Essential Documents You’ll Need When Living Abroad

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Documents for Living Abroad

Documents You Need to Have When Living Abroad

Documents for Living Abroad

Living abroad is a big task for you or your family. Knowing what you need and don’t need can make the difference in a smooth process of familiarizing yourself with your new country and a rocky process. This article includes some of the most important documents you’ll need to have with you before you choose to live abroad.

These documents are essential when living at home, and even more so when you decide you’re going to make your new home abroad. What documents do you need to have when you live abroad? Check them out:


No brainer, really. You aren’t going to get very far at the airport if you don’t have your international identification. This is highly valuable, too, so make sure it’s kept in a safe place once you’re settled down abroad.

Driver’s/Government-Issued Identification

Any government ID, like a health card and driver’s license, should keep you from having to use your passport as identification. These cards are easily replaceable at any consulate or embassy of your home country, so don’t use a passport as your main ID.

Birth Certificate

This is a backup plan for your passports and government ID. Having your birth certificate can make the whole process of replacing an ID or confirming yourself as a legal person much easier. Birth certificates can serve as identification in certain instances as well, but you won’t need it nearly as much as a driver’s license, health card, or passport.

Medical Records

In case you ever need medical attention while living abroad, medical records will be needed. Keep these in a safe place that you and only you or loved ones can access in the unfortunate event you need care. Without them, it will be hard to streamline any hospital or clinic visits.

Tax Information

Most people who choose to move abroad do so for work or school, and decide to stay. These people are often called “expats,” which means someone who’s living outside of their home country. Having all of your financial records and information is important because taxes for expats still exist, and require some way to access those records. You can consider using electronic or digital services to get that information or help. You likely won’t have a branch of your bank where you’re living, so this is the most likely choice to go with.

Other Important Documents

Dental records, divorce papers, child custody, adoption papers, marriage certificates, and even pet vaccination records are documents you should consider bringing. It doesn’t hurt to have as many copies as you can because you never know what you might need. It’s recommended to have more than 2 to 5 copies of each. Just keep them safe.


Traveling to and living abroad requires a significant amount of paperwork, which is understandable. This list includes the most important and relevant documents you’ll need to get into your new country and ensure that your stay goes as smoothly as possible.

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