Old Location Checklist

The key to a good international move is planning. This means deciding what to take, what to dispose of and sorting out the paperwork. One thing you can be certain of – it will take longer than you think! The more you do in advance, the smoother your move will go. You will have to organize insurance, an inventory and make plans for cars, pets and any goods you are taking. You need to work out how much of your shipment is to go by sea or air. Think about how quickly you need your belongings once you are at your destination – it is important to discuss all this with the moving company. You must allow for customs clearance, delivery of your belongings, more paperwork and unpacking. This takes between 7 – 10 days to do.  


Choose a mover

The first thing to do is to make sure you have a reliable mover. It is best to select at least two suppliers to offer quotations to ensure you get the best quotation. Make sure you brief them in the same way and clearly show what goes and what stays, otherwise their quotes will vary. When you are posted abroad, and your personal belongings don’t turn up, it is a long way from home to sort out the problem. Most goods are cheaper to ship than to replace, so take everything you need but dispose of those items which are unsuitable in your new country, worn out or that you never liked anyway. If some items are going by air, remember to include children’s clothes and toys. This will help your family settle in more quickly. Take enough clothes to live with and always include some familiar items from your home.

Understandably, children are very vulnerable at this time. Involve them in the move. Get books from the library for information on your new home.

Advise the household goods sales person if there are any of the following to be moved and specially wrapped:

·         Stamps/coins/other collections

·         Antiques

·         Pianos

·         Artworks

·         Unusual items

Shipment of vehicles can be done through your households goods removal company, however the paperwork involved is more than they are sometimes able to offer.  Ensure you have the correct paperwork otherwise you may be paying large fees on arrival.

Advise a vehicle carrier if there are any of the following unusual items (other than normal vehicles) to be transported:

·         Golf carts

·         Motorbikes

·         Boats

Different countries have different rules about what you can take in and what you cannot.  Please consult your movers well in advance for advice and ask them to provide you with customs and country information on your new destination country.

There are some items that are almost certainly a no-go area for shipping to most countries. Restrictions include:

·         Firearms: You will find it difficult to ship even antique or special firearm collections.

·         Alcohol: Private wine collections are not welcome at all destinations.

·         Pornography: A pin-up magazine is considered porn in many countries.

·         Most removal companies do not, as a rule, transport the following items:

·         Paints, thinners, varnishes and other flammables

·         Matches and lighters

·         Acids, oils and motor fuels

·         Household bleach, aerosol cans (e.g. Spray & Cook, hairspray)

·         Prescription drugs

·         Firearms and ammunition

·         Perishables

·         Jewellery



It is important to establish the type of schooling system in your new country and the best system for your children.  You would need to bring along the following for each child:

·         Last school report

·         Birth certificate

·         A letter of recommendation from their present school. 



Pets can also move to your new home, unless specific restrictions apply. You can either request the household goods removal company to manage this process or use a specialist Pet Relocation service. The shipping of pets is a specialist job and we recommend using a reputable pet relocation company to assist.  Your pet is required to have an import permit and valid health certificate in place.  There are many reputable and professional pet relocation companies contact Relocation Africa for details.


Motor Vehicles

All countries have rigid laws about imported cars, but some are more restrictive than others. Look into this well in advance because you may decide you want to sell your car before you go.  An attractive alternative is simply to put your car into storage until you return, rather than have the worry of depreciation if it is an expensive one. Please note that if you want to import a vehicle or motor bike there are duties and VAT which will have to be paid.  Your immigration status will determine the amount you pay.  Should you wish to import your vehicle on a temporary basis, you may apply for a ‘Carnet de Passage’ from your local Automotive Association.


Banking Accounts

As a non-resident it is advisable to bring along the following documentation to open up a personal bank account:

·         Banking report from abroad

·         Employment contract

·         Passport with copy of work permit

·         Letter of introduction and letter of reference from your current bank

·         Latest 3 months banking statements available as part of the reference from the bank



Transfer church, club, civic organisation memberships.

Get a reference from a landlord if you were renting.

Advise the following of your change of address:

o    Post Office

o    Charge accounts

o    Taxation Office

o    Car licence

o    Subscriptions (Newspapers, Magazines etc)

o    Friends, Relatives

o    Mains Suppliers (Gas/Electricity/Water)

o    Telephone

o    Doctor and Dentist

o    Banks, Building Societies and Investment Advisers

o    Credit Card Companies

o    Hire Purchase or Rental Companies.


Start rounding up passports, birth/marriage certificates and your required permits necessary in order to travel to your new destination. 

Make copies of the following records:

o    Medical

o    Dental

o    Optical

o    Specialists

o    Prescriptions (medication and optical)

o    Veterinarian records

o    School reports

o    Certify copies of Identity documents/ Passports

o    Drivers’ licences

o    Copy of all credit cards and travelers cheques

o    Certify marriage and birth certificates

o    Collect medical records from your doctor/s

o    Work permits/ Study visas (Permits can be arranged by our Immigration Division for more information contact Relocation Africa.)


