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Go Abroad: What you need to know before you leave

Before setting out on your journey to go abroad, understand that the adventure you are about set out on will hold more new experiences than you can imagine. That’s why I am going to share with you what you need to know before you leave and start your new life. Going abroad is not always about living in paradise or going on an endless vacation. It is understanding that after the rose tinted glasses of living in a new location come off, real life begins to reveal its true colors.

What’s the deal with Visa’s?

Visas are your entry permit that allows the holder of the permit to enter, leave or stay in a country for a set amount of time. Sometimes they are required for short tourist visits, other times they are needed if you intend to stay past 90 days. There are many types of visas all with different conditions for just about every country. In order to know which type of visa you will need, search the immigration or embassy website information from the country you plan to visit. Most visa applications can be downloaded for free and contain the necessary information on how to apply.

As you prepare your visa you are going to need to supply legal documentation of birth, marriage if applicable, driver’s record, possibly a police record or other official documents. All documents submitted must be government issued with official foil stamps and not photo copied. If you use a photo copy there is a good chance your visa will not be approved.

Get a Life: Work, driving, insurance and taxes

Migrating abroad and settling in also means making sure things go smooth when you need it the most. Getting a job, securing health insurance and paying taxes are all realities of life no matter where you roam. Health insurance is coverage you should never go without. Most countries require health insurance before your visa is approved. Problem is, local insurance companies will not cover you if you are not a resident. There is healthcare coverage you can find on the internet that can offer you short term healthcare internationally but they often charge you a high premium for the service. What I have did to get around the high fees was to wait until my visa/residence permit was granted. Then I sought a local health insurance provider and looked for a better competitive price with good coverage. Never take the insurance for granted, it’s a good idea to ask local people in your new country for their advice and opinion on coverage. I was able to reduce my healthcare cost by €250 a month and I only had to wait until my residence permit was approved.

Once you have secured your residence and or work permit you will be required to pay taxes in the country you are living in if:

  • They require annual income tax (some countries such as Singapore do not have taxes)
  • You are working for a local company not owned by an employer out of your home country
  • Your permanent residence is in the new country you just immigrated to

Sometimes you will be required to pay duel taxes if:

  • Your country of origin requires submitting income tax if you move outside of your country and you plan on drawing a social benefit or retirement benefit. (This applies to Canadians for example)
  • If you are living abroad temporarily and plan to return and work for a local employer

What if it is not safe?

Check to make sure your government has not issued any warnings in where you plan to go abroad. If you are fairly good at taking regular precautions such as locking doors and windows and securing your property you should not have a problem. Theft can happen anywhere you live, so can street violence. But for the most part going overseas is safe as long as you take normal precautions and respect the local culture. If an unwanted event should occur always file a police report. Without a police report your insurance company may not reimburse your loss or damages.

What changes in the new world?

  • Transportation
  • Guns and protection
  • Voting & politics
  • Food & medicine

Some adjustments in lifestyle will no doubted be changed or lost. Being a new immigrant may mean you do not have voting or political rights in your new country. You may be able to remain active in voting or politics as an absentee from your homeland, however over time you may drift from knowing what happens day to day back at home.

You may not have the ability to own a firearm in most countries. You might be alarmed to find that if you are attacked and defend yourself and the other guys gets injured you might end up in jail. You won’t find a lot of your favorite foods in the market. You might not be able to drink the water out of the faucet and might have to buy bottle water. You might have difficulty getting access to medicine you take. All of these challenges present themselves slowly to you as you begin to settle in and move through your daily life. Don’t panic there will always come a solution and some adjusting to get used to.  What may shock you at first may be barely noticeable later as you get use to your new environment when you go abroad.

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