Moving Abroad Checklist: What to Research & Pack
So, you’ve made the leap and decided to move abroad? What an adventure! You’ll soon be immersed in a new culture, enjoying the incredible experience of living in a different country. The buildup to a big move can be a hectic and busy time, so we’ve prepared a moving abroad checklist to ease the burden.
Moving Abroad Checklist: What to Research Before Going
What do I need to do before moving abroad? Well, in this first part of our moving abroad checklist, we’ll list the vital info you need to research before making the move.
Getting to grips with this will stop you getting in a pickle further down the line...
✅ Residency laws:
You should have your new country’s residency laws etched into your mind, because you don’t want to build your life in a new place only for the authorities to say you’ve outstayed your welcome. And bear in mind that qualifying for residency might be subject to your situation – e.g. keeping your job, being with your partner, or staying within the country for a certain period of time.
Is there an NHS-style public healthcare system, or do you need to pay for private insurance to cover healthcare when you move abroad? If you have an EU nationality and you’re moving to another country within the EU, the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) will cover you for most emergencies – but when moving overseas you should always plan for comprehensive long-term healthcare cover.
If you’re taking medication, you should research the availability of your treatment before moving abroad. You might be able to stock up for the short-term before you move, but countries have different rules about the type and amount of medication you can bring in your luggage. And don’t forget to research the vaccines you need – some countries only allow you to cross the border if you’re vaccinated.
✅ Costs and taxes:
Of course, you should know all about the living costs – accommodation, utilities, food, and leisure. Compare the cost of living in your new country (and city) to your current one and see if you need to cut your outgoings or whether you’ll enjoy a bit more in the coffers than you’re used to.
And it’s important to know about your tax in the new country. Depending on your employment situation, you should research whether you’ll need to fill in tax returns or whether your tax is automatically calculated and taken off your salary (like PAYE).
Every country has a different tax system, so you might want to speak to a local tax professional when you arrive if you’re in doubt. Even if you don’t need to know the ins-and-outs, try to get to grips with the basics so you don’t fall foul of the tax collectors.
Important note: Do I need to tell HMRC if I move abroad? Yes, you should. And if you have UK-based assets, you may still be liable to pay tax on them. Call HMRC in the months leading up to moving overseas, and speak to an advisor to get everything in order.
You’ll likely have a plan for getting by in your new country, but it’s also wise to research the jobs market – either to plan your next step or just to get an idea for what’s available. You might ask:
- Are there jobs available in my area, or is it hard to find one?
- Are there jobs for people who speak my language (or my level of a new language)?
- Are there companies in the city/country that I’ve worked for before?
- What is the average salary like for someone of my experience?
And you should also check out the info about pensions, employment insurance, workers rights (holiday/sick pay), and unemployment benefits. As a “foreign” resident, you might get the same access as the locals, or you might not. It depends on the laws of the country that you’re moving to.
Again, you’ve probably already sorted this out – at least in the short-term. But after settling into your first accommodation, you don’t want to be surprised by a shortage or cost of housing. Get an idea for what you can expect, whether you’re intending to buy or rent a home. This is pretty simple to do – browse the local estate agents and check out expat forums about accommodation in the area.
✅ Wrapping up loose ends:
As part of the checklist before you move abroad, these are some of the things to wrap up at home:
- Stop all utilities (water, electricity, gas, phone, internet, etc.)
- Speak to your mobile provider about ending your contract
- Set up mail forwarding at your old address
- Notify HMRC, social security, your GP, dentist, and the Department of Work & Pensions
- Tell your bank and credit card companies about the move
- Inform student loans about your move and ask about overseas repayments
- Cancel memberships (e.g. gym) and subscriptions (e.g. local newspaper)
- Sell your car or inform the authorities that you’re taking it out of the country
- If you have kids, inform the school that your family will be moving abroad
Moving Abroad Checklist: What Items Should You Pack?
Packing your bags to move abroad can be overwhelming. Whether you’re taking everything you own at once, finding temporary storage, or sending boxes in the post, there will be tough choices to make. In this part of the moving abroad checklist, we’ll feature the things you should definitely take with you.
✅ Important personal papers:
These will differ based on your own personal situation, but here are some of the paper records that you may get asked for when you’re moving abroad:
- Passport… of course!
- Visa, if required
- Birth certificate
- Driving license
- Marriage certificate
- Immunisation (vaccination) records
- Bank account statements
- School or university certificates
- Insurance policy documents
- Employment and tax records (e.g. P45 and P60)
Important note: Lots of countries around the world require you to have at least 6 months left on your current passport when you travel. Check this before you go.
Wherever you go in the world, you’re likely to need money:
- Some local currency in cash
- A card to make payments and withdraw from ATMs
Depending on where you’re moving, you might need to set up an account with a traditional local bank after you arrive. But in the meantime, you’ll need an easy way to access cash at local ATMs and make card payments – without it costing the earth. And in the long-term, you’ll need to find an affordable way to convert currency and make international money transfers. Enter, Revolut...
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So, signing up for a Revolut account should be a key item to tick off on your moving abroad checklist. 😊
✅ Home comforts:
For all the wonderful benefits of relocating overseas, homesickness can strike out of the blue for the best of us. When this happens, a few home comforts can be the perfect tonic. Things like:
- Your pet (make sure you get the right permits and vaccinations)
- Photographs of friends and family
- Tasty food and drink (e.g. tea for the Brits!)
- Cosmetics, perfumes, and toiletries that you can’t get abroad
- Cherished childhood mementos
- Your favourite books in your language
- Your favourite board games and card games
- Your favourite vinyls, cassettes, or CDs from the past
Granted, you might struggle to fit all of this in your luggage – but you can always ship it out in a box.
Moving Abroad Checklist: When You Get There
When you get to your new country, you should prioritise a few tasks:
- Register with the council or local authority
- Register the kids with a school or college
- Register with a doctor’s surgery
- Register with a dentist’s surgery
- Check where the nearest hospital is
- Get a mobile phone or new phone contract
- If required, open a local bank account
- Get the utilities set up in your new home
- Sign up for a language learning class
- Check out the local clubs and communities
Good luck on your adventure – and let us know if this moving abroad checklist has helped!
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