Important Expat Documents to Bring When Moving Abroad

by | Feb 11, 2022 | Global | 1 comment

Moving to another country is a serious matter, especially considering all the things you need to take care of to make everything go smoothly. If you missed one item, it can push back your schedule and start your new life on the wrong foot.

Packed all your important documents in a carry-on and the copies in your luggage. That way you will have your documents no matter what happens.<br />By gabriellefaithhenderson
Pack all your important documents in a carry-on and the copies in your luggage. That way you will have your documents no matter what happens. By gabriellefaithhenderson

Before you move, you must gather everything you need, especially crucial expat documents your host country requires.

Due diligence here will help your transition to your host country life much easier.

Here is a shortlist of documents you should have with you when you move to a new country:

Expat Document #1 Passport

Your passport must be valid for at least six months or more. If you have other foreign passports as a dual citizen, they must also be renewed. Your passport should also include your visa, which allows you to enter the destination country. You also must list your purpose for staying.

Your passport will serve as your temporary ID as you work on your residency clearances and other documentation.

Expat Document #2 Birth Certificate

Have an original and certified copy of your birth certificate when you move overseas, as some agencies may require it when you file for your residency.

Expat Documents #3 Marriage Certificate / Divorce Papers and Custody Agreements

If you are married and moving with your spouse, you must have a copy of your marriage certificate. They may ask you to provide this when you sort out your taxes and your citizenship. If you are divorced, bring your divorce papers with you, as well as any custody agreement in case you brought your child with you.

Expat Documents #4 Adoption Papers

If you adopted a child before you moved to your host country, make sure you are in possession of the adoption papers. This may serve as their birth certificate in case they don’t have one.

Expat Documents #5 Medical Records for Everyone (Including Immunization Records)

You never know when you or your family members might get sick, and it could be a nightmare to sort out medical records if you don’t have a copy of your medical records on hand. Ask your doctor for a copy of your medical records and provide it to your new doctor once you arrive. Your medical records must contain all the immunization you and your family have because your new employer may require them, even your child’s school.

Expat Documents #6 School Records for Your Children

If you are moving with your children, make sure that you have their school records with you when you move because this will help the school determine their placement. School records typically show your child’s grades and scores and other essential information your child’s new school will need to consider when they review your child’s application.

Expat Documents #7 Vet Records for Your Pet

Got a pet, and they are coming along in your new life? If that is a yes, you will need to have their vet records on hand so that your new vet can review them. It is also a requirement to bring along, as many countries may enforce a quarantine period for your pets before taking your pet home.

Expat Documents #8 Your Vehicle Registration Records or Driving Licence

If you can drive, having your driving license with you is vital because it can serve as your temporary driver’s license while applying for a local one. You can also bring your vehicle registration records if you have one since you will need them to sell your existing car or if your vehicle gets into an accident.

Expat Documents #9 Insurance Documents

Have you got international insurance to cover your medical expenses while overseas? If that is a yes, make sure to bring a copy of your up-to-date insurance documents.

Expat Documents #10 Tax Records

You may be asked to bring your tax records with you as a reference if you apply for a loan or sort out your tax documents in some countries or even open a bank account in your host country.

Expat Document Advice: Apostille

Best to get your documents notarised in the new country as soon as possible so you will always have them when needed<br />By romaindancre
Best to get your documents notarized in the new country as soon as possible so you will always have them when needed By romaindancre

Life is a lot easier if your documents are certified. Often, host countries may not accept notarized documentation from the country of origin – but if the host country is part of the Hague Apostille Country List, things become a lot easier.

If it is, life in your host country may become a lot easier with Apostille-certified documents. Police certificates, birth certificates, any document issued by the government can be apostilled. It’s safer than simple notarization.

However, if your host country’s language differs from your country of origin, you may have to have the certified document translated and notarized in the host country.

Bringing an Apostille gives peace of mind and the guarantee that the host country will accept the documents provided.


Remember to have copies of them, get them translated into the official language of the country you are moving to and officially endorsed the copies by your embassy.

Take into consideration that certification and Apostille may take weeks to be returned to you. However, if you plan accordingly and make time to sort through your papers, you can pull them off and make your move much smoother.

Check out my other articles for important things to look out for before you relocate. Subscribe to us in order not to miss out on any of my adventures today!

by: Kally Tay