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Preparing to move or retire abroad

Moving abroad is a big step. Apart from any considerations concerning family and friends, there are issues about pensions, tax and health care costs that you will need to be aware of. To help, we've prepared a checklist to make sure you've got the essentials covered.


First - where you can move to?

As a UK national, you have the right to live in any European Economic Area (EEA) country. If you intend to move to any other country, you should speak first to the British Consul in that country and its foreign consulate here in the UK.

The EEA is made up of those countries who are full members of the European Union (EU): Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, Republic of Ireland, Spain, Sweden and the UK, plus Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway. On the 1st May 2004, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia joined the EU as new members.

Tax, benefits and pensions

Before you move, you can:

- Get a State Pension forecast - obtain form BR19 from your local Jobcentre Plus or or HM Revenue & Customs if you are already living abroad - entitlements can vary according to the country of residence

- Ask HM Revenue & Customs for information about your tax liability on any income over the UK personal allowance, UK tax payable from abroad can vary depending where you decide to live

- Seek independent tax advice about any benefits to you in offshore banking if you are retiring abroad, as this could reduce your tax liability depending on where you are living

- Inform your social security office, HM Revenue & Customs National Insurance Contributions Office (International Services) and the Department for Work and Pensions when you move and provide your contact details abroad - you should also tell them if you change address again or return to the UK to live

Health
Here are some of the things you could consider doing to protect your healthcare needs:

- Find out about welfare rights abroad; some UK benefits are not payable outside the UK, others apply only in the EU or in countries which have agreements with the UK

-Find out about healthcare costs in the country you want to move to

- You are strongly advised to take out health insurance if appropriate to cover private medical and dental treatment, as well as medical repatriation to the UK

- Inform your and your family’s doctor, dentist and other relevant practitioners

Your home and family

Things to remember:

- If you decide to keep your property in the UK and it is going to be empty or rented out, you will need to let your mortgage lender, insurance providers know

- Look at how the property can be kept secure while you are away, visit the link below for more advice

- Contact your local council - their Council Tax department and electoral registration unit will need to know when you are leaving and a forwarding address

- Notify your utility companies that you are moving in order to get your final bills and provide a forwarding address for them to send you any outstanding payments or refunds

- Tell your bank, building society or any financial institution that you have a policy or agreement with that you are moving abroad

- Have your mail forwarded by asking for a re-direction form at a Post Office - allow enough time for this to be set up as it can take a few weeks

- If you have children, notify the school and the local education authority of the date when you will be withdrawing them from school.

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