Thursday, May 26, 2022

The Cost Of Moving To Another Country


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Moving to another country isn’t easy. Not only are there legal requirements to meet and emotional challenges to face, but there’s also the huge cost of moving abroad to contend with.

Just how much does it cost to move abroad? In many cases, thousands of dollars. It all depends on where you move, how you move and how long you plan to stay. Moving to a neighboring country for a year may not cost too much at all, whereas a permanent relocation to an overseas country can be very expensive. This post delves more into the types of costs you’ll need to budget for when planning an international move.

Visa/citizenship application

Unless you’re moving from one EU country to another EU country, moving abroad typically requires you to obtain a legal permit.

The most basic form of permit is a visa, which allows you to live in another country for a temporary period. There are different types of visas available depending on what your purpose is (student visas are usually quite cheap and easy to obtain, while working visas are more expensive and can be a little more difficult to obtain). A working visa can cost less than $100 in some countries like Germany. In other countries like the UK, you can pay thousands for a working visa.

Applying for permanent residency is a longer process and can cost a lot more. You’ll have to pay an application fee, regardless of whether your application is accepted or not. To help ensure that your application is approved, it’s worth considering an immigration lawyer consultation. You’ll have to pay for this service, but it’s generally worth it, especially when moving to countries with tougher immigrations processes such as the US and China. In some cases, you may have to live in the country for a number of years on a temporary visa first. 

Shipping your possessions

It’s likely you’ll want to bring some personal possessions with you. It’s worth taking the time to find the cheapest transportation option for your belongings.

If you’re moving to a neighboring country with a few possessions and you have a car, you may be able to simply drive there with your possessions in the back of the car. In this case, you’ll only have to budget for the cost of fuel and tolls. 

If you’re moving further afield or want to bring more possessions that your car will permit, you’ll likely need to hire a moving company. Depending on where you’re moving to, you’ll have to weigh up your transport options. Lorries can be an option when moving across land. If you need to move across water, you’ll have to choose between a ship or air travel. Shipping possessions by sea is a lot cheaper than shipping possessions by air, but it’s also a lot slower. 

Some possessions will cost more to ship over. Vehicles can be some of the most expensive items to ship, often costing thousands of dollars. If you cannot drive your vehicle there and it’s not a high value vehicle, consider whether it’s worth selling your vehicle before you move and buying a new vehicle abroad.

It could be worth applying for moving insurance to cover your possessions against loss or damage. Insurance can vary in cost from $100 to thousands of dollars depending on the route and the value of your possessions. International moving companies may offer insurance as an add-on, but you could find it cheaper to take out insurance elsewhere.

When moving to some countries you may have to pay customs duty charges and taxes. Household goods are generally exempt, but items like cars will come with a fee. 

If you’re moving abroad for a short period, you may decide that it’s cheaper and easier to simply leave your possessions behind. If you haven't got a property back home to store them in, consider renting out storage for your items. Storage fees can vary depending on how much storage space you need. 

Personal travel

On top of the cost of transporting your possessions, you’ll need to consider the cost of transporting yourself. 

Driving yourself abroad in a car may be an option when moving to a neighboring country. If you don’t have a car or don’t drive, you could look into public transport such as international coaches or trains. When travelling over sea, travelling by ship may be an option. 

Flying is the most common option as it is the fastest. Long-distance flights can be expensive, but you may be able to reduce costs by timing your flight right (avoid peak flight months like June and December, and fly on a weekday). 

Accommodation upfront costs

When you move abroad, you’ll need somewhere to stay. Some people opt for temporary accommodation at first while they look for their new home. Other people plan their new home before relocating so that they can move straight in. 

If you’re buying a house you’ll need to consider the down payment and any other upfront fees like solicitor fees. If you’re renting, you’ll likely need to put down a rental deposit and possibly pay for agency fees. Consider whether it’s worth visiting your destination in person to carry out a viewing, or whether you’re willing to decide upon a property without a physical viewing. Travelling abroad to do an in-person viewing will help to ensure that the home is right for you, but will cost you more money. A virtual viewing may be cheaper, even if it does not provide the whole picture. 

Long-term costs

The cost of living abroad could be very different. Depending on where you are moving from, things like groceries, rent and transport could all be a lot more expensive. You may also find that you are taxed differently to how you are used to back home. 

Any job you get abroad will have to cover these costs. You may find that you earn less abroad for the job you are currently doing. That said, countries that pay less in wages typically come with a lower cost of living, so it may balance itself out. 

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