15 Things to do Before Moving Out of the UK

And how to get easy access to local expert knowledge

By Ann Dinsdale, GMS,


An estimated one in 10 British people lives outside the UK, with the top 10 countries for expat Britons being Australia, Spain and the United States.  Over 50% leave for work, while the rest go to retire abroad or to move closer to family overseas.

If you are hoping to make a new life abroad there’s a lot to think about and your to-do list may seem daunting.  We’ve put together our top tips to make your move easy!

1.    Find a new home abroad

Technology has made it easier to find a home abroad without lots of travel.

Property portals make it easy to carry out initial, superficial research.  But there’s no substitute for getting access to local knowledge.  Saunders 1865 has a global network of Local Relocation Experts and you can go to our Area Reports Portal for immediate, FREE access to our Moving To Guides on global cities.

For personal service, tailored to your specific needs, click here for our contact form and we’ll arrange a free consultation with a relocation expert.

  1. Know how to transfer money from the UK

Transferring money from the UK to your new home abroad can be expensive, especially if you use your high street bank.

When making international payments, as well as charging an upfront fee, banks add a mark-up to the exchange rate (often without customers knowing), which can make the transfer expensive

  1. Plan for healthcare

Once you move from the UK permanently you will not usually be entitled to NHS healthcare in the UK, and the European Healthcare Card (EHIC) usually does not apply either.

First, you will need to deregister from the NHS scheme. Second, healthcare requirements differ from country to country you'll be entitled to state-run healthcare on the same basis as a resident of that country if you are registered to work in it and paying tax there.

  1. Find out what paperwork will be needed

At present, you have the right to work in any European Economic Area country as a UK citizen, while other countries may require specific visas that may be dependent on your profession or age.

  1. Mastering a new language

While languages improve best once you are abroad, try a free app such as Duolingo to get you started before you go.

  1. What about your pension

If you live in the UK your state pension increases every year to keep pace with the cost of living but if you move you may find you miss out. Only EEA residents (or people living in Switzerland) get pension rises

  1. Understand inheritance laws

If you’re buying a property overseas, check the rules first. Some countries have complex rules on how children or other relatives inherit a property, which may lead to enforced sales or years of legal wrangling.

  1. Know your local living costs

The amount it costs to live varies hugely around the world. Research the cost of living ahead of time at your destination to work out some averages.

  1. Personal finance management

Large global banks often have services specifically for expats so it may be worth contacting them for advice on how to open accounts abroad. HSBC, Lloyds and Santander all have expat arms, as do most other high street banks.

  1. Cost of moving 

It’s easy to underestimate the cost of moving furniture, people and pets when going abroad. Ensure you have sensible estimates of these figures before you set out.

  1. Familiarise yourself with UK tax requirements

You may still need to pay UK tax if you live abroad, depending on what your residency status is. If you are taxed in more than one country you may be able to claim tax relief.

  1. Driving abroad

You may be able to get by using your UK driving licence or by buying an international driving permit (valid for 12 months). In the long run though, you may need to apply for a licence or even take a test in your new country and will need to contact the authorities to find out how that works.

  1. Voting

British citizens living abroad can apply to be overseas voters. To be eligible you must have been registered to vote in the UK in the past 15 years and be eligible to vote in UK parliamentary general elections.

  1. Staying connected via social networking

Making friends in a new city or town can be hard work. Local Facebook groups are a good place to look for meet-ups, while groups such as Internations and Link Expats can help you make new friends.

  1. Bringing the pets along

Your pet may require microchipping, vaccinations or even a period in quarantine if they travel with you. If you’re travelling in Europe, the rules are standard for all member states, but elsewhere you may need to check with the country you are moving to.

Whatever your reason for moving abroad, you should connect with a Saunders 1865 relocation expert for a free consultation.

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