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A 9-Step Checklist for Moving to Another Country

A 9-Step Checklist for Moving to Another Country

According to the U.S. State Department, more than 6 million U.S. citizens reside in another country. There are a variety of reasons involved – warmer climate, work assignments, cheaper cost of living, superior medical care, and so on. Nevertheless, irrespective of the reasons for purchasing a one-way ticket and becoming an expatriate, there are many important choices that must be made upon arrival.

If you too are intent on joining the masses, here is a list of things you should consider:

1. Where to go?

There are so many factors that come into play when deciding on a new home country. Some of those factors include: political stability, climate, low crime rates, close proximity to the U.S., low cost of living, and more. Among the favorite countries for U.S. expatriates are Costa Rica, Ecuador, Panama, Belize, and the Philippines.

2. Making an Income

Although many expats go abroad to retire, there are others who still require some kind of income. Sure, life abroad tends to be cheaper than back home but those savings can run down pretty quickly. Thus, consider how you’re going to make an income to get by. If you require sustenance money but you have no plan as to how you’re going to generate it, you’re not ready to set sail quite yet, so don’t be too hasty.

3. The Lingo

In the U.S. communication is taken for granted. After all, almost everyone speaks English. But in a foreign country that likely will not be the case. Practicing the lingo before departure is a good step to reducing the communication barrier on arrival. Furthermore, you can take some intensive language lessons when you get to your destination, which serves as a great way to ease the linguistic transformation and also meet people.

4. Medical

Even if you’re still in your 20’s or 30’s, it’s important to be at least somewhat conversant with the medical facilities within your new community. Many seniors who choose to live abroad do so due to medical care being far more affordable than it is in the U.S. Fortuitously, most countries in the world offer cheaper medical care than the U.S.

5. Taxes, Insurance, and Snail Mail

Even when you reside in another country, Uncle Sam continues to expect you to cough up for U.S. taxes given that you are still a citizen and you are making an income. You’ll likely want to stay up-to-date with your health insurance, so don’t be tempted to put that on the back burner until ‘settling in’. Stateside mail can either be forwarded to a post office box or to a relative.

6. Visas and Residency

Some expats are intent on becoming citizens of their new home, while others are content living on extended tourist visas. Tourist visas are often easy to come by but they will involve a fairly regular border crossing – perhaps every 90 days or so. Furthermore, tourist visa restrictions do exist if looking to invest in a local business or purchase property. Frequently there are sizable benefits to becoming a citizen, though sometimes there’s little difference between citizenship and living on a tourist visa. To find out more, do your homework and discuss these matters with other expats.

7. Purchasing a Home and a Car

It’s easy to feel compelled to make some early investments in your new country of residence. After all, you want to make it feel like home, and how better to do that than to have plenty of creature comforts around you. Nevertheless, it’s sensible to take some time to learn about the local ways. After all, in some countries, the rules for home ownership in particular as an expat are somewhat Draconian. In the meantime however, if you still own a car stateside, you may consider shipping it over. If you do decide to take this route, make sure you use a reputable international car shipping company such as A1 Auto Transport Inc.

8. Technology to Keep in Touch

In this day and age, keeping in touch with friends and family equates to using technology. Long gone are the days of snail mail, which is a huge relief, particularly if you’re living in some far flung country many thousands of miles from your base in the U.S. Applications such as Skype and WhatsApp are excellent for making free calls to anywhere in the world. And download a language translator on your phone as this will become a regular facet within your arsenal.

9. Keep Safe

Last but certainly not least on this list is that you always endeavor to keep safe in your new surroundings. Some basic pointers include - don’t be tempted to walk around with valuables openly displayed, avoid notoriously bad neighborhoods, don’t meander around the streets late at night. You get the drift.


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