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Repatriation denotes the process of moving back to your country of origin. It can occur voluntarily - when you make a decision to leave the country you have been living in and return to your homeland, or forcedly - when your host country requires you to leave for legal reasons. The term repatriation is sometimes also used in connotation with the movement of bodily remains of a deceased from abroad to his country of origin - for more information on the latter click here.
When you decide to return to your country of origin voluntarily, you will find that the process of returning home involves nearly as much bureaucracy as when you first left the country. For this reason, make sure to start planning your departure several months in advance.
Top of the to-do list is taking care of immigration matters. If you have lived abroad for a longer period and given up your original citizenship, you should look into current entry requirements for your country of origin. You might also want to consider restoring your original citizenship. For this purpose, have a look at the respective immigration authority website. Maltese expats repatriating to Malta can apply for restoration of Maltese citizenship, see the Ministry of Home Affairs and National Security website.
Another important step is to take care of your accommodation arrangements. If you are renting, make sure to inform your landlord about your departure within the agreed notice period; otherwise you might incur additional costs. Similarly, if you were renting out a property in your home country, inform your tenants of your return in due time. In case you own property in your host country, it is a good idea to put it on the market a few months prior to departure as it might take a while to sell. At the same time, make an early start on house hunting back home. For further useful information, see our Accommodation articles related to your respective country.
It is also important to inform the tax authorities about your departure. Note that if you leave in the middle of a particular tax year, you might still have tax obligations in that country for the remainder of that tax year. At the same time, you should register with the tax authorities back home. Make sure to look into current tax regulations as these might have changed since your departure. For tax matters in Malta see the website of the Inland Revenue and our Taxation in Malta articles.
Also keep in mind to cancel all subscriptions and services in your host country. Think of your newspaper subscriptions, sports club memberships, internet and TV provider, TV license, mobile phone contract, and so on. Make sure to look into cancellation policies well in advance as certain service providers might have a set notice period. At the same time, start researching service providers in your home country and comparing the services and prices they offer.
You should also remember to inform your bank that you are leaving the country. Consider whether you want to keep your bank account open for a while longer, in particular if you are still expecting income in that country. However, note that certain banks may charge extra if you live abroad.
Another important task is to inform everyone that your address has changed! In this respect it is recommendable to arrange for your mail to be forwarded to your new address for a certain period. If you are an expat departing from Malta you can have a look at mail forwarding options on the website of Malta Post.
Finally, you will have to take care of the shipment of your personal items, vehicles, and pets. For useful advice on this, consult our Expat Briefing articles on Relocation and select the applicable country you are returning to.
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