Moving Abroad

Whether it’s for work or the lure of a better life in the sun, about 140,000 Brits leave the UK every year for a new life abroad. But, if you find yourselves joining their ranks yourself, how do you ensure the move goes smoothly?

Finding work and a home abroad are one thing but before you jet off to pastures new there are a few things you need to do first. Here’s six you shouldn’t miss off your to-do list:

Sell your home

As one chapter begins, another closes. Chances are you’ll need the money from your house sale to help you put down roots in your new country. Selling a house can, as we all know, drag out for many months but there are options to cut the time and stress involved.

You might have seen firms claiming ‘we buy any house’. These pledge to send you an offer in 24 hours and to work towards a cash completion in seven days. Explore this option to see if you can speed up your move.

Pay off any debts

It’s best to start your new life with a clean slate and, while you might want to leave a UK account open, it’s a good idea not to leave any debts in it.

Expat Banking Director at Lloyds TSB International Richard Musty advises: “Paying off debts in the UK before you move is a good idea as it makes managing your finances less complicated and reduces the risk that currency fluctuations will increase the cost of these debts.”

Get your paperwork in order

Before you go you need to fill out a P85 form, which will let the taxman know what you’re up to, help you get any refund you may be owed and ensure you are free from needing to file future tax returns. HMRC will need to know your getaway date and see a copy of your P45 along with this form.

Go on a fact-finding mission

Before you go for good you need to go out to your destination on a visit. This time pop off the rose-tinted holiday shades and start thinking practically. This visit should be about finding where the local amenities are, how the public transport system works and all the other things that will be essential to your day-to-day life. If you’ve got a property in mind you can make your arrangements for this too, although don’t feel the need to rush – you can always buy further down the line once you’ve got used to your new life.

Don’t get caught out over healthcare

Once you leave the UK you’ll leave behind the NHS and you need to take that into account. As a traveler, a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) would suffice but not any more. Research the requirements of your new country and take out any insurance you might need to avoid getting caught out.

Learn the lingo

If you’re heading to a country where English isn’t the first language, then you need to get up to speed before you go. Your holiday vocabulary needs to be broadened out and while you will pick things up quickly while you’re out there it’s important to get some practice in before you go. Don’t be complacent if you’re moving to a country that speaks English; there will still be local customs and cultural norms that you need to learn.