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Our checklist for moving abroad

Moving abroad can be an exciting prospect, but with so much to organise and bear in mind, it can be a stressful one too. At Perry’s we have the experience and knowledge to help guide you through every step of the way, along with the resources to get you relocated easily and efficiently. We’ve put together a moving abroad checklist so that you can feel confident that you’ve got everything covered.

Moving abroad checklist

Know where you’re going! There are various reasons for moving abroad – a job, retirement or just the feeling that there’s more to life! If you have a new job, then the company you work for will sometimes help with your accommodation and orientation, but this isn’t always the case.

It’s advisable to thoroughly research the country that you’re moving to well in advance. Go and visit to find out what it’s like to live there and look at online guides and books. Learn about the culture so that you don’t end up in awkward or embarrassing situations with the locals! And once you have your destination address, check out the infrastructure in the surrounding area, such as schools, hospitals, banks, embassies, ex-pat groups etc.

Find somewhere to live. If you’re arranging your own accommodation and intend to purchase a property, it’s advisable to play it safe and rent for a few months before you buy. You’ll need to find out how you feel about your new neighbourhood and then investigate appropriate legal advice to find out about the laws around house buying in your chosen destination.

Do you intend to rent out your home in the UK whilst living abroad? If so, make sure that you’ve investigated all the tax implications and inform your mortgage provider to ensure that you’re not breaking the terms of your loan.

Learn the language. If you’re going to fit in, you need to at least try and talk the talk! it’s important to make the effort to learn the language of the country you’re moving to. Take an online class or find a language app so that at least you can understand and speak the basics. It’s something your whole family can do together to build up excitement about the move, though you’ll probably find that your kids pick it up quicker than you do!

Visa requirements. Now that Britain is no longer in the EU, you’ll need a visa to move to Europe as well as further afield. It’s sensible to apply for your visa well in advance, as they can take anything from 30-90 days to be approved, depending on your destination. Bear in mind that to obtain a visa, as well as having a valid passport, you may need other documentation such as proof of employment, health insurance, birth and marriage certificates to name just a few.

These useful websites can give you all the information you need on visa and embassy information: and

Health insurance. Once you move abroad, you’ll no longer be eligible for care under the NHS, as it’s a residence-based healthcare system. You’ll need to notify your GP before you go, so that you and your family can be removed from the NHS register.

Check what health services are available in the country you’re moving to before you leave, as it’s more than likely that you’ll need some form of health insurance to be able to access care.

Finance and taxes. You may not need to close your UK bank account and it’s worth retaining it in case you ever decide to return to the UK. Check with your bank to look at your options as most banks have international bank accounts; and with online banking facilities it may not be necessary to open an account abroad. Note that if you have any ISAs, you won’t be able to put any money into them following the tax year after your move. If you’re worried about any investments arrange a meeting with your financial advisor, who will also be able to help you to make sure that you have all the necessary insurance cancelled, updated or instated. And insure everything – health, life, property, pets!

Contact the Inland Revenue to find out the rules which apply now that you are leaving the UK. You don’t want to pay any extra taxes if you don’t need to! It could be worth talking to a tax expert to avoid any pitfalls.

Inform the Department of Work and Pensions, and your private pension provider if you have one. If you’ve made enough National Insurance contributions, you’ll be happy to know that you can still claim your UK pension if you’re retiring abroad.

And lastly, make sure that you have enough readily available money for your move and for unexpected costs in the time immediately afterwards. Be organised and prepare for the unexpected!

All the other paperwork! Think about any paperwork or important information you’ll need once you’ve moved, like your birth certificate, National Insurance number, or qualifications. Apply for your medical records, dental records, and eye prescription. Do you need to apply for an international driving permit? Do you need records of vaccinations? And remember to register as an overseas voter. If you do, you can still vote in UK elections for up to 15 years after you’ve left!

Who else do I need to inform? You’ve informed your doctor, so you’ll also need to inform hospitals, dentists and opticians, schools, the Local Authority, utility companies, credit card companies, cable and mobile phone operators. And don’t forget to redirect your mail!

Moving your pet. Get an animal health certificate (EU countries) or an export health certificate (all other countries).

Also, check the customs and entry requirements in your chosen destination, as these are variable from country to country. It could be that on arrival your pet has to spend considerable time in quarantine. Your pet will need to be micro chipped and immunised against rabies. Most international removal companies don’t move pets, so you’ll need to arrange their transport yourself or via a specialist pet relocation service.

Declutter. Think about what you really need when you move abroad. For example, is it worth moving your large furniture, or would you be better off starting afresh when you get there? Start early in the process and go through your house room by room. You’ll probably find many items that won’t be of any benefit to you once you’ve moved. If you’re renting out your house, you may wish to leave all the furniture in situ or even put some things in long term storage.

Arrange shipping. Finally, you’ll need to discuss your move with a trusted international removal company. At Perry’s we’ll be happy to discuss the best shipping method for your move (land, sea or air), arrange the container, coordinate the shipping, collect the appropriate documentation and liaise with our destination partner to make sure that your possessions are delivered safely. You can call us for a free quote on 0800 211 8030.                                              

With the right support realising your dream of moving abroad can be an exhilarating experience. With our expertise, Perry’s can help you to make the transition to your new life as stress free as possible.

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