I Want to Move Abroad, Where do I Start?
This is a much-asked question. The idea of moving abroad, starting a new life and realising a dream is something contemplated by lots of us. But not as many actually follow through with the plan. Why is that though? Fear, uncertainty? It could be a host of reasons. Sometimes, it just comes down to not knowing how to put it into practice. Pre-covid, there were over 700,000 British expats living in Europe. That number looks like increasing too.
If you have been thinking about starting a new life abroad, this guide will hopefully help. From thinking about which country to expat travel insurance, from job searches to tying up loose ends in your home country. We aim to have you covered so your new life will show the grass can be greener.
Decide on a country and research its visa requirements
You may have drawn up a list of dream destinations, maybe influenced by previous holidays or things you have read online. Before settling on it though, you will need to know whether you will be welcome. Some nations have very strict visa policies. The last thing you would want is to declined entry.
First, find the government website for the country you are looking to move to. From here you should be able to see if you match any required criteria. Alternatively, the UK embassy for the country will be able to assist.
Sometimes, you can be granted a stay of up to 90 days before settling. This can be useful in the early stages as you weigh up all the other issues you may be confronted with.
Luckily for British people, the English language is widely spoken throughout the world. To assist you with your move, you may want to consider a country with English as a first language. If not, embrace the digital age. There are lots of apps and online courses that teach foreign languages -Some for free! A basic understanding will go towards creating a much better living experience.
Begin a job search
Moving abroad isn’t going to be a holiday. It is your new home, so much like when you were living in the UK, you will need to work to be able to pay the bills. Start applying as early as possible so that any visa you are granted can be turned into a permanent one thanks to your secured employment. We must stress that employment is no guarantee of a permanent visa – it does work in your favour though.
Some businesses may be reluctant to hire somebody from abroad that is not based in the country already. However, a visa granted in advance of a move is a very valuable asset.
Accommodation & living costs
You may have found the perfect country to settle in, you may have found out the visa requirements and applied for one. This will all count for nothing if the cost of living far outweighs any potential earnings or savings you may have.
A recommendation would be to check accommodation costs and any associated extras such as utilities. Will a salary in the new country be enough to support these costs? If you own your house in the UK, consider renting it out to tenants. The extra revenue generated from rent may help your costs abroad. Alternatively, if you have everything organized for your move, you could sell your UK house, using the raised funds to help purchase a new home.
To make sure your money works better for you:
- Speak to your UK bank about setting up an international account. You will need to retain a UK account if you have a house sale going through.
- Make a decision on any ISA. You can keep it open in the UK and earn tax relief, but after one year of living abroad, you can no longer deposit into it.
- Complete a statutory residence test to see if you will have to pay expat taxes.
Expat health insurance
Whilst carrying out your research on your preferred new home, you may have come across information about the health service provided there. Some countries operate like the UK, with the equivalent of an NHS. Others operate like the USA, where some relatively simple procedures can cost a lot of money. This is why it is always best to assess what you may need and what it covers. The Expatriate Group is an expert in providing expats with comprehensive international healthcare insurance. With a free quote, you will be able to protect yourself and your family from excessive costs.
Daily living costs as an expat
We touched upon this earlier as something you may need to factor in before you make your move. Budgeting is always going to put you in good stead. However, some things may not be fully evident until you are there. The contracts associated with them may not be able to be formalised until you are in your new property.
- Find the suppliers of water, gas and electricity and set up plans.
- You will need a new mobile phone contract. Your current network in the UK may be able to help.
- Find an internet supplier. As with the other utilities, you will need to research companies that can provide you with the service you require.
- Shopping – there will be new supermarkets, clothing stores, garages and more to familiarise yourself with.
Tie up loose ends
Before you begin your new life there are obviously a few things that you need to do in order to cut yourself off from certain UK commitments. You don’t want to be paying council tax for a property you no longer live in for example. So, as a matter of course, cancel all contracts, bills or payments that may be linked to UK-based activity. There are a few other things you must make sure action:
- If you have a student load outstanding, you must contact the student loan provider. You are still responsible for the payments and may be prosecuted if you do not keep up the payments.
- If you receive any benefits, you must contact the relevant government department to inform them of your move. In some cases, you may still be eligible to receive them.
- Inform any pension providers that you are moving. The state pension will be eligible if you have made the relevant NI contributions. If you haven’t, you still should inform them so you can learn how to claim your pension in the new country.
- Contact HMRC and inform them of the move. If self-employed, a new self-assessment will be needed. If you were working for someone else, ask for your p45.
- If you still wish to vote in UK elections, contact the local council and inform them of the move. They will then provide you with relevant documents.
Transport your belongings to your new home
Hopefully, everything else will have ran smoothly. It now comes down to transporting everything to your new place. How much you have will determine what options suits. You could go by air, land or sea, depending on where you are moving too. Just research all costs first, as by air can cost almost 16 times more than by boat.
Moving abroad can be an exciting time. As with anything, the stresses of moving and relocating can lead to things being forgotten. Let the Expatriate Group take care of your health insurance needs with our comprehensive international health insurance. We can also help with one way travel insurance so your journey can be as stress free as possible.
Receive a free quote today.