Skip to content

Guide to Emigrating Abroad from the UK

Emigrating can be an intimidating task and it is no wonder, as there is a lot to get done before the big move! To help make it the thought process easier and more manageable, so it does not seem like moving away will be like trying to climb Mount Kilimanjaro we are giving you a step-by-step guide on how you can successful emigrate with as little stress as possible!

Choosing an emigration destination

Thinking about immigrating? There are many popular destinations that Brits are fond of, such as, Australia, Spain, USA and South Africa. Usually, the sunnier the better for us Brits! When deciding to leave British soil for good, it would help to have a solid understanding of why you want to leave in the first place. This will help you choose a country that will fulfil your needs. Ample research is at the forefront of priorities when choosing a new place to set up home.

Are you searching for a better life for you and your family? Want your children to grow up in a less dangerous environment, with more choices and prospects when they grow up? Look at the Global Peace Index. Countries all over the world are categorised depending to their ranked safety and Iceland is number 1 at the moment.

Depending on your skill set, this may have an influence on your decision because skills shortages often differ in different countries. There are copious amounts of online professional journals, which have international job sections for you to search for job vacancies. It can also be useful to see if your current work place has opportunities overseas, especially if the company is a global firm. Whether you want to move for better occupational prospects or perhaps a more peaceful life with a minimal amount commuting and a relaxed atmosphere, you need to do your research.

Research which type of visa applies to you

Great! So, now that you have chosen where to emigrate to, you now need to attempt to qualify for a visa to get you there on a permanent basis.

Here we will be investigating visa possibilities, which often fall into four broad categories. The first being the skills-based visas where your qualifications and work experience are paramount. Australia, New Zealand and Canada run points-based systems meaning you have to score a certain amount to apply. Through this avenue, the skills that might meet the requirements for a visa are clearly listed; there are even regional lists in a lot of cases, where the mark necessary to make an application worthwhile are frequently lower than for the national visa equivalents.

Second, are the business visas where you have an eligible venture, relevant credentials or a favourable business plan. The third type of visa you could apply for is a family visa. If you have a parent, sibling or child who is a permanent resident or citizen they could sponsor your emigration. Finally fourth, you could apply for a temporary visa. You could apply for this visa if you are reluctant or incapable to emigrate on a permanent basis. It is always good to get a temporary work permit, working holidaymaker visa or a study visa as a way in. If you can secure a temporary visa it can be the first step on the ladder to living there on a permanent basis.

Of course there are other types of visas that you could apply for, but you will have to do your research as visa differ depending on what country you are planning on emigrating to. Some expats may find applying for a visa tricky and many emigrants decide that they would prefer to employ an expert to help them in getting their application completed to perfection.

The application process

The time has arrived to confront the visa application and all the surrounding documentation, such as educational and vocational qualifications, police records and proof of employment the list is almost never-ending, and by no stretch of the imagination effortless.

It is no wonder then why a substantial percentage of soon-to-be emigrants opt to recruit the services of an immigration expert, as we mentioned in step two. The professional will take care of all the paperwork, organise and mails the necessary forms, submit the application to the correct immigration branch, and will guide you through the final part of the part of police and medical checks, and an interview.

The job hunt

You have now sent off your request for a visa. Now you should shift your attention to finding employment at your new place of destination. It is a good idea, because emigration will without question exhaust your assets and funds, or make a substantial hole in any equity that you plan to use as your secret stash during your emigration. Hence, why you should ensure that you get on the recruitment scene as soon as you can. Hopefully, you did your research, so you can elude being the air conditioner salesman who moved to Alaska.

In some cases, your British qualifications will not be recognised in the country you choose to move to, or you may be required to sit an exam to get the licence required to continue in your line of work.

Moving your money overseas

On average, a UK family emigrates aboard with assets of £250,000 from the sales of a house, car and some savings. However, while they carefully plan their new lives in minute detail, what many overlook is the potential cost of leaving their currency exchange in the wrong hands. By transferring their worldly possessions to their new chosen location via a high street bank, the average family risks losing up to a staggering £10,000 of their assets. According to research from HiFX, banks typically charge 4% more than currency specialists in unfavourable exchange rates.

To get the most out of your currency exchange, it is imperative to contact a professional promptly when in the emigration process. Why? Because the more time you have to transfer your money, the greater chance that you will have to be able to exchange your pounds sterling into the appropriate currency at the best possible rate. Therefore, it is essential to make an appointment with a financial advisor in the expertise in migrant money transfers without delay to guarantee there is no taxation problems ahead of you on the other side of the globe.

Selling your property

Usually the majority of money of expats funds normally comes from the sale of a UK property. Some emigrants decide to flog it, the faster the better.

Most prepare a plan for accommodation in case they sell before the departure date. For example, they might rent a home, or, God forbid stay with the in-laws. However, some think it best to live at home until the moving day and trust a member of the family with the sale of their house. When the sale is complete, you then have to decide whether to change your pounds into the necessary currency at the best possible time, or put the money in a high interest account for the time being.

