Moving Abroad Checklist: What to Do When Moving Country

9 min read

Whether it’s for business or pleasure, moving to another country from the UK is an exciting prospect. However, it does come with some challenges - not least the cost.

So, what’s the best way to prepare? We’ve created a checklist for moving abroad to help you get organised. Follow these steps to ensure you’ve got everything covered when moving to another country.

Get the correct documents

Before you move abroad you’ll need to make sure you have the right documentation. For example, you may need a visa. You'll therefore need to check the official government website of your host country for information on how to apply for one. You’ll also need to research customs rules, and if you’re planning on moving your belongings, there may be extra documentation required.

Here's a list of some of the documents you might need:

  • Passport – check that it’s in date
  • Work permit
  • Birth certificate
  • Marriage certificate
  • Academic achievement record
  • Work references
  • Medical records
  • Vaccination records
  • Driving licence – you may need an international driving permit depending on where you move, so check this beforehand.

Plan your moving budget

Once you’ve acquired the correct documents, it’s time to prepare your moving budget. Don’t forget to factor in any travel costs for moving yourself and any family members, as well as the cost of transportation when moving your belongings overseas.

You’ll need to include any housing costs; for example mortgage payments or rent. There’s also health or medical insurance to take into consideration as many countries don’t offer free healthcare, especially if you are not a permanent resident.

Every international move is different but ensuring you have at least three months’ worth of savings is a good idea. In fact, some countries may even ask to see proof of funds prior to entry.

Pay for your accommodation

Moving abroad long-term means you’ll need to find suitable accommodation. Accommodation costs may include a deposit, mortgage or rental payments, and estate agent and solicitor fees. Before committing to the cost of a house or apartment, do your research. Many expats fail to do the groundwork before signing on the dotted line, which leaves them exposed to areas with high crime rates or poor travel connections. Not knowing enough about the location you’re moving to can leave you vulnerable, so consider speaking to local estate agents or solicitors before purchasing a property in your chosen country.

Some factors to research include:

  • Local crime rates
  • Local schools, nurseries and childcare
  • Amenities
  • House prices and rental rates
  • Average property prices of deposit and estate agent fees
  • Travel connections

Book your travel

Remember to book your air, train or coach travel as soon as possible to get the best rate, and that you, your partner and any other family members travelling with you are covered with travel insurance. It's likely that you’ll need to travel back and forth from your home country to your destination country many times before making the final move so it's important to factor in these costs too.

Research into a removals company

If you’re moving furniture or heavy goods, you'll need to hire a removals company that specialises in international moves. They can help you understand the ins and outs of customs charges, how to pack for a long-haul move and any other overseas logistics that may be involved.

Set up an international bank account

Sorting out your finances before moving will save you a lot of stress and headache. It’s fine to keep your UK bank account open after you move, but beware of any costs incurred. If you use your UK account for day-to-day transactions in your new country your bank may charge hefty fees. In light of this, it's a good idea to open a bank account in your destination country, especially if you plan on paying for local goods and services regularly. It's also worth looking into the debit cards and credit cards your new bank offers too. Don't forget you can also make international payments from the UK to 130 countries worldwide with the help of foreign exchange specialists Clear Currency.

Notify the right people

If you're moving overseas from the UK, there are a few local and national government agencies you may need to notify beforehand. These include:

  • Your local council for council tax purposes.
  • Benefits office if you’re claiming benefits (you need to notify the Department of Work and Pensions or DWP), such as child tax credit or working tax credit.
  • The electoral commission so that you can continue to vote while living abroad.
  • Your State Pension (notify the DWP) and private pension providers.

Sort out your tax

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) will need to be notified of your intention to move abroad as you may still be liable for paying tax. In many cases, you may be required to complete a P85 form from HMRC, especially if you do not plan to return to the UK or are unsure when your return will be. If you’re looking to find a job abroad, make sure you research into the rates of income tax (and any other taxes you may have to pay) in your destination country.

Cancel utilities and subscriptions

If you have a mobile phone contract, utility bills or other subscriptions, you’ll need to cancel these before leaving the country. Utility providers, including gas and electricity suppliers, will need you to provide an energy reading - taken on the day you leave the property - to send you a final bill.

Redirect your mail

Don’t forget to redirect your post (Royal Mail offers a redirection service) to ensure you continue to receive any important mail at your new address. Alternatively, you could ask the new occupiers to save your mail, and get a friend or family member to collect it for you.

Get insurance

Moving to a new country can take you out of your comfort zone. There are many insurance plans you can choose to give you peace of mind. Here are just some:

  • Travel insurance
  • Medical insurance
  • Health insurance
  • Life insurance
  • Home insurance
  • Pet insurance

Prepare your healthcare

Before leaving, you'll need to contact your current doctor and dentist to let them know you’re moving. If you have healthcare insurance in the UK, contact your provider to discuss your options. Make sure you research into the healthcare system in your new country. It’s also worth bearing in mind that if you’re a British citizen moving abroad permanently, you are no longer automatically entitled to free NHS healthcare so make sure you have a suitable alternative in place in case you need to see a doctor or dentist or have a medical emergency after you’ve moved.

Arrange transport for any pets

Moving your pets can be a headache, but if you want your furry friend by your side in your new home, it’s essential to follow the necessary steps. Nearly every country has pet regulations, so ensure that your pet has:

  • A microchip
  • Current vaccinations
  • A passport

You may need to place your pet into quarantine, so check the restrictions before you travel. It’s best to discuss this with a company that transports pets abroad as they will be up to date on any current rules and regulations.

Ship your vehicle

Own a car or a motorbike and want to take it with you? Moving a vehicle overseas means you’ll have to obtain the correct paperwork, insurance and inspections. Generally speaking, transporting a vehicle is a fairly straightforward process but it does depend on where you’re travelling to. Make sure you thoroughly research the country you're moving to, so you know exactly what documentation you'll require before shipping any vehicles abroad.

Consider transferring your money abroad with Clear Currency

Moving abroad involves transferring money overseas to buy a property, pay rent, ship furniture or pay for estate agent or solicitor fees. Dealing with foreign exchange rates and international payments can be confusing, especially in a foreign country. Make your move overseas easier by transferring your money abroad with Clear Currency. We offer bank-beating exchange rates for around 35 currencies in 130 countries worldwide. Our dedicated FX specialists can also provide expert guidance on utilising currency risk mitigation tools, such as forward contracts, which let you lock in a favourable exchange rate for payments made up to 12 months in the future. Sign up for an account today to get started.

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