Moving abroad?

„Your whole existence becomes a series of interesting guesses”, said the famed travel writer Bill Bryson about the experience of living in a foreign land. For those planning to move abroad, there are various tricks and tips that may help you overcome this guesswork and make the process of transition and integration as smooth as possible.

Moving abroad? Plan well in advance

Preparation can take time and the further away you're planning on moving, the longer this might be. Transportation of belongings and visa obtainment are two of the lengthiest procedures to factor in. Sending a containment by ship to Australia or New Zealand from Europe, for example, can take three months. Anyone taking a pet to live overseas must be prepared for a quarantine period on arrival, which again may span a period of several months. Your pet must be microchipped and inoculated against rabies. Research all these areas thoroughly before deciding on a departure date.


As with any move, you have to cancel all utilities and redirect your post, but there are other considerations when moving to another country. The tax office needs to be informed, and in the UK this involves filling out form P85 which confers expatriate status. Seek advice from an independent financial advisor on what to do about your savings and investments, pensions and any potential Capital Gains Tax. Also, if you intend to rent out your current home, it makes a lot of sense to appoint a lettings agency to manage it for you. Finding new tenants or organising repairs will not be an easy task when you're hundreds of miles away.


Setting up a new account in your new domain will generally be necessary, especially if you will have income paid in that country and that currency, and there will be bills to cover. However, you may wish to retain your original account to handle any continuing outgoings and many banks offer a special expat account service.

Medical concerns

While Europe currently has a reciprocal arrangement with the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) covering EU member states, it's primarily designed for short-term care needs and anyone staying for longer will need to either take out private health cover or adopt the new country’s social insurance. For those on prescribed medication, it would be sensible to take a sufficient supply to cover you until you are able to register with a doctor in your new country.

The art of patience

After all the drama and upheaval of packing up and going, and when you've been whisked across oceans and are ready to begin again in a new country, this is the time to remember that integration will not happen overnight. Settling in, making new friends, possibly learning another language, feeling safe and familiar with all the sights and sounds; all this takes time. You may also experience homesickness and miss your friends and family back home. Be open and friendly and relish the unfamiliarity. After all, if you wanted more of the same you would have stayed where you were. 

Engel & Völkers offers an extensive portfolio of property for sale or rent in all corners of the world, so do take a look at our website for outstanding accommodation options in the country you are planning to move to.

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