Monday 11 November 2019

Repatriation Part 2 - Starting to get organised

So we're relocating to the UK over the next 6 - 36 months. Who knows when we'll actually both be living there full time, but as expats for the last 9 years in South Africa and Dubai, life has been one big adventure anyway.

It's also been very unsettled for me, not working, leaving our families behind, coping with the death of my father in 2017 and now the kids are getting married and having children of their own.

So what have I done since I wrote the last post?

I've signed up with a rental agent in the UK to deal with our flat.

Contacted relocation companies for the pets in January and furniture in May.

Spoken with our current landlord in Dubai and negotiated a 6 month contract rather than a year, at the cost of 7,250 AED (£1,500) admin fee on top of 6 months rent to paid up front.

Booked my flight to return to the UK in November/December and car hire.

Started to look for a car to buy in the UK and sell my car in Dubai.

Woken up at 4 am most mornings thinking about what I need to do.

Panicked at 4.15am every morning at the enormity of the task ahead.

Been thankful everyday that this whole move is in our (my) control and that we have the finances to do this and don't require visas.

I've also discovered I need to complete Customs clearance for transfers of residence in the UK before flying the cat and dog over or receiving our container of furniture or duty and tax is applied.

My next job is to now fill in the forms and obtain the documentation required for the cat and dog to fly out and arrive in the UK within 5 days of my arrival on January 30th. Preferably on the same flight as me or I have to find a flight buddy for them. I need to take measurements, sort crates, get the cats rabies shot done in December, book flights and arrange transport from the UK airport to the house.

I'll let you know how I get on.

In the meantime I had a relocation company visit to quote for packing and shipping. For all our moves we've had to itemise the contents and provide a replacement cost for the country we're relocating to for insurance purposes. I have the paperwork from both moves so only have a few things to add and work out the replacement values. On our first move we weren't informed of this until the container was ready to ship.

In my head I've started to plan what furniture is going back to the UK and what is staying in Dubai and how/where it will all fir.

Our family home is a 6 bed house, I'll use the furniture from the flat for the first 6 months and I'll have proper time to work out how we'll use the house fully. For now though, I'll only be using the kitchen, 1 bedroom which is ensuite and the lounge and conservatory. Once the furniture is in, I'll keep the bedroom for visitors, move back into our old room and set the rest of the house up. The 2 bedrooms on the 1st floor will remain empty and the 2 bedrooms on the 3rd floor will be used for storage rather than putting things in the attic space.

We've been advised we don't need to look for an apartment in Dubai until the first week of May and I can sort out the furniture for that then, before everything else gets packed up and shipped. As we'll cross over with 2 properties in Dubai for a week or two.

I also have to sell the fence and the garden contents before we leave.

You can read more of our Repatriation story below:

Some of these links aren't yet live and will be updated.

Repatriation or Operation Relocation

Part 1 Things we have to do

Part 2 Starting to get organised

Part 3 Transfer of Residence

Part 4 Relocating pets. Dubai to UK

Part 5 Sorting out our new home in the UK

Part 6 Bob and Pushkins arrive in the UK. What do they think of it? February 2020

Part 7 Renting an apartment in Dubai May 2020

Part 8 Vacating a Villa in Dubai May 2020

Part 9 Moving Day May 2020

Part 10 Relocation


  1. Oh wow, a lot to do. Very best of luck with your relocation. And best of luck dealing with the admin.