Top Tips for Relocating Overseas 

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Top Tips for Relocating Overseas 
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Perhaps you crave adventure or want to experience different cultures. Maybe a new job opportunity has arisen further afield. Retirement dreams of sunny climes may be calling you. Or you may be seeking an improved quality of life in another country. 

Whatever your motivation for selling your home and moving abroad, relocating to another country can be exciting yet daunting. That’s why thoughtful preparation is vital. There are practicalities to organise and research to conduct before you take the leap. But with careful planning, your overseas relocation can go smoothly. This blog covers the critical factors to consider as you contemplate this life-changing move. 

Common reasons to relocate overseas

People decide to move to another country for various reasons. Identifying your key drivers will help with decision-making and planning. 

Employment opportunities 

The chance to develop your career abroad can provide exciting new possibilities. Multinational companies may offer expatriate job packages. Or you could see local work overseas in your profession. Considering language requirements, salary, taxes, visa rules, and career development prospects is sensible. 

Lifestyle improvements

Seeking adventure, experiencing new cultures, or gaining a better climate may all motivate you to move abroad. Before committing, it is sensible to assess whether a different country genuinely aligns with your lifestyle expectations. 

Retirement plans 

Retiring to an overseas destination appeals to many seeking sunnier climates or lower living costs. However, you should evaluate healthcare provision, financial implications, visa constraints, and family ties. 

Personal relationships

Partners, family members or friends may live abroad or be moving overseas. If you want to be near them, be clear on your reasons for relocating before assessing practicalities. 

Visit your desired location in advance

It is best not to rely solely on books, television, and hearsay about what life may be like in your desired overseas home—endeavour to visit first, more than once, to experience daily life there. 

A recce trip enables you to answer questions like:

  • Is the climate and landscape what I envisioned?
  • Does the pace and culture feel right for me?
  • Could I settle in this community and make friends?
  • Are home comforts and amenities available if needed?

Base any visit around typical daily life, not just tourist activities. Chat with residents you encounter to get their perspectives. Look at local property rents and transport options. Shop at food stores and markets to check the goods available. And visit neighbourhoods at varied times and days to gauge their atmosphere. 

This real-life experience can then inform your relocation decision-making. 

Complying with visa, taxation, healthcare, driving license, and other administrative necessities is essential for a smooth transition overseas. Rules differ vastly across countries and regions. Before finalising plans, you must remain informed of your intended destination’s legal permissions, paperwork, and obligations. 

Visa requirements

Check visa rules for extended stays in your chosen country. Retiree, spouse, work or investment visas may be possible but often require an application demonstrating sufficient income, healthcare coverage and more. Restrictions may apply to accessing employment or public funds. Using an immigration lawyer can be advisable to navigate regulations. 

Tax implications

You may still have home country tax obligations even when living abroad. Most countries tax based on residency, but the US and Eritrea apply citizenship-based taxation. Tax treaties exist between the UK and certain countries to avoid dual taxation. Seek professional advice on liabilities. 

Importing possessions

Customs regulations on bringing vehicles, pets, and household goods need checking. Your belongings may be subject to import duties unless qualifying for transfer duty relief. Your shipment may also require formal customs clearance processes on arrival abroad.

Calculate the true cost of living 

Crunch the numbers to ascertain what living expenses may be in your potential new homeland. Comparing rental, utility bills, grocery and transport costs against realistic salary or pension expectations is essential.

Remember that living an expatriate lifestyle often incurs additional costs, like visa applications or trips home to visit family and friends. Budgeting tools can help build a clear picture. 

Some key aspects to factor in upfront are as follows:

  • Housing costs: Rental rates, buying property, utilities, furnishings 
  • Vehicle costs: Import duties, registration, insurance, fuel
  • Income tax rates: How much tax you will pay if working 
  • Healthcare and insurance: Private medical care, travel insurance 
  • Pension implications: Changes to pensions when abroad 
  • Travel costs: e.g., home visits

Running cost calculations early on can determine if relocating stacks up financially or may be more expensive than envisaged. 

Decide whether to sell your existing house 

Should you sell up entirely before moving overseas or keep your home as a UK base? This depends on your situation and intentions. 

Renting out your current property may generate welcome income, especially while living abroad. Equity in the house could also fund your overseas property purchase. Keeping a British base may be reassuring if you wish to return periodically to see family and friends. 

However, becoming an international landlord can be complicated. Legal responsibilities apply, and UK rental income will remain taxable. If you need capital from the sale to fund your relocation or are moving abroad long-term, then selling up may be prudent. 

Seeking property and legal guidance on the pros and cons of your particular circumstances is wise here. 

Sort out your employment plans 

If you are seeking or continuing to work abroad, learn about the country’s employment and business landscape before you move. 

Understanding the job market 

Research job websites and recruitment firms specialising in opportunities related to your profession and location of interest. Check that they advertise roles meeting your seniority, skills, and language abilities. Sign up for job alerts to learn more about vacancies, employers, salaries, and contract terms typical there. 

Assessing the local economy 

Researching your potential new country’s economic outlook, workforce culture, and business norms will help you position your skills. Study thriving industry sectors, labour laws and any language or experience prerequisites that employers prioritise locally when hiring. 

Transferring with your company

If an existing employer is relocating you abroad, be clear about the package and support offered. Contractual terms, job duties, salary localisation, bonus plans, taxes, and pension rights must be established. Support like relocation allowances, visa sponsorship, housing, schooling, or return flights should also be agreed upon. 

As crucial life, work, and money decisions rest on your pending overseas relocation, seeking professional counsel can prove very helpful before committing. 

Immigration lawyers and international tax accountants can ensure you comply with all necessary import, visa, tax and residency regulations abroad. Seek specialists experienced in handling British locations to your intended destination. 

Financial planners

Advisors with international expertise should assess how moving overseas may impact pensions, insurance, investments and mortgages. They can also detail currency controls, bank accounts, and credit implications to consider abroad. 

Property consultants

An international property agent or equity release advisor can run through considerations unique to overseas moves for a home sale or explain these as purchase or equity release queries. 

These experts can all help flag aspects that need action or further research so your move goes smoothly. 

Relocating overseas is often the journey of a lifetime. By following these critical tips during your planning phase, you can focus on embracing new overseas horizons ahead when your removal day finally arrives.  

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