Moving abroad is an exciting, life-changing adventure that promises many rewards. It can also be a stressful, expensive and frightening mistake. A successful move abroad requires you to consider all the pros and cons and make a responsible plan. Before you get caught up in the romance of living in another country, make sure you have all your bases covered.
Work or permanent visas aren’t as easy to get as you may assume, especially if you don’t have work secured in your target country. Research the immigration laws where you want to live and contact an official at the immigration department for specific regulations. If it takes six months or more until you can legally work in another country, be prepared for that possibility ahead of time. If you’re being transferred by your company securing a visa should be straightforward, otherwise you may need to enter the country with a tourist visa.
The quality and cost of health coverage varies from country to country. Eventually you may qualify for the same benefits as a natural citizen, but until that time few options may be available. Buying insurance can be confusing enough at home; navigating an unfamiliar healthcare system and/or language is even more nerve wracking. Medical insurance intended especially for expatriates like Citizen Secure can help keep you in good health while abroad.
Will you sell off your possessions, or pay a monthly fee to store them for the next several years? Shipping your possessions halfway across the world isn’t really practical, even if you already know where you’re going to live. And while you may think of your pet as more of a companion and less of a possession, what will you do with Fido or Fluffy when you move? Some countries have a costly and lengthy quarantine process. Make certain you’ve researched the specifics before making a final decision.
Failing to make your financial arrangements before you move could be an expensive mistake. The best advice is to speak with a financial advisor who has experience serving expatriates. In which country will you keep your investments? From which account will you pay your bills? How will you pay taxes? A financial advisor is the best person to answer those questions.
There are some countries where safety is a consideration, especially for U.S. citizens. Women have even more reasons to be concerned, depending on the region. Make sure you learn all you can about the country’s culture, attitudes towards women and Americans in general and Civil Rights records. USA.gov provides safety updates by country as well as general information for U.S. citizens traveling and living abroad.
It takes a lot of planning to live abroad, but don’t let that deter you. Immersing yourself in another culture, learning a new language and opening your mind to new possibilities will enrich your life beyond anything you could imagine; just remember to consider each step carefully. Taking a leap of trust may be a courageous move, but building a sturdy bridge may is a smarter one.