Moving abroad is an incredibly exciting prospect, but there is no avoiding the necessary preparations. One thing you don’t need is stress due to lack of awareness about possible issues in a new country and culture. For example, there may be documents, permits and visas required. There may also be pre-planning required within your home country and loose ends to tie up.
None of these things are insurmountable, but it pays to be ready for a smooth transition into your new life. The following tips cover the necessary preparations for starting out in a new country, so that you can quickly settle and enjoy the wonderful experience ahead.
Tie Up All Loose Ends
It is important to tie up loose ends in your home country so that there are no repercussions once you’ve left. If not covered, these can be quite expensive and time consuming to rectify. For instance, your Government may need to be informed that you’re leaving.
There may be tax implications, or a pension scheme that could be affected by your move. The same goes for benefits, and electoral registers. Be sure to contact your local tax and electoral offices, as well as your health service and pension scheme providers to inform them of your decision to move. This way you can complete the necessary paperwork and understand what is required of you in the future.
This could even save you money in the form of tax deductions on moving expenses. It’s also a good idea to notify your overseas embassy of the move. If you think you may miss out on important post, have this redirected to your new address.
Be Realistic About What You Need
Most people have a few sentimental items that they want to move abroad with. That’s normal. However, when this includes large furniture items, you might find yourself forking out for huge shipping bills. It could be the case that you would save more money by selling these on and replacing them in the new country. Again, research is required.
If you’re going to sell a lot of your stuff, allow plenty of time for this. It’s amazing how time consuming it can be to offload your belongings; you never know what you’ll be stuck with, so don’t leave this to the last minute. Decluttering is something that should be done as a first step, in fact.
It can be cathartic to cleanse your life of old possessions, making way for the new. It’s a fresh start on all counts. It’s also wise because you may find that the old possessions are not so suitable for your new home; they may take up too much space or clash with the décor.
Research Employment Opportunities
If you’re looking to earn an income in your new country, research career opportunities before you leave. Working in a foreign country may necessitate specific types of visas, so it’s important to have one that allows you to work.
You should also find out what kind of work is available to you as a foreign national, and consider contacting some companies to see if any opportunities are available. It’s hard to predict how much time it will take to find work if you wait until you’ve actually arrived. Find out if you’ll need to learn any new skills or not, and prepare for this before leaving so that you’re qualified on arrival.
When accepting overseas employment, do your homework on what taxes you’ll need to pay and who to. If you leave this to your employers, you might find you end up paying too much… and nobody needs that!
Apply for an International Driving License
If you think you’ll want to drive in the new country, it is a very good idea to obtain an International Driving Permit before you leave. This is an internationally recognised document, and as your home country’s driving license may not be valid, you could receive fines or bans if caught driving without the proper paperwork.
Contact your local AA authority ahead of the move date for an international license. With this you’ll be able to drive for 12 months, but note that it is dependent on you also having a full driver’s license issued in your home country.
After one year, you must obtain a local driving license in the country you’ve relocated to. This can be challenging, so having an international license for the first year gives you time to prepare, allowing you to familiarise with the local road rules and gain confidence driving abroad.
Sort Out Your Financial Affairs
Before you leave, figure out the costs of living in your new country, and make sure you are covered financially. If things are a lot more expensive by comparison, you could find that you run out of money more quickly than anticipated. If you have debts to pay in your home country, create a budget that incorporates these outgoings.
Find out what you need in order to secure a bank account in the new country too; there may be documents required, such as proof of residency, ID, and proof of income. Research this before leaving, as life can be challenging without a local bank account. At the very least, ensure you have a Revolut account so that you won’t be charged extortionate fees for spending or withdrawing abroad.
If you think there’s a chance you’ll want to move home again, keep a credit card open in your home country so that you don’t lose your credit rating. This may also help to cover repatriation costs in an emergency.
The chances are that things will be quite different in the new country. This applies to traditions and cultural expectations. It is amazing how accustomed we can be to our home country’s social etiquette and ways of working and living. However many similarities are present in the new culture, there are bound to be a few differences that challenge you from time to time.
It is important to be flexible and accepting of these differences. For example, working hours might vary, as might expectations around time management and punctuality. You may not be able to find the kind of foods you’re used to eating, and communication, politeness and general attitudes could be at odds with your home country’s culture. Resisting these differences or insisting upon what is familiar will cause stress and discomfort. It may even offend people, which isn’t helpful when trying to make connections abroad.
Jessica is the head of content for Hire A Box - her fathers moving company. In her spare time, she enjoys travelling around the world to different surf spots and tasting the local cuisine.