However, selling your house in the middle of the notorious recession is much easier said than done. For everyone expect the extremely wealthy emigrants, no sale means no move. This is a dreadfully infuriating situation for the numerous emigrants who have done so much to reach this stage of the journey.


Whether you feel like it is necessary to move absolutely all your worldly possessions overseas or plan to keep it only to the necessities you need to your removal planning sooner rather than later. It has been known that the most trustworthy overseas removals professionals recommend making arrangements with them for a free quote three to six months before your anticipated departure date. This way, the chance is dramatically increased that they will be able to move your belongings on the date you need them to.

Don’t delay on the organising of the removal company and you’ll either say goodbye to your possessions for a while, or say hello to them in your new home country long after you planned. Remember, your possessions will be in shipment for a minimum four weeks.

Accommodation on arrival

If haven’t made enough decisions yet, then here is another crucial one. Are you going to rent a house or apartment upon arrival so you do not have to make and hasty blunders when buying a home, or buy on arrival if you had not sorted out a house before your departure? There are pros and cons to both avenues, but whichever tactic you choose it would be a good idea to book a hotel for a few days after your arrival to give you some breathing space. If you do decided to rent, remember that rental housing can come with numerous attachments, such as, a six-month deposit in advance, a minimum period, no pets, and sometimes no emigrants!

Getting there

After you have arranged a date for the removal company to ship off all of your material possessions, and you are positive you are going to receive a visa, then you should starting searching to book a flight to the new chapter of your life.

In principle, the further in advance you purchase your departure flight the easier it will be to find a rock-bottom deal. Another tip of get a cheap flight is to fly outside of the holiday periods.

UK affairs

At this stage of the emigration process it usually turns into a mad dash to finish line. Typically, in the final three months before your move there will be a hundred and one things to complete, the devil is in the detail.

For example, you will want to start thinking about selling unwanted items and your car, cancelling insurance policies, bringing payments for utilities and other regular services up to date, informing key financial institutions and governmental departments of your impending move and new address, requesting credit references, handing your notice in at work, booking a car hire for arrival, tying up any financial loose-ends, making sure the children are registered to start at their new schools and do not forget to organise a leaving doo!

Health cover

While you are scurrying around trying to prepare everything for your looming departure, be sure that you have completely researched the healthcare in your new place of residence. Undoubtedly, you will need to purchase one-way travel insurance, then once you land, depending on what country, you might be automatically insured by a national health service, or it could take 90 days or more for you to qualify for free medical treatment. If it is the latter, ensure to obtain temporary health insurance until you are eligible.

Getting about

Once you have finally arrived at your new country of residence, after months or even years of planning and preparation, you now have new places to discover, neighbourhoods to explore, houses to view, schools to visit, food to buy, and interviews or even a job to get start with.

Some emigrants are content to hire a car for a while, allowing them to get the feel of the driving on the other side of the road, while others want to immediately dive into buying a vehicle. If you are one of the ones who want to jump straight into it then make certain you have the official documentation in place to purchase a car and attain insurance.

Making arrangements and paperwork

Although it is a pain and none of us want to get our heads stuck into paperwork instead of enjoying the amazing new country that we have just landed in after having spent so long planning to get it, but it is unfortunately unavoidable. From getting the appropriate driving licence to registering for tax file numbers, social security numbers, mortgage brokers, real estate agents, registering your kids at the local school and the whole family with a doctor and a dentist, you’ll have horrendous amounts of paper flying around in the first few weeks after your arrival. Also, make sure to open a bank account as soon as possible!

Finding or starting your new occupation

Now that you have at last made it and have officially become an expat, you need to fund your new life-style. For those who did not managed to land themselves a job when they first arrived, one of your first responsibilities is to get your head in the recruitment pages of the local newspapers and websites, then start sending out CVs.

In some cases, a new expat beginning work overseas may at the start need more guidance than a local, at least at the offset, so it would unquestionably be valuable to find out if the business you are joining has another member of staff that can sympathise with your situations and lead you safely past the difficult hurdles.

House and home

Some people can adapt and feel at home in a foreign country straightaway, and because of this they can dive straight in and buy a property, while others need time to figure out local areas and the personality of the community in the particular neighbourhood. Both approaches work, it really depends on your specific situation and character. If you are renting before you buy a property it would benefit you to do some research on the area and locate potential places to settle down.

When you have found your dream home, it is time to register with utility companies, get a landline setup, sign up with an internet service provider and arrange insurance.

Social circle

Creating a new social circle is vital to the success of your emigration. With no family and friends around to experience the highs and lows of your move abroad, those feelings of being a fish out water can be even more suffocating than you imagined. However, it would be regrettable to let this make you going running back to Britain hanging your head in shame. While time is often the best remedy, you need be proactive in order to meet people. There is various things you can do to ease your anxiety and as the newbies the responsibility falls on your shoulders to make it happen.

Every country has its own traditions, but offering the neighbours to come round for a drink and dinner is a good first step. There may even be a British expats club in your area, but don’t let that stop you from joining local social functions. After all, you didn’t emigrate over a distance of several thousand miles to sit in your house, did you?