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How to expatriate: expat information guide

Summary

It is not always easy to know where to start when you are wondering how to expatriate, especially since the answers provided may raise new questions.

However, there is no need to panic, as everything can be done without stress by following the advice in this expat information guide.

How to avoid expatriate failure: steps not to be postponed

Expatriation, a long distance move

To the question: how to expatriate?, some of the answers are the same as for the question: how to move abroad?

It is therefore important to notify the relevant departments and administrations of your change of address and to cancel or modify your current contracts if necessary (banks, insurance, social benefits, etc.).

As for moving abroad, you must anticipate the destination of your belongings:

  • Organize the shipment of your belongings to the new destination with a company specialized in international moving
  • Find a furniture storage facility for the personal goods that will remain in your home country
  • Sell or donate certain items.

The essential documents to live abroad

Of course, there would be no need for an expat information guide if the question of how to expatriate was simply a matter of preparing a move: changing country is not an easy task and requires steps that must be taken, depending on the case, before or after departure in order for expatriation to be successful.

Obtaining a visa, a work permit, or a passport renewal cannot be done at the last minute, otherwise you will have to postpone your expatriation project.

Determining your future tax status

Another key element on how to avoid expatriate failure also implies being in compliance with the laws in force in your home country and in the future country of residence.

Therefore, all expats must take care of their tax situation by informing their tax office of their move, and by finding out about bilateral agreements and their future status as foreign tax residents.

This will determine the terms of payment of your taxes during your time abroad, and will also allow you to avoid or limit the factor of double taxation.

Social security coverage must be considered before departure

Taking out international health insurance: always a winning option 

When considering how to expatriate, it is essential to also think about social security coverage, as settling abroad does not allow you to benefit from the social security system of your home country in most cases.

Depending on your situation and place of residence, you can benefit from the local health insurance scheme, but this is rarely sufficient because this type of coverage is often limited in terms of coverages and reimbursements: repatriation or care received during a stay in your country of origin will remain at your expense.

In order to succeed in your expatriation, we recommend you to take out international health insurance.

Using an online insurance comparison tool will help you find the best solution for each situation. It is advisable to subscribe before your departure to be covered as soon as possible.

Do not forget your retirement rights

The question of pension rights should not be overlooked. Depending on the country of destination, different rules apply in terms of contributions and entitlements, so it is important to find out beforehand.

How to expatriate and integrate, alone or with your family

Immerse yourself in the country’s culture to integrate successfully

Every good expatriation guide says it: a minimum mastery of the local language is a condition for a successful stay abroad. Language courses will therefore be useful for the whole family before departure, but also during the stay.

Moving abroad and succeeding also implies learning about the way of life, customs, and culture in the broad sense of the future country of residence: familiarizing with them before departure will help you avoid a culture shock and will facilitate integration.

Plan the activities of your spouse and children

A successful expatriation as a family requires taking into account the needs of each individual.

Enrolling your children in school must be prepared before departure, because finding an institution capable of welcoming young expats is not easy, especially when they are located far away from major international cities.

The spouse’s job must also be taken into consideration: it is important to prospect in advance.

If necessary, it may also be useful for the spouse to follow a training program that will help him or her find a job in the host country, or to prepare for the return home at the end of the expatriation.

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