As of writing, there is still no way to know for sure how Brexit will happen. Indeed, it’s difficult to say with any certainty if Brexit will indeed happen. But supposing you’re sure that you want to leave in case it happens, here’s a short checklist of things you may want to take into account.
1. Figure out your living expenses and source of income
Do you need a job? Do you plan on living on your savings or pension? How long can you expect to comfortably last on a fixed income? Even without Brexit, there’s no shortage of down-on-their-luck British expats in Europe and Southeast Asia who didn’t take the prospect of destitution seriously before they made their move. If you have a family, this is even more important, as you will have to consider their needs as well.
2. Get your passport and visa in order
Make sure you and your family have all their travel documents in order. Even now, UK passport holders will need a visa to visit many countries. However, quite a number of countries allow UK passport holders entry without a visa. And while not an absolute certainty at the moment, it’s likely UK nationals will continue to enjoy visa-free travel to countries in the EU. Instead, they will pay 7 euros per entry under the ETIAS (European Travel Information and Authorisation System) which is expected to be effective in 2021. Whatever your destination, make sure you have all the needed documents at least half a year before you make the move.
3. Book your plane ticket
Plane tickets can be expensive, especially if you get them through 3rd party sites or get them on short notice. You can get cheaper tickets by booking further in the future as well as by using sites that allow you to get good deals on flights.
4. Make arrangements for your accommodations
Ideally, you should have a place to stay immediately upon your arrival. If you have a friend or relative in the destination country who is willing to let you stay with them while you find your own accommodations, you should be set. Otherwise, make sure to book a place to stay for the first part of your trip to avoid the stress that comes with arriving without any place to stay.
5. Sell off items you can’t take with you
Hold a car boot sale or a garage sale to dispose of all your possessions that you don’t expect to take with you to your new country. Set up online listings to make it easier to find buyers for all the items you intend to sell. Selling off your possessions will allow you to raise some ready funds, which will be immensely useful for your other arrangements.
6. Compare and contrast your shipping options
Depending on what you want to be shipped to your new home, it may make more sense to just pay for more luggage on your flight. Everyone’s situation is different, so be sure to carefully weigh the pros and cons of international shipping compared to simply getting more luggage space for whatever you plan on taking with you. Make separate arrangements for your car, if you don’t plan to sell it.
7. Entrust, store or donate items you can’t sell or take with you
There will always be a few things you can’t sell or take with you for whatever reason. Heirlooms and works of art are particularly tricky to handle.
If you can bear to do it, just give them away to friends who can appreciate them or to someone who can hold them for safekeeping. You can also consider renting a storage unit to keep your treasured possessions while you’re away. Donating these items can also be an option if you know a charity or other organization that will take them.
8. Make arrangements for your pets
Make sure to check if you can actually take your pet with you to your new country. If so, get started complying with your host country’s requirements and make the necessary arrangements so that you are able to bring your pet with you on your flight. Otherwise, make sure you are able to entrust them to someone who will love them and take proper care of them while you’re gone.
9. Get complete medical checkups and immunisations
Make sure that you and your family are physically capable of making the move abroad. Be sure to schedule medical checkups for yourself and your family. This is also the right time to ensure you have all the required and recommended immunizations for your destination.
10. Get international health insurance for yourself and your family
Your current insurance policy will likely not follow you into your host country. Get international insurance coverage from Now Health International or another specialized insurance provider to ensure that you and your family remain protected overseas.
11. Make copies of all your important documents
Make copies of everything, from your driver’s license and birth certificate to your medical records and marriage certificate. Do the same for business documents and your international health insurance policies, as you will likely need to refer to these later. Make some copies for yourself and more that you can entrust to your lawyer.
12. Decide if you want to sell your house or have it rented
If you’re a homeowner, you’ll want at least half a year to prepare your home to be sold. You could also make arrangements to have your home rented out so you have a steady means of income while you’re abroad. Each course of action has its own complications, so be sure to check all the possibilities before you make a decision.
13. Cancel all unneeded leases, memberships, and contracts
You’ll want to avoid paying for things you aren’t actually using, especially since your adjustment period in your new country is likely to be expensive, regardless of where it is.
Ask your utility companies about the process of cancelling your electricity and water contracts, or about transferring them to someone else who may be renting your house or flat after you’ve gone. You may want to do the same for your internet and cable service providers. Also, ask your gyms and other local clubs you may have memberships in about cancelling your membership. Lastly, see if you can arrange to have your home’s contract cancelled, effective on the day you leave.
14. Keep yourself updated about current events in your host country
Brexit is not the only event of note happening in the world today. Some countries that are popular with expats today may very well be exceedingly difficult to live in less than a decade from now. Keeping constant tabs on what’s happening in your chosen country is particularly important in the months before you leave, as you may have difficulty coming back to Britain should you change your mind after you’ve made the move.
What other items should we add to the list? We’d love to know.