Become an Expert Expat with our Top Tips

Moving abroad is a popular choice for many Brits. The latest stats collected by the UK’s Office for National Statistics has it recorded that there are 784,900 British citizens living in the EU, not including those in the UK and Ireland!

And who can blame them? For those who have been brought up knowing only the dreary, never-quite-the-right-temperature weather of the UK, the temptation to start afresh in a land of sand, sea and relaxed living is strong. That 9-5 work day would surely be easier to deal with, knowing that there is a nearby bar and beach, just waiting for you.

So, you probably want to give it a go too, right? But where do you start? Relocating can seem complicated, but with preparation and planning, it can be organised.

And don’t forget to make use of those who already have the knowledge! Join some expat groups on social media, as you will find many ready and willing to share their experiences and tips. Even more so, this is a good idea to get area-specific information.

To get you started, here are a few of our suggestions:


Learn the local language

To some, this may seem obvious, but putting in the effort to converse with the locals will not only mean an easier transition, but also make the whole experience more rewarding.

Why not take a trip to your local library, and check out a language textbook? Or you could take a look some aural learning methods, such as the Rosetta Stone personalised language and reading programmes. If you want to make a more simple start, there are plenty of free apps available to download to your smartphone or tablet.

Calculate the costs of living

Exchange rates can fluctuate, and the economy of a country can mean that the worth of an everyday item may drastically differ from the UK. It may be the case that you find yourself spending more; it may be that you spend less. Either way, it’s best to have your finances planned in advance, to give you a clear idea of any adjustments that are necessary for your budgeting.

By over budgeting, you can leave yourself in a safer position, resulting in any leftovers free to put away in your savings.

Wrap your head around working abroad

You may have previously worked in a freelance situation and feel confident organising your taxes, or you may have never worked as your own boss before. Regardless, tax rules can be a completely different matter to understand in a foreign country.

You need to remember to let HMRC know that you are permanently leaving the UK, which involves filling out a P85 form. When you arrive in your new home, remember to register with the appropriate tax authority for that country. As an example, it’s Agencia Tributaria for Spain, and the Ministry of Action and Public Accounts in France. You can take a look at this full list of national tax websites, to find the specific one for your relocation destination.

Take Travel into Account

If you will be using public transport, prepare yourself by researching your options. A regular and reliable bus service or train service would be the best-case scenario, but it helps to be prepared for the possibility of having to make alternative arrangements. Perhaps look into the availability of cycle lanes in the area, or local footpaths if walking is an option.

If you do intend on driving, make sure to take a look at the requirements for being on the road in your chosen country. You can use your Great Britain or Northern Ireland driving licence in all EU or European Economic Area (EEA) countries, as well as Switzerland. Some countries may require you to get an International Driving Permit (IDP). You can learn more about this on the website.

Have a thought for healthcare

It may take a while to get used to living in an area that does not have an NHS in place. Each country will have its own system in place for healthcare, and some health insurance companies will offer cover specifically for expatriates. You will have to notify your GP that you are moving abroad, in order to deregister from the NHS. The NHS website has a country-by-country guide, which is worth checking out for more information.

Protect that property

Our final piece of advice is to ensure that you have the correct home insurance for your property. Here at Insure My Villa, we specialise in Overseas Property Insurance for expats who either live permanently abroad or own a property overseas and need Holiday Home Insurance. Our policy provides one of the widest covers available. You can check out its key features here.

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