The ins and outs of moving abroad

Contributed by Jess Baker, 09 July, 2014

Whether it's for love, work or a change of scenery, moving abroad can be a blessing. It's a sad thought to think that some people don't get the opportunity to get up and leave as and when they choose. Many countries throughout the world have strict immigration policies that make even taking a weekend vacation a struggle. Luckily, as citizens of the European Union, we are entitled to plenty of benefits with regard to living and working abroad. It's a wonder why the vast majority of the population have no interest in utilizing these privileges.

Freedom of movement

The right to free movement is a basic right of most EU citizens. EU citizens are currently entitled to move abroad and seek work and benefits from any EEA (European Economic Area), in sharp contrast to the policies regarding movement in some regions outside the EU, such as Switzerland and Liechtenstein. However, some countries may have their own individual legislation regarding procedures and duration of stay. For example, in Sweden the government has the authority to decline residency to individuals who don't register with the Migration Board within 3 months of entry. 

Before you move abroad always check the individual policies surrounding your chosen country. For example, if you plan on buying property in France, the sale must be administered by the government organization Notaire. While you'll almost certainly be granted asylum if you are an EU citizen moving to another European country, the laws will significantly vary on how to legally register your right of residency.

Legal processes

Prior to moving abroad you must tell the government that you are leaving and pass on your forwarding address. To do this contact your local council via and send them the relevant information.

In addition you must inform all relevant benefit offices such as Job Centre Plus and the International Pension Centre. They will tell you whether or not you’re still entitled to the same benefits, and if not, which local government authorities you should contact within your destination country.

Paying taxes

Paying taxes is tricky. Generally speaking, you will pay taxes where you earn them; therefore, if you find full-time employment abroad you should pay tax in that country. However, if you're self-employed and work for a UK based company, it isn't always clear who or how to pay taxes.

Contact HM Revenue and Customs and inform them of your situation. They will recommend the best course of action and tell you what local government authorities to contact when you move. By paying taxes in another country you could forfeit your right to certain benefits when or if you return to the UK; therefore, they may recommend paying National Insurance contributions in addition to paying taxes where you are based. If you are travelling with children you should also ask HM Revenue and Customs whether there are any additional steps that you should take.

Voting and Citizenship

Even if you move abroad you are still entitled to vote in UK elections for up to 15 years; afterwards you forfeit your right. You will not, however, be permitted to vote in local elections. If you have never registered as an elector in the UK and are over 18 years of age at the time you move, you will not have the right to vote.

Weather you're relocating permanently or just planning on moving for a few years, ensuring everything is legally sound is crucial. Contact all of the relevant government authorities well in advance to prevent any issues from occurring. 

Tags: interest | Europe | currency | Citizenship | individuals | Insurance | France | Sweden | Switzerland | Liechtenstein | legislation | law | tax |



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