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Moving Overseas – Checklist

You have finally decided to buy a property in Portugal. Now you are a few months from making the biggest change of your life and don’t know what to do and how to do it. Don’t panic! If you are planning to move to Portugal this article is for you. Casas do Barlavento will give you a guide and tips to help you organise things before and upon your arrival to your new home, in the Algarve!


Read also: 5 Reasons to Buy a Property in Algarve  



Before you move abroad checklist – 8-week plan


You need to plan ahead for a stress-free relocation and, above all, to take into account some time-consuming tasks that can’t be completed overnight. You will be thankful you started early and have a to-do-list handy.



8 weeks before you move to the Algarve


1.       Book your flights and accommodation, if required – Make the necessary travel arrangements because as soon as you have a date you have a deadline to organise everything else, right?


2.       Communicate to your children’s school - Request transfer of school certificates and notify your children’s school that you are moving abroad.


Read more about Portuguese Educational System 


3.       Check legalities and documentation required to move to Portugal -  one of the crucial steps in moving to Portugal is to sort out your residence permit. Since the process takes time, file your applications to renew passports, visas and permits as early as possible.



Also read: Portugal immigration guide: Portuguese visas and residency permits



4.       It is time to budget for international moving/shipping companies – create a folder with quotes, receipts and everything related to your move for easier access. Since it could take a month for your items to arrive at their destination, schedule your shipment well ahead. When you decide on a company make sure all details are listed, i.e., which belongings will not be permitted to move to a new country, for instance.


5.       Start to select your belongings for shipment – moving house, especially moving abroad is an ideal opportunity to spring clean and get rid of unnecessary items. It is also a good time to schedule a garage sale and to choose institutions to donate the things you don’t need.



6 weeks before you move to the Algarve


6.      Gather important documents on time – Request official copies of the following documents necessary for your move to Portugal or that can be of some use in a foreign country: birth and marriage certificate, green card, proof of citizenship, social security cards, vaccination & medical records and insurance policies


.7      Bank accounts - Inform your banks that you will be overseas. Apply for online international banking, which makes it practical to manage funds between countries.


8.      Research packing hacks – Here are some tips to help you pack all your belongings for shipment:

  •            Collect free boxes from supply stores
  •           Label your moving boxes with the destination room in your new home; if it is fragile and/or heavy;
  •           Add instruction manuals to the electronics or take pictures before unplugging them
  •           Use towels and linen to wrap glasses and fragile materials
  •           Golden Tip - Pack a little every day! 


Read also: 10 Things to do in Lagos 


9.   Research expat communities, points of interest and accessibilities in your area of relocation – this will help you feel more integrated when you finally settle in the Algarve.


10.   Housing Repairs - If you live in a rental property it is time to address home repairs before moving out to guarantee you receive your security deposit back. If you are not selling your house but renting it out, it is also time to do some updates to make it more attractive to future tenants. Contact a rental company to help you have a return on the letting as soon as possible.



4 weeks before you move to the Algarve



11.  Notifying change of address – Inform the post office to set up a re-routing service. Inform all relevant people of your new address, including your bank, social security, IRS and loan providers.


12.  Prepare a power of attorney - Leave a person you trust in charge of your affairs while you are away. There is always something missing or that can’t be addressed on time, so it is better to allocate this responsibility to someone.


13. Packing – Be smart with your packing and start with the items which you don’t need in the next 3 months, such as, books and seasonal clothes.


14. Contact utilities departments – Set up a date to disconnect your supply of gas, electricity, water, TV and telephone or if you are letting your home, change the name on the bills.


15. Vaccination and pets ID collars – make sure you have everything in place for your pets to move with you.


4 weeks before you move to the Algarve


16. Prep two-weeks worth of meals and use everything in the freezer. Or organise a farewell dinner where you invite your friends to help you with the packing.


17.  Prepare list of emergency services in Portugal – Casas do Barlavento is a one-stop-shop, with partnerships with maintenance companies, which can help you with any emergency service you need, at your new house.


Read Also: One-Stop-Shop Approach 


18.   Arrange insurance – on your shipment and also for your pets and vehicle.


19.  Cancel your gym membership, magazines and newspaper subscriptions.


20.  Collect keys - ask friends and family to return any spare keys


The week before you move to the Algarve


21.  Verify delivery plans with the moving company – confirm the date and time of the shipment as well as rough delivery dates.


22.  Essential suitcase ready – pack a suitcase like you’re going on a two-week holiday with daily toiletries and comfortable clothes.


23.  Defrost freezer – unplug freezer and fridge the night before to be ready to clean in the morning.


24.  Nothing is left behind - check all cupboards and all rooms to avoid leaving something behind. Before the movers leave, sign the inventory list and keep a copy.


25.  Spring clean - Organise a house cleaning service to do a quick clean after the movers leave.


Upon arrival at your new home in the Algarve - checklist

·         Protect the floors of your new home during the move

·         Give special instructions to the removal company and make sure the boxes are headed to the correct room

·         Unpack your emergency suitcase and put all important documents in a safe place

·         Start unpacking and settle into your new home

·         Contact Casas do Barlavento for possible Property Tax exemption 


Read also: Understanding all the costs associated with property acquisition  


We hope this checklist will help you move like a pro to your new home in the sunny Algarve.