How to Move Abroad in 7 Steps in 2024

With years passing by, the idea of relocating internationally continues to appeal to many people. And knowing how to move abroad is paramount to do it correctly.

Whether motivated by career prospects, the desire for a new lifestyle, or the appeal of new experiences, moving to another country is a great idea for many different reasons.

In this guide about how to move abroad from any country, we’ll go through a detailed plan to settle into a new country with clear, concise steps.

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How to Move Abroad – Overview

Before moving abroad, it’s critical to establish a robust financial plan tailored to your new environment and be prepared for the essentials.

We will discuss the 7 steps to move abroad in the next section, but for now, let’s cover some important factors you need to consider.

How to Select the Country You’re Moving to?

Choosing the right country to move to involves various factors that align with your lifestyle and goals. Consider elements such as political stability, economic opportunities, healthcare climate, language, and cultural compatibility.

Research the quality of life, including healthcare, education, and safety. Engage with expat communities online to gain insights into living conditions and potential challenges. With the rise of digital nomad communities around the world, you’re likely to find expats pretty much anywhere.

Also, we recommend visiting the country before making a decision so that you have a clearer picture and help ensure that the destination is a good fit.

Keep the Essential Paperwork at Hand

When preparing to move abroad, safeguarding essential documents is crucial. Always keep original copies of important paperwork easily accessible.

This includes your birth certificate, social security card, passport, and any estate planning documents such as wills and trusts.

These documents are often required for visa applications, employment, housing agreements, and in case of legal matters.

Store them in a secure, organized manner, and consider having certified copies as backups.

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Register for a Mail Forwarding Service

Another element you can’t forget is sorting out how you’ll manage your postal mail.

You’ll want to register for a mail forwarding service to continue receiving important letters like bank statements, pension plans, and official communications that might not be available via email.

This service allows your mail to be sent from your current address to your new one abroad, or to a trusted person who can manage it on your behalf

 Also, consider updating your address with all relevant parties and opting for digital correspondence where possible to minimize the reliance on physical mail. Mail forwarding services aren’t that expensive and vary depending on your home country, but it’s less than $100 per month.

Pause or Stop Your Subscriptions Back Home

While it depends on the service and subscription itself, you should review all your current subscriptions, including streaming services, magazines, and gym memberships, to determine which can be paused or canceled.

For digital services like your Apple ID, Google Account, or online businesses, adjustments might be necessary to comply with different regional policies or operational requirements.

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Taxes – How to Move Abroad

Understanding your tax obligations when moving abroad is essential to avoid legal issues and ensure financial efficiency.

Determine how foreign income and local investments are taxed in your new country, and familiarize yourself with any existing tax treaties between your home and new country and that might benefit you.

We highly recommend consulting with a tax advisor to get a better idea of your expected tax liabilities.

One mistake I see a lot in U.S. citizens I meet is that they stop paying their taxes as soon as they leave the States, but that is actually a mistake as US citizens must continue filing U.S. tax returns, potentially with new forms related to foreign income.

Utilize the Foreign Earned Income Exclusion (FEIE) and foreign tax credits to mitigate your U.S. tax liability, and consider how contributions to U.S. retirement accounts may impact your taxes abroad.

On the other hand, for other nationalities, your tax obligation is linked to your residency. So, wherever you’re considered to be a resident is where you’ll be paying taxes.

In both cases, regardless, make sure to check any tax incentives that might be available to you and any tax treaties your country has, as it allows you to avoid being taxed twice.

Benefits and Retirement

When relocating abroad for work, it’s vital to understand how your retirement and benefits will be managed in the context of your home country and local tax laws.

If your new employer offers a company-sponsored retirement plan, check if it is covered by your home country’s tax treaties to avoid double taxation.

Familiarize yourself with any employer-sponsored benefits and ensure that your contributions to foreign mutual funds are advantageous under these treaties.

For those maintaining retirement accounts back home, contact your plan providers to discuss how to manage your accounts from abroad, and consider consulting with a financial advisor specialized in expatriate finances.

Investigate the healthcare system in your new country—whether it includes national coverage you can enroll in, or if you should arrange private healthcare. Depending on your new country, it may be free or you might have to pay for it monthly.

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How to Move Abroad in 7 Steps

Now that you have a better idea about the essentials, let’s start with the 7 steps on how to leave your home country.

Check the Visa and Paperwork Needed

One of the first steps when moving abroad is to understand the visa requirements and paperwork necessary for your new country.

Depending on your purpose for moving, whether it’s for work, study, or long-term residence, you might need specific types of visas or permits.

For instance, a work permit is essential if you intend to be employed in the new country.

Research the application process, which can vary widely between countries, and prepare to gather the necessary documents such as proof of employment, financial stability, and personal identification.

It’s wise to start this process well in advance, as visa approvals can sometimes take months depending on your nationality and destination country.

Open an International and Local Bank Account

Managing your finances efficiently while abroad is crucial, arguably more than in your home country, for different reasons.

Initially, using international banking services like Wise or Revolut can help you easily handle currency exchanges and everyday transactions. Plus, you can apply for a debit card which would allow you to take some money out at the ATM.

These online banks are particularly useful for frequent travelers and the initial phases of your move.

However, once you are settled in your new country, opening a local bank account becomes vital. A local account will likely be necessary for receiving wages if you are employed locally, paying bills, or renting an apartment.

Research banks that offer accounts with low fees, good interest rates, and preferably good customer service. Also, be prepared to provide documents like your visa, work permit, and proof of address when setting up your account.

