A couple of years ago, I was doing a ton of research to leave the U.S.A and move to another country. What I didn't know was everything that must be included when moving. You must look up visas, figure out how to make money, what city to move to, and how you will get around. These questions and thoughts spiraled through my head. How to move to another country?
When you move to a country you have to think about your new life, what you will do with your belongings, paperwork, and if you will be working abroad. These are all things going through the minds of people moving to a new place or a different country.
Many people get scared of moving abroad because it seems complicated. My wife has lived in three different countries. I have lived in two other countries, and I know various people that have lived in many countries.
Moving to Taiwan has taught me many things that have helped me succeed. It doesn't matter if you have moved a million times or just once. Each time you need a plan to make things go smoothly. Here are some tips on how to move to another country.
Table of Contents
How to Move to Another Country
I hope to help make the moving process much more manageable. Let's get down to creating a roadmap to support the transition to move abroad.
1. Do Research
A plan is always needed. This can include where you want to live, what you will do once you get there, how to find a community and create a suitable living situation. Not having a plan and just winging it may not be the best use of your time.
Yes, part of the adventure is having the unknown, but having a plan can help go a long way.
My suggestion is to take some time. Jot down what your goals are going to be when you move abroad. Do you want to learn a new language, earn extra money to be more financially stable, or get rid of debt? Is this all about traveling?
Knowing your motivation can help better understand how this plan will work out. Then you take the following steps to figure out the best place to live in.
Pick 2-3 Different Countries
It is time to narrow down where you would like to relocate. Each country has different things you need to look at. How is the job situation? What is healthcare and health insurance like? Will you make money? How is the lifestyle or quality of life going to be?
These are different questions you will need to figure out when moving. I moved to Taipei, Taiwan, in 2017. At that point, I was looking for a place to earn and save a good amount of money. The area would have enough adventures, and the food and lifestyle would be very comfortable.
Making a list of countries can help you with your move abroad. Write down about 2-3 different countries that would be the best places to live in for you and continue to bring that list down to just one country. Take a look at what the cost of living would be as well. This will help in determining the best place to land.
Initially, I thought South Korea would be the country I wanted to move to, but as I did more research, I realized that the weather was not as I had hoped for. Being from Florida, I was more used to the warmer weather. South Korea had some cold spells, but the savings rate for expats was great. So it was on my list.
Taiwan's weather and savings rate for expats is something that excites me. It was one of my top picks.
Time to research the culture you are about to embrace. There will be different kinds of food, language, and traditions that you will know beforehand. Like in Asian countries, it is polite to take shoes off when entering homes.
Knowing the culture will help you if you have any culture shock.
Packing, Selling Stuff and Storing Stuff
When moving abroad, you need to start to pack. Moving is often easier with fewer things and fewer suitcases. So if you don't know where exactly you will live, it is best to go lighter.
Also, make sure you are under the weight limit for airlines. They will charge extra, which may not be necessary if you try to save money. Less stuff means cheaper tickets and less you will have to worry about.
With everything else you may have, you can start to sell. For instance, if you own a car or a couch, or something significant, you can sell it off. Then the rest of the little things you can store if you know you will come back for it.
Start to sell your stuff to have a smooth transition and no worries when moving abroad.
Make notes about the different types of transportation that will be needed. Will you need to have a car or a scooter? How is the public transportation system? Moving overseas has different rules for the road, so be aware of the different types of transportation that will be in this new country.
2. Find Work and a Job
Finding a job is one of the most important things when living as an expat. Nations do not want people to drain their resources without contributing. Many countries will not let people stay unless they have a visa or some income coming.
Employment can bring on many great benefits. A job makes everything easier. You will save money, have health insurance, and get a visa much more effortless.
You can immigrate through a job relocation as you look at many places. Several large businesses will send their employees abroad. This can allow you to have an opportunity to go overseas much more manageable.
Freelancing is another employment opportunity. Several countries are offering freelance visas, like Portugal and Croatia. These visas allow digital nomads to live and work in another country without doing visa runs ( going to another country to reenter on a tourist visa).
If you are fluent in English, many countries look for English teachers. So this can be an opportunity to work and live while having residency.
With any job comes benefits like health insurance which saves money in the long term.
3. Time For Visas
Each country is different, especially with visas. Just because you believe your country is the best means, it will be treated the same in other countries. Visas are essential to enter and live in a place.
