Things you need to consider when moving abroad with children

Migrating from one country to another can be a challenge at the best of times. But if you’re bringing children along for the ride, then the upheaval can be even more dramatic. You’ll need to think about a whole range of factors, and you’ll need to explain what’s going to happen to your children. The latter process, of course, can range from confusing to outright traumatic.

So, what should prospective expats be thinking about before taking their children abroad? Let’s run through a few of the more pressing questions.

Cultural Differences

Different parts of the world do things slightly differently. Sometimes, these changes are for the better; sometimes, they’re for the worse. If you want an easy life, you’ll need to adapt to the local culture and respect their way of doing things, and so too will your children. Ideally, you should spend time preparing your children for the changes to come – new arrivals in Dubai, for example, will need to respect the local customs surrounding modesty.

Immigration Law

Other countries, for the most part, will not allow you to simply enter the country and start working and living. While the procedure varies depending on where you’re locating, the chances are overwhelming that you’ll need to obtain a visa and other documentation, and the procedure may be different if you’re bringing dependents along with you. Immigration lawyers can help you to run through the details, and provide certainty that you’re following the appropriate procedure.


If you’re a single parent, then you’ll need the permission of the other parent before taking your child abroad. If you don’t obtain this permission, then you leave yourself vulnerable to a charge of child abduction. This is not a trivial charge, and, aside from anything else, it will compromise your ability to take your child into another territory afterwards.


Last but not least, there’s the matter of actually getting to your chosen destination. Ideally, you want this to be just a single trip – but often a little back-and-forth might be necessary to track down accommodation, and get your child prepared for what’s to come. It’s rarely a good idea for your child’s first exposure to their new home to be the day they actually move there, so arrange a reconnaissance trip, if your budget allows.

The less stuff you’re taking with you, the better – but if you have larger possessions that you can’t bear to part with, like televisions, pianos and cars, then you’ll need to speak to a reputable international courier. Bear in mind that bringing goods across borders will often incur extra tariffs and fees, so be sure that you account for the cost of them.

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