Important Documentation

One of the most important steps of planning for your international move is making sure that you have all of the necessary documents and that they are complete, updated, and accessible.

Here is a list of documents to gather before moving abroad:
  • Passports for each member of your family. If it’s been more than ten years since you last applied, you may need to re-apply in person. You will need to bring proof of citizenship, identification such as a drivers license, two passport photos, and payment for passport fees.

  • Visas – All governments require foreigners to have a visa to reside in their country. Apply for your visa directly from the embassy or check with the Consulate of your new country to determine whether you will need to obtain a visa prior to your departure. Some countries may require that you provide a letter of good standing from a bank, business, or public official to support your personal reputation and financial standing.

  • Certificates of Registration - You will need to register any foreign-made items with Customs in order to demonstrate prior possession when you return to the U.S.

  • Work Permits - You may need to obtain a work permit before you can accept employment in your new residence.

  • Medical/Dental Records & Immunizations - In addition to international health forms, you may need to get a letter from your physician or receive a medical exam from an approved physician. You will also need International Certifications of Vaccination again smallpox and other diseases.

  • International Driving Permit (IDP)- While some countries permit you to operate a vehicle with a valid drivers license from your home country, others require that you have an IDP. An IDP may also allow you to drive while you are in the process of obtaining a local license. AAA is one agency where you can apply for an IDP. You will need to complete a brief application form that is available online at or at your nearest AAA office, provide 2 passport-sized photographs, a photocopy of your valid United States issued drivers license, and a check or money order for $10 in US funds. You will receive the permit immediately if you apply at an AAA office in person, or in approximately 2 weeks if you apply by mail.

  • Customs Entry Forms may be required for brining household goods into some foreign countries. These forms should be available from the Consul of your new country of residence.

In addition, the following records should also be transported and accessible if necessary:
  • Lease or rental agreement for housing in your new country
  • School transcripts
  • Vehicle registration(s)
  • Income tax records
  • Marriage certificates
  • Adoption papers
  • Divorce and child custody documentation
  • Wills
  • Power of attorney
  • Police Records