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Moving is one of the most stressful experiences in our lives and moving abroad can be even more so. However,
most pitfalls can be avoided with careful planning and some of the stress can be alleviated by the sheer
excitement of living abroad. The following tips for moving abroad are aimed at people from the UK, but non British
readers may also find them useful.
- Start sorting out all of your belongings as soon as possible. This is especially important if
you plan to sell a lot of your furniture etc. but is also important if you want to take everything with you - you'll
be surprised at how much you don't really want to keep when you take overseas shipping costs into account.
- If you have children, try to move at or near the beginning of the summer holidays so that they'll have time
to settle in a bit before school starts. Unless you are moving to an English-speaking country, then try to
give them some grounding in the language (even if that is only buying them a vocabulary sticker-book).
- Also if you are moving to a foreign-speaking country then learn at least a little of language yourself -
you may not be able to find someone who speaks English when you need them.
- Get an application form for the new European Health Insurance card (EHIC) from the Post Office and check
whether or not you are covered for emergency healthcare in the
country you are moving to. If not then take
health insurance and remember to check whether or not you will be able to use it as a newly-arrived ex-pat.
- Fill in form P85 and take it to your nearest tax office or your employer. Unless you are moving abroad in April, you should
have a tax rebate to collect (since you can claim your full year's tax allowance)
- Go to your bank and fill in a "Not ordinarily resident" form so that you will not pay tax on your savings - make
sure you give them your new address or at least a contact address in the UK.
- Notify everyone! You may be able to collect records from your dentist / optician / doctor and your child's
school. These will be useful, and in the case of your child's school record, may be necessary in order to get
your child a place in a new school. Also make sure you make arrangements for your post to be redirected (perhaps
to a trusted friend in the UK).
- If you are taking your car abroad, then make sure your insurance covers you for driving abroad. Most UK
insurers will only cover you for 3 months abroad though, so it may be worth looking into finding a specialist company.
Also if your MOT will run out soon after you leave, get a new MOT certificate.
Finally, of course it would be wise to research your destination thoroughly. For general advice on moving
abroad, though, we would recommend the following:
The Expert Expatriate: Your Guide to Successful relocation abroad
Site last updated July 2017.
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