Emergency Network 1

There is less stability in the life of an expatriate, as he or she generally travels more and is exposed to more unusual situations than those who live in the same country or even city all their lives. Thus, there is a greater need to prepare for emergencies like theft, loss or misplacement of documents and certificates, accidents and health risks.  

Medical Documents and Alert

To enable foreign doctors to act quickly in case of an emergency, you need to prepare some documents and their translations to ensure action can be taken when needed.   ● International Certificate of Vaccination (inoculation records) passport for each family member. ● Certified Blood Group Information. ● A list of medications you must take regularly including their medical names. ● A certificate for each family member that medication they have to keep with them is personally required, is not for resale and has no commercial value and that there is no evidence of drug addiction. Preferably, this is translated into the languages spoken in the host country and should accompany your Medical Travel kit all the time. ● A statement of your company that they will take over all expenses incurred by hospitalization or medical emergency. ● Prepare a guardian affidavit that allows persons to act on your behalf if your children have a medical emergency and you are not around. ● Prepare a list with addresses and numbers of all the doctors who were involved in treating your families, e.g. dentists, gynecologists, family doctors, specialists and ask them to keep your patient information in case of emergency. ● Ask for any personal medical information you might require e.g. eyesight, x-ray pictures, etc. and take them along or keep them at home base. ● Join an Emergency Assistance and check what your employer provides for you and if your credit card includes such a service. If so, this is usually only applicable if the trip was paid with the respective credit card. ● Photocopy all these documents several times to distribute them where needed. ● If you have a serious medical problem, like certain allergies or asthma, Medic Alert provides engraved bracelets that identify these ailments in case of an emergency. See Web Site below. ● At least, you should always carry copies of your significant medical history. ● Check your insurance cover and proceed to Medical Insurance for more information  

Create an Emergency Network

Appoint a person to act for you in case there is an emergency and a quick response is required by giving a lawyer or family member limited power of attorney. Carry along his/her address and contact numbers all the time for yourself and make it visible to others who may need to act on your behalf.
Power of attorney may be also useful to have a trustee handle your personal affairs in connection with bank accounts and regular payments such a child support or to act on your behalf in property affairs, loan liability and other obligations while you are living abroad.
Leave a copy of the power of attorney at home base. This person has to have your address and all your contact numbers at business and home, as well as contact numbers of people in charge of emergencies in your company. You always need to keep him or her informed about your travels and contact numbers, especially when the whole family is traveling together.
Your family needs to carry the numbers and office contacts of this emergency network all the time.  We also advise on making the necessary arrangement and changes in wills. You may need to draw up a second will in case death occurs while you are living abroad. You property may be subject to the host country's laws on inheritance and even local taxes.    

Buy a Document Safe

A safe is invaluable for an expatriate's Emergency Network! Keep a second key and the number codes separately and inform your trustee on the location.The safe is your storage for all important original documents and should have a fire resistance of minimum 3 hours.  

Create a Home Base

To have an effective back-up system, you should create a home base at a relative's or friend's place where you keep important documents and other items you may need when on home-leave. ● Authorize a reliable and trusted adult relative to transact business and personal matters on your behalf in your absence. State his/her responsibilities and powers clearly in a power of attorney. Do not choose a very senior or ailing relative for obvious reasons. ● Write your will and leave a certified copy with your trustee. If you have children, state who is responsible for them in case both parents have a fatal accident. ● Prepare a set of copies of all-important documents to keepsake or leave the originals at home base and take copies for yourself.    

Set up a Photo/Video Base

Take photos of your valuables, photocopy or scan certificates and receipts. Make a video of your present home with all furniture and items to be seen. Leave a set of photos at your home base and take the second set along in your hand carried luggage or install them on a CD Rom to be taken along.


The following table lists documents which in general should be copied, certified and translated for immigration, job search, medical purposes or others. We suggest you start your own list which will assist you in keeping track of the documents during your relocation.The tables also state which documents need to be passed on to your trustee and which should be with you during the move. For a list of documents you may need to hand-carry when on the move see the Hand-Carry List.
Original Documents Certified copies Translated copies Copies to Hand carry Originals
Adoption/Child Custody Papers/ Birth Certificates Yes Yes Trustee/guardian/home base /immigration Yes
Car No No Next owner No
Career Yes Yes Immigration/next employer Yes
Driving docs Yes Yes Insurance/host country police Yes
House/Property No No Tenant/trustee Management company Yes
Identification Yes Yes Immigration Yes
Income Tax Records No No Trustee/home base/tax advisor Yes
Marriage Certificate/Divorce Papers Yes Yes Trustee/home base/immigration Yes
Medical/Dental Records No Yes Trustee/home base/office Yes
Pet Papers Yes Yes Immigration/next owner Yes
Power of Attorney Yes Yes Trustee/home base Yes
Schools No Yes New School Boarding School Yes
Wills Yes No Trustee/home base Yes
  Look through all your personal files carefully and dispose of unnecessary and outdated documents and letters wherever possible. Be aware that many things will be outdated as soon as you leave the country (e.g. Fitness club memberships). Get rid of old magazines, letters and anything which you do not want to keep in storage!    

Insurance Data and Inventory Data Files

Keep names, addresses and policies of your insurances listed in a file for an easy overview and timely payment. In case of an emergency, other people may need to act on your behalf.

You need to list all items in your household with their value for household insurance purposes no matter how long ago they were purchased. Make a complete inventory once and complete the list whenever you buy something new.

To make this task easier, go to Step 4 "The Move".

Family Data File

List all documents of identification such as passports, birth certificates and others of all members of the family. Update regularly.

Financial Data File

During your expatriate life, you will use credit cards and maintain bank accounts in a number of countries. This file helps you keep track of the details and passwords. Secure file with a password!

Personal Address Files

Save time and start a mailing list for friends and family. This will help you to stay in touch. It is also great for mailings of Christmas Cards and Newsletters and address changes. Compile a separate file for private addresses and other contacts like banks, insurers, clubs, etc.

Career Data File

You will need certificates and documents regarding your career for immigration and job search purposes. Start a file of your documents, scan, photocopy and have them  translated and certified, if necessary.

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