As you start planning your move there are tons of things to do. Every day you think of more things. As I was browsing various forums I found even more things I had not thought of. So the list gets pretty long. Being me, as I am, I made a spreadsheet with check boxes to keep up with my list. I won’t bore you with my exact list but will cover a lot of the basic things you need to consider as you prepare to move. Feel free to let me know of anything that needs to be added, and I will keep this list going.
Decide what visa you will need:
13A – The 13A visa is generally for spouses of Filipinos.
SRRV – Retirement visa from the Philippine Retirement Authority (PRA)
Tourist – temporary visitor visa
Pet visa – If you bring a dog/cat you will need forms filled out.
The visa will get a blog post later. There is lots to consider when selecting yours.
Have a will drawn or updated to reflect a current beneficiary and secondary beneficiary
The Will should stipulate who is the executor of your estate and what you want done with your remains. Get Life insurance policy-Make sure it pays out if you live/die in the P.I.
Decide early how you will handle your mail forwarding. You might be able to rely on family, a friend, or need a mail forwarding service.
Start keeping a list of who sends you real mail. Before you go you can contact them directly with your new info. I get almost no mail, other than junk mail. But a lot of online shops don’t send packages internationally. I use a mail forwarding service that has addresses in my home town. So my banks and credit card companies just think I moved across town.
There are cheap cell phone plans to use in the Philippines but you will want a way to keep in contact with family, friends, and businesses back home. You can easily use things like Facebook chat and send messages. Facebook chat is free, international, and has Skype built into it. But sometimes you will need an actual phone call (especially for credit cards and banks). Skype is a popular choice. Also a product called Magic Jack will work. They each work a little differently but basically you can take a “local” US phone number with you and can call home from the PI’s for free, or almost free. I use Magic Jack and have been very happy with it. I have a local (Texas) number and gave my bank, credit cards etc the number as my new home phone. Now I can activate replacement cards with my “home phone”, the credit card companies like that.
Renew drivers license – Make copies
Renew passport – Make copies
Get copy of Birth Certificate – yes, you guessed it – multiple copies.
Ex US military? Get your DD-214 (for other countries get whatever they call their separation papers)
Take copies of life insurance, travel accident policies, will, and divorce court orders and deposit all of them in safe deposit box in PI. MAKE COPIES!
Make copy of all active prescriptions for Customs if questioned. Check PI’s Mercury Drug Store website to see if available in the PI’s. Also, take all your meds in hand carry bag. (I’ve never had my meds questioned but I hear it is a good idea to be ready)
Scan all your medical records into a digital format and keep multiple copies.
Remember once you get overseas it will be much harder to get some of these documents from home. Many states and municipalities have pretty good web sites but a lot of stuff is still done in person. I would rather have too much information than be missing one form.
Find out what shots are recommended for travelling from where you are from to where you are going. From the US to PI’s the CDC recommended I get immunized against Typhoid, Hepatitis A, and get my Tetanus/Diphtheria updated. Sometimes they recommend Hep B, or Rabies. Your local Health Department will do the immunizations. Our County provides them for a small fee. Don’t wait until the last minute. I got Hep A part 1 and have to get part 2 6 months later… I will already be in the Philippines. I’m sure I can find it over there somewhere…
Banking & Finance:
Talk to lawyer about a financial Power Of Attorney(POA). Draw up POA agreement. Be very careful who you choose! Add POA to your bank account so he can withdraw money. Make a list of all your financial accounts in digital form-send a copy to your POA
Arrange for any ongoing payment obligations.
Change your address and email address with each financial institution you deal with -Social Security, 401K, Mutual Funds, Stocks, Banks, Credit Card…
Get a free copy of your credit report and make sure you close all open lines of credit you won’t be needing. Also cancel and cut up cards you will not need – Home Depot, Exxon, Library etc.
Change bank to a bank that understands international. Citibank, HSBC, USAA. Make sure this bank can wire transfer money to the bank in the Philippines. Move any direct deposits (or debits) to new bank – pension, disability etc
The fun stuff:
And don’t forget to sell your house and quit your job!