Prepare to Move Abroad
So you’re considering packing up your belongings and moving abroad to start the journey of a lifetime. But what are the steps in starting this new and exciting adventure? Here’s what you need to prepare:
Your Belongings and Subscriptions
You may have numerous possessions that you need to consider what to do with. If you are moving away, think about whether you want to spend money shipping your belongings, or if it’s better to put them in storage.
Selling your belongings can also be a great way to save money to fund your move abroad. Make sure you have enough money saved to cover your rental deposit and unseen costs when you first move abroad.
Contracts & Subscriptions
Cancel any contracts and subscriptions you might have that you won’t need anymore like a phone contract, any home contracts, or insurances that won’t work for you abroad, etc.
Choose a Country to Move to
You’ve got the whole world to choose from, but you will need to ask yourself these questions when deciding where to move abroad. For example:
- Are you looking to live in a country with a culture similar to your home nation?
- Do you want to move abroad to learn a new language?
- Will you be able to work in your chosen country and is it financially feasible? For instance, expensive cities such as London, Hong Kong, and Sydney may require more financial pre-planning but could be great for developing your career.
- Are you more focused on the ‘experience’ of moving abroad, rather than earning money? In this case, you might choose a country like Portugal or Thailand.
Use these questions to determine what your priorities are in regards to your move abroad. Remember that embracing the way a country works, its culture, language, and traditions are a huge part of moving to a new country and should be a big part of your research.
Paperwork to Arrange When You Move Abroad
Next up is the less exciting stuff: making sure your papers are in order is key to making the move abroad.
Passport up to Date?
The first thing to check: is your passport still up to date? If you don’t intend to return to the country of your nationality anytime soon, you might want to consider getting a brand new passport so it won’t expire.
Make Copies of Important Documents
When you move abroad, setting up a bank account is one of the first things to do. You’ll need copies of important documents, like your passport, or birth certificate to do so. Research exactly what you’ll need before you move abroad.
Apply for a Visa When Moving Abroad
Research what type of visa you’ll need in your new country. For example, if you’re planning to work abroad, you’ll need a working visa. This can vary depending on your tax situation, i.e. whether you’re working for a local company, a freelancer, or working online as a digital nomad.
Depending on how long you are intending to stay, you may also need to apply for residency in your new country. This can be a long process, so it’s well worth looking into the documentation you will need to provide before your arrival. Expatriate forums and Facebook groups can be a great place to find answers to FAQ’s on this topic.
Tip: Freelancing? Check out co-working groups on Facebook to meet other freelancers in the area.
It’s important to have a suitable insurance for your move abroad. Depending on your visa/residency you may be unable to access public healthcare in the country you are moving to. Because of this, you might need to purchase healthcare insurance for your move. It’s a good idea to also check you have great travel insurance for your move to the country, as well as contents insurance for your belongings.
Getting a bank account at your new destination is especially useful for receiving and making payments in a different currency without having to pay a high conversion rate.
You can also use an online money transfer service such as Wise (formerly Transferwise) that allows you to receive and make payments in more than 50 currencies.
Tax Obligations When Working Abroad
Check with your country of residence on how you should handle taxes when you work abroad.
Secure Your Accounts
Enable a Two-Factor Authentication on all your important accounts like email, social media, or banking. Why? Whilst moving abroad you will use a lot of unsecured public WiFi. Prevent your accounts from being hacked by simply enabling two-factor authentication that most online services offer.
Staying connected in another country is useful for many things, like reading the map, or making an emergency phone call. You will need to get a local sim card at your new destination, however, your current provider might not allow the phone to be used on another network. This is called simlock.
Most phones are not sim-locked anymore, however, check with your provider. The specific unlock instructions differ according to your phone model.
A universal adaptor is a power plug that allows you to put your plug into the socket pretty much anywhere around the world. It’s an absolute must-have, and it will save you from having problems charging your devices when you arrive at your new destination. (Get a travel adapter here)
The best part is yet to come: making the big move to another country, meeting new people, and discovering your brand-new life!
For the most stress-free move abroad, it can be easier to find a job before you leave. By doing this, you know you have financial security on arrival, as well as colleagues to lean on for support. Additionally, the company might sort out all of your visa paperwork and accommodation, as part of the job offer.
Working Online in Another Country
Working online in another country as a digital nomad has become extremely popular. A digital nomad is someone who performs their work online. This can be as a freelancer or while working for another company. It is very convenient to already have a steady income when moving abroad. Digital nomads tend to work at co-working spaces in order to meet other people who work online.
Finding a Job Abroad
On the other hand, finding a job after you move abroad can also be beneficial, as it can give you the time to see what the options are in person. Make sure, however, that you are always aware of the job requirements. For example, if you’re moving to Italy you’ll need to learn Italian for most jobs.
Learn the Language
If you are moving to a country that doesn’t speak your native language, take some time to start learning the language. Babbel is a great app to help you with that. At the very least, make sure you have some basic phrases to help make your move abroad easier.
Whether you decide to rent an apartment before or after you move abroad, it’s a good idea to use local knowledge to find out the best neighborhoods. A good way of doing this is by asking questions in Facebook communities, through rental agencies, houseshare websites, or by walking around the city once you arrive.
Picking a Neighborhood When Moving Abroad
Write a list of all the things you want from the neighborhood: does it need to be close to your place of work, the beach, amenities, the city center, or have good schools? Within this list, determine your budget too; this will help you shortlist the neighborhoods you can live in.
Tip: Consider staying in an Airbnb for the first month or so, so that you have a better understanding of where you want to live long term and the standard price of rent.
Set up Your Bills
Once you have rented your apartment, make sure to set up your water, electricity, and wifi. For this, you may need those copies of your documentation we mentioned earlier. It’s a good idea to research the average cost of bills before you move abroad. This way you can put some money aside to budget for the first few months of living.
Make Friends Abroad
One of the best parts of choosing to move abroad is making new friends! Whether it’s other like-minded travelers or locals who want to show you how life works, some really fun times are waiting for you in your new life abroad.
Think of the ways you might be able to meet people and research events and meetups before you arrive. Great ways to meet people include practicing sports, going to a language exchange, a painting class, or using apps like ‘meetup’ to find new friends.
Prepare for Homesickness After Moving Abroad
When you first move abroad, it is not unusual to suffer from culture shock and homesickness. In order to prevent you missing the comforts of home, bring items like your favorite food and drink, and family photos.
It’s also a good idea to schedule regular phone calls with your family and friends from home, to help you through the tricky initial stages of your move abroad.