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Moving Overseas - Navigating the Paperwork Process

One form, one signature and one step at a time for each process.

Stacked pile of white paper
Christa Dodo / Unpslash

Traveling for a week or even a couple of months can be more straightforward than moving abroad. Often times, all it takes is booking flights and accommodations, getting a tourist visa if needed, and possibly learning a few phrases in the local language. Well, not so much if you plan to live overseas. Travel paperwork can be time-consuming when you are not a tourist. No one tells you about the tedious and painstaking process of immigration paperwork until after you start experiencing them. So let me help you right now.

Wooden stamp - for the word -Visa
Vin JD / Pixabay

There are many ways to get to your new host country from a paperwork perspective (i.e., your immigration visa). Some people enter with a tourist visa, explore the new nation, and seek work with the hopes of settling down. Others may have a sponsored visa from an organization (company, government, non-profit) where the process of entry and getting settled can be a bit easier. Regardless of which immigration procedure you are using, it requires lots of documentation, time to collect it, and keeping abreast of your length of stay.

The semi-permanent move requires lots of paperwork, forms, pictures, official stamps, and who knows how many signatures from different offices. You will spend lots of time and energy and you can get frustrated with the process or nuances. Most countries require original copies of your documents. Sometimes a certified/notarized copy can suffice. Whether you are a new expat or a continuing one, there are paperwork challenges that can happen every step of the way.

Globle with Words Translate in Several Languages
Gerd Altmann/Pixabay

Translation Needed

Oh yes, let me not forget. Sometimes this paperwork process may require your documents to be translated into the local language. Such translations require a certified translator. This was my experience in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) 12 years ago. My US driver's license had to be translated into Arabic before I could convert it to a UAE license. The time and process were worth having the ability to drive in the country.

Be in the Know

Do your research; know what type of visa you need to have, its requirements, and also its limitations. Keep track of your paperwork and length of stay in a country as the fines and penalties for over-stays can be harsh. Visa problems can be quite challenging to negotiate in many countries. You want to avoid any questions or concerns about your status or risk of deportation, which could cost you everything from your