Moving Abroad

Posted on: 07 November 2008 by Gareth Hargreaves

Lessen the stress with essential advice from expat money expert Hannah Beecham.

Expat money expert Hannah Beecham, author of Expat Money: The Definitive Personal Finance Manual for Brits Abroad, offers her ten top tips for moving abroad:

Careful planning is the key to a successful move abroad. Here's my top ten stress busting tips to see you on your way.

1) Make An Early Start

Wanna-be expats should start by logging on to the Foreign & Commonwealth Office's website and downloading its booklet Going to Live Abroad. Find out about NI contributions, pension arrangements and tax responsibilities.

2) Square Your Tax Situation With The Taxman

Before leaving the UK, working Brits must obtain form P85 from HMRC. Contact your local tax office, or go to to download online. Because your annual income tax is calculated over a 12 month period, you may qualify for a tax rebate prior to your departure.

3) Let Out Your UK Property

Take advantage of HMRC’s Non-Resident Landlord's Scheme and receive your rental income gross of tax. Download form NRL1 from Contact managing agents via the Association of Residential Landlords Agency

4) Look After Your Health

Notify your GP, dentist and optician of your departure and discuss what medical notes, records and prescriptions you should travel with. Book any vaccinations necessary. Consider carefully whether you need to take out healthcare insurance.

5) Draw Up A Will

The UK's Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advises Brits going overseas to make a Will beforehand. You'll need to ascertain whether this Will is valid in your host country and to take appropriate professional advice if it is not. The FCO has a list of English-speaking legal professionals operating globally who can advise on this. Visit

6) Consult An Independent Financial Adviser (IFA)

A good IFA - one who’s a registered member of the UK’s Financial Services Authority (FSA) - will tidy up your existing financial arrangements and advise about future investments and tax planning necessities.

7) Use An Experienced International Removal Company

Book a reliable international removals company at least three months before your departure date. The British Association of Removers (BAR) is the UK’s trade association for removal companies and has a list of member companies at

8) Learn The Local Lingo

Don’t be afraid! There are lots of new approaches to language learning and a variety of formats available, so there’s certain to be a method that suits you and it will help you in your dealings with local money managers.

9) Keep A Checklist

Make a checklist of the essential documentation you will need and ensure you have the following to hand:

  • Passport
  • Visa (if required)
  • Work permit (if required)
  • Driving licence (check whether you need an international driving licence)
  • Your birth certificate (and marriage certificate if travelling with your spouse) and your children's birth certificates if they are travelling with you
  • Medical records
  • Vaccination certificates (if required)
  • Insurance documents
  • Documents required by your host country's immigration department
  • European health insurance card, if working in Europe
  • Your NI (National Insurance) and NHS numbers
  • Your Will

Make photocopies of these key documents and keep them somewhere safe.

10) If Retiring Abroad

Contact the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) at and arrange for your pension to be paid in the new country. Check whether your UK state pension will be index-linked in the country to which you are retiring.

Bon voyage!

Hannah BeechamAbout The Author

Hannah Beecham is one of the most experienced and longest serving journalists and editors in the expatriate finance sector. She was one of the founding members of the Financial Times magazine The International. For eleven years was editor of Expat Investor and offshore finance editor of the International Express. Hannah is currently launching the Expat Channel, the first online TV channel dedicated exclusively to the worldwide British expatriate community.

More information can be found at

Expat MoneyExpat Money: The Definitive Personal Finance Manual for Brits Abroad by Hannah Beecham is published by Summersdale, price £8.99, is available through all good booksellers and from, or online at Amazon for £6.99.

Would you move to sunnier climes? Or would you miss the rain and real ale too much? Or are you an expat living abroad? How have you found the experience? You can share your views below or in the 50connect forum.

If you have an overseas property question email and our expert will offer some answers.

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