Plan for the unexpected when organising a move abroad

Plan for the unexpected when organising a move abroad

Moving abroad is exciting and something that many of dream about but there are all sorts of practical things to consider.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) have just issued some new advice to British nationals who are considering a move abroad, advising them to plan for the unexpected before they move to a new destination.

"The appeal of warmer climates and experiencing different countries and cultures is strong for many British citizens. We want to pave the way for our expatriates to have the best experience possible when they move abroad," says Foreign and Commonwealth Office Minister Mark Simmonds.

"Our consular staff across the world have dealt with a high number of British expats requiring assistance for financial issues - whether as a result of a house purchase gone wrong, having inadequate funds to pay for medical bills or experiencing some other misfortune that has resulted in financial hardship.

"It's important to do your homework so that you are well informed about your new environment before you travel.

"We have put together a checklist to help people prepare fully before travelling abroad. Take a look at for country-specific information."

For those considering joining the six million British nationals currently living abroad, the FCO has put together a checklist to ensure a smooth transition into expat life and beyond...

Top Ten Tips for Moving or Retiring Abroad

1. Do your homework - Research your destination, visit forums and expat community resources to help get a feel for the area.

2. Read up on local laws and customs - Familiarise yourself with local regulations and customs, don't get caught out because you haven't done your research. Visit for more information

3. Don't rush into buying abroad - Take time to visit the area and other properties nearby, don't be rushed into decision and ensure you are familiar with local protocol.

4. Seek independent legal advice - Don't feel under pressure to use your property developer's or estate agent's contacts, check out the website for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office's English-speaking lawyers lists - it is vital that your legal advisor understands the law in the country you intend to move to.

5. Plan for your health - Once you permanently leave the UK you are no longer entitled to medical treatment under the NHS or via a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). Be sure to take out health insurance and if you are staying within the European Economic Area (EEA), read up on the S1 form (previously known as the E121 form). Find out more.

6. Consider your long-term financial requirements - Read up on the impact moving overseas may have on any benefits or retirement income received. Be realistic about your living costs overseas; don't assume they will be the same as at home. Do you have a plan B if things go wrong? Visit

7. Read up on tax regulations - Be sure to research the taxes that will be applicable to you in your new home (as well as back in the UK) once you have moved abroad at

8. Know the costs - Don't forget to take into account exchange rates and potential financial implications of moving overseas. Read our guide to saving money when you buy here >>>

9. Tell us you're leaving - You need to notify the Social Security Office, HM Revenue & Customs and the Department of Work & Pensions that you are moving overseas, as well as your GP. For a full list of who to contact, see here.

10. Integrate - An essential part of a successful move abroad is integrating into the local community. Try not to isolate yourself and do make an effort to learn the local language, this will play an important role in helping you settle in to your new home.

The FCO has developed a video containing advice to help British nationals plan a move abroad - find out more here.

For more information, ideas, news stories and advice on moving abroad, search our Emigration Advice section.


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