The importance of preparation and planning when moving abroad

Recently a warning has been issued by The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) to UK nationals who are moving abroad, recommending that they plan for the unforeseen issue that can arise due to their relocation before they move to a new destination abroad.

Whilst the attraction of a hotter climate and the experience of different cultures is a great pull for many of the UK population, this new focus from the FCO is designed to make sure expats have the best possible experience for their international move.

Of late, consular staff throughout the globe have seen an increase in the amount of UK expats needing help and support for financial concerns. In the majority of cases this is as a consequence of not having sufficient reserves to pay for healthcare bills, a property purchase going wrong, or facing some other hardship that has caused in financial difficulties.

Below is a checklist style guide to aid a smooth transition into expatriate life and beyond for people contemplating joining the 6 million UK nationals currently living overseas.

Moving or Retiring Overseas – Top Ten Tips

  1. Research the country you will be moving to, visit online forums and read the expat community resources available to help you get an understanding of what will be your new home.
  2. When buying a house overseas don’t rush the process. Make sure you are not hurried into decision and ensure you are aware of local regulations. Ensure you take the time needed to look around the area and other properties nearby so that you get a feel for the local area.
  3. Look into local customs and laws – Don’t come unstuck as a result of not doing your research, acquaint yourself with the local laws and customs.
  4. Planning healthcare for you and your family – Make sure you buy health insurance. When you leave the UK permanently you are no longer eligible to healthcare under the National Health Service (NHS) or through the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC).
  5. Obtain impartial legal assistance – Don’t feel pressured into to using your estate agent’s or property developer’s recommendations about where to seek legal advice as it is fundamental that your legal consultant knows the law in the country you propose to relocate to.
  6. Research the taxation policies of your new place aboard. Be sure to look into the related taxes in your new home. You should also know if there are any taxes applicable to you back in the UK after your international move.
  7. Don’t forget to tell official bodies that you are leaving – You will need to inform HM Revenue & Customs, the Social Security Office, and the Department of Work & Pensions that you are relocating overseas. Don’t forget to tell your family doctor as well as it is a good idea to obtain medical records before you go.
  8. Think about your long-term financial requirements of you and your family. Look into the affect that relocating abroad might have on any benefits, savings or retirement income. Think realistically when looking into your living costs overseas don’t just accept that they will be similar to your home country. If your relocation goes wrong make sure you have another plan.
  9. When moving overseas don’t ignore the exchange rates and possible implications to do with finance. These can have a large bearing on the money you will have available to you once you move.
  10. Consider the emotional aspects of your International Removal. A vital part of a successful move overseas is mixing with the local population, as this will play a significant part in aiding you to relax into your new place abroad. Ensure that you don’t separate yourself and make a conscious effort to learn and speak the local language.

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