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Migrating?

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Do you consider factors surrounding a place before you migrate? Or you just apply, get lucky and japa!

Before you pack your bags, let’s discuss what you need to know before you go. As the world is full of opportunities, people are forever on a look-out for the perfect country to settle down in. Hopping countries, immersing yourself into new cultures, having new experiences are all part of the new-age life for comfort and peace of mind. If you’re a move, here are some things to consider:

Knowing the immigration policies

While some countries have a simple immigration policy, few might have too many requirements. Research about the immigration policies and know the advantages of moving to the country of your choice. Before moving countries, make sure you’re going to be allowed and welcome with as little hassle as possible.

Residency and Visas.
Some expats want to become citizens of their new nation, some are content staying there on extended tourist visas. If that’s the case you might have some shuffling to do over the border to renew your visa every 90 days, and be your ability to open a business or own property restricted. Sometimes there are huge benefits to becoming a citizen, sometimes no real difference, so do your homework and talk to other expats, because it could be a lengthy and expensive process to establish residency.

Language.
Communication is something we take for granted, but when you are in a foreign country you might not be able to walk right up to someone and express yourself… or ask for life’s essentials, like the bathroom, and beer. You’ll want to study and practice the language as much as possible before you go. Also, taking intensive language lessons once you arrive is a great way to meet people and ease the linguistic transition.

Where to go?
There are many factors that go into your choice of a new home country: climate, political stability, crime, proximity to the U.S. for cost, language and customs, etc.

Research the cost of living…

It’s important to know how far a dollar stretches in your new city, so research housing, transportation, healthcare, and food prices in order to create a realistic budget. Where you move to will determine your transportation needs. If you’re heading off somewhere urban, you may not need a car. Then there are cities that offer world-class public transportation. What will the various costs involve and will you be able to manage?

But it’s also a good idea to do your own research by looking at online housing listings, gas prices, and even restaurant menus.

Safety.
The reality is that you have to be careful no matter where you are in the world, but with some common sense you can stay safe. Don’t walk around with jewelry, don’t show off valuables, don’t go into bad areas, befriend locals to show you around and watch after you, don’t walk around late at night or get too drunk, and get a dog! Every country (including the U.S.) suffers from street crime problems, but avoid countries where there’s political upheaval or religious fundamentalist groups.

Medical.
It’s important to be aware of the medical services available in your communities, and how they are rated for quality and consistency, as well as access to prescription medications. What is the healthcare situation like in the country you want to move to? How is the availability, cost, and accessibility of the services? Find out how accessible are the health care amenities in the country, the cost of treatment and the insurance available.

Blending into the local community.
What you eat, drink and the activities you involve yourself in determines your happiness quotient. This is one of the most important areas to look into before making your next move. Know about the socializing avenues before making your decision.

Research about their way of life to avoid racism or to help you understand them. Assimilating to the local culture is a long-term challenge, but also a constant source of beauty, humor and fascination. Be naturally curious and open to being outside of your comfort zone. Say hello and show respect to everyone, learn the local sayings, the customs, celebrate the holidays, make local friends, and even get in good with the police and officials.

Research your job opportunities…

Look into job opportunities in your new city and start applying before you move. Get a sense of the city’s major industries and what kinds of jobs are available. If you haven’t yet set a moving date, find out if there are normally more job openings during a certain time of year (since some industries hire seasonally), and make sure you have a concrete job hunt plan: What companies do you plan to target? What connections do you have? If you’re looking for retail or part-time work that’s difficult to apply for remotely, make a list of local business and pay attention to location. If all of the businesses you think sound promising seem to be in one area, look for housing in that area, too.

Working, making money, and doing business.
Many expats find out that life isn’t quite as cheap as they anticipated and the savings goes fast, so you’ll have some decisions to make about earning money. But do you try and open a local business? Try to keep working in the U.S., doing your job remotely from your new home country? Or jump into tourism? Do your research and go for a low risk consistent paycheck, not a venture that requires a huge up-front investment of time and money. I can’t tell you how many people I’ve seen open bikini or surf shops or restaurants, and six months later they’re broke, stressed and going out of business. Keep it simple.

Taxes, insurance, and other nuts and bolts.
Even when you’re living in another country, the IRS expects you to pay U.S. taxes as long as you’re a citizen and make income. You’ll probably also want to stay current with your U.S. health insurance, and many people conveniently forget to tell them that you don’t live in the U.S. any more so it doesn’t cause complications. You can bank online and pay bills online these days with e-statements, but you can also get your stateside mail sent to a relative or to a post office box.

Education

Is the education in the country you are considering to migrate affordable? What is the official language and will your child be able to culturally fit in? What is the educational outlook in the country you want to migrate to? Is education accessible and affordable? What languages are classes available in?

Buying real estate and a car.
Your first instinct may be to plant “roots” by buying a home, a car, etc. but I’ve found it’s best to give it some time. Don’t make any major purchases for at least a year until you thoroughly learn the local culture, customs and business climate. There can be some complex and Draconian rules when it comes to property and vehicle ownership, as well as bizarre registration and paperwork demands. Basically, people get ripped off or make bad decisions all the time, so give it some time until you’re a seasoned expat and enlist the advice of a trusted local. You’ll also want to weigh out the import taxes and costs of having things like a car or furniture shipped down to you, or buying them locally.

There is literally a world of opportunities at your fingertips but you need to be properly prepared and do thorough research. A well-thought out destination is going to be better for your health, happiness, and personal satisfaction. Sure, adjustments are going to have to be made wherever you settle down, but with the right advanced planning, you’ll be better able to handle challenges

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