Wondering how to prepare to move to another country? - Here are our top tips for a smooth migration
If you are thinking about moving overseas or you have already started your application, we are here to help you migrate! Whether you're moving from Australia to America or Zimbabwe to New Zealand, the team at Worldwide Migration Partners can help! We have compiled some of our top tips below to help you enjoy a smooth Overseas Migration.
1. Make sure you have a current and valid passport.
It may sound very basic and logical, but many people forget to check their passport's expiry date. In almost all cases you will be required to lodge your application with a valid passport. Some countries will also require not just a valid passport, but a passport with a certain amount of time of validity remaining. So be sure to check your passport's expiry date before starting your application. Children’s passports usually have a shorter duration of validity, so be sure to check theirs and not just your own. In general, infants require passports to travel internationally.
2. Have easy access to your original documents.
A visa or residency application will require a range of supporting documents. These could include university degrees, transcripts, or medical records as well as marriage and birth certificates, divorce decrees and previous passports. Having easy access to these documents will reduce any risk in delaying your application.
3. Have electronic access to all other important documents.
As you’re moving overseas, it may be impossible to have easy access to all of your original documents. Make sure to have back-up scans and electronic access to all other important documents. Some applications may require pay slips or copies of bank statements, so it is important that you can access those documents.
4. Keep an updated and detailed CV / resume.
While you may have already landed a job overseas, it is critical to have a detailed and up-to-date CV or resume. In most visa and residency applications you will be required to provide detailed information. This includes your education and professional background. List specific dates and locations of your previous employment.
5. Know the laws if you have a criminal conviction or arrest.
Any criminal history could impact a visa or residency application. This is regardless of the type of conviction or arrest, of your age at the time of conviction, or penalties imposed. The various laws of the country where you are migrating to will be the determining factor. If you have a criminal history, it is always best to consult an immigration lawyer. It is important to note that previous criminal history may significantly delay the application process.
6. Know your own areas of expertise and limitations.
You may be extremely organised, well-versed in government forms, and come from a legal background. Many individuals applying for visas or residency may be fully-capable of handling their own visa application depending on the complexity of the case. However, many cases require much more expertise and experience where you would want to engage a professional. It is for this reason we encourage everyone to ask for migration help from a specialist. Avoid the unnecessary stress by trying to do everything yourself!
7. Family matters.
If you’re moving overseas, you likely want to take your family with you! However, every country recognises family members differently. Some countries do not recognise de-facto partners, others do not recognise same-sex partners. Additionally, most countries will have an age limit for your children. It is important to know the specific national laws regarding accompanying family members for the country you will be traveling to.
8. Be flexible!
Regardless of where you are heading, governments are all bureaucratic with many unforeseen and unexpected delays. Processing times often speed up and slow down with very little warning. Additionally, laws change that may greatly impact a visa or residency application. It is therefore important to discuss your specific situation with a specialist to find out what the current processing times and costs for a case like yours would be. Plan your application with extra time and be flexible!
9. Plan ahead!
We strongly encourage everyone to plan your first 60-days upon arrival in your new home country. Plan ahead to know how to obtain medical insurance, open bank accounts, apply for a driver’s license and request a social security number.
10. If moving to the United States, know the difference between your visa and your I-94.
As odd as it may sound, your visa does not govern how long you can remain in the United States. The I-94 entry document, which is issued upon each entry into the United States, controls the length of your authorised stay. Your visa only controls your ability to enter the US. Many times, these have different expiration dates, so it is critical that you keep track of your I-94 expiration date.
11. Speak with a Migration Agent or Immigration Lawyer to know the requirements of your Visa Application.
Even if you are applying for a basic visa or submitting a simple application, it is always a good idea to speak with a specialist in the early stages of your application and get some migration help. Government procedures and laws change on a regular basis. Public, online forums often have outdated or inaccurate information. Consequently, a licensed agent or lawyer should be able to add substantial value even with an easy application.
About The Author
Melissa Vincenty is a US attorney, an Australian migration agent and the founder and managing director of Worldwide Migration Partners. Melissa has over 20 years of experience in migration law, including practising at the world’s largest US immigration firm and more than 15 years as a Country Specialist (China and Tibet) for Amnesty International USA.