Tips on Moving Abroad.


I didn’t realize how much I had to prepare until the very last minute. If I could turn back the time, I would be able to give myself a head start at least three months prior to the big move. This is only because I realized that after completing one task from my check list, an additional or two tasks would appear, and this eats up into time. At the very least I did manage to pull together and complete the bigger tasks such as the ones listed below. It might serve as a reference if you plan to move abroad too!

Sorting Out Finances

The first month is normally the challenging bit because I’ll need to prepare enough cash in hand for home rental deposits, short hotel stays (while searching for a home) and transportation. Even though I’m abroad, I’ll still need to continue paying a few necessary bills at home such as the car and the soon-to-be-ready home. I decided to maintain the car because it’ll be too expensive to get a new one when I return. Keeping and maintaining it would be more cost effective in the long run. Therefore I made sure I canceled subscriptions to cable TV, wifi, phone bill, gym membership and other items. Timing is also important because my last day falls slightly before end of the month, which meant by the time I move abroad, I would have the last salary banked in and the following month would continue with the new salary. At least there will be continuing income as I move to the new place.

Sorting Out Taxes

This is the most important part that must be managed before moving abroad. Since I was employed, my employer had prepared a Leaver form which I needed to submit to our Inland Revenue Board of Malaysia so that I can exit the country without any red flags. First of all, you need to go to the counter and submit the Leaver form. The staff will then check through the records to ensure that all taxes have been paid. Unfortunately for me, the record showed that my 2011 taxes were not cleared and I had to submit a hard copy to get clearance. I also needed to fill up the hard copy form for 2014 taxes (up to my final month in Malaysia) and submit this as well. Since I didn’t bring my past tax documents (please make sure you bring yours), I had to go home and come back to submit them. Apparently I did submit the 2011 tax last year but it was not keyed into the system. So I made a copy and submitted that as well as the 2014 form. After that I was asked to go to 6th floor to meet the Auditor for a quick interview before getting the clearance letter. Everything was done within an hour and I walked out happily with the letter in hand. This means I’m free to leave the country!

Seeing as how a lot of travelers come from the United States and elsewhere, it is important to research and comprehend which tax laws apply to you. Taxes are generally accepted as a confusing concept, but you can find a lot of tools here that can help make it easier. Trust me, it’s better than having the tax man breathing down your neck.

Moving Out From Rental Home

It took me almost two months to sort this out because there were so many things to clear and I had to do it bit by bit while still working. If you’re like me, who has been living in a rental home for awhile, you’ll need to inform the owner of your decision to move out at least a month ahead. I informed mine three months in advance so that she has time to search for the next tenant to fill the home. Over the years I had accumulated some furniture and kitchenware, which I am not able to bring with me. So I did the next best thing, I sold them! If you have furniture to rid off, you could send out a message on social media such as Facebook with photos of the furniture. Having friends who have other friends may give you more chance to spread the word out. It certainly did for me. The money from the furniture and rental deposit return would also contribute to the pool of money for moving abroad.

Saying goodbye to the old place.

Saying goodbye to the old place.


Change of Address

Once I moved out, I made sure that all mailing addresses are changed immediately. This is so that I don’t miss out on the important mails when I’m abroad and at least there’s someone to help look into the urgent ones.

Preparing an ICE Folder

The “In Case of Emergency” or ICE folder is to make it less hassling for the appointed person in charge of my personal transactions in KL. Putting the documents in one place also helps the person manage it easily when I’m not around. This folder would normally contain all important details needed for monthly billing and such.

Checking Expiry Date of Passport

I had 6 months to go before my passport expired which means I needed to renew it before leaving the country. This is as important as getting the taxes done because you may be declined at the airport if your passport is expired. You can read more on how to renew your Malaysian passport in two hours here.

Make sure to check your passport expiry date before leaving the country.

Make sure to check your passport expiry date before leaving the country.


Visa Application

This was the easy part but now that I’ll be based there for 3-6 months, I’ll need to apply for a Business visa as I have a work offer from one of the local companies there. It took some time to inquire about the visa from the Company as I got confused as to whether I should be applying for an extension of  Tourist or Business visa when I get there, since we get 30 days in the country. However for other Nationalities, you can refer to the website here for more info.

“Malaysian citizens passport do not need an Entry Visa if they stay in Cambodia for no more than 30 days for both Tourism & Business purpose.”

Whichever country you move to you’ll need to check for visa requirements and how long it takes to get it done. I had gotten my visa form online, filled it up and submitted it tot he Embassy only to find out two days later that I’m not able to request for 3 months visa in Kuala Lumpur. I can only do so when I arrive in Cambodia.

Free To Go

When all the above was completed, I felt relieved because I could now focus on other things that is needed for the move. It may be a big hassle prior to it but once it’s done, you’ll feel so much better! If you have any other tips to share on the same preparation, feel free to share it under the comments below. It’s always nice to exchange info on this subject especially for first timers like me.

About Yafieda Jamil

A Malaysian girl currently working abroad in Phnom Penh city. I love a good road trip, hot cappuccinos, spicy food and staring at old buildings. My mission is to inspire people to see the world differently before we all get any older. Oh and giraffes are the most beautiful creatures on earth.

2 Responses to Tips on Moving Abroad.

  1. Very good tips! I’ve never built an ICE folder, but I do have mine all sorted out. Don’t forget healthcare and insurance too!

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