Address, bank account, and phone required for moving abroad

Anny Chih photo

By Anny Chih, 24 hours Vancouver



As new graduates flee their coops in search of greener international pastures, things they may have taken for granted at home suddenly become the difference between staying abroad and returning early. The most important details to consider before departure are housing, banking and employment standards.

Moving to a new country can be frustrating when landlords require proof of employment before renting out an apartment, when employers need bank account information for wages, and banks require local addresses to open accounts. It can feel as though all institutions are colluding to have you run around in circles all the way back to the airport — but there are ways around each obstacle.

Though landlords prefer to lease their homes to people with stable incomes, paying several months in advance is an easy way to negotiate. If you’re unsure whether you want to stay in the country but need a fixed address to open a bank account, sites like and are great resources for finding short term sublets in North America and commonwealth countries. But if you can afford little more than the cost of a return flight, hostels will also often allow you to use their address to receive mail; just remember to check with them before booking your stay.

In North America, it’s common for employers to issue physical paycheques that can be cashed at any bank, but in many countries like Australia and New Zealand, employees are usually required to have a bank account set up for direct deposit prior to their first pay day. Since commonwealth countries are popular destinations for Canadians with Working Holiday Visas, setting up an account for a foreigner is relatively quick and easy but it pays to check which bank has the lowest set-up fee, charge per transaction, and minimum opening balance. If you’re moving to the U.S., opening a U.S. chequing account with your Canadian bank will save time.

Of course you may not need a bank account without a job, so finding employment may be your first priority. Before leaving, remember to pack your employment visa papers and look up resume standards of the country you’re moving to. Most countries outside of North America use metric paper sizes (e.g. A4) so format your resume accordingly. Employers often prefer candidates with local phone numbers, so one of your first purchases in a new country should be a prepaid SIM card or phone. Even if you don’t find work right away, you’ll need a phone to call your family and tell them all about your new adventures!


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