How Much Does it Cost to Move to Another Country?

Published Last Updated 8 min read

Are you planning on making a life-changing move to another country? Whatever your motivation, deciding to up sticks and begin a new life overseas is the simplest part of the moving process. If you want to make your dream a reality, you’ll need to be practical, organised and realistic - not least when managing your finances.

So, don’t waste time daydreaming about sunnier climes just yet. With so much to arrange and several costs to consider before and after you arrive, you’ll need to channel your inner accountant to make your move a success. Let’s explore some of the factors that will influence how you manage your budget.

Factors that determine the cost of moving abroad

Moving, especially to another country, is widely considered to be one of the most stressful life experiences, so don’t let the factors that influence the cost of your move add to your stress. It's important to understand the implications at every stage to avoid any nasty financial surprises.

These factors typically fall into three categories:

Before you leave

Well before you arrive in your chosen destination, you’ll have a long list of essential costs to cover:

  • Rental/deposit bond
  • Estate agent fees
  • Visa payments
  • Document authorisation
  • Removals
  • Storage
  • Travel
  • Medical insurance
  • Utilities

When you first arrive

Being clear about what you'll need to budget for when you arrive will help to alleviate one of the biggest stressors of your move. Here are some of the costs you’ll need to factor in on arrival:

  • Your first shop
  • Admin fees
  • Car registration and insurance
  • Income from home
  • Contents insurance
  • Mobile phone and contract

Once you’re settled

You moved abroad a while ago and your new country is starting to feel like home. It's at this point you may be considering making a larger purchase, such as buying or selling a property. Some of the costs associated with this might include:

  • House purchase
  • Purchase fees
  • Selling UK property
  • Storage and/or shipping

How much does it cost to move abroad?

The cornerstone of a successful move abroad is a well-planned and realistic budget, so you can manage the cost effectively. Here are some of the major considerations to factor in when calculating your budget.


There’s only so much you can fit into a suitcase, so you’ll need to think about how your worldly goods are going to move overseas with you.

With so many shipping companies to choose from, it pays to shop around to get the best deal. Don’t commit to the first provider you find. Check they have insurance, compare quotes from several companies and research their customer ratings, so you can be confident your possessions will arrive intact.

Moving overseas shipping costs are calculated based on several factors:

  • The volume or weight of the goods
  • The required moving services
  • The type of transportation used
  • The relocation distance
  • The relocation route
  • The time of year when the move takes place.

Customs duty charges and taxes

Don’t make the mistake of taking shortcuts when it comes to getting your possessions through customs. Not doing so could mean additional costs, piles of paperwork and lost items.

Most countries will require a detailed, itemised inventory of each item you intend to transport. This might sound laborious and intrusive, but it helps border officials to calculate customs duty and identify suspicious items.

There’s a good chance your shipping container will be inspected. Most are either X-ray scanned or physically checked (or both), so it’s crucial to understand exactly what is and isn’t allowed into the country you’re moving to before you pack. Some countries have restrictions on items you may not be aware of, such as ballpoint pens (Nigeria), chewing gum (Singapore) and Kinder Eggs (United States).

Visa fees

Your belongings won’t be of much use to you if you can’t enter the country with them! As part of your research, you'll need to find out whether you’re eligible to move to the country you have chosen to live in.

Your eligibility will depend on the destination country and the reason for your move - such as work, study, or retirement. Each country has unique visa requirements and different visa types will have different fees. Common visas include skilled/work visa, family/partner visa, residence for investment visa, student visa, and business visa.

Private medical insurance

Take the time to arrange private medical cover even if the country you’re moving to has an efficient public healthcare system, as you may not be able to access it straight away. Sometimes, you have to live in a country for a certain period of time or secure a specific residence permit to be eligible.

It's important that you and your family are covered should anything happen, so be sure to get this sorted well in advance of your move. You can compare several policies to get the coverage you need at the best price. It’s also worth considering a life assurance policy.

Accommodation costs

It’s not vital to buy a property in your destination country as soon as you arrive; you could instead dip your toes into the property market by renting for a while. This will allow you to get to know your new town or city, decide where exactly you want to live and find a suitable property to buy or rent long-term. Renting processes differ from country to country - so make sure you do extensive research before setting off. It's also worth setting a portion of money aside to cover initial housing expenses, such as down payment of rent, security deposit, insurance taxes, and services fees.

When budgeting for your international moving costs, don’t forget to account for extended hotel stays or other short-term accommodation options.

Transferring money overseas

It’s not just your belongings that will have to move overseas with you - your money will have to make the trip as well. Doing so may expose your finances to currency risk as you attempt to navigate the unpredictable foreign exchange market.

Choose Clear Currency to manage your international payments

So, how much does it cost to move overseas? Once you’re in a position to answer this question you can start budgeting for your move. While budgeting may not be the most exciting part of your dream move overseas, it is one of the most important. If you don’t take the time to get to grips with the long list of costs involved, they will soon add up and dent your dream.

Don’t let the cost of sending money overseas - whether you’re paying your visa fee, buying medical insurance, or transferring money into your new account - escalate because you haven’t considered the impact of exchange rate fluctuations. It’s important not to rely on your bank for your international money transfers either, as it could prove to be the most expensive option.

Clear Currency’s foreign exchange know-how can help you make quick, cost-effective and secure payments that are shielded from currency risk. Our experienced currency specialists offer a friendly, personal service. Sign up for a free account today to get started.

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