Other items to arrange include:

o    Vaccination certificates

o    Birth/marriage certificates

o    Medical records

o    Investment documents

o    Invoices for any new purchases

o    School reports

o    Personal travel documents.

o    Electrical goods (Don’t take it for granted that all your electrical goods will work in your destination country. Check out the voltages first.)


Make travel arrangements:

o    Flight reservations

o    Hotel reservations/temporary accommodation booking

o    Check dates of transportation of pets/cars to coincide with your departure and arrival dates.

o    Car rental


Six Weeks Before You Move

  1. By now you should have confirmed your moving date with your selected contractor. If not, sign the acceptance form and send it off now. Obtain written confirmation of your collection and delivery dates with the removal company.
  2. Arrange for your mail to be redirected. The cost is reasonable and usually requires no more than your attendance at your local post office with some form of identification.
  3. Arrange Insurance - A great many people will be handling your shipment between departure and arrival. Although your shipment will be packed to withstand the longest journey, insurance cover gives you peace of mind from door-to-door. You should always insure to cover the cost of replacement in the country of destination.
  4. Enquire if the school your children will be attending has any particular dress code or other formality. It is important that your children settle in as quickly as possible and taking care of these things in advance, helps the process. At the same time, if your children are members of international organisations such as the Scouts or Girl Guides, it is worth obtaining details about the nearest group in your new home town. This will help them make friends rapidly.
  5. Find out from your new employer’s HR department, your property agent at destination or your mover the contact details of the various organisations whose services you will need to connect your new home to electrical, gas, water, telephone supplies etc.
  6. Sounds obvious, but don’t forget to return library books, dispose of old cans of paint and other flammables in the garage or house, clear the attic and basement, and cancel household services such as milk, newspapers, gardeners and so on. Also, don’t forget to find a home for your house plants!
  7. Send curtains, linen and rugs to cleaners in time for packing with other goods.
  8. Check pets’ inoculations are up to date and pets’ nametags are clearly displayed.
  9. Don’t forget to contact main suppliers (electricity, gas, water, telephone) for a final bill. They will need a little notice to get your account up to date.


A Week Before You Move

Defrost refrigerator/freezer.

Plan simple meals for moving day to avoid using appliances.

Separate cartons and luggage items you need for personal travel so they don’t get packed. You would be surprised how many passports get packed!

Do not pack the following items with the household goods that will be moved by a Removal company.  Keep these separate and carry on your person if possible:        

          - Jewellery/cellphones/laptops

          - Identity books/Passports

          - Airline tickets

          - Cash or cheque books/ travellers cheques

          - Driver’s licenses

          - Automobile documents

          - School records

          - Banking records

          - Qualifications

          - Curriculum Vitae

          - Medical/dental records

          - Insurance records

          - Prescriptions

          - Firearms and ammunition

          - Bags which are needed for the flight to destination.


Three Days Before The Move

  1. Check that you have enough medication for at least two weeks, and ensure you have copies of any necessary prescriptions for use at destination.
  2. It is handy to have some traveller’s cheques and if you can get some local currency before you go, so much the better. You may need small change for papers, drinks, taxis and tips.
  3. Collect any clothing/curtains from cleaners.
  4. Empty safety deposit box, if applicable.
  5. Check cupboards, shelves and all rooms to be sure they are empty.
  6. Drain water from garden hoses and steam irons.
  7. Clean garden tools, bicycles and any other gardening equipment.
  8. Drain fuel from lawn mowers and other garden tools.
  9. Remove batteries from toys, games, radios etc.
  10. Remove bags from vacuum cleaners
  11. All gas bottles should be emptied and the valve left open.
  12. Advise removal company of difficult access to residence at delivery point (long way to carry/small lift/stairs/steep driveway etc.)
  13. Confirm collection and delivery addresses with the removal company.
  14. Clearly separate and mark items to be stored, delivered to another address, not to be moved at all, shipped or air freighted.


Moving Day

You need to be present, your children do not! If it is possible, try to park them with friends or neighbours for the day. It will be easier for you and less troubling for them.

Disconnect stove, fridge, dishwasher and washing machine. Secure the drum of the washing machine with stabiliser bars. Contact the removal company for these.

Drain water from dishwasher and washing machine.

Dismantle and disconnect all stereos, TVs and computers and mark all cables and remotes for easy assembly later.

Secure moving parts in computer printers, record turntables, CD players and other devices.

All ink cartridges must be removed from printers.

Back up software files and keep these with you.

Ensure curtains and curtain rails are taken down.

Remove any fixtures from walls.

Remove satellite dishes and TV aerials.

Call your service providers to have services disconnected:

          - Water

          - Electricity

          - Alarm/security monitoring firm

          - Satellite Connections

          - Telephone Line

Be present when the moving crew comes to the house. Take ten minutes to walk round with the foreman to check what goes, what stays and any special instructions. When the job is done, make a final check of the house with the foreman – don’t forget to look inside cupboards!

Leave the packing to the professionals. Make sure someone remains with them in case they have questions and to see that nothing is left behind. Many shipments are checked by customs at destination. So don’t hide anything!

Leave current home in a clean condition.


Taken from Relocation Africa's African Relocation Guides.

To place an order or for more info on this guide or other guides please click here: African Relocation Guides.