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Everything you need to know about relocating abroad

Shifting your life and everything you own to another country is not a small decision. It’s not easy, and not necessarily quick. The rewards can be spectacular, but the research should be arduous if you want to make a successful transition. Aspects to consider include:


The usual reasons for relocating abroad are:
a) Work
b) Being closer to friends and family
c) Health/retirement
d) A new start

Of these four, the riskiest is option D. Help will be available for A and B, while C is a journey taken by thousands of people every year, seeking an easier way of life and probably hotter weather. D, however, is sometimes taken as a knee-jerk reaction to bad news and can be a regretful move if not carefully considered. Make sure you’re moving for the right reasons, because…

Life will change

Before committing, you might want to think about what life will be like without many of your family and friends and home comforts. Think about living in a country with a lack of cups of tea and where you may find it harder to fulfil some of your favourite little habits.

Don’t think about what life will be like in the opening months—predict how you will feel in a year’s time, or five years’ time. Run yourself through an average day—is it ‘you’, and if not, can you enjoy it?


There are a huge number of things to get through, and jobs will need to be organised and thorough. Your tasks will depend on where you are heading; for example, it’s much tougher to move to America or Australia than Ireland, for example. Much of the US presidential race is being fought on issues of immigration, so it is undoubtedly a hot topic—make sure you do your research on how to get a visa beforehand.

As well as entering, you also need to think about the location you are leaving. Notify the HMRC that you are planning to leave through a P85 form, which will help smooth the tax process. According to Experts for Expats, there are at least five common mistakes people make with their tax when moving abroad, including not declaring income in the new country and not adhering to the Statutory Residence Test.

Selling your home

The largest potential stumbling block, and one which could derail a dream job or making an offer on a perfect property abroad. You might need a quick house sale and if so an online company helping sellers and house buyers alike could be the best bet, potentially achieving the sale in as little as a week… Another option is renting out your current home—consider using a letting agent to smooth out the process.


Make sure your dogs and cats have been chipped and immunised at least 21 days before the date of travel. There will also be logistical issues with moving an animal a long distance.

Money transfer

The timing of your move could be critical, in that unfavourable exchange rates and bank accounts could take huge chunks of cash. You’ll need to set up an international bank account, which will enable you to make transactions when abroad without incurring extra charges.


The differences will be huge, and wide-ranging, even in countries where you expect similarities. Clearly, moving to Papua New Guinea or Mongolia will be a massive shift, but
even countries such as Spain present their own challenges—don’t bother moving there in August, for example, according to this article.

Other things to consider

Utility bills, council tax, packing and transporting, insurance, local schools, language barriers… there are a huge number of pitfalls and frustrations to overcome before making the move to a sunnier climate. However, once you’re lounging on the beach with a cocktail or beer, living in a cool continental city, or staring out onto acres of forest or desert, it will all have been worth the hassle. Good luck!