5 Tips For Those Who Are Considering Becoming An Expatriate

By: Donald Saunders

Every year many thousands of people make the decision to move overseas permanently and to start a new life for themselves in a new land. For a significant number of these people this will prove to be one of the best decisions that they have ever made, but for a large number of others the dream quickly turns into a nightmare. Here are a handful of the many things which you will have to consider.

• Make certain that you really do wish to move overseas permanently.

It is true that the grass is always greener on the other side and it is very easy to imagine an idyllic picture of life in the country of your choice. However, when you arrive, you might well discover that the grass is now much greener back home. It is also often the case that your thoughts about a foreign country as a holidaymaker is quite different from that as a resident.

Not only must you visit the country several times before deciding to move there, but you should also visit at differing times of the year and for increasing lengths of time. You should also try 'living' in the country by renting a house or condo and living as far as is possible as you would be living as a resident rather than a holidaymaker. If you still think that relocating is the correct choice after spending several months or so 'living' in the country, thenthere is a pretty good chance that you will not regret your decision.

• Make certain that you fully understand the immigration rules for the country concerned.

Look at the present immigration rules of your chosen country and also take a look at its past history on immigration and any known or rumored plans for change.

In many cases you will need to meet strict visa requirements and some of these may be inconvenient, expensive and leave you without a great deal of security. The very last thing you ought to do is to sever your ties with home, purchase a house and get your children settled into school only to learn that you are not permitted to extend your visa and have seventy-two hours in which to leave the country.

• Sit down and work carefully through your finances.

Think carefully about how you intend to support yourself financially in your chosen country.

Do you, for example, plan to seek employment once you arrive to give you an income, or do you intend to fund yourself from saving, investments or retirement income from home?

If you are going to seek employment abroad then how easy is it going to be to get work? If you can get work, what sort of salary can you expect? Indeed, will they let you work at all? Many countries will require you to apply for a work permit and these are frequently only issued in exceptional circumstances or for employment requiring special qualifications or skills. In a lot of cases your visa will specifically state that you are not allowed to seek employment.

If you wish to fund your stay from sources back home, do you have enough resources not merely for today but for the next five or ten years or more? For example, if you are receiving retirement income abroad will it keep pace with the rising cost of living? In a lot of cases you are permitted to draw retirement income abroad but, if you decide to do so, you lose any cost of living increases and your income will be fixed at the level at which you start to draw it overseas.

• Think about what to do with your assets at home.

If you own your home do you intend to rent it out, sell it or simply leave it empty? What do you intend to do with your car, furniture and other personal possessions?

Of course your home is much more than a simple asset because it also provides you with a tie to your home country and gives you an address back home which might be very useful if you do not have family or friends who would be happy for you to use their address. You only have to wait until your credit card expires and your credit card company tells you that they will only send your new card to the registered address in your home country.

As far as your personal possessions are concerned you could of course get rid of many of them if you want to, retaining only those or especial sentimental or real value, or you might decide to take them along with you. But how easy will it be to ship things out and how much will it cost? You will have to look carefully too at the rules in your country of destination. Some countries will permit you to bring just about anything you wish into the country, while other countries will have strict limits or impose high import taxes. For example, in many cases it will be far cheaper to purchase a new car than to ship your own car and suffer high import duty and perhaps to need to have your car altered to comply with local requirements for registration.

• Take a? careful look at the facilities for healthcare.

You might feel fit and healthy today but, if you are thinking about relocating abroad permanently, then a time is going to come when you will have to avail yourself of the local healthcare facilities. Just how good are the facilities and how well do they stand up against the facilities that you have grown used to?

Yet another very important consideration is the provision of public healthcare. If you live in a country which has publicly funded healthcare, like the United Kingdom, then you may be more than a little shocked by the cost of medical treatment when you are living in a country which has only private healthcare. On the other hand, if you are used to paying for private healthcare, you could be pleasantly surprised to discover that you can get the same or better medical treatment far more cheaply.

Whatever the case, howeverHealth Fitness Articles, healthcare is something which you have to check out very carefully and you will most certainly need to have some form of expatriate health insurance plan.

This brief list of just five tips is far from exhaustive but hopefully it will give you a starting point and get you going in the right direction. Deciding to become an expat is a very big step and one which needs considerable and careful thought.

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