Moving abroad is a fantastic life experience that we would recommend to everyone. Yet, planning a move abroad is often overwhelming. At, let’s move abroad, we like to keep things easy. So today, we are sharing six super straightforward and practical things you should know before you go.
1. Prioritize your visa application
You often need a visa to work and reside in a foreign country. If you need one depends on your passports and destination. When you do need one, the visa application is an essential thing that you need to prepare.
Visa applications can be a tedious affair and, in some cases, even a bureaucratic nightmare. Luckily, you can avoid a lot of frustration and stress by following these simple tips:
- Start your visa application process as soon as possible, so you allow enough time for preparing translations and legalization of documents.
- Always reach out to the country’s embassy or consulate to ensure you have all the required documents.
- Allow enough time for appointments with embassies or other government institutes.
- There is a lot of paperwork to organize, so make sure to download our FREE Moving Abroad Paperwork Checklist to ensure you don’t miss a thing.
2. Get your finances in order
When it comes to your finances, there are several things you need to take care of. First of all, moving abroad costs money, so you have to prepare for additional expenses accordingly. Secondly, there will be a lot of financial matters you have to arrange in your home country and your destination country.
Here are some quick tips to get you started:
Moving Abroad Costs:
- Look up the different costs of your move abroad and estimate the additional expenses you’ll have to make for the move.
- Start saving additional money and consider selling some of your possessions (like your car or other items) to get a bit of a cash injection.
Arrangements in your home country:
- Visit your bank to prepare for your move abroad. Consider closing accounts and turning all your existing accounts into online accounts, ensuring you can access them anytime, anywhere.
- Research the tax implications of your move and make sure to close any outstanding tax payments.
- If you want to move your money internationally, use online services like Wise, which provides borderless transfer services.
Arrangement in your destination country:
- Open a local bank account as soon as you can
- Check the local tax requirements and apply for a tax number if needed (they often take a long time to process, so apply for a Tax number straightaway).
3. Get Health Care
Your (visa) status in your destination country will often determine whether you are eligible for national health coverage (or not). Make sure you check this before you move! If you can only apply for a healthcare service after you’ve arrived, take up International or expat insurance to cover you for the first weeks or months.
If you want to cover yourself beyond medical costs, you can also consider broader insurance from Allianz or Expatriate Group. They offer insurance for medical expenses and provide life insurance and income protection.
4. Prepare to work abroad
Whether you’ve secured a job or not (yet), familiarize yourself with the local work etiquette and the work-life balance in your new country. Work etiquettes vary widely between countries and cultures. In addition, everything from meeting etiquette and what you wear can be different, so make sure you do your research.
And when it comes to work-life balance, things can be vastly different too! For example, some countries have 30 days of paid leave days (yeah!!), and others (looking at you, USA) only offer 10 (!).
So to avoid unwelcome surprises, check standard working hours, paid leave, and other contract specifics.
5. Find a new home
Some countries are notorious for the lack of housing, the size of an average apartment, or the costs of rent. So whether you are looking for a house for your family, a place for yourself, or are considering a shared living arrangement, do your research upfront.
Finding a place can be challenging and competitive. Real estate agents love a quick sale, having your paperwork ready will speed up the application process and will increase your chances of getting that dream apartment. Top tip if you are looking to rent: make a nice one-pager about yourself/your family that you can send alongside your application. It can make a huge difference!
6. Get Connected
It might go without saying, but you should get a local SIM card when you arrive, even if it’s only temporary. You simply can’t function without one. Opening a bank account, securing an apartment, and applying for a job, are all a lot easier with a local phone number. So get one, pronto!
Having a phone number and access to the internet is the gateway to your new life abroad. Apart from making the administrative tasks more manageable, it also allows you to get social. So join a neighborhood WhatsApp group, sign up for a club, and start making friends.
So there you have it, six quick and straightforward steps you should take when planning a move abroad. Of course, this is just the tip of the iceberg, but it shows you what to expect and prepare for.
If you are ready for more, make sure to get a copy of the Let’s Move Abroad book, available on Amazon.