Preparing to Move Overseas? Read This First

Have you ever determined to dwell the #beachlife or the #retired life or simply the #offgridlife? Earlier than you progress, right here’s what it’s worthwhile to learn about every thing from establishing residency overseas to well being care, taxes, visas and prices.

Well being care 

1. Your U.S. medical health insurance could not cowl you. 

As quickly as you progress overseas, you’re accountable for paying on your medical bills, as your United States medical health insurance gained’t allow you to submit any assertions, says Elena Jones, a private finance professional at FinanceJar. Based mostly on the choices of your plan, non-public U.S. medical insurance coverage could solely present minimal protection for pressing conditions exterior the nation. Medical bills overseas aren’t coated by Medicare or Medicaid both, says Anna Sosdian, the co-founder of StartAbroad, a relocation specialist firm based mostly in Costa Rica. 

2. You might not instantly qualify for protection in your new nation both. 

Whereas many nations have free public well being care supplied by the federal government, don’t count on it to kick in for you as quickly as you arrive. When you turn out to be a authorized resident, you may join the nationwide well being care in your new nation. In some nations, together with Portugal and Costa Rica, you pay into social safety and obtain free or cheap well being care on the level of service, Sosdian says. 

3. You possibly can (or could must) buy worldwide insurance coverage.

The best—though most likely the most costly—route is to buy worldwide medical health insurance from an organization akin to Cigna, GeoBlue or Aetna. You possibly can sometimes get comparable protection to any insurance coverage you’re receiving in the US, however it’s a must to be careful for the way they deal with preexisting circumstances—so make sure you learn the positive print. 

“It’s a great place to start out till you determine your new nation’s well being system,” Sosdian says. “Lots of expats wish to complement nationwide well being care with non-public insurance coverage as effectively: In most nations, that gives you entry to non-public hospitals and clinics with shorter wait instances for process, extra English-speaking workers and extra trendy services.”

Kimberly McCauley, a journey blogger dwelling in Istanbul, bought non-public insurance coverage that additionally covers her when she returns for brief visits to the U.S. She additionally needed to have insurance coverage to be eligible for a Turkish visa. A lot is dependent upon the nation, so it’s vital to look into the necessities and suggestions on your vacation spot. 


1. It’s a must to file U.S. taxes till you surrender your citizenship.

The U.S. is considered one of solely two nations on the planet that taxes based mostly on citizenship. Translation: In case you’re a citizen, it’s a must to file taxes even should you aren’t dwelling within the nation. “That mentioned, it’s a must to file, however you don’t essentially must pay something,” Sosdian says. 

2. Nonetheless, you aren’t taxed on overseas earnings till you meet a sure cap. 

The International Earned Revenue Exclusion and the International Tax Credit score may help you right here. In case you’re incomes cash exterior the U.S., you don’t must pay taxes on $112,000 of earnings.

3. You might be able to deduct overseas taxes.

In case you’re paying taxes to a different nation, you may typically deduct these taxes out of your U.S. tax invoice. Need assistance? Many countries have American-trained monetary advisers with {qualifications} and expertise similar to American CPAs, Jones says. They’re acquainted with the following conditions for disclosing the elements of offshore financial institution accounts in addition to different tax legal guidelines in the US. 

Opening a checking account 

1. File the best types first. 

The No. 1 factor it’s worthwhile to know earlier than opening a checking account overseas is the report of International Financial institution and Monetary Accounts (FBAR). That is an annual type required by the IRS for anybody with belongings overseas above $10,000. It’s not a giant deal—except you don’t file; then, fines will be as much as $100,000, Sosdian says. When you have more cash overseas (greater than $50,000), it’s best to learn about FATCA, which requires US taxpayers holding overseas monetary belongings to report these, based on the IRS

2. Analysis your rights.

Previous to opening a checking account, analysis your rights. Some banks reserve the best to easily shut down your account should you don’t comply with their guidelines or in the event that they suppose there is a matter. It’s essential to grasp your financial institution and their laws. 

3. Discover out should you want residency—or a residence.

Some nations gained’t assist you to open a checking account with out a residence allow. Others require at the least an tackle. On this case, you may analysis which American banks have shops in your new nation to keep away from needing to open a brand new account in any respect. 

Getting a visa 

Getting a visa relies upon broadly on the nation, McCauley says. For instance, Turkey isn’t providing visas very simply in the intervening time, however this goes in waves, McCauley says. Then again, it’s very simple to get a visa in Mexico in case you have enough pension funds coming in each month or belongings proving your monetary solvency, says Simona Ksoll, a enterprise strategist and mentor for girls over 40 based mostly in Playa del Carmen, Mexico. Panama, Belize and New Zealand are different nations the place it’s comparatively simple. Usually, getting a visa requires you to show that you’ve a sure sum of money, says Stephanie Vollmer, a contract marketer at the moment dwelling overseas in Germany (she beforehand lived in South Korea instructing English). The Philippines, for instance, requires you to have at the least $20,000 in your checking account to dwell there, Vollmer says. In case you’re involved about getting a visa, communicate with an immigration legal professional previous to transferring.

Different concerns 

1. Save up for the transfer. 

Shifting prices add up; be sure to put aside what you want for issues akin to visa and residency functions and housing deposits, which may fluctuate broadly by nation. 

2. Do your analysis. 

Learn up on the tradition, language, different requirements akin to transportation (or will you get a driver’s license?) and even merchandise. McCauley says she introduced her American electronics along with her, as they’re onerous to search out in Istanbul. She additionally introduced her sneakers from the US, as ladies’s shoe sizes are usually smaller in Turkey. 

“Journey bloggers are nice assets, particularly in case you are based mostly within the nation they’re running a blog about, as a result of it’s their day-to-day life,” McCauley says. “They may be capable of reply numerous questions for you.”

3. Give it a trial run. 

Be sure to dwell within the new nation for at the least a month earlier than you make any everlasting selections. Ksoll suggests renting an condominium and dwelling like an area to offer your self the expertise and see the way you prefer it. 

Bon voyage! 

Photograph by simona pilolla 2/Shutterstock

Danielle Braff

Danielle Braff is a freelancer in Chicago. Her tales have appeared within the New York Occasions, Wall Avenue Journal, Crain’s Chicago Enterprise and extra. She lives along with her husband, two daughters, two cats and a canine.

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