When my man and I (btw – I stole the whole “my man” thing from Lala Kent from VPR and now just love saying it haha) decided to move to Ireland, I immediately ordered a notebook from Target and wrote down everything I could think of that we would need to get done before we move. One of the top things on the list, obviously, was dealing with immigration/visas and figuring out what we needed to do.
I tried finding some sort of guide to help me understand everything I would need to do before making the move from US to Europe. From what I found it looked like 99% of people who move to another continent are moving for a job or a short period of time (like study abroad). So I thought it would be helpful for that 1% of us who are moving permanently to share my tips and tricks on how to do it!
Now let’s talk details.
Moving in general is a stressful process! After all not only are you moving, you are moving to another continent. Staying positive and trusting God’s timing was a huge thing for me. Unfortunately for me, the immigration process had JUST changed so we were experiencing a whole new application and rules. It took a few weeks longer than we were expecting so I lived like a college boy for a few weeks. e.g. mattress on floor, solo cups (reusable), and no decor.
I wouldn’t say our move was a spontaneous decision, but we ended up moving a few months earlier than our original date. We had about three months to get it all done and booked. So the first thing I did was get a notebook and write out a master to do list. My list included everything from figuring out what I need to do with my cell phone to what I had to get done for immigration. One thing I didn’t include was to go ahead and get reference letters from work! That way once you’re settled in your new stomping grounds, you are already ready to start applying and already have your glowing recommendations handy. 😉
Here are a few other ideas for your list:
- getting all of my doctor’s appointments done (year supply of contacts and all that good stuff)
- selling my car (*Carvana was so amazing. Highly recommend!)
- hiring movers (*We used Lazer International and had a really positive experience!)
- quitting my job
- going through clothes/home decor to decide what to take and what to sell, etc.
Selling my car made the whole thing more real. Which is odd because I quit my job before that haha. It was just like a wow this is really happening type of moment.
As soon as you know you’re moving, get that application started. The application is just a general form where you provide your basic information. For us, we had to prove we had been living together for a certain amount of time and that we are actually in a relationship. I pulled photos from when we first met in college to family vacations/weddings he attended with me. Thanks to social media, it made this process a lot easier because each anniversary I posted an Instagram 🙂 I can’t imagine how much harder it would have been to pull everything together without it. You also have to scan a lot of documents (passports, degree certificates, official fingerprints/police clearance) so having a scanner handy will make your life easier.
After my move from SC to Texas, I said no matter where I move next (little did I know…haha) I’m hiring help. It is totally worth it. I was especially grateful for it this time because since our items had to go through customs, we had to follow specific requirements. For example, not only did we have to provide a list of everything that was in our boxes, including a giant panda bear, but we also had to document what each computer model/ID was. Luckily, the movers we hired did it all for us.
*We used a shipping container to move our items! They coordinated the packers/movers, getting the items to the container, and delivering them to us in Ireland.
Once you’ve made it, it’s time to make another list. Depending on where you move you will have to research what to do next. For me it was get a PPS number (basically a USA SSN), driver’s license, and get my official immigration stamp/card.
I also added important dates to my Google calendar. Missing a visa/immigration deadline is something you want to avoid. One way I’m managing the dates is by adding a neon green calendar to my electronic calendar for all immigration dates. I created a reminder for when things expire and when I want to get them done by.
Do what you can to get settled! Our situation is 10/10 because since his family is here, we didn’t have to rush to find a house or try to get one before we moved. We started the house search our first month in and fingers crossed are getting lucky soon! 😉
Hopefully this blog post helped you get organized for your move or gave you some new ideas on how to prepare.
Let the adventures begin!