Top Ten Tips for Ex-Pats to Consider When Relocating Back to the U.S.

There are many reasons why U.S. citizens move abroad long-term: a great job opportunity, military assignment, extended travel, cultural exchange experience, etc. The amount of time and preparation spent to relocate should be paid when planning to return to the United States. Here are some tips to consider as you contemplate returning to the U.S:

  1. Confirm that you are still a U.S. Citizen. Sometimes when individuals become citizens of other countries, they are obligated to give up other citizenships they may hold at the time. Also, serving in a foreign military or running for office could cause you to relinquish your U.S. Citizenship.
  2. Ensure your passports and identification documents are current. Your identifications must be valid and reflect any name changes that may have occurred. Please make sure the names are consistent with your plane tickets to avoid problems boarding an airline or going through customs.
  3. Obtain the necessary immigrant visa for your family members. Petitioning a spouse, parent, or stepchildren to enter the United States will take years. Therefore, it is best to start the process early to ensure you will be able to enter at the same time.
  4. Be sure you have registered the birth or adoption of your children at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate and obtain a U.S. Citizen passport for your children.
  5. Gather or obtain certified copies of essential documents in advance. Documents like birth certificates, marriage certificates, medical/vaccination records, and tax records will be necessary for you to have in hand to handle financial and medical matters once in the U.S.
  6. Ensure your education or professional qualifications will be recognized. Contact the appropriate license board in the state you plan to live and work in and see what documents you will need to submit in advance. You can find more information about licensing boards from the U.S. Department of Education International Affairs. Also, contact the school district or school you plan to have your children attend to ensure you have all the required documents you will need to enroll them.
  7. Update insurance records and research health insurance options in the United States. The U.S. healthcare and tax laws are complex, and you may want to understand the ramifications if you do not have health insurance. Also, be sure to have essential medications with you as it may take time to see a practitioner once in the U.S.
  8. Get your pet’s records ready for travel. If you are returning with any fur children, make sure you know what type of documentation you will need for the airline and when you land in the United States. If you wish to bring a dog vaccinated outside the United States from a high-risk country, you must apply for a CDC Dog Import Permit for at least 30 business days (6 weeks) before entering the United States. No CDC Dog Import Permits are issued upon arrival. Please visit the U.S. Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection website for more information.
  9. Review and ensure you are up to date with paying taxes to the IRS or the foreign government where you resided. Theoretically, you should have been paying your federal taxes the entire time you lived abroad if you were employed. You want to avoid any penalties or disputes with the U.S. Federal government and the foreign government where you resided on top of the challenges with relocating.
  10. Rely on trusted experts to assist you. Moving back to the United States after an extended period aboard can be challenging both logistically in getting reestablished and culturally adjusting back to life, family, and friends. If there are any questions, we can answer related to the immigration or visa process that will make your life a bit easier, don’t hesitate to reach out to us.