Although moving abroad is exciting, giving you an opportunity to enhance your global credentials and explore other cultures, it can be very stressful. The practical parts of daily life you take for granted at home are far more complicated when you reside in a foreign country. Here are just a few situations you may encounter and deal to deal with them:
Opening a bank account in a foreign country can be complicated, as foreign banks may not be able to access credit history from your home country. For United States citizens, the 2013 Foreign Accounts Tax Compliance Act has made many banks outside the United States reluctant to deal with U. S. citizens. Your best solution is to open an account in your home country with a bank that has a branch in your new country before you leave. Keep your options open, since the choices available will depend on what country you are moving to, and do your research before the move.
If filling out tax forms in one country is complicated, and filling them out in two countries normally requires the help of an accountant experienced in international tax issues. They understand the tax treaties between your home country and your new residence. Start preparing taxes at least two months before the filing deadlines to allow for the added complexity.
The stressful part of driving in a foreign country begins before you hit the road. You will need to have an International Driving Permit, which you can obtain conveniently through the American Automobile Association or similar bodies in other countries. Eventually you will need a local driver’s license, which may take months to obtain. Invest in driving lessons for foreigners if you don’t know where to start. Trying to drive on the left when you have spent years driving on the right makes negotiating roundabouts and heavy traffic dangerous and difficult. Requirements for an Ontario driver’s license will be different than countries in Europe. Be sure to take online practice tests wherever you move to so you understand the requirements.
Your home-country insurance may not cover you during long periods of residence abroad. Because foreign companies cannot directly access your home-country insurance records, it may take several weeks to obtain foreign insurance. To avoid coverage gaps, investigate bridge insurance, and apply for new insurance as soon as possible.
Don’t wait to get sick to find a new doctor. The instant you arrive in your new country, find a doctor who is fluent in your native language, and start transferring medical records, a process that can take several weeks. Many countries have international hospitals and clinics, but they may be more difficult to find, especially in an emergency.
The best way to minimize the stress of moving to a new country is being well-prepared. Start on these practical tasks before you make your move so you can minimize stress and enjoy your new home.