When you live in someone else’s country, they want to know all about you. In your adult life you don’t normally need to face paperwork-heavy tasks all in one go. Perhaps you were a teenager and you got a driving licence. You went to university and opened a bank account. You got a degree and received the certificate. You got your first job and shared your ID with them.
When you move country you need all of these documents, and possibly more, all on one day. You will need original documents most of the time, but I would also recommend:
Scan and save all your documents in the cloud
Use a cloud storage solution such as Dropbox, OneDrive, or Google Drive. This means that your important files will always be available at your fingertips, whenever and wherever you need them
Photograph or scan in all your important personal documents. If you don’t have access to a scanner, use a free app such as Microsoft Office Lens to make neatly cropped images.
Scan and save all of these documents before you move abroad:
- Birth certificate
- Marriage certificate (if applicable)
- Driving licence
- Degree certificates
- Photo ID
- Police/clearance letters (if applicable)
(Do this for you, and any spouse or children too. For children you will also need recent school reports/records, and likely a list of all vaccinations received).
For photo ID, you will need actual passport sized photos for everything from your school ID card, to the local driving licences. However, it’s worth keeping a good image saved into the cloud: you might want it – and have that to email over – rather than risk suffering the blurry backlit image from someone’s phone in reception. (I speak from personal experience!).
Then, once you have them scan and save your local documents:
- Local ID
- Local driving licence
- Local resident visa passport sticker/stamp