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Understand How Tax Work in Your New Home Country

Before moving abroad, it’s crucial to understand the tax system of your new home country. While it may first sound more beneficial compared to your home country, there may be other factors that make the tax system not as advantageous or simple.

Each country has different tax laws and requirements that can significantly affect your finances.

Start by researching whether your income will be taxed locally and if there are any taxes on foreign income. Investigate potential double taxation issues and check if there are tax treaties between your home country and the new country that might benefit you.

Also, familiarize yourself with the deadlines, forms, and processes for filing taxes in the new country, which can greatly vary depending on the nation. It’s advisable to consult with a tax professional who specializes in taxes for expats to ensure compliance and optimize your situation.

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Flying and Moving In

The previous 3 steps are mostly about administration and paperwork, but a pivotal aspect of moving internationally is, you guessed it, actually moving into a new place.

Start by booking your flights as early as possible to get lower fares and better availability. This not only saves money but also reduces the stress of last-minute travel arrangements.

Upon arrival, we recommend having temporary accommodation lined up. Booking an Airbnb or a hotel for the first few weeks can give you the necessary breathing room to search for a more permanent accommodation without rushing.

This provides the flexibility to explore different neighborhoods, understand local commuting patterns, and determine the best area that suits your lifestyle and budget.

To find long-term housing, you can either use online real estate agents specific to the city you’re moving to or join Facebook groups advertising long-term rentals. These platforms often offer detailed photos, property descriptions, and sometimes virtual tours, helping you shortlist potential homes.

Flying and Moving to another country

Setting Up Essential Services

Once you have secured your new home, the next critical step is to set up essential services to ensure a comfortable and functional living environment. This process includes arranging for basic utilities such as electricity, water, gas, and internet.

Note that sometimes these are included in your rent or you pay directly to the owner, depending on the contract and country, so this step may not be necessary based on your particular situation.

Start by researching the local utility providers to compare rates and service packages, and understand the necessary steps to establish these services, which may include providing documentation and setting up accounts.

Additionally, familiarize yourself with the healthcare system in your new country. This includes registering for health insurance, locating nearby hospitals, and clinics, and understanding how to access emergency medical services.

Knowing how to contact emergency services and what to expect from them in your new locale is vital for safety and peace of mind.

Lastly, understanding local public transportation options can significantly ease your transition, unless you move to a place like the Netherlands where you can get around by bike.

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Secure Your Residency

Securing residency in your new country is a foundational step when moving abroad. This process can, again, vary depending on the country and your reason for moving.

You may need to apply for a residency permit or visa that suits your long-term living arrangements.

Start this process by contacting the nearest embassy or consulate of your destination country to gather all necessary information regarding the required documentation, application process, and timelines.

For some countries, and conveniently so, the information is available online, which is great. 

Other than that, consider the requirements for renewing or extending your residency and the rights and privileges it grants, such as access to healthcare, employment, and social services.

Being proactive and thorough in securing your residency will facilitate a smoother transition to life in your new country. If you do move for a full-time role, more often than not, the HR department will guide you through the benefits, which is an advantage compared to being a freelancer.

Secure Your Residency to another country

Open an Offshore Account

Opening an offshore bank account can be a strategic move when relocating abroad, especially for managing savings or conducting international transactions more efficiently.

Offshore accounts can provide several advantages, including currency diversification, potentially better banking privacy, and easier access to international investment opportunities.

At Wanderers Wealth, we specialize in international taxation and offshore accounts, among other services, and this is why we highly recommend opening one. And if you’re wondering, yes, this is legal.

Begin by researching reputable banks that offer offshore accounts and understand their specific requirements, fees, and benefits. You’ll need to provide identification documents, proof of address, and sometimes a minimum deposit.

It’s crucial to ensure that the bank is regulated under international banking standards to secure your funds.

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Things to Know When Moving to Another Country

To finish off this guide, three key areas are part of how to move abroad, no matter how to leave America, the UK, or any other country: logistics, language learning, and cultural adjustment.

Logistics of the Move: Managing the logistics of your move is critical. Begin by sorting through your belongings to decide what will come with you and what will stay behind. If possible, coordinate the shipping of your essential items so they arrive when you do.

Also, inform your current service providers and institutions about your move date to ensure all accounts are appropriately closed or transferred.

Language Learning: This point applies to countries where the official language isn’t your native one – start learning the language of your new home as early as possible.

Focus on practical phrases and daily vocabulary that will help you navigate through day-to-day activities. Tools like language learning apps, online courses, or local language classes can be incredibly helpful.

Cultural Adjustment: Finally, understanding and adapting to the local culture is vital. Spend time learning about local customs, social norms, and etiquette. There are community events around the world with both locals and expats, and that is great to learn while having fun.

Together, these aspects play a crucial role in smoothing your transition abroad, helping you to not just move, but thrive in your new environment.

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Conclusion – How to Move Abroad

Relocating to a new country is a whole experience that extends far beyond changing your physical location, and you’ll want to follow all the steps in this guide on how to move abroad.

Keep an open mind, adapt to changes, and fully engage with your new community.

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Check out our current services. We are here to guide you and help you navigate through the complex world of International Taxes and Business Structures.

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We hope you have enjoyed this article. If you have any further questions please leave us a message below and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can.

    NOTICE: The content of this article is not to be considered as a legal opinion or tax advice. Wanderers Wealth does not hold itself out as a legal or tax advisor. If you want to receive a legal opinion or tax advice on the matter in this article please contact us directly and we will refer you to a legal practitioner.

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