Filipina author Donna Avellana Künzler draws from her experience moving to a foreign country as she shares a comprehensive list of the important paperwork Filipinos planning to seek a better life abroad must prepare before their departure.
Avellana Künzler has spent almost 20 years abroad in a successful career in finance. She first relocated to Singapore, continued her adventures in the United States, then in the United Kingdom, before finally settling down in Switzerland—first in Basel and now in Zurich.
Through her debut book, The Overseas Fabulous Pinay: A Modern Filipina’s Guide on How to Thrive Abroad, she lists down tips, shares light-hearted anecdotes, and details how to move abroad efficiently, settle in, and adjust to new culture, among others.
But before anything else, she advises, “Make sure you have prepared all the required paperwork and clearances for your move. Some are a must, while some are a nice-to-have.”
“As a friendly reminder, do note that some paperwork needs time and effort, or needs to be done in person. Give yourself ample time when preparing these documents before your departure.”
1. Passport. This must be valid for at least six months or one year from date of travel, depending on the destination. She recommends checking with one’s destination country’s embassy website to be sure.
2. Visa/work permit/residence permit. It’s important to have the appropriate document to prove the legality of your stay as a foreigner.
3. POEA clearance. Obtain proper immigration clearance when you are at passport control at the airport, says Avellana Künzler. It’s also a way to ensure that your future employer is not an illegal recruiter.
4. Employment contract. This is a must-have document in case you get asked at passport control to provide proof of employment.
5. Proof of accommodation. Another must-have if evidence of stay is requested at passport control.
6. Various certificates of education and professional qualifications. Keep a copy or have the original in case they’re required for employment purposes. These may include certificates of education, transcript of records, copies of professional certifications and training, employment certificates, employer recommendation, and reference letters.
7. Certificates of funds and investments. These refer to bank accounts, stock certificates, property title, etc., which are useful as proof of net worth. This applies to future investments, computing your income tax, and so on.
8. Driver’s license. Have one that is valid, suggests Avellana Künzler, to be able to rent a car when needed and for when applying for a driver’s license in the country in which you will work and live.
9. Power of attorney. If you are leaving properties behind (e.g., real estate, an automobile, etc.), organize a power of attorney to facilitate their administration and maintenance.
10. Others. These are birth certificate, medical certificates, vaccination record/history, and NBI clearance.
The Overseas Fabulous Pinay: A Modern Filipina’s Guide on How to Thrive Abroad is available at Barnes and Noble, Kobo, and Amazon for P750.
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