There is nothing more annoying than moving abroad, realizing you were supposed to do something back home, and when you try to do it from abroad the government office tells you it is technically illegal now. One’s excuse is, “I didn’t know.” And that almost seems legitimate because there are next to no programs in place to help you transition abroad but the person on the other end of the phone won’t buy it so here are some things to remember when moving abroad.
1.TAXES AND MOVING ABROAD
No body likes the word and you will feel like kicking something when you find out you were supposed to pay taxes in your home country on your income earned abroad and on top of that now you are being charged interest for not doing so. The point is to investigate the tax rules of your country for living abroad. And know that they can change every year. When I was in Japan a lot of my friends gloated that they didn’t have to pay taxes on income earned abroad then the Australian government changed that. Fortunately most countries have tax treaties with each other, which means that you won’t have to pay double tax. That means if you pay 13% tax abroad and taxes back home are 16% then you will only have to pay 3% taxes on your income back home.
In Canada you can ‘avoid’ taxes by becoming a nonresident for tax purposes. Generally it implies that you can’t have more than 5 ties to Canada though for all the Canadians out there check with an accountant to see how to become this ‘nonresident’. Get rid of your health insurance. If you have it, you more or less have to pay taxes. Also make sure you don’t have any investments or own property otherwise you will definitely have to pay taxes. In short, consult with an accountant.
2. SIGNING OUT BEFORE MOVING ABROAD
I’m not sure about other countries but in Canada there are a number of documents you must fill out before moving abroad. First you must register with the government that you are living abroad. Second you must realize that your health insurance is automatically cancelled if you’ve been out of the country for more than 183 days (at least that’s what it used to be) but there is a document you can sign so that this doesn’t happen. In fact you have to let the government know this. I found out the hard way. The moral is to investigate whether or not your country requires you to fill out any documents before you move abroad.
3. START UP COSTS WHEN MOVING ABROAD
Ideally you will want to have a few thousand dollars to help you out when you move abroad (Remember, it has to be in the country’s currency). Many companies will give you an interest free loan to help you out but I personally recommend bringing enough to get started. Remember that when you go to rent an apartment there is usually some fee attached that is equal to 1-month rent plus any other fees. That can really eat away at that wad of cash you just had.
It’s also a good idea to verify if you will be paid monthly or bi-weekly. You might not like to budget but for that first month it might be a necessity until you build up some cash flow.
Note: Check to see if the country you are moving to accepts traveller’s checks. If they do than split your money so that half is in traveller’s checks. That way if you lose it, you won’t loose the money too.
4. PACKING SENSIBLY BEFORE MOVING ABROAD
My suitcases were overweight the first time I moved abroad and it is because I didn’t pack sensibly. Books. Those darn things weigh a ton. Invest in an e-book to save the hassle of hauling books around the world. Books are better, I know, but it’s just not efficient when moving abroad.
Remember that other countries have many of the same products so you don’t have to stalk up on that one thing that you need unless… it’s not common in the country. So make sure that you do a bit of research to see what products common to your country are not common to the other country. East Asian countries do not like deodorant.
5. TIDYING UP LOOSE ENDS BEFORE MOVING ABROAD
Call your credit card company and inform them that you are moving abroad. Otherwise they may block your card. I can’t even begin to count how many times it has happened to me. If you don’t have a credit card, get one! It will be your saving grace.
Go to your bank and get your account number and all the other details needed so that you can send money home. In fact you may want to rearrange your accounts so that you are not paying monthly fees for having them.
Some countries don’t allow you to put money on your Skype account (it happened to me) so best to set it up at home.
Check to see that those online subscriptions work in the country you are going to. Netflix doesn’t work in some countries.
If I had come across this article before I moved abroad it would have saved me many headaches. Many of the things I have written in this article were from my own experiences and I hope it will be useful for you as you begin your next journey in life.