How do you begin to tackle the monumental task of moving your whole life to another country? Try using our essential checklist. It contains the 10 top tips for relocating to the Netherlands.

1. Apply for a Dutch visa and residence permit

Get this ticked of your list as soon as possible, because the process can be lengthy and a little confusing! There are different types of Dutch visas, and you might require a residence permit too. Check out our article to see what you need and how to get it.

2. Get your important documents in order

It is a good idea to gather together, and make copies of, all you important documents. There are endless instances when you will need to produce them in the Netherlands. So, if you get them organized before the move, you will thank yourself later. Here is a list of what you will need when:

For job hunting in the Netherlands: Job references.
For sending your kids to school: School Reports.
For getting married: Birth certificates
For proof of identity when, for example, registering your business: Passports
For driving in the Netherlands: Drivers licenses
For going to hospital or to the Doctors in the Netherlands: Medical records
For applying for a visa or residence permit: Wedding certificates

3. Notify your child's school of the move

Make sure that, come September, your child’s name is not called out at registration in his or her old school. Inform them of the move, and begin to think about whether you should send your kids to an international or a Dutch school in the Netherlands. You can read up on international schools here.

4. Pack smart

Pack for each phase of your move. When you first travel to the Netherlands, you might only be able to take suitcases with you. Other possessions could be transported later on, via air shipment or larger sea freight. So, make sure yours and your childrens’ essentials arrive with you. Try to prioritize your other belongings as well, so that whatever reaches the country last, is the thing you can most easily live without. It can be very helpful to hire a removal company to help you get packed up and organized.

5. Get exemption from customs duty

Apply for exemption from customs duty. Exporting your precious possessions can be costly. With any luck, you might qualify for exemption. Find out what the conditions are, and how to apply, here.

6. Arrange temporary accommodation

You can only search for more permanent accommodation once you are actually in the Netherlands. Therefore, you will need to arrange a temporary place to stay for the first weeks or months following your arrival. Why not rent a place whilst you search for a house to buy? Or, if you are an exchange student, get the low down on student housing in the Netherlands here.

7. Notifying necessary parties of your new address

Remember to inform friends, colleagues and relatives not to send any mail to your old address. Banks, insurance companies, investment companies and perhaps your Embassy or Consulate need to be contacted as well. Do not forget to cancel or redirect magazine and newspaper subscriptions either. Lastly, be sure to inform all necessary parties of your new address, once you have found a permanent home.

8. Decide what to do with your car

Should you keep your car when you move to the Netherlands? This page will help you decide whether to sell or transfer it. Some factors that might impact your decision are: Dutch road tax, the nature of driving in the Netherlands and which other forms of public transport are available there.

9. Decide what to do with your pets

If you plan to bring your pets with you, you will need to organize their medical checks, vaccinations, travel arrangements and quarantine requirements. Sadly, sometimes all this is just too complicated. In this scenario, you will have to find them a suitable new home. Once you have reached the Netherlands and started to settle in, you could look into buying a cat or a dog here.

10. Will your appliances work in the Netherlands?

Before making the arrangements to ship over all your appliances, check that they will work! The voltage in the U.S. is 60hz and 110 Watts. In the Netherlands, it is 230V and 50 Hz. It can be rather expensive to convert or purchase transformers for large appliances. So, you might be better off buying new ones in the Netherlands, and saving on shipping costs.

Read more about the adventure of moving to a new country in: ‘The Mobile Life’.