Relocating to the Philippines
It is now a growing trend among citizens of developed countries to retire overseas. One need not be on the average retirement of 60’s to enjoy a simple retired life. It all boils down to ones wants and needs.
There are a number of nations that ranks top as retirement haven- Belize, Costa Rica, Mexico, Thailand, and the Philippines.
In planning your retirement move, one may opt to leave everything behind and just take a suitcase. One might think of just shipping a few boxes, and some might opt to ship a whole container or two.
Let me limit myself on my expertise- relocation to the Philippines. Other destination might be similar to the Philippine condition but a few checking will not do any harm.
I served in the US military and have done a number of relocation myself. I also did such professionally with Manila Forwarder until a few years ago when I decided to retire.
First and foremost for someone who is contemplating of retiring overseas is determining one’s priorities. Write things down so one can contemplate on it every now and then until the actual D day (Shipping day). Make sure to include your loved one’s input on this, if appropriate. Of course, some might be doing this to get away from them (he he he).
365 days before D day:
Get the total picture of your situation. Make a manifest in excel format all your assets, put an estimated value on each item. Highlight the items that are priceless to you. Determine if some items are worth shipping. How much is it really worth in your present location and how much will it be in your destination country. Update this accordingly.
You might also start to ask around or Google around. Look for a site or a company that provides free advice with no obligations. Call if possible.
Some online container shipping company will immediately give you a rate of around $2,500 without asking pertinent questions that would affect the total price. Be wary that there might be a lot of hidden fees on this. The year 2016 average all-inclusive cost of shipping a 20’ container from the US to Manila is $6,000 and $60 for one balikbayan box.
Also, check your travel documents including US and Philippine passport.
364 to 180 days before D day:
Visit the location where you plan to retire. It is worth the plane ticket and most likely that it will be fun to see the place yourself before making a final decision. If you still do not have a place in the Philippines, start looking for one, either a rental or a purchase.
I have handled a shipment from an American who met a Filipina online and he shipped all his belongings on a 20′ container without personally meeting the girl. As the shipment takes around 30 days, he flew to Cebu, where the girl was living, immediately after he loaded the container. Lo and behold, the romance did not work out so even before the arrival of his shipment to Port of Cebu, he already asked me to arrange the return shipment to the US. Of course, he has to pay for both shipments.
While in the location, start checking your manifest and contemplate on which is worth shipping. Most likely, you will notice that imported furniture and appliance are expensive in the Philippines but domestic products are cheaper. This is also applicable to late model used automobile which is allowed to be imported only by holders of Dual Citizenship, 13G and 13A Visa. There is no restriction on importing a brand new automobile.
120 days before D day:
Look for a realtor if you need to sell or rent your property.
100 days before D day:
Start talking to a reputable freight forwarder that will ship your items. It can be just a few boxes or a few containers. Get one that knows the Philippines. Call them and ask questions.
90 days before D day:
Contact the nearest Philippine Embassy or Consulate in your area and start the dual citizenship or visa application. If shipping a vehicle, prepare the appropriate forms (see: http://manilaforwarder.com/vehicleshipment.html) before coming over so you can get everything done in one visit.
Schedule a yard sale to dispose of things that you do not need to ship. IN the same token, buy items that you will need to ship. This might include solar panels, emergency generators, bathroom fixtures, space memory bed, among others that are expensive in the Philippines. Also, note that most modern appliances are now auto volt (110 and 220 compatible). Ask the seller for details.
60 days before D day:
Submit pertinent documents to your chosen freight forwarder. Vehicle shipments require documents from the Philippine Embassy/consulate that needs to be submitted to the Philippine office of Department of Foreign Affairs. It takes time to mail those documents and one’s vehicle cannot be shipped without this approval.
30 days before D day:
Check with your realtor and freight forwarder if everything is set. Are all the documents submitted? Are you on schedule? At this time, rescheduling is still possible.
Would you need a hotel after your furniture has been loaded in the container? Now that you have a firm schedule, book your airline ticket and accommodations, if needed. See this: http://www.travelph.com/
14 days before D day:
Double check everything. Call or email everyone that needs to be called. Visit friends and loved ones. You may also ask them for a “working party” to help you pack your things. Doing the packing and container loading yourself will save you money.
Notify the following of your relocation, your bank, post office, friends, loved ones, online accounts delivery, among others.
See this program for Philippine-based P.O. Box service: http://manilaforwarder.com/philsurfer.html
If doing a ditty move (does it yourself), reserve a Penske truck with a lift gate so that you can prepare the shipment a day before and you will not have to lift any heavy furniture to the container which is 1 meter above the ground.
7 days before D day:
Double check the list and if you have done everything, relax.
3 days before D day:
Contact your freight forwarder for any updated information.
1 day before D day:
If one is doing a ditty move ( do it yourself ), start preparing your shipment by loading it on your rented Penske truck so that when the container arrives on D day, you just back up the Penske truck to the back of the container and just transfer its contents. Make a note that it will be loaded on a reverse (First you put in will be the last to be in the container).
Update the manifest while doing this.
Load the container or let the professionals do the work.
If you use this checklist, this will provide you with ease during the whole process. Moving is fun. The move itself may create anxiety and stress. Preparation is the solution. People are also encouraged to add more pointers to this blog.