Deciding to pack up your life and move somewhere else is not an easy decision. Or maybe it is and the execution of the decision is the hard part. And New Zealand being an island makes it a little more challenging to move to from elsewhere. There are some things that you should know before you make the decision to move, and some things that you should know as you’re moving.

First, expect things to take a while. Finding a job ahead of time will help, especially if you have skills that companies here are looking for. It will help you get a Skilled Migrant or a Long Term Skill Shortage visa. You can also come as a student or to start a new business. There is a website (https://www.immigration.govt.nz/new-zealand-visas) that will explain it all to you and you can even apply online. If you are in the computer field, as I am, you have a good chance. The vast majority of visas are accepted in around a month, so you should be OK.

I recommend getting temporary housing that has the essentials already there, like some basic furniture and cooking items. Rent a furnished flat if you can. Prices are usually by the week to make it easier. Depending on where you are starting from, your stuff can take quite some time to get to you.

Speaking of which, getting your stuff to New Zealand can be a pain. Your stuff has to be cleared by Customs and Quarantine. They want to be sure you are not bringing any non-native pests to the island that can destroy the ecosystem. You may have to pay to get it fumigated or steam cleaned. If you want to bring your car over, it also has to pass inspection with the New Zealand Transport Agency. I recommend hiring movers who are experienced with this process. You can try getting a quote here: https://www.newzealandmovers.co.nz/moving-overseas/moving-to-new-zealand. Be prepared, it might hurt to look at the figures.

I don’t recommend tossing your stuff and just buying it all new when you arrive, though. The cost of living here is probably more than you are used to (unless you are coming from Australia and then it might be a relief). If you’re coming from somewhere like the US, you might be happy to know that healthcare is cheaper. If you’ve got certain types of visa, you get health care for free or at a really low cost. And there is the Accident Compensation Corporation, which takes some getting used to. If you get hurt, even if it is your own stupid fault, your medical and recovery costs are covered by this ACC. Emergency treatment is free, too.

You can bring your pets as long as they are approved breeds and from approved origins. The easiest way is to hire a pet exporter, like the ones you find here: https://www.mpi.govt.nz/news-and-resources/resources/registers-and-lists/pet-exporters/. They know what they are doing and it will be easier for everyone this way. It takes at least 10 days for your pet to clear quarantine before you can bring them to their new home.

If I’ve bummed you out or discouraged you in any way, I’m sorry. Read this, https://www.newzealandnow.govt.nz/why-choose-nz, and you’ll be back on track. Good luck and let me know in the comments if you have questions.