Dreaming of a life somewhere else but not sure what you need to know? Imagining a sun kissed beach in Spain but unsure how you’ll get work? Whatever country you’re thinking of, embarking on the big move can be exciting; but there’s more to settling in a different country than just the lifestyle.

Here are a few pointers you might want to consider before deciding on whether this part of the world is right for you:

Getting a visa in the new country – the main priority

There are many kinds of visa available for entry in different countries and you’ll need to check that country’s government website for a clearer view on what you need to apply for. Leave plenty of time for this! For example, in Australia you could get a family visa, as well as a business, retirement or work visa. However, if you’re looking for somewhere in Europe, like Spain, citizens of EU member states that belong to the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) are usually entitled to travel to Spain without a visa. Foreign nationals who want to live in Spain for no more than 90 days in a period of 180 days must hold a short-stay visa.

Paperwork – keep it all safe

When you’re applying for visas to any country, you may be required to supply certain paperwork. You’ll likely need this paperwork wherever you go, so make sure it all comes with you. This includes:

  • Birth certificates
  • Marriage certificates
  • Passport, green card, proof of citizenship
  • Vaccination, medical and dental records
  • Social security cards
  • Insurances
  • Proof of education
  • Employment records
  • Proof of residency
  • Will and testament

Put this all in a folder and scan some copies so that you have a back-up should the file get misplaced in the move.

Driving and buying a car – what you need to know

You’ll need to swot up on the new country and their driving rules. You’ll need to know things like; the rules of the road, the types of roads in that country and in the area you want to locate to, parking and laws related to driving while drunk. If, for example, you’re looking to buy a car in Spain you need to understand the rules and process for buying and selling vehicles there. You’ll learn things like – in Spain, to comply with Spanish rules, drivers have to take a medical examination when renewing their licence. Getting a thorough knowledge of the rules before you travel is crucial. More info on local buying in Spain can be viewed on this Anglo Info page.

Schooling – another concern for parents

If you have children, finding the right school may be very important to you. You’ll find lots of online research helpful. Sites like the telegraph provide detailed articles on how childcare and the educational system works in that country. The telegraph article link above shows how you may be able to find British schools in Spain, for example. This kind of information provides a general and useful overview before you visit the country to investigate further.

Healthcare – it differs from country to country

Ex-pats and their families may require all kinds of healthcare out in their new country of residence. You may need to pay for a system via your tax when you work in this country, or you may need to seek private healthcare. Every country will work slightly differently so it would be wise to seek advice and information from authority resources like Angloinfo, which we mentioned earlier – they provide a list of countries and a plethora of of information across their various content hubs. This allows you to easily compare across different countries if you’re still unsure as to which country you should move to.