Moving2018, Most important would be not to open your packet that you received from the consulate, and take that in your hand luggage on the plane.
You Could ask your current insurer (house and car) for a reference on how many years you've been insured. if you have a no claim bonus etc. Some US insurers will use it others don't. It hugely differ from state to state
Here is a list that we worked from (this is copied from another forum- not my personal list)
Shutting up Shop process 58. Change postal address of all accounts to a reliable friend or family member two months before you go (so you can see which companies did not make the change, and you have enough time to sort it out before you go - things like telephone account, DSTV & MNET, City Council, Security company, insurance - both short term and life, Bank (all accounts - some bank’s you have to change it for each account!), Medical Aids, Shopping Cards, Memberships, Doctors, Specialists etc.)
59. Set up a free email account like gmail and start using it two months before you leave. Then you can see who is still emailing your old email address. Remember when you cancel your ISP you will lose your email address.
60. Start obeying the South African speed limit and road rules. Takes time to get used to watching that speedometer and the cars behind you edging you to go faster. Australia works on the Drivers license point system. Too many speeding fines will see you losing your driver’s license.
61. Get a reference letter and client code from your bank.
62. Sign a fax indemnity with your bank. This allows you to give faxed instructions for transactions etc.
63. If you don’t already have internet banking, get it set up and test it.
64. Get a reference letter from your short term insurance detailing your no claim bonus etc.
65. Cancel Telephone account (Do this in writing and keep proof - applies to all cancellations)
66. Cancel cell phone contracts (all three VC, MTN, Cell C contracts require 3 months notice).
67. Cancel ISP
68. Cancel DSTV / MNET
69. Cancel Security Company
70. Cancel SABC license
71. Make the decision whether or not you will continue paying your policies (Life Insurance, Annuities etc) from Australia. Speak to your broker about the effects of early cancellation.
72. Cancel your medical aid (read the fine print - they may require 3 months notice)
73. Close your store accounts.
74. Cancel all membership debit orders etc that won’t continue.
75. Get all you kid’s immunizations up to date and have it recorded on their immunization cards. (To attend day care and school in Australia it has to be up to date).
76. Get a letter of membership and involvement from your church. Advise them that you are leaving.
77. Get a reference letter for your family if you were involved in volunteer work. Volunteering is big in Australia and if you were involved in volunteering, it goes a long way - also, when you want to get involved again in Australia, you will need references.
78. Back-up everything on your computer (photos, documents, inbox, sent items etc) and take the CD’s or removable hard drive with you on the plane.
79. Make certified copies of ALL important documents (passports, visas, ID books, birth certificates etc) and leave it with a reliable friend or family member. Even better yet, have it scanned and leave a copy of the disk - take the other one on the plane with you.
80. Update your will and leave a copy with a reliable friend/family member.
81. Give a reliable person power of attorney to attend to your business on your behalf. Make sure they have details of all your bank accounts, policy numbers, contact persons etc. As well as copies of all important documents. The banks require a special POA and do not accept a general one.
82. Get transfer cards from your kids’ schools and their latest report cards or a progress report.
83. Get reference letters from your kid’s activities e.g. ballet report, etc - this will assist in placing them in the right group when they take it up here. If your child performed in anything, get proof. You WILL need it!
84. Take the whole family for a medical check-up, have their eyes tested, go to the dentist, get that filing etc. Dental and optometry is very expensive.
85. Get the contents of your medical files from all your doctors and specialists. Saves you from going through the whole process again. Aus doctors don’t take your word for it! If you have a special condition, let the doctor write a letter. If you have contacts or glasses, get your script.
86. Get scripts for all medication your family is currently using - especially chronic. You can bring 3 months prescription medication if you have a written script. Take it on the plane with you in case your container is delayed etc. (Also bring some general medication that your family use regularly if it is anything stronger than panado or if it is something specific such as anetheine cream, myprodol, etc).
87. You do not need an international drivers license but make sure that RSA drivers is not about to expire. You will require a current RSA license is convert.
