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10 Things to Consider Before You Move to a Foreign Country

Moving to a foreign country is one of the biggest and most serious tasks a person can undertake. It should not be initiated lightly. In order to successfully move to a foreign location, you must put a lot of thought, effort, and planning into it. In this article we’ll talk about all of the things you’ll have to research, think through, and plan so that you can be sure your move will be successful.

1. Residency and Visa

Immigration laws vary widely across the world. You might need a working visa for some countries, and for other countries you might not. For example, an American citizen traveling to Europe does not need a Visa, but a citizen from a South American country needs a Visa to travel to the United States. Make sure you know the general Visa and working visa rules for the country you’re traveling to and have a valid passport. In addition, many countries have residency laws that limit how long you can stay without registering. Make sure you know if, and when, you need to register in the country you’re moving to, and if you plan on registering as a permanent resident or if you want to pursue citizenship.

2. Learning the language

Language is incredibly important if you’re going to be moving to another country. You may be able to get by without being fluent, but if you intend on working and actually making a decent life for yourself, you should definitely attempt to learn as much of the language of your new country as you can. The sooner you start learning, the sooner you’ll achieve fluency.

3. What will you do for work?

Look for jobs that are aligned with your skills and abilities. Hopefully you’ll be able to find a job that’s in the same line with your previous work experience. Look into getting an online recruiter who you can talk to about open opportunities.

Many countries offer working visas that you can apply for. Before you leave your current job, make sure you have enough savings to survive in case you don’t find a job immediately.

4. Where should you go?

There are many, nearly limitless considerations when looking for a country you’d like to move to. It all depends on your personal preferences. Some people might prefer a country with many tourist destinations, like Italy. Other people might prefer a country with very little crime, like Switzerland. Other people might prefer a place with a bustling economy and lots of opportunity to make money, like Singapore. Make sure you research these aspects before your move and balance them against each other.

5. What’s the culture like?

For many people, a foreign country’s culture will be the single most important thing they’re moving for. Some countries, like France and Mexico, are famous for their ancient and fascinating cultures.

All countries have different foods and cuisines, and the same is true for the religions and the holidays. For example, France is heavily Catholic while India is primarily Hindu. Everywhere you go, the people will have their own things that make them unique. Doing this can help prevent culture shock.

6. Where will you live?

Housing is a relatively straightforward consideration. Do you want to buy a house, or would you rather rent an apartment? Some people might even prefer to live in short term housing, like a hostel, so that they can acclimate to their new country before committing to anything long term. If you do decide to rent or buy a place of residence, all of the usual factors apply (price, neighborhood, safety, etc). Be sure to research these factors so that you can make the best decision for yourself.

7. How will you get around?

Transportation is closely related to housing. The first decision will be to decide if you need a car. If you’re thinking of living in an urban area, there will be lots of public transportation and a car may not be necessary. All you’ll need to know in this case is the price of public transportation and how much you’ll have to pay for a monthly pass. But if you’re planning on living in a rural area, a car may be a necessity. Make sure you’re aware of where you can buy a car and how you go about obtaining a license.

8. What’s the cost of living?

Living costs can add up fast, because they tend to come up unexpectedly. Things like insurance, food, and housing utilities can be planned for, but other costs may come up out of nowhere, like car repairs. Make sure you’re prepared for these expenses so that you don’t end up without any money in a foreign country.

You should create a checklist with estimations on how much you’ll be paying for each item so that you can create a reasonable budget. Items that might be on your list are as follows:

  • Housing
  • Transportation
  • Auto, Health, Life Insurance
  • Utilities
  • Entertainment/Recreation
  • Medical
  • Childcare/Education
  • Food
  • Wifi/Internet
  • Emergencies

9. What will your social life be like?

There are an unlimited amount of ways to make friends in new places. You can go out to local bars, coffee shops, and public events like festivals and concerts. You can meet people online ahead of time using social websites. You can also join a local gym or club, which will make it easier to meet people.

10. Do you have a family? What do they need?

If you’re planning on moving to a new country with a family and children of your own, this is a huge consideration. All of the factors that apply at home apply when you’re looking to move to a foreign country. Kids will need school, daycare, doctor’s visits, etc. You should also take into account medical care for any seniors in your family. Make sure you’re taking this into account before you move so that you’re not caught surprised and unprepared after you move.


Make sure you know as much about your destination country as you can not only to be prepared but also to minimize culture shock. This will minimize the chance that unexpected things happen when things go wrong. Once you’ve done your research, put a plan into place of things you need to get done, like buying plane tickets, obtaining an apartment, and finding a job. And once that’s finished—do them!

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