Moving Abroad Checklist

9 min read

Are you planning on moving to another country? Whether it's for business or pleasure, moving from your home country is an exciting yet nerve-wracking prospect. After all, apart from the cost implications of making such a life-changing decision, there's the exciting, if not daunting prospect of having to adapt to a brand-new culture.

So, what’s the best way to prepare for the life change? We’ve created a moving overseas checklist to help you get organised for arriving in your destination country. Follow these steps to ensure you’ve got everything covered when moving abroad.

Get the correct documents

Moving abroad requires getting the correct documents in place. There are a few documents that you’ll require unless you’re moving to Ireland or a British territory. The first thing you’ll need is a visa. Check the official government website of your host country for this, as well as customs rules. If you’re going to move your belongings, there may be extra documentation required.

Here's a list of documents to get you started:

  • Passport – check that it’s in date
  • Work permit
  • Birth certificate
  • Marriage certificate
  • Academic achievement record
  • Work references
  • Medical records
  • Vaccination records
  • Driving licence – you may need an international driving permit depending on where you move, so check this beforehand.

Plan your moving budget

Once you’ve acquired the correct documents, it’s time to prepare your moving budget. Moving belongings overseas can be costly, and that doesn't even include the cost of moving yourself and your family to your new destination! Furthermore, you’ll need to find the money to cover any costs incurred for housing, whether you have purchased a property or plan to rent.

Every international move is different but ensuring you have at least three months worth of savings is a good idea, especially if you plan on becoming a permanent resident. In fact, some countries may even ask to see proof of funds before entering the country.

Pay for your accommodation

Moving abroad long-term means you’ll need to find suitable accommodation. You may need to factor in a deposit and the cost of a mortgage, as well as estate agent and solicitors' fees.

Moving to a suitable area is critical. Many expats moving abroad fail to research individual locations, meaning they’re exposed to high crime rates or areas with poor travel connections. Not knowing enough about the area you’re moving to can leave you vulnerable, so consider speaking to some foreign estate agents or solicitors before purchasing a property.

Some factors to research include:

  • Local crime rates
  • Local schools and childcare
  • Amenities
  • House prices and rental rates
  • Average property prices of deposit and estate agent fees
  • Travel connections

Book your travel

Remember to book your travel as soon as possible to get the best rate. Factor the cost of you flight, train or coach into your budget, so you’re fully prepared. Additionally, you may have to travel to and from your destination before permanently moving there so this is something you'll also need to consider.

Research into a removals company

If you’re moving furniture or heavy goods, you'll require a removals company specialising in international moves. These types of companies understand customs charges, how to pack for long-haul moving and any other overseas logistics that may be involved.

Set up an international bank account

Sorting out your finances before moving will save you a lot of stress and headache. Opening a new bank account is not always as seamless as it appears, so it may be worth contacting your bank first. Alternatively, it’s worth looking at the bank accounts in your new country to see what debit cards and credit cards they offer. You’ll likely need an international bank account if you plan on renting abroad. In the short term, you can transfer the funds you require with the help of a foreign exchange specialist such as Clear Currency.

Notify the right people

If you're moving to overseas from the UK, there are a few local and national government agencies you may need to notify beforehand. These include:

  • Your local council for council tax purposes.
  • Benefits office if you’re claiming benefits, such as child tax credit or working tax credit.
  • The electoral commission so that you can continue to vote while living abroad.
  • Your pension provider (Department of Work and Pensions), if you have already made contributions.

Sort out your tax

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) will need to be notified of your intention to move abroad as you may still be liable to pay tax. In many cases, you may need to complete a P85 form from HMRC, especially if you’re not returning to the UK or unsure when your return will be. If you’re planning on working abroad, finding relevant information on income tax and any other taxes you may have to pay in your destination country is essential.

Cancel utilities and subscriptions

If you have a mobile phone contract, utility bills or other subscriptions,  you’ll need to cancel these, unless you’re keeping your original property vacant. Utility providers, including gas and electricity suppliers, will need an updated energy reading to send you a final bill.

Redirect your mail

Don’t forget to redirect your mail with Royal Mail to ensure you receive important post at your new address. Plus, there are extra costs for more than one person. If you’re on a budget and looking to save money, you could ask the new occupants at your old address to save any mail for you and ask a family member to collect it.

Get insurance

Moving to a new country takes you out of your comfort zone. However, getting insurance is essential if you’re looking for complete peace of mind. What type of insurance plans will you need? Here are some insurance plans to obtain:

  • Travel insurance
  • Medical insurance
  • Health insurance
  • Life insurance
  • Home insurance

While insurance can be costly, it will keep you protected should anything go wrong. The last thing you want to deal with is your belongings going missing and not having any money to replace them.

Prepare your healthcare

Knowing that you have the right healthcare will save a lot of stress and tears if you need to see a doctor abroad or have a medical emergency. First, contact your current doctor and dentist to let them know you’re moving. If you have healthcare insurance in the UK, contact your provider to discuss your options. You’re no longer covered by the NHS when permanently living abroad as the NHS is a residence-based healthcare system.

You’ll also have to research into your new country to understand how its healthcare works. The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office has healthcare information for British nationals moving abroad.

Arrange transport for any pets

Moving your pets can be a headache, but if you want your furry friend by your side, it’s essential to follow the necessary steps. Nearly every country has pet regulations, so ensure that your pet has:

  • A microchip
  • Current vaccinations
  • A passport

You may need to place your pet into quarantine, so check this before you travel. It’s best to discuss this with a company that transports pets abroad as they will have the correct procedures.

Ship your vehicle

Own a vehicle? Taking a car overseas means you’ll have to obtain the correct paperwork, insurance and inspections. Generally speaking, transporting a vehicle is a fairly straightforward process but it does depend on where you’re travelling to. Make sure you thoroughly research into the country you're moving to, so you know exactly what documentation you'll require before shipping any vehcicles abroad.

Consider transferring your money abroad with Clear Currency

Moving abroad involves transferring money overseas to buy property, pay rent, ship furniture or pay for estate agent or solicitor fees. Dealing with foreign exchange rates and international payments can be confusing, especially in a foreign country. Make your move overseas easier by transferring your money abroad with Clear Currency. We offer bank-beating exchange rates for around 35 currencies worldwide and our dedicated currency specialists can provide guidance on FX tools such as forward contracts, which can help you save more of your money each time you make an international payment, large or small. Sign up for an account today.

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