Many countries offer working holiday visas to foreigners under a certain age. You can go off to work in Australia for two years on a working holiday visa or travel to Japan on a working holiday visa.
Knowing which countries offer visas or work permits to foreigners helps out. In addition, a work visa can bring about many benefits, such as having health insurance and entering and leaving a country much more quickly.
Take a look at what the visa requirements are. Make sure that you are following all of the laws of a country. Countries are not the happiest if you break their rules by overstaying the visa time.
Some countries will need you to apply for a visa beforehand. Some will have the companies sponsor or apply for the visa for you, while some you can roll up in the country.
Research is always needed to make sure the decisions are made the best.
4. Tell Families and Friends of Your Move
Moving to another country is not always the easiest. You will need to let family and friends know of your decision. They can be tremendous advocates for you and give you aid with research.
My wife moved to Taiwan in 2015, and one of the great things about the movie was that her father's cousin lived there. That connection allowed my wife to have some family close by in case of need.
I had told many friends of my potential move, and one friend who was living in Taipei at the time raved about the country and offered a place to live until I got settled.
There are so many opportunities or connections that can be created if you inform others of your decisions. It will also help ease some of the shock of you moving away.
Transition can be difficult, allowing time to transition more smoothly. Friends and family will miss you, but as long as you make a decision known to them, they will be very excited. Take your time and announce them.
5. Figuring Out Banking
Going traveling usually requires money. Not having money can bring about stressful situations. You need to figure out how to get cash in case of emergencies or until you get paid next.
Banking can be the thing you should work on next. One of the best things is to research a bank account that is international or has fee-free ATMs.
My favorite choice is the Schwab High-Interest Checking Account as an American Expat. It may say high interest, but it is not. Schwab will reimburse any fees accrued while taking money out of the ATM at the end of each month. The best part of this account is that there are fee-free ATMs worldwide.
My wife, An Australian Expat, used Citi Bank for ATM fee-free, but since they are moving out of Australia, some new banks will be looking at. Many countries have banks you could bank out that offer ATM fee-free.
6. Travel Insurance For Living Abroad
Things happen all the time, and having insurance can go a long way. When traveling, I always make sure to have travel insurance.
When moving to another country, you need to make sure that you have insurance if you need to go to the hospital. Most countries that have good universal healthcare will allow you to get signed up in a matter of months, so having some coverage can help out.
Travel insurance can also help with cancellations of flights or even lost luggage. One of the worst things is getting to a new country and your luggage missing. My friend and his wife spent a day, and a half in Melbourne, Australia, stressed because their luggage got lost. It can happen, so having travel insurance will help cover these unpredictable circumstances.
7. Time To Book A Flight
It is time to book a flight. Generally, booking a flight 2-3 months ahead of time can allow you to get the best prices possible. At this point, you know which country you are going to move to, so it is time to book that flight.
If you know where you will fly to, start making arrangements to buy a ticket. The sooner you book to the date you leave, the more expensive the flight. This is when some travel hacking can help create opportunities to have cheap or free flights.
With flights, make sure to check out the luggage limits. You will see that flights like United or American Airlines have a 23 kg (50lbs) limit on their flights. More international flights will have up to 30kg (65 lbs). So check the ticket and the airline.
8. Goodbye Parties
It is time to say goodbye. People back home will miss you, and it will help to have goodbye with friends and family. You are about to embark on a new adventure to a new home and live abroad.
Moving to a foreign country is different from living in your home country. You will be living an expat life meeting new friends and locals. Life abroad in another country will bring on recent experiences from learning the local languages to obtaining a work permit.
Being prepared is one of the most important things to remember. Even if you are moving to New Zealand or Canada, where they speak English, it is much easier to research how to act and how that country operates. Many moving tips can help. Here are just a few of those tips to add to your moving checklist on how to move to another country.
It is time to start that list, research, and get ready to move to another country.
I’m Steve. I’m an English Teacher, traveler, and an avid outdoorsman. If you’d like to comment, ask a question, or simply say hi, leave me a message here, on Twitter (@thefrugalexpat1). Many of my posts have been written to help those in their journey to financial independence. I am on my journey, and as I learn more I hope to share more. And as always, thanks for reading The Frugal Expat.