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Going to live abroad is a major decision and you should obtain as much information
and advice as possible before you go. The following tips may help you...................
Before you leave:
Work out what your retirement income will be - You must be clear about your
financial situation on your retirement. Remember to allow for exchange rate
fluctuations and inflation.
Request a UK State Pension Forecast - A state pension forecast tells you in today’s
money the amount of state pension you have earned already and the amount you
can expect to receive at state pension age. You will still receive your state pension on
retirement (provided you have reached state pension age) if you live overseas, but it
may not be increased annually if you are going to live outside the EEA or if you reside
within the EEA but are not covered by EC social security regulations.
Find out about your tax liability abroad - If you retire abroad you may still have to pay
UK tax on income you receive from the UK, over and above your age-related
personal allowance. You may also have to pay tax on UK income in the country in
which you live.
Find out about your welfare rights abroad - You may be able to claim a benefit in
your country of residency, but the benefits you receive in the UK may also be
affected by your move abroad. Each benefit has different rules and some cannot be
paid outside the UK. Remember that British nationals generally have to have lived in
the UK for five years to be entitled to income-related UK benefits. This may affect
you if you have to return to the UK for any reason. You can find out more about the
‘habitual residency test’ on the Department of Work and Pensions’ website
(www.dwp.gov.uk) or the Citizens Advice website (www.citizensadvice.org.uk).
Let people know your change of address - Let your Social Security Office, HM
Revenue & Customs, National Insurance Contributions Office – Centre for Non-
Residents, and the DWP know when you are going to leave and give them your
address abroad. Don’t forget to let them know if you later change your address.
Find out about health costs abroad - When you ask the DWP about getting your
pension paid to you in another EEA country, they will automatically check to see if
you can get the E121 as well. If so, you will receive the same free or reduced-cost
medical treatment as a qualified pensioner of the country you are in, under its state
health care scheme. The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) is not valid for non-
UK residents and is no longer valid once you move abroad. It is highly recommended
to get health insurance to cover private medical and dental treatment, and medical
repatriation to the UK.
Find out about accommodation costs – Buying abroad to live full time is a big
decision and it may be better to rent to begin with. Make sure you seek independent
professional legal advice before purchasing. Your local British Embassy, High
Commission or Consulate can provide a list of English-speaking lawyers who can
assist you. Know Before You Go’s advice is “Buy with CARE”: Go into it with Caution,
make sure you seek Advice (local laws can be complex and unclear), do your own
Research then Evaluate before proceeding.
When you arrive:
Register with the local authorities - This may give you access to the local welfare
services after a short period of time. If you are moving to another EEA country you
must apply for a residence permit within three months of arrival. If you do not
register, at best you may be unable to access local benefits to which you are entitled
and at worst you may be breaking local law.
Learn the local language - Try to fit in with the local community. Hospital and local
welfare services staff will not usually speak English. You will find day-to-day life much
easier if you can make yourself understood.
Make a will - If you die intestate abroad this can cause difficulties for your heirs. Seek
professional legal advice. You may require separate wills for assets and property held
in the UK and other countries. Your local British Embassy, High Commission or
Consulate can provide a list of English-speaking lawyers who can assist you.
Find out about British Associations - There may be clubs, publications and charity
organisations for the expatriate community. Lists of these are available from your
local British Embassy, High Commission or Consulate.
Keep your vote - You can register to vote as an overseas elector for up to 15 years
after you were last registered in the UK. To register, contact the electoral registration
officer at the local council where you were last registered as an elector when living in
the UK. For further information see the Electoral Commission websites
www.electoralcommission.org.uk and www.aboutmyvote.co.uk.
To find out what the British Consulate, High Commission or Embassy can do for you
when you’re moving abroad, and for a list of useful contact details, visit
If you are letting property in the UK while you are living abroad then some companies will
not cover you for Landlords Insurance.
COMMERCIAL & RESIDENTIAL
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now have a panel of insurers who will cover your property.
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The page for British expats with rental property in the UK