Moving abroad comes with a long to-do list of things to organise, buy or transfer. Almost every aspect of your daily life will need to be adjusted to ensure that your transition to expat life is smooth and seamless.
Despite the complexity of the process, millions of people successfully move abroad every year and become ex-pats. By organising the most important things before you move, you too can be successful.
To make sure you don’t miss any of the essential steps before your transition to ex-pat life, we’ve covered the most important things to remember when you’re planning to move abroad. Think of this article as your ultimate international travel checklist!
The majority of countries require ex-pats to purchase health insurance before moving there. Health insurance allows you to access healthcare services in your chosen country, in most cases at a subsidised rate. Even if the country you’re moving to offers free national healthcare, such as the UK, you may still need health insurance to access hospitals and GP surgeries.
It is particularly important for those of you who already receive regular treatment, therapy or medication to take out health insurance so that you can continue to access the medical care you need. However, you never know when you might need emergency surgery or medical treatment, so even if you’re young, fit and healthy, it’s important to have health insurance.
When choosing health insurance, make sure you choose a plan that offers the level and type of cover you need. For example, if you usually require specialist treatment for a chronic condition, check that your chosen policy covers these specific treatments.
This section doesn’t apply to you if you’re retiring abroad. However, if you plan to work in your destination country, it’s best to organise this well in advance of your move.
If you work for an international company, ask your manager if you can transfer to an office in the country you’re moving to and continue in your current role. Alternatively, you can use a move abroad as an opportunity to change career paths and try something completely new.
If you choose the latter, you should start your job search early. Interviews and hiring processes can take several weeks or even months. Successfully landing a new job in your chosen expatriate country will ease your worries and ensure you have a steady stream of income from the day you move.
It may sound obvious, but when you’re moving to another country you need to take your time choosing a location. It’s easy to rush into this decision and choose the country’s capital or the most popular tourist destination. But these aren’t always the best choices for expats.
Take the time to research your options and find the location that best suits your needs and preferences. Look at what each city or town has to offer and whether it has the amenities and facilities you’ll need. For example, if you’re moving with young children, you’ll need to find an area that has good educational facilities and is family-friendly.
Consider local crime rates, weather conditions and local amenities before making a final decision. If possible, read unbiased reviews of the places you’re considering from other people online, and check local or national government websites for factual information about each place.
It’s best to organise your utilities before you move to your chosen country. Arrange for your suppliers to activate your account on the day you move so that you don’t have to pay standing charges for the days you’re not in your new home.
Search online for utility companies in the area you are moving to and compare prices and plans. If you’re not sure which company to choose, contact them directly to discuss your options.
Make sure you organise electricity, gas, water and Wi-Fi to ensure you have access to the basics from the day you move into your new home.
You will also need to cancel your existing policies and direct debits with your current suppliers before selling your home. If you plan to keep a property in your home country, contact your suppliers to see if they can offer some sort of discount during the times of the year when that property will be empty.