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What should be on any US citizen's checklist for moving to Hong Kong?

1) Start contacting international schools now. The most efficient way of doing it is to e-mail the school asking if they have places, and don't waste your time filling out the application if they don't. What happens is that everyone gets wait listed until the the last moment, and then schools frantically call people the week before class to fill spots. Also, if you are an expat, look at the term "debenture" and shudder, and you might want to negotiate hard to have your company pay for this. A debenture is a very large deposit (i.e. tens of thousands of USD) that you have to pay the school that they return once your kid graduates. You might insist that your company pay this. Unfortunately, because companies are paying this the price goes up. If you have really young kids, the local schools are pretty good. They are however, Cantonese-speaking. Great if your kid is four years old and can pick up another language. Not good for teenagers. 2) The number of a good accountant (the US consulate has a list). You are going to need one to file your US income taxes, since the rules are a nightmare. My first years US income tax return came out to >100 pages. Once you have a professional do it one year, you can cut and paste for the next years. The good news is that the taxes for US expatriates are low, and much of that 100 pages involve working through the income exclusions. Remember to fill out FBAR.3) Any computer and appliances that are 220 volt, you can take to HK since it's trivial to find plug adapters. Anything that requires 120 volt, you should keep in the US. 4) Make sure you bring certified copies of your kid's birth certificates and also their immunization records. I think I needed the kid's birth certificates when I renewed their passports, and you will need immunization records when the health department does health screenings. One other odd thing that you need to keep handy is your diploma. I've had to submit a photocopy of my diploma for some applications in HK, which I've never had to do in the US. 5) Once you get to HK, you should get a Chinese visa. The rule is that the first visa that you get will be double entry. Once you use that, you can get a six month visa, and then a one year visa. If you have any relatives that are Chinese citizens, you can get a two year visa after your one year visa. Having a multiple entry China visa is generally useful for travel. Also make sure that none of the passports are going to expire soon. The problem is that HK immigration will run the visa to the passport expiration date, so if you have the passport expire soon there is an extra run to immigration. 6) One thing you will *not* need is health insurance. If you are in HK on an immigration visa, you can get nearly free medical treatment at the hospitals for anything serious, and for non-serious things the doctors are cheap (by American standards). I wasted my money buying travel health insurance before I got here. 7) Pensions and housing allowances work differently in HK. One thing about HK housing allowances is that's not like the US where they deduct the amount from your paycheck. They just mark some of it as housing for bookkeeping and that allows you to take an HK tax deduction. Pensions work very differently. Unfortunately, HK pensions are taxable under US, but one thing that I didn't realize (because it was obvious to everyone else) is that it's not a 401(k) system where you have to wait until you are 59.5 to get money. HK pensions will pay you a lump sum which is HK tax-free (although subject to US tax) once you switch jobs. Had I known that I'd get my pension when I switched jobs, I would have maxed it out. 8) Make sure that you have a copy of your companies HR policy and everything that they agreed to give you. Companies sometimes "forget" that they put something in your package. 9) Don't bring furniture. It won't fit in your apartment. Also don't bring bedsheets, the beds are different sizes. Also if you have a large number of books, you need to get rid of them because they probably won't fit in your apartment.

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