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5 Things You Should Do Before You Move Abroad

Set Up Your Finances

With everyday instant transfers and apparently seamless banking integration across borders, you may think your current monetary setup will move with you to your new home. In fact, you need to set up access to your finances in your new country, and do it quickly.

Since cross-border banking clearances can take some time to be confirmed and instituted (partly a side effect of money-laundering crackdowns), you should begin the process of choosing a bank, at least for a local checking account, and delivering the necessary paperwork before you actually move. Your current bank or the U.S. State Department Web site can help you navigate these waters.

Other money matters to address before you leave include setting up automatic payments for any recurring bills that will continue to come in while you're abroad; determining which credit cards you can use internationally without incurring fees (and letting your credit card companies know you'll be relocating so they don't freeze your account due to abnormal charge locations); and talking to the IRS or an accountant to figure out what your tax situation is. You may have to file in your home country and/or home state in addition to your new one -- or not. To avoid any trouble down the road, figure out early exactly who will be expecting tax forms from you once you relocate.

This may sound like a lot to manage, and in truth, it often is. But regardless of your reasons for making a life for yourself abroad, you'll probably find the effort to be more than worth it once you get to your new locale.

One final bit of work to do before you leave? Learn a few words in the language. Moving to a new country without being able to say "hello," "goodbye" and "excuse me" in the local language is kind of tacky.

For more on international travel and the logistics of a big move, check out the links on the next page.