not planning on making a permanent move, you’re going to have to find a way to store your stuff until you return. Ideally, you could store your belongings with a friend or relative, but otherwise, you’ll have to invest in some sort of climate-controlled, long-term storage.
Thankfully, the storage business is competitive enough to keep prices down, but you still could be looking at monthly fees starting at around $100 to store enough belongings to furnish a 2-bedroom apartment, with prices increasing as items accumulate.
Even if you’re planning on a permanent move, you may find it necessary to store some belongings temporarily as you coordinate the timing of your move. Many international moving companies may be able to offer suggestions for temporary storage and help you find the optimal rate. How Much Will It Cost to Move Overseas is a common questions we get and hope this article helps.
New Clothes for a New Culture and Climate
When downsizing before a move, clothes are often the first thing to be jettisoned—and with good reason! Most people have more clothes than they tend to actually wear, and your American clothing might not be appropriate for your new culture and climate.
That means that after your move, you may need to invest in a wardrobe that fits the weather of your new country. You may find yourself living in an area that’s colder or warmer than you’re used to, so it might be time to buy clothes that are weather-appropriate.
You may also need to purchase clothes that are appropriate for the culture of your new country. In some cases, this is a matter of fashion and taste. But some countries may have cultural standards regarding personal modesty—which usually translates into how much skin you can respectably show. Unfortunately, women often bear the brunt of these cultural standards, but even men may discover that their new workplace holds certain expectations regarding the style of dress.
Cheesy as it may sound, a good starting point might be to hit the travel section of your local library. Sure, you’re no tourist, but a current travel guide might offer some clues about the culture and climate of your new home, and give you an idea about the type and quantity of clothes you might expect to purchase.
Cell Phone Cost
Leaving the United States also means you need a new cell phone provider, and possibly a new phone itself. If you want to use your current cell phone overseas, you’ll first need to ensure that it’s been “unlocked” and ready to use outside of an American cell phone network. If your phone is not compatible, you’ll also need to purchase a new phone.
International moving companies can get your stuff there—but you’ll have to get a plane ticket for yourself. The rates of international travel vary, based on the season and distance you’re traveling. Generally, you can expect to pay anywhere from a few hundred dollars to $4,000 depending on your destination.
You should also consider the possibility that you may not be making a one-way trip. Movers may need to make a few trips to tie up loose ends.
Find out more about international moving costs.
Health Care Cost
You’ll need to establish health care in your new country. If you’re relocating for school or work, you may be eligible for health benefits through your school or employer. Otherwise, you will need to obtain health coverage in your destination country. While Europe has adopted a universal health care system, others still require plans similar to those in the United States.
If you need assistance with this, the International Association for Medical Assistance to Travelers (IAMAT) maintains a directory of doctors abroad that are happy to assist Americans.
Moving Overseas – Childcare
If you have children, you may encounter additional expenses related to their childcare. According to the UK’s Money Advice Services, childcare can cost as much as $180 to $350 per week, though some government assistance is available.
How Much Will It Cost to Move Overseas
There’s an additional expense that you might consider, though it has nothing to do with your wallet. Your mental health is important, and sometimes a move of this magnitude can feel a bit like death and rebirth. Symptoms of anxiety are common, but you can help manage your mental health by establishing new habits and routines.
Establish a new routine for you and your family. You’ll find yourself adapting more quickly to your new home. Make one night an “American night” where you serve your family’s favorite dish. Make friends with your neighbors, who can help you acclimate to a new culture and way of life.
Whether moving for work, school, or family, your overseas move is the start of something exciting and new. As such, try and think of these costs as an investment in that adventure. The dividends on that investment might include a richer set of experiences and memories that last a lifetime.
- What to Leave Behind When Moving Abroad
- Best Time of Year for Moving Abroad
- Container Costs for International Moving