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Emigrating? How to prepare your finances for moving overseas

Starting your new life in some far flung corner of the world is both thrilling and daunting in equal measure. Here's how to prepare your finances for the move, wherever you're emigrating to.

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If you're planning to move abroad you'll need to have a plan in place to keep your costs in check well before you pack your bags! We look at what you need to do before you leave.

How to get a job abroad

If you need to work in your new home, you'll need to make sure you're legally permitted to do so. Ideally you should try to sort a job before you set off although you may find any job offers you get are conditional on securing a work visa.

Some countries will only issue you with a work visa if you have certain skills, or work in an industry which is in demand. In Australia for example this includes engineers, architects and dentists amongst others.

Additionally, some countries will only issue you a visa if you have a certain amount of money in the bank or are within a predetermined age range.

Prepare your CV for a job overseas

Before you start looking for a job you need to tailor your CV to the task, thankfully you shouldn't need to make major changes as recruiters worldwide tend to look for similar qualities in their applicants.

If you're moving to a country with a different language and you speak the language you should make sure this is clearly stated on your CV. You should also be prepared for your UK qualifications to be assessed and scrutinised (often at interview) to see if they match residential standards.

For more helpful information on preparing your CV for overseas vacancies, visit the Jobsite website.

Moving your finances overseas

You'll need to move your finances with you when you move abroad, this can take a little while to arrange so you need to get organised early. Here's what things you need to sort out;

Open an overseas bank account

Setting up a bank account in your new home country before you emigrate can make things much easier (and cheaper) for you once you arrive.

It's relatively straightforward to open a bank account from the UK in some countries, while others simply won't allow you to do this until you have a residential address.

Perhaps the easiest way to open an account is to speak with your existing bank to see if they have a banking presence in your destination country. For example HSBC and Barclays are both amongst the 10 largest banks in the U.S. so could help you open an account from the UK with little difficulty.

Find somewhere to live

Finding a new home in your new country is one of the biggest tasks you'll have to sort - and one of the most expensive, whether you're planning on renting or buying somewhere.

Most British ex-pats choose to rent, at least in the short term, while they settle in to life in a new country. However, your decision to buy or rent overseas may be dictated by the property market - in Germany for example very few people buy property, with the majority opting to rent.

You can find useful information on buying a property overseas on the Association of International Property Professionals website.

Leaving your UK home

As well as choosing a new home overseas you will need to give serious thought about what to do with your current property.

If you are renting then you will need to make sure you give your landlord sufficient notice that you will be leaving and check what condition the property needs to be left in.

If you own your home you need to decide whether to sell up or rent out your home to generate and income instead. Our guides; I Want to Rent Out My House - What Do I Need To Do? and How to Sell Your House take a closer look at what you need to consider.

If you're going to be leaving your British home unoccupied then you'll need to make sure your home insurance will still cover you.

Transfer your money overseas

Once you have a bank account set up, you'll need to move your money from the UK to your new bank account.

Using your UK bank to transfer your money will be expensive and will usually take longer than necessary. The cheapest and quickest way to move your money is to look for a specialist money transfer company - you can use our money transfer comparison to select your destination and compare rates.

Need to send money abroad? Compare our cheapest money transfer deals.

Apply for a stop-gap card

While you're waiting for your funds to arrive a useful fall-back is to look for an overseas credit card or travel prepaid card before you leave, but make sure you pick one that doesn't charge fees for use in your destination country.

This will give you a cheap and convenient way to pay for essentials once you arrive until your new bank account is open and ready to use.

Use our overseas credit card comparison or prepaid cards abroad comparison to find a suitable card.

Think about tax

Just because you're moving away from the UK it doesn't necessarily mean you will be spared from paying UK tax and National Insurance. If you are you will almost certainly have to pay local taxes instead!

If you continue to receive any income from the UK (rental income for example) you will still have to pay income tax if it is more than your personal allowance - for more information visit the HMRC website.

Similarly, Inheritance Tax isn't automatically waived if your move away. It's likely that your estate will still have to pay it on all your assets in the UK over the standard inheritance tax threshold. Potentially, if you are still considered to be "domiciled" in the UK, it may be payable on all your assets worldwide - you can find out more on the Gov.uk website.

You may also find that the tax system in your new country is very different from the UK; you have to submit a tax return every year, or pay tax separately from your income. Make sure you register with the relevant authorities and research the tax system before you leave so you know what to expect.

Sort out your pension

If you are planning to retire abroad you will need to arrange for your pension, both your state pension and private pension, to be paid to your new overseas account.

While you can still receive your state pension if you move aboard you won't be eligible for any annual increases to the amount paid, you can find out more on The Pensions Advisory Service website.

Investigate the cost of healthcare

While living in the UK you have the right to free NHS healthcare but if you move overseas you won't be so fortunate.

If you relocate to an EU country you will be eligible for the same free healthcare as local citizens with an EHIC, so make sure you have one before you leave.

Otherwise, you may need to investigate taking out private healthcare insurance to protect you from exorbitant medical fees should you need treatment.

Financial assistance overseas

Moving abroad is expensive, so any financial assistance you can get is likely to be very welcome.

Depending on your personal circumstances and the country you're moving to you may qualify for help from the local government, especially if you have a young family or work in their public sector.

Make sure to check for details on the government website before you leave and apply early as there may be a substantial wait for any application to be processed.

Plan to rebuild your credit history

When you move overseas your credit history doesn't pack its bags and come along for the ride.

This means that when you emigrate you'll be starting afresh and will need to rebuild your credit rating in your new home. It can take a while for you to build up a sufficient credit record to qualify for borrowing of any kind so you need to plan for this.

It's likely that you'll have to survive on your savings and income alone at least for the first 6 months, so saving some emergency funds before you leave is really worthwhile. This will give you something to fall back on if you're hit by an unexpected bill as you're unlikely to have access to credit.

What entry requirements do you need to meet?

The rules and immigration terms will vary from country to country, so before you can emigrate overseas you need to check what restrictions they impose.

Applying for a visa

Unless you're moving to a country within the EEA it's likely that you will need permission to live and work in the country in the form of a visa.

Most governments will issue a wide range of visas, some temporary lasting only 30 days, others giving you the right to live and work their permanently.

Whether you will qualify for a visa will depend on variety of factors, including: if you already have relatives in the country, your age, your wealth, if you work in an 'in demand' industry and/or if you already have a job waiting for you on arrival.

Visas can take months or even years to organise so you need to apply early. Here's more information about emigrating to the 5 most popular destinations for British ex-pats.

Emigrating to Australia

Thousands of Brits move for a new life Down Under every year, but if you want to join them you need to fit the criteria for a work visa and have a job lined up before you book your flights.

Emigrating to Canada

If you want a new life in Canada you'll have to plan for more than just snow and a diet rich in Maple Syrup, Poutine and Bannock bread!

Emigrating to European Union

Starting a new life across the Channel in Europe is much more straightforward than many of the other destinations you could choose. That doesn't mean you can just set off on a whim, the move will still need careful planning.

Emigrating to New Zealand

With its beautiful scenery New Zealand, is a popular destination for ex-pats seeking a new life, but whether you can be one of them will depend on your employment industry, skills and personal circumstances.

Emigrating to USA

Setting off across the pond, seeking the American Dream is an ambition thousands of Brits embark on every year, but before you can join them you need to have the right paperwork and a plan in place.

Find the right cover for your travels by comparing our best travel insurance deals.

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