According to The Daily Telegraph, in 2012, 154,000 British citizens moved abroad, and the growing trend seems set to continue. If you are one of the thousands then you are going to have a lot to think about in the lead-up to your relocation. It may seem like a potentially massive headache, but if you are organised you should come out the other side relatively unscathed. So what do you need to remember?
The art of settling in
This isn’t as much about remembering as it is about planning. As soon as you know where you’re relocating to, this should be one of the first steps you take on the journey. It can be all too easy to concentrate on the practicalities of moving, while ignoring the fact that you are actually going to have a day-to-day life when you reach your destination.
You are going to be living in this new place so you should at least have some grounding in local customs and laws. It will make life so much easier when you first arrive. Think about the language too. Realistically, in many places local people speak English, but if you are moving to a country where the first language is not English, you’re going to find it a lot easier to fit in if you make the effort to learn at least some of the native tongue.
It’s fine making arrangements to get you and your belongings to your new home, but how are you going to get around after that? If you are intending to drive, make sure you know the regulations and procedures. If you are moving outside of Europe then you can apply for an International Driving Permit, which lasts for twelve months and covers most countries. This allows you time to check what you need to do to acquire a local driving licence.
Pay attention to the practicalities
When you have done your research and preparation you will feel more comfortable about settling when you arrive in your new home. It’s not time to forget your old home just yet though. Your mind will probably want to be on the future but you can’t forget the mundane practicalities. Make sure that you have paid your bills and arranged for utilities to be disconnected as appropriate. It’s also vital that you are organised in what you are taking with you. It’s a lot easier if you can minimise the amount of items you take and label everything carefully. Make sure you have your removal service booked, as well as any storage that you need. You are not going to get anywhere without all the relevant documentation, so make sure that you have passports, visas and all other necessary paperwork to hand so they can’t be forgotten.
Tell the world
You probably don’t have to tell the whole world that you’re leaving, but you do have to inform all of the relevant people.
- Local council: Make sure they know where you are moving to.
- HMRC:you need to notify HMRC in order to ensure you are not paying too much.
- Doctors and dentists: Many of these services automatically make regular check-up appointments for people, so you need to make sure they are not wasting their time doing so for you when you are not in the country.
- Department for Work and Pensions (DWP): If you are receiving any sort of benefit or pension you need to notify DWP that you are moving abroad.
- Post Office: You don’t want to miss any important letters, so make sure you redirect your mail.
Look at the financial aspect
One thing you are not going to be able to live without is money, so you need to make sure you have access to yours once you relocate. Think about what you want to do about your bank account in the UK; if you have financial transactions that will still be taking place in the UK then it makes sense to keep it open. It’s worth speaking to your bank about opening an international bank account which allows you time to sort out your finances and decide on whether you need to open a local bank account in your new location.
On a more basic level, make sure you have some cash in the local currency for when you arrive, even if it’s only so that you can stock up on groceries.
Consider your health
You will no longer qualify for NHS care if you move abroad as it is residence-based. If you are relocating, the European Health Insurance Card is also not applicable as this is for non-permanent travel only. More information on this matter, and the way you may be treated with regard to health treatment, is provided by the UK government in individual country guides. As you may well have to fund your future health care you need to make sure you budget for this.
Be prepared and informed and you should make your relocation a successful one.