Becoming an expat during the pandemic: how to make it work

Moving house is a big project on its own. There are many things you need to check off your moving checklist, and it seems like it’s never going to end. Moreover, it’ll be hectic and stressful even after you move in. Having to adapt to living in a new environment is never easy, and it takes time. But, what if you are becoming an expat during the pandemic? Not only is your entire moving process going to look much different, but your post-move days will be different as well. We’ll show you how to make international relocation work, even during these uncertain times. The entire world was affected by the pandemic, but that doesn’t mean life has to stop completely. Let’s show you how you can move internationally even in these conditions!

woman walking with a suitcase
Moving during the pandemic is tricky, and when you want to move to another country, it becomes totally chaotic.

Becoming an expat during the pandemic isn’t simple, but we can make it work.

Life as an expat is a completely different kind of adventure. You will pick up everything you own and leave your country in order to follow your dreams. Whether it is a job opportunity, or simply a wish for a change of environment, it takes some time to get used to living in a new country. However, when most borders are closed, countries are in lockdown and you can’t travel anywhere, is it even possible to move to another country? We’re here to show you that it is. After all, international relocation comes at a cost. You don’t want to begin this process unless you know you can finish it.

First things first, let’s talk about how this COVID-19 pandemic affected the entire world. It started off as a few isolated cases in Asia, and quickly spread to Europe and the rest of the world. Nobody was prepared for what was about to happen. While some countries acted at once, others weren’t sure how to approach this situation and protect its residents. What they all had in common is that they closed their borders. Rarely anyone was allowed in or out, and you could enter a country only under certain conditions. Keeping this in mind, you could imagine that many travel plans were canceled and many international moves postponed.

traveller cleaning hands
International relocation during the pandemic is tricky, but completely doable. You just have to prepare for it a bit more than usual!

After the initial wave, many things changed

Once it was possible to continue with the moving service Japan you got before the pandemic hit, things were already looking a lot different. Now, a few borders were opened, albeit under strict rules on who could cross them and who couldn’t. Luckily, many people were able to continue with their moving process, but they had to fulfill certain criteria. For instance, if you are becoming an expat during the pandemic, you will likely be asked to take a PCR test before crossing the border. Before moving, you should check with the company you’re working with how old can the test be and if you have to take it on the border or earlier. They will likely have this information.

Moreover, your settling-in period will be completely different. Since countries want to make sure they are as few COVID cases in their area, many have begun to ask people to stay in quarantine after they enter the country. Usually, this is a period of 10-14 days which you have to spend isolated in your house, without permission to go outside. In some countries, you will get help and they will deliver groceries to your doorstep. This means you will, unfortunately, have to stay inside and cannot go exploring your new city after you move there. However, this isn’t too bad, and let’s see why.

Use the quarantine period to unpack and settle in your new home

Unpacking can sometimes take even longer than packing. Now that you moved, you usually think that you don’t have to rush to unpack. While this is true, you also don’t want piles of moving boxes sitting around your house for weeks. So why not use the opportunity when you’re in quarantine to properly unpack and settle in? You can do it right, and without being in a rush. Box by box, everything will find its place in your new home. Even if you want to get some new pieces of furniture, new decor, or items you need, you can always order them online. They will be shipped right to your door and you don’t have to step outside. Thankfully, this pandemic hit at a time when all of this is possible and we were able to get through it without any issues. 

woman and man getting boxes from a truck
Unpacking is definitely a process you can get done when you’re in quarantine. You have nowhere to go, and why not spend this time to properly settle in?

Now that you know what becoming an expat during the pandemic is like, why wait?

If you were planning to move to another country, but the lockdowns slowed you down, now is your time to get back on your feet. You just have to prepare that the entire process will take a little more time than usual. For example, people usually ship their items ahead of time when moving internationally. Due to the border controls and stricter rules, project cargo can arrive later than you expect it to. But, if you prepare for this process and know what to expect, then it shouldn’t pose any issues.

Exploring your new city after the move will be slower. Many things may be closed and you won’t be able to see them, such as restaurants or museums. However, now you live here and you’re not exploring like a typical tourist. So you have all the time you need! Don’t worry too much, start slow and enjoy this new chapter in your life.


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