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4 Tips for Emigrating From the UK Pre-retirement

Typically, those looking to emigrate abroad are motivated by career, love, or an unceasing wanderlust. And doing so offers so many benefits, from personal growth and boosting your job prospects. Thankfully, there are many options to cater to this desire throughout one’s life — it’s never too late to sail the seas and begin a new chapter abroad, whether that’s to find love, adventure, grow your career or business, or raise your family. 

Yet there are a few do’s and don’ts, and for such a leap, you ought to put as much thought into the process as possible. This article gets down to brass tacks about making the transition to the next phase in your life smooth and plane-sailing.

Choosing the right destination

Ultimately, the right destination is what fits your personality and expectation but in terms of making the best choice, there are a few things to bear in mind. Some are self-explanatory: don’t move to Australia if you can’t handle the heat, while if you’re a vegetarian or vegan, you might find it quite a lot harder to live in countries like France, Portugal and Spain, as well as Argentina and China.

Since you’ll be looking to move your career, another thing to consider is your profession. For example, Hong Kong has become a popular destination for financial workers owing to its historic ties to the UK, while Switzerland has been touted as a fantastic place to practice law considering the high salaries on offer. Whatever your choice, no amount of research is too much — you want to strike the right balance between career, culture and climate, among your other goals and prospects.

Securing your visa

Since the automatic right to live and work in the EU has now ceased for Brits, it may appear that an invisible barrier has been put up between you and a whole host of countries you might once have hoped to move to. If you really don’t want to go too far and are looking to retain your European lifestyle, however, this all remains very much possible. The leg work required is just that bit more strenuous. 

If you’re looking further afield, each country has its own unique visa requirements that take a lot of factors into consideration, but it’s good to be mindful of the general rules for how to settle as a resident or citizen.

Work permits

A formal job offer from your desired destination will typically enable you to receive a work permit and visa. Once you are in the country, acquiring citizenship is a more complex process. This is achieved by establishing a physical presence in the country in question for an extended period of time, along with demonstrating your intention to stay there and your financial independence. Germany, for example, is one of the easier countries to gain residency in. The state offers a settlement permit for those foreign nationals who have worked in the country for at least four years.

Citizenship by investment 

As opposed to permanent residents, who may need a re-entry permit, citizenship grants you full membership of a nation, complete with a passport and voting rights. If you want to fast-track your settlement in your new country and have significant funds, ,you may want to consider a citizenship by investment programme, which does exactly as it says on the tin. EU or EU-adjacent countries like Malta and Turkey, for example, offer to naturalise those immigrants who make a direct or real-estate investment in their countries. 

In Turkey, investors can be granted citizenship if they create up to 50 jobs, so those with entrepreneurial skills could see themselves killing two birds with one stone. According to CS Global Partners, you must first complete a 12-months residency before you can pursue this path, so this route is quicker than waiting to be naturalised. 

Preparing for your new lifestyle

Moving abroad is exciting, but also comes with a lot of challenges — you won’t just have to reckon with the Herculean task of moving house.  One is building both a professional network and friendship group, though you can get a head start before you arrive in the country. One way is by making the most of social media to meet expats or groups for new citizens who could provide you with a list of local contacts for when you’ve moved, or even if you encounter any trouble during your arrival in a strange new land. Sites like Meetup or Nextdoor are also fantastic for meeting new people through shared activities and becoming familiar with your local neighbourhood community. 

If you need or want to gain a second language for your move, language exchanges exist all over the country. You can watch as many films in their original tongue and read as many books, but the truth is it isn’t until you can converse with someone that you will start to learn. There are also apps specifically for this practice that you can start using immediately. 

Financial planning

Finally, on the less than exciting side, it’s good to prepare yourself for any unexpected costs and the tax implications for your move. This should be a carefully thought out process, because organising your finances can be complicated depending on your destination. 

Banks and taxes

Banking regulations will be different from the UK, so the first thing to do is inform your bank of your intentions to move, as well as cancel any unnecessary direct debits and eliminate credit card debt. If your bank is international, it’s also possible that they can offer you an account in your new country, but it’s also just as wise to create a new account that is native to the destination nation for making day to day transactions. 

The UK Treasury stipulates that you need a UK address in order to maintain a British bank account, as part of the customer’s due-diligence requirements for the bank in question. If you’re no longer a UK resident, you won’t have to pay any UK tax on your foreign income, but, as Expatica emphasises, getting some advice from a tax planning expert in advance won’t hurt. 


A large number of emigrants will refrain from buying a house outright right before or after they’ve moved abroad. This gives you flexibility in the first few months in case things don’t work out, while it also takes a while to gain the best knowledge about the housing market in your preferred region. 

You may even decide to hold off on buying a new property altogether. According to Experts for Expats, owning a house is not as important in other cultures. In Switzerland, for instance, “it is really not unusual for people to rent their home for their entire lives”. You may find this suits you more than you expected.