Thursday, December 7, 2006

Relocation process has started

The relocation process really started moving this week. The transfer paperwork and Swiss employment contract have been signed and will officially be turned in while in Switzerland next week. We've been contacted by the individuals coordinating the actual move, language training, immigration, tax, cultural training and house sale.

The move is broken into 2 sections, air and surface. The items shipped surface will take 6-8 weeks to get to Switzerland. That is currently scehduled for the 10th and 11th of January, but I will try to have that happen a week earlier so that we aren't sitting on the floor in Switzerland for too long. The items shipped by air take 2-3 weeks. That seems a bit excessive for a 12 hour flight, but what do I know. I guess there is a 3rd piece to the shipping, which is our checked luggage on the plane. I believe we'll have four tickets, so we'll be able to check quite a bit of stuff.
The language training was a bit of a surprise. I was under the impression that the relocation would include language classes, but we actually get 1:1 training with a tutor. Each of us get 150 hours of assistance, so we should be able to learn something . We'll use a portion of that before we leave the states and the rest when we arrive in Switzeland.

The immigration process for non EU citizens is a little complicated. I have to provide copies of my resume, diplomas, passport, criminal history(I'm clean!), and Swiss employment contract. We also have to provide a criminal history, marriage certificate, and copy of Em's passport. For the kids we have to submit copies of their passports and their bith certificates. The work\residence permit and visa's could take 6-8 weeks, so it will be interesting to see if everything is done on time. I've also learned that the shipper won't ship anything until we have a visa, so that could be fairly messy.

The tax implications are a bit confusing. The US government wants a portion of my income regardsless of where I am living. After my first tax briefing I wasn't worred about having to pay US taxes as there are a credits\exclusions\deductions that can be taken to avoid double taxation. I am a little more concerned after my 2nd meeting, but I'll wait until I read all the documentation before I get too worried. I meet with the Swiss tax consultants next week, which will be good as I don't really understand the Swiss tax process.

We get too days of individualized cultural training before we leave. I am interested to attend this, but am worried that it will just contain information that I have already read in books or online. That should happen sometime in January.

The company is also assisting us in selling our house. They will help coordinate everything(including an agent) and will help with a 3rd party buyout of the house if necessary. I have about 50 pages worth of stuff to read on this, so more information will be coming.

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