This is a nicely succinct list of ten points written for The American Resident, useful for anyone interested in becoming an expat. If you’re still interested after reading this post, please have a further look around this site to read more about the longterm expat life, for example, try the category: Expat Life.
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According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS) an estimated 144,000 British citizens emigrated from the UK in the year to December 2012.
The majority left for work-related reasons but others were looking to retire to the sun, to start afresh somewhere new or to improve the quality of their lives.
If you’re thinking of emigrating abroad here are some important things to bear in mind.
1. Consider your finances
You should have a long-term financial plan in place. This may incorporate your current working arrangements, pension plans, savings, investments and a long-term overall budget.
2. Look into tax laws
Make sure you know how tax laws affect you both in your new home and back in the UK. Contact the relevant authorities and provide them with all the information they need.
3. Take your time with housing
Don’t rush into buying a property abroad. It may be worth renting at first until you know exactly what you are after, where it should be and are familiar with the rules and regulations
4. Get independent advice
If and when you do buy, don’t feel pressured into using a property developer or estate agent’s contacts. Seek independent advice for all legal and monetary issues.
5. Consider your pension
Contact the International Pension Centre or an independent specialist to find out how moving abroad could affect your pension and to discuss options such as QROPS (Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Schemes).
6. Take care of your health
Remember that not everywhere has a level of state-provided healthcare to match the NHS. Look into health provisions available in your destination and take out appropriate health insurance.
7. Look into schools
If you have kids, their education will probably be at the forefront of your mind so research local schools and any alternatives, such as international schools, to establish the best option.
8. Register to vote
You can still vote in elections held in the UK, although under current rules you lose the right after 15 years abroad. You must register as an overseas voter once you have moved to do so.
9. Tell the appropriate people
You need to sell certain people and organisations if you are moving abroad. These include HMRC, your local council, the International Pension Centre and the appropriate benefits offices if you are in receipt of benefit.
10. Research, research, research
Emigrating is a big step and it should not be undertaken lightly. Find out as much as you can about the country and area you intend to go to and visit them regularly beforehand to get a real feel of the place.
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