Moving Abroad From the UK | A Moving Checklist

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In the past year 90,000 British citizens moved overseas to work, and 560,000 left their homes in the UK to live abroad permanently. Younger people, between the ages of 20-40 are more likely to opt for working abroad, and there's no doubt that immersing yourself in another culture brings numerous rewards, apart from the financial ones.

Moving abroad from the UK – whether you're relocating, retiring, or moving for work – is an exciting, and potentially scary prospect. The shift involves far more than a change of language, you'll also be dealing with a different banking system, housing market, tax system, schooling, and healthcare.


A Checklist For Moving Abroad From The UK

Schepens Removals has a century of experience moving people around the globe. Here's our checklist of things to do, so you can enjoy peace of mind when the move finally happens and focus on looking forward to the new experiences ahead of you.


1. How Long Is Your Passport Valid For?

Check, first of all, what the requirements are for the country you're travelling to. If it's in the EU you'll need at least 3 months left on your passport for it to be valid; other countries have different requirements.

Applying for a new passport in the UK is far less complicated than trying to renew it from abroad. It's a good idea to play it safe and have 12 months remaining on your passport.


2. Apply For a Work Visa

Since Britain left Europe, British citizens are now required to submit an application for a work permit in countries across the EU. Countries outside the EU will also require applications for visas, and work permits. Most application processes take 3-6 months to complete, so get started early to ensure your move isn't delayed.


3. Who Needs to Know That You're Moving Abroad?

Well, aside from family and friends, there are quite a few people who will want to know that you're moving abroad:

- HMRC Tax Office. Even though you won't be living in the UK, you may be liable for taxes.

- Utilities. You'll need to let your gas, electrics, water, and broadband providers know of your move. They'll need around a month to come up with a final bill.

- Student Loans Company. If you're repaying student loans, and you plan live abroad for over 3 months, you need to let them know so they can reassess your payments.

- Healthcare. You should let your GP and dentist know that you'll be living abroad so that they know whether to expect your return or not.

- Local Authority. As you will be living abroad, your local authority will need to create a final council tax bill for you to pay.

- Post Office. You can arrange to have your mail forwarded to you by the post office for up to 12 months.


4. Set Up a Local Bank Account

Whilst you will probably choose to retain your UK bank account, a local account can be useful when you're moving abroad. You may be able to avoid paying transaction fees, and it may make local, day-to-day transaction easier to manage. Your UK bank will be able to offer you advice on this.


5. Healthcare in Your New Home

For the first 90 days in your new home, you can use the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) in order to have access to healthcare. After that, if you are working, you should be registered for the healthcare arrangements everyone has access to. You may be required to take out additional healthcare insurance, so check before you go,


6. Check You Can Drive on Your UK Licence

If you're planning to drive abroad, check out the local rules and regulations before you get behind the wheel. You may find that you have to take a test before you can drive, or that you need to exchange your licence. For international moves, you can get an international driving permit from the post office; this will allow you to drive as long as you have a valid UK licence as well.


7. Overseas Removals

Once you know when you will be moving, you'll need to decide on a removals company to ship your goods. Narrow down the search by looking for overseas specialists, preferably those that have experience in the country you are moving to. Get 3-4 quotes before making your decision and try to speak to each company to find out how helpful and knowledgeable they are.

A specialist overseas removals company will offer:

- A free removals assessment, and a no obligation removals quote.

- A personal move co-ordinator.

- Insurance in transit.

- Regular runs to your destination, which guarantees flexible scheduling.

- Completion of customs paperwork.

- Professional packing and inventory service.

- Local storage for goods in UK and destination.

- Drivers who drive regularly in your destination country.

- Placing furniture and goods in your new home.


8. Check Whether You Can Take Your Pet Abroad

It can be complicated to take a pet abroad with you, so check in advance what the regulations are. In all cases, pets will need to have their own passport, and should be immunised against rabies at least 21 days before travelling. They will also need to be microchipped by your vet. There are other local requirements, so make sure you have all you need before setting out.


9. Retain Your Right to Vote

If you are a British citizen, you can still vote in UK elections, even though you're living abroad. You can register online and will need to renew your registration every 12 months. If you're working abroad, remember to re-register as a home voter when you return.



There's no doubt that moving abroad from the UK is a logistical challenge, no matter whether you're experienced in doing it, or not. Having a checklist allows you to work through the process, ticking off items as you go. Start early, create a calendar of tasks, and feel the virtue of being totally ready when the move finally arrives.


Short Bio

Amanda Price - Digital Content Executive and Researcher for Imagefix | Amanda joined the Imagefix team in 2019, she brought to the business an expertise in social media, SEO, copywriting, and blogging.

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