88. Leave your flight details, first accommodation details etc with a family member/friend.
89. Also leave the details of your next of kin with this person.
90. Write this persons contact details in the back of your passport.
91. Service your washing machine and dryer if they haven’t had one in the last 12 months.
92. Pay your UIF and de-register. Give your employees their UIF documents as well as a letter that they no longer work for you. (UIF does not only accept the UIF document - they also require a letter that they no longer work for you). Get your domestic worker to sign that they have received their severance package. Keep proof of all of this. Give your employees reference letters and assist them in finding work elsewhere. (Advertise with you school, church, neighbours etc that they will be available from a specific date etc). Pay them their last salary, notice pay, leave and pro rata bonuses. Keep proof.
93. Go to the AA travel shop and buy some SA to USA plug adapters. Pop them in your hand luggage! Then buy some mulitplugs. The kind with 4 or 5 plugs on a cord. Then when you get there replace the main plug with your USA plug - you can then use your old SA plugs in the multiplug.
94. If you haven’t yet sold your house, but are planning to do so, get an electricity certificate before you leave. Give it to your agent or the person who will be handling the sale of your property. Keep a copy.
95. Inform your tax consultant that you are leaving. He will still have to complete a tax return for you for the current tax year. Then he may need to deregister you as a tax payer at some point and arrange a tax clearance certificate. In which case you might need to sign papers before you leave.
96. Help the older members of family set up Skype before you leave. Buy them a microphone for their computer as a gift. Install it for them.
97. Take photographs of everyone and everything, your friends, family, the neighbours, your pets, the kids friends (give your digital camera to your kids to take to school for a day). Take photographs of your house, neighbourhood, church, school, street.... This is all you will have of your life in South Africa. It may not seem important now, but when your kids, or grandchildren one day, want to know what life was like, you’ll have more than enough visual memories to share.
98. Have a farewell party at least 3 weeks before you leave. Less tears & emotion than having the goodbyes at the airport!!
99. Sell your cars.
100. Arrange your transport to the airport.
ON ARRIVAL: (this is from personal experience)
Some Pediatricians (seems that kids go to them up to age 18) may ask for medical history others are happy to just have all the immunization details (still bring your SA Immunization card together with the VISA Medical paper). - if you are with a medical insurer by then, make sure if you have to use network dr's or anyone. (Our network program will also state if a dr takes in new patients or not, which dr's charge average and above average costs)
In our state (Connecticut)- every child needs to have a Health assessment done before they can attend school. This need to be done by a US Medical professional on US soil. (Don't bother getting it done in SA)
Here's a link to PA's school health requirements. (if I remember correctly you mentioned you will be settling there, right?)
http://www.health.pa.gov/My Health/School Health/Pages/default.aspx#.WX9AbYTyupo
Each school district have their own extra set of ''rules'' too. Just make sure that you know exactly what's needed to eliminate running back and forth to the dr. ( example: if your child will need a sport release form on top of the Health assessment, make sure to have these completed by the dr during the same visit, otherwise you will be charged again- even if you phone in later to get it filled out and faxed/ emailed)
Drivers license: though you can drive up to a year with your SA drivers, it is a good idea to get your International license from a AA shop. Its only valid for 6 months. (if PA's requirements are at all like CT's- you can't convert your SA license to a US one, you have to do a learners permit, 8hrs of Adult Drive ED videos and your road test again- 8 months in, and we are still on our Adult Learners Drivers as we did not yet come around to sit for the 8 hours videos[ 2 x 4hrs only after 18h00 during weekdays or give up your Saturday- not an issue, but more logistical issue when you have kids ] You can apply for a NON Drivers ID card from your local DMV as soon as you arrive and has establish residency- this will help a lot and means that you don't need to walk around with your green card or passport. Check out their website to make sure what documentation requirements they might have. http://www.dmv.org/pa-pennsylvania/apply-license.php
Please feel free to ask any questions, I've been through it all twice- this does not make me an expert, but we did make costly mistakes that could be avoided.
Good luck, this is not just an adventure, its a life changing journey- try to enjoy it. 6months down the line, you will be relieved that you did take the plunge, and any obstacles you might encounter along the way will be worth it