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Moving Abroad – A Guide for Expats

A new life as an expat is an exciting prospect. You could be about to start a brand-new job, buy your dream property, or spend your golden years in the sun. Whatever the motive, you’ll be understandably itching to begin your adventure. But before you do, it’s worth considering the practical and logistical challenges of moving abroad.

At Intasure, we’ve supported expats with their insurance needs for nearly 20 years, helping customers on their overseas moves. We’ve used this knowledge to compile a guide on things that may assist you when moving abroad as an expat. Here, we’ll cover:

  • Why expats move abroad
  • Practical things to consider before moving abroad
  • How Intasure can help with your move

Why move abroad?

There are many reasons why thousands move to another country each year, including:

  • Improved standard of living and lifestyle benefits.
  • Remote working opportunities.
  • Family reasons, such as having a partner abroad.
  • Retirement plans.
  • Education opportunities.

Practical things to consider before moving abroad from the UK

From budgeting and bank accounts to paperwork and insurance, there are many things you may need to think about before moving abroad.

Get saving

Moving abroad can be expensive, so it makes sense to factor in associated costs. Firstly, you’ll probably need enough savings to cover initial housing, paperwork, moving, and potential healthcare costs. But it’s also worth considering emergency healthcare charges and the costs of returning to the UK if your move doesn’t turn out as planned.

Do your research

Familiarising yourself with the customs of a new country can mitigate the risk of culture shock. So, if you’re moving to a non-English speaking country, you could learn some of the local lingo before moving. Apps such as Babbel, Duolingo, and Memrise can help you get started.

Sort your living arrangements

It may be best to start your property search once you’ve decided on a budget. Whether you want to rent or buy a property, signing up with local agents can be a great way to find out what’s available and draw on local knowledge. You could browse property websites, such as rightmove.co.uk and primelocation.co.uk.

Compile your paperwork

Your passport must be valid to apply for a visa. Some countries require a valid passport with a minimum of six months left beyond your final travel date1. You should also renew your passport if your return date is likely to be when your passport will be expired.

Have essential paperwork, such as ID and certificates, on hand, as you may need them. Ensure any relevant visa application forms are completed and submitted.

Understand tax

If you’re moving abroad, you must notify HMRC by completing a P85 form. You’ll also need to register with the relevant tax authority. The UK’s ‘double taxation agreements’ with many countries mean you might not have to pay two lots of tax2.

Have you thought about healthcare?

You’ll probably want to check your healthcare eligibility for your new country. In some nations, you may have to cover costs or make contributions. Then again, you may find you’re entitled to state-run healthcare if you’re paying tax. The crucial thing is to check before you go. You’ll  also need to notify your GP3.

Contact your bank and phone providers

Inform your bank and credit company of your move. You may want to research banks in your new area to discover what paperwork you’ll need to complete to set up a savings or bank account.

When it comes to your phone, you can request that your carrier unlocks your smartphone ahead of the big move. Once relocated, you can purchase a SIM card from a local carrier to allow you to make local calls, if not supported by your current provider.

Make copies of your important documents

It makes sense to ensure that you have backups of your essential documentation, such as your passport, driver’s licence, health records, visa information, and birth certificate — these copies are helpful for any residency appointments.

Make relocation plans

Once you know your move date, you’ll probably start collecting quotes from international removal companies in the area. These companies can be knowledgeable on all aspects of moving abroad, whether you need assistance with your visas or support moving pets. This process can take a while, so you should start as soon as possible.

Consider what to pack

Deciding what you want to take when moving abroad can be challenging. Shipping items can be expensive, and logistically challenging. With this in mind, you may want  to consider which of your belongings you definitely want to bring with you, and make plans for the rest. You may wish to store items if your move is not a permanent one, or consider donating or selling them.

Plan your money transfers

Using high-street banks for money transfers can be costly, especially when dealing with large sums. Foreign exchange services generally offer competitive exchange rates, and some won’t charge any transfer fees when converting to currencies worldwide.

Set up your banking

Once you’ve relocated, you’ll need an open bank account for accessing money day-to-day. Be mindful that you could incur transaction charges with your UK bank account. Many international bank accounts are designed for money movement and could provide a better alternative.

Can I keep my UK bank account open if I move abroad? The short answer is yes. But whether it’s worth keeping a UK account will depend on your situation. It might be wise to keep it running if you have ongoing activity in the UK — such as direct debits and rental income. Also, if you’re planning on returning someday, it makes sense to have it for when you return.

Get Expat Insurance

Life in a new country can be exciting, but you may want to ensure that you’re covered should anything unexpected occur. As such, you may want an insurance policy that mitigates risks and provides you with confidence in your new home.

Get protected with Intasure

At Intasure, we’ve helped expats with overseas insurance for nearly 20 years. We can offer an Expat insurance policy that can help protect UK citizens and EU passport holders who own a property abroad.

Our English-speaking team is available if you want more information about the cover we offer. Give us a call on +46 844 689 552 to find out more. Alternatively, click the link below to get a quote today.

To find out more, Get an Expat Insurance Quote from Intasure now.

Moving abroad in 2022 – what to consider

Covid-19 and other health issues

Many countries have strict entry requirements, which include sharing your health records. Whether it’s vaccination proof for yellow fever, polio, or Covid-19, check what your new country requires by reading government guidelines4. If you’re still unsure about anything, you can discuss this with your GP.


Since Brexit, UK citizens without residency permits are restricted to stays of no more than 90 days at any one time during a 180-day period in EU countries. Subsequently, the UK government often advises expats who live abroad to register as residents in their new country1.

British citizens abroad in the EU are also advised by the UK government to take out health insurance according to their new country’s requirements1. The new UK Global Health Insurance Card (UK GHIC) replaces the existing European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)5.

The UK government has published guidance on healthcare for UK nationals living abroad, which you can access here6.

  1. https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/overseas-living-in-guides
  2. https://www.gov.uk/tax-uk-income-live-abroad/taxed-twice
  3. https://www.nhs.uk/using-the-nhs/healthcare-abroad/moving-abroad/planning-your-healthcare/
  4. https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice
  5. https://www.gov.uk/global-health-insurance-card
  6. https://www.gov.uk/guidance/uk-residents-visiting-the-eueea-and-switzerland-healthcare

The sole purpose of this article is to provide guidance on the issues covered. This article is not intended to give legal advice, and, accordingly, it should not be relied upon. It should not be regarded as a comprehensive statement of the law and/or market practice in this area. We make no claims as to the completeness or accuracy of the information contained herein or in the links which were live at the date of publication. You should not act upon (or should refrain from acting upon) information in this publication without first seeking specific legal and/or specialist advice. Arthur J. Gallagher Insurance Brokers Limited trading as Intasure accepts no liability for any inaccuracy, omission or mistake in this publication, nor will we be responsible for any loss which may be suffered as a result of any person relying on the information contained herein.