Moving out of Hong Kong with the gang? Sit tight and read on as you are about to become a relocation pro in a snap! There are two core aspects of any relocation. On the one hand, you need to prepare for what awaits your new home base, but then you also need to sort and deal with what you are leaving behind! And it doesn’t stop at sorting through stuff and packing, there’s also huge emotional baggage that comes with change and uncertainty around. What’s more, this doesn’t affect just you, but also the little ones! This practical guide for relocating from Hong Kong is jam-packed with resources, insights, and more to help you stay on top of the game!
Start by jotting down all the things you have on top of your mind at the moment. You can divide your checklist by priority and all that matters about your new home. Compartmentalizing the information will give you a visual guideline. Now, you can use a spreadsheet to assign each task by the level of priority from 1 to 5. Finally, grab a calendar, create a 'relocation timeline,' and schedule each task. If you want to take it a step further, you can even allow set timeframes or divide the responsibilities between your family members. It's vital to find a balance between structure and flexibility. This is not a one-size-fits-all kind of thing, but staying focused through these times will serve you and your family well!
Choosing a relocation company can feel like a 'make it or break it' kind of thing, but -lucky you! Check out Little Steps' –
Once you've selected the companies that fit your needs best, get in touch for an estimated quote, and schedule a pre-move survey. What's great about pre-move surveys is that you'll get to meet your movers, plus you'll receive an accurate quote and the full scope of the company's services. It's advisable to get into this a couple of months in advance.
If you've been renting an apartment in Hong Kong, you'll likely have to break your rental lease! Start by going through your leasing contract and check the break clause in detail. Your contract will possibly cover two years, including a termination section that usually comes in place after the first year. In it, you'll see the notice period is usually one to three months. What comes after is informing your landlord by written notice and organizing dates and details, such as:
- When are you leaving?
- How are you getting your security deposit back?
- Do you need to hire a professional end-of-lease cleaning service?
- Is your landlord coming to inspect the place?
If you actually own property in Hong Kong, you'll need to get familiar with the selling processes way before planning to leave! As things can get hairy here, check out some official resources!
You may be asked about your medical records once you sign in to your new home's health system. Find out if it's a requirement and if so, you can easily get access to your medical archives - you can submit your application here. Alternatively, you can dig into Hong Kong's brand new Electronic Health Record Sharing System. To be on the safe side, it's better to check a couple of months ahead of moving!
Creating an inventory of all the objects around your house can be time-consuming, but it's worth it! Especially if you are relocating overseas and need to keep track of your belongings! However, it's not a matter of going overboard, jotting down everything to the detail. You can combine this task with selecting items that need to go. Some things you can easily sell, others you'll want to donate! The magic word here is ...decluttering!
So go ahead and check out Little Steps' Guide To Decluttering In Hong Kong
Sorting your bank account should be a top priority on your 'before-moving-list!' Some banks can be a bit more of a pain than others, but minding outstanding balances, due payments, credit, savings, and all-that-jazz is key. Knowing the bank's policies beforehand can be a huge time-saver. The last thing you want is to deal with your Hong Kong bank from the other side of the world, trying to get things right. Although banking is all online now, it goes without saying, to always keep track of all the essential documents.
Relocating your furry friend internationally can be a bit of a mission! To get this right, careful and timely planning is critical. Countries have different import rules and requirements when it comes to animals. You'll need to check vaccines, transportation, and legal documents! If you can't make it on time by your moving date, your pet may have to travel after you. Beyond the paperwork, it's also crucial to get hold of your vet's best advice to make the move as smooth as possible. Begin by researching your new country's rules; if time allows, plan six to 12 months in advance.
As this document from the Inland Revenue Department explains, foreigners leaving Hong Kong will need to get a tax clearance. You'll need to file a form at least 1 month before your departure date. Make also sure to sort this out with your current employer! For more information on your taxes and duties, follow this link! Bear in mind that if you are self-employed, you'll also need to notify the IRD.
As you may be well aware, the Mandatory Provident Fund -MPF- is Hong Kong's retirement saving scheme for residents. If you and your family were in town for a short period, such as 13 months or less, then this is not for you. However, if you worked in Hong Kong for over 13 months, your employer would've signed you into the fund. If you are 100% confident that you are leaving Hong Kong permanently, and you'll need to request an early withdrawal of funds -start here!
Canceling services and suspending debits are some of the things that carry the full weight of leaving! You'll need to change your phone number, stop your cable subscription, credit charges, and deal with all the utility service companies until you've cleared out all the paperwork. The main providers you'll need to sort are your electricity company, telecommunications and Internet network, cable TV, gas, water supply, magazine subscriptions, and any other recurrent services you can think of!
In all honesty, no matter how hard you've worked to make your relocation smooth, there's always something missing! Which is why it comes in handy to sign-up for Hong Kong Post's correspondence relocation service. If you reckon you'll still get mail after your departure, better be safe than sorry and avoid missing important notifications. It may take months to get through all the final touches of letting people know your new address, suspending all your services, selling your goods, and so on!
It's necessary to inform your kids' school about your departure! Not just out of courtesy, but also because there may be accounts to settle. You may be able to get a refund on your debenture - the amount required by some international schools as a way to fund themselves and, in some cases, to secure a spot for your child - or fees. In any case, you should request the school to prepare a report with all the details.
As painful as it may be, in certain scenarios, you may not be able to take your helper with you when you are relocating to a new country. As in this case, you will have to follow the right procedure to break the employment contract. One way is to help them find another employer willing to sign her up. But, if you are prematurely terminating your helper's contract, you will find the relevant information here. Ensure how to submit the termination form - find the answers to the most frequently asked questions.
When filling in the form, you'll be able to state the reason for termination, so clarify it's due to relocating to a new country. Once this is all settled, your helper will have 2 weeks to leave Hong Kong.
If you own a car in Hong Kong, you may want to either dispatch it to your new location or sell it before the moving day! In that case, you'll want to get hold of the Hong Kong Transport Department to work out the next steps needed to transfer the ownership of your car or how to transport overseas. Before deciding to ship your vehicle, find out the tax regulations from importing cars in your new country of residence.
So now that most of the paperwork is ready - or almost!- it's time to start packing and cleaning! The company you hired can provide boxes and crates for you to pack personal belongings.
In any case, arrange and coordinate this with your movers beforehand. At this point, you may have already given away or sold your pre-loved items, or you may have chosen to do everything at the same time.
Things are going to get even more hectic now! It is best to go back to your calendar and schedule the different packing phases, doing your inventory, giving away stuff, and prepping for the final cleanup.
Hiring a cleaner to help you leave your home in perfect condition is a great idea. But if you prefer to fly solo, make sure to get the whole gang involved! You may be about to move on now, but this was your home, so leave it ready to be loved again!
Many families going through big relocations can easily forget the joys of quality family time. On the bright side, parents can take this time to get the kids involved in certain tasks and activities.
Putting together a vision board of what's to come can keep your kiddies excited, just as much as pointing out fun things they'll experience along the way. Also, planning ahead of time will ease some of the stress. Kids can perceive when mom and dad are struggling, so being clear on what to do when will also help the little ones stay centered.
Ensure you've canceled subscriptions, utility bills, car insurance, returned books to the library, kept all your documents, and copies in a safe place, and paid your dues! Then think...am I missing something? Whatever comes to your mind, again, write it down. There may be some things you can finish sorting once you are settled in your new home, so don't worry too much, just keep track!
Take time to visit all your fav spots one more time! Say goodbye to your friends, colleagues, and people you love and appreciate. Give your kids time to bid farewell to their mates -and make sure to exchange contact details! Relocating to a new country is a huge shift, but it can be exciting too. Bring everyone on board, and try to enjoy the ride as much as you possibly can! New projects keep people moving, experiencing, and connecting with others, so make the most of it!
Here are some ideas for saying goodbye to Hong Kong: