Moving to the US checklist and tips

Moving to the United States? Congratulations! It’s a huge and exciting step, but it can also be daunting. You’re moving your whole life, after all. One easy way to get ready and pack for moving is to approach it with a plan.To help you make sure you’ve got everything covered (and avoid getting overwhelmed) we’ve put together this moving checklist. Starting from three months out to D-day, these moving and packing tips and tricks should help make your move stress free.

Moving to the USA tips

These are our best moving tips to help you start planning.

  • Don’t start packing too early – you’ll inevitably pack things you need. But also don’t leave everything to the last minute. Our checklist spaces things over 3 months.
  • Check the customs and border regulations before you start packing.
  • Make sure you know what permits and visas you’ll need to move to the USA – and what your family may need.
  • You’ll need a Social Security Number when you arrive. You should be able to apply for this when you apply for your visa.
  • Make sure you have health insurance before you arrive, even if it’s just temporary insurance that extends past your travelCheck whether your employer offers plans as part of its employment package.

Want some more info about what to expect and how to prepare? Take a look at our Guide to Moving to the USA.

Packing to move? Where to start

Three months

  • Book your airline tickets and hotels
  • Start looking at the housing market and research areas
  • If you have kids, let their school know you’re moving and request any paperwork and transfer certificates you may need
  • For pets, check quarantine and vaccination requirements
  • Research professional relocation consultants and get quotes
  • Check paperwork requirements for your new country – visas in particular – and make sure your passport won’t expire while you’re away
  • Check if you need an international drivers license (and get your national one renewed if it’s due to expire)
  • If you’re selling, put your house on the market; if you’re renting, let your landlord know you’re moving
  • Start deciding what you really want to take and what you can put into storage or sell

Two months

  • Start making a checklist of what will go into each box
  • Get hard copies of all important documents (certified if necessary) and also make digital scanned copies
  • Get copies of your family’s medical records from your doctor and research health care options for your new country
  • Research schools for your children and start contacting them
  • Put anything you’re selling on the market
  • Let your bank know you’re going overseas, and start looking at overseas banking options
  • Set up any payments you’ll need to make while overseas
  • If you’re renting your house while you’re away, get repairs underway and put it on the market
  • Choose a relocation company and ensure they can meet all your requirements
  • Start packing items you won’t need (ornaments, books, out of season clothes)
  • Start planning your leaving parties you want

One month

  • As soon as you have an overseas address, let your friends, family, and any important institutions (like your bank) know
  • Sort out the paperwork for the moving company
  • Start packing your house up, making sure to leave out essentials and keep a list of what goes where
  • Make sure you have travel insurance, both for your flight and your shipped items
  • Enrol your kids in a school
  • Secure some accommodation for when you arrive, whether it’s temporary or permanent
  • Cancel any memberships, subscriptions, or utilities, and sort out final bills
  • Advise the post office of a mail reroute

One – two weeks

  • Make a list of essentials for the first few weeks to go into your check in and carry on luggage
  • Get some local currency, or make sure you have a card that will work when you arrive
  • Have all your paperwork ready
  • Make sure you have any medications you can take with you, and check whether they have an alternative name in your new country
  • Take apart large furniture items
  • Start packing suitcases
  • Confirm your accommodation arrangements for when you first arrive
  • Empty and clean your fridge and freezer

Moving day

  • Make sure you’ve left nothing behind in your house. This includes your passport!
  • Have essentials in your carry on luggage, just in case your check in luggage is delayed
  • Say your final goodbyes and invite people you like to come visit
  • Confirm delivery plans with your shipping company, including date

When you step onto that plane, breathe a sigh of relief – and smile. You’re right at the beginning of an exciting journey!