Practical Matters

Federal Benefits

If you are receiving monthly benefits from a Federal or state agency (Social Security, Department of Veterans Affairs, Office of Personnel Management, etc.), contact the appropriate agency prior to your departure from the United States to advise them of your residence abroad and to inquire about the procedures for having your benefits checks sent overseas.

Driver’s License

Many countries do not recognize a U.S. driver’s license. Some, however, will accept an international driver’s permit, but it would be a good idea to qualify for an in-country driver’s license as soon as possible. International driver’s permits are not always valid in every country for the length of your stay. It is usually only a matter of courtesy that the holder of the permit is allowed to drive with it for any length of time.

International driver’s licenses are usually only valid if presented in conjunction with a valid U.S. or local license. To renew a license contact, the Department of Motor Vehicles in your home state. It is illegal to drive without a valid license and insurance in many countries. You should check with the embassy of the country where you plan to reside, to find out more about driver’s license requirements.

Taking A Pet Overseas

If you decide to bring your pet with you overseas, check specific requirements with the country’s embassy. Many countries have strict health, quarantine, agriculture, wildlife, and customs requirements and prohibitions. (Note: There are U.S. government regulations forbidding evacuation or emergency assistance to pets during a crisis abroad)