Some emigration logistics to think through


Often, this blog serves as a place for me to think my way through parenting feelings, emotional debates, and general epiphanies. But you know what, it’s also my place on the internet to explore what I’m going through and what’s occupying space in my head, even if it’s not emotional, parenting related or deep and meaningful. At the moment, I’m thinking a lot about our goal to emigrate. It is definitely taking shape – Dean’s medical is complete, which means we just need to finish off some last forms and then go for his interview and we should hopefully maybe almost be done with the bureaucratic hurdles (more on all of that once they’re done, I promise). Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean we are at the finish line just yet – there is still all manner of logistics to sort out before we can get on that plane.

It’s been funny as we plan our move what people have asked if we’ve considered. On the one hand, I like to think that Dean and I have thought our way through most everything, but I’m sure there are some things we haven’t gotten to yet. My goal is that once Dean’s Green Card is officially approved, we will move within six weeks. That means a lot of the planning and thinking has to happen now, so we can just set everything in motion when the time comes. If you’re planning to emigrate, here are some logistics you might need to consider.

Selling our home

This is a big one. The capital that we will get from the sale of our place with be used to get us started in the new place. Flights, moving costs (more on that in a moment), and whatever else we need to do when we get to the States will be funded primarily with that chunk of cash from the sale of our home. So when is the right time to put it on the market? Should we get it sold ASAP to make sure we know it will happen, or should we only get the ball rolling once we know the Green Card is approved? I can’t imagine that Dean will be rejected, but imagine if he is and then we also have no home?!

At this point, I’m thinking that we should make it a condition of the sale, just to cover ourselves. It generally takes about three months for transfers to go through here, so putting our house on the market in May would mean it could be sold and transfer complete in August. If we keep delaying putting it on the market, it will just delay the rest of the process further down the line. Of course, we will need to get estate agents in for an evaluation and assistance with the sale, although I’m inclined to reach out to investors I know and see if they aren’t interested in a private sale.

Cars and other assets

I’ve known plenty of people who managed to sell their cars without too much hassle. One friend went through a private sale, another used an agent and yet another went through a reputable website for cars for sale. Thankfully, we won’t have that issue as Dean’s parents are staying here in SA – they are the ones who gave him the car originally (yes, we were very lucky in that regard), so they will happily make use of it when we’re gone. It will simply be a matter of canceling the insurance.

As for our other items of value, it’s a bit of a tricky proposition. We plan to get movers in to give us an estimate to move the contents of our home. That said, we aren’t planning to bring any of our furniture. Almost across the board, it will be cheaper to just buy new stuff when we get to the States rather than pay for our current furnishings to be shipped over. That said, we do have some items that we definitely want in our new life – Dean’s pot for the braai, my burgeoning Le Creuset collection, some of our important comic books. But almost all our gaming stuff will be better off getting sold and bought new overseas, along with our entertainment set up, basic kitchenware and appliances. Oh, and obviously we’ll be bringing our clothes.

That said, moving has made going through stuff a lot easier. I didn’t want to get rid of a dress I loved that didn’t fit anymore until I realized that I’d be moving clothing that doesn’t fit. Much easier to donate that now. The same goes for old books, DVDs, and so, SO much stuff! If the idea of moving it doesn’t make me happy at the thought of finding it in my things on the other side, it isn’t coming along.


Our cats are our fur babies, and of course, they will be coming with us. That means I need to start working on this aspect of our move. I need to get their immunizations up to date and find out what other documentation they will need in order to move with us. Plus I need to find out if they will fly before or after us, and figure out all the necessary logistics to go along with that.

Insurance, contracts and other headaches

We currently have South African health insurance, life insurance, cell phones, the list seems to go on and on. Phones should be easy enough to switch to pre-paid for the travel times and then we can get American contracts once we arrive. But what about health insurance? I probably won’t have a job on day one in the US, which means we will need to rely on SA insurance until we can get local coverage. Will we need to sign up for Obamacare? And what about Dean’s life insurance – will it continue to cover him in a new country? We will need to keep our local accounts open, if only to have a card to use while traveling and when we first get started in the States, which I have a feeling will be another headache all its own.

So yes, if you are planning to emigrate it is worth it. It’s fun to look at cost of living in various places and imagine your new life in a new city. But actually getting there can be rather tricky if you’re moving without a company to handle all the logistics for you. It’s a good thing I like to make lists – I have a feeling that I will be making many of them in the coming weeks and months.

Full Disclosure: I was paid for a link on this post, but it in no way changed my planned content or editorial.


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