10 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Moving to Another Country

Are You Ready to Move Overseas?

Panoramic of the Mayan ruins of Tulum, Mexico
Matteo Colombo / Getty Images.

If you're thinking of moving overseas, there are some questions you should ask yourself before you start packing your bags, whether you're an unskilled or skilled worker.

Why are you leaving? 

Most of us know why we move but sometimes we don't ask ourselves why we're choosing to leave, in particular if moving means leaving those you love behind. Often we're facing forward, looking to the future and what such opportunities will bring rather than thinking about what we might miss out on if we decide to leave.

Try to think through your reasons for moving to determine if everything you'll be leaving behind is worth what you're moving towards. 

Where will you live?

This is probably one of the most critical question to ask yourself besides financial stability. Where you live will determine how successful your move will be, including finding a job (if you're going without one), the potential for building a long term job and personal prospects and whether you'll be able to adapt to the cultural change you'll encounter. If you're moