Moving abroad can be an exciting experience. It can be a chance to learn about a new culture and maybe a new language and can really boost your prospects when you return to the UK or even open up a whole new life in another country. While everyone has their own experience of what it’s like to move abroad, here are some points everyone should check before they go.
Be sure you’re clear on your immigration status
This may sound like stating the unbelievably obvious, but some countries can have unbelievably complicated immigration systems (the U.S., for example, is notorious for its multitudinous visa options) and immigration rules can and do change. Getting this wrong, even by mistake, can have all kinds of negative implications, so make sure you get it right.
Research places to live thoroughly
Do your research in places which offer guidance to ex-pats rather than to tourists as living in a country is often very different from going there on holiday. For that reason, you should usually hold off choosing your long-term home until you are actually on-site and preferably at least reasonably familiar with the area.
Work out how you’re going to get access to your money
As a minimum, you want to know how you’re going to get access to the funds you have in the UK. Most UK banks issue either Visa cards or Mastercards which, in principle, can work internationally, but many banks put restrictions on cards to limit opportunities for fraudsters. Removing these restrictions can be as simple as letting your bank know you’re moving abroad – and if it’s not you want to know well in advance so you can make alternative arrangements.
If you need a bank account in your new home country, then you may want to try arranging it before you leave as this can often be one of the most challenging aspects of moving abroad.
Think about what documents you’ll need and any administration you’ll need to do
Obviously, you’ll need your passport and visa and if you’re planning to drive then you’ll need your UK driver’s licence but this may then need to be converted into a local one. You’ll also need to think about making sure you can vote while you’re away. This can be done by post, but only if you fill in the form.
You’ll need to let your mobile phone provider know that you’re going away and decide what to do with your number. If you want to keep it, then you’ll probably want to be on PAYG and you may need to make arrangements to top up periodically. You may also want to buy a local PAYG SIM card before you leave so you can hit the ground running and if you do, you might also want a second handset (make sure it’s unlocked). Speaking of handsets, make sure the one(s) you take will work on at least one of the networks where you are going because different countries use different frequencies.
Decide what you’re taking with you and how to get it there
First of all, check that anything you plan to take is actually legal. Some countries have restrictions which can seem very odd, for example, Kinder Eggs really are banned in the U.S. Secondly, consider the transport cost versus the cost of buying the item new when you reach your destination. When looking at this point, think about whether you could sell the item in the UK and rebuy it in your new home country. Think about what needs to or can be packed and shipped in advance? Will you need specialist or bespoke packing for particular items? Are you shipping vehicles and electricals and if so have you arranged customs?
If you require more information or would like to speak to us about our moving service, please contact us today.