As you prepare to move home from a stint working abroad, organization is key. Here are nine must-do tips for a smooth repatriation.
The repatriation process takes time — at least several months to get everything in order. So don’t delay starting the process.
Contact Landlord/Utility Companies
Give your landlord notice about your upcoming move, and cancel utilities. If you own a home, look into selling or explore the pros and cons of keeping a rental property abroad.
Organize Your Belongings for Repatriation
Work with your relocation company to make all the arrangements to ship your belongings. Donate or sell what you can easily replace to reduce shipping expenses. Divide the remainder of your belongings into two categories: items to be shipped by sea and a smaller category of essentials to ship by air. Because of cost, these items should be limited to necessities.
Check With the U.S. Consulate Office
Make sure your papers are up to date and acceptable. Unless you voluntarily gave up your citizenship to become a citizen of your host country, you should be fine, but this will prevent headaches and delays. Never let your passport or identification documents expire.
Notify Your Banks in Both Countries
Let them know of your impending move so they aren’t wary of unusual charges. Having maintained a bank account and credit card in your home country will help tremendously as you transition.
Time to Save
Moving costs add up quickly and some of them may not be covered by your employer. As soon as you know you’re moving, start setting aside money for moving-related expenses, such as hotels, rental cars, meals, and entertainment.
Prep for Taxes After Repatriation
Moving in the middle of a tax year likely means you still will have tax obligations to your host country. Notify the local tax authorities of your move and provide them with a forwarding address. Additionally, research your tax obligations to your home country so you aren’t surprised later.
Return Leased Vehicles
Arrange with the dealership to return cars, then cancel insurance and registrations. If you purchased a vehicle, arrange to sell it, or get estimates on shipping it home. Selling may take a little effort but means you’ll avoid paying freight or tariffs. You will also avoid the hassle of transferring the registration.
Back in the USA
Just as when you moved abroad, the decision to rent a home or buy is a big one. Talk to your relocation specialist and a local real estate agent about the pros and cons. Before you get behind the wheel of a car, check your driver’s license. Is it still valid? If not, you’ll need to take steps to renew. Check on any items you stored while away. For stored vehicles, update your registrations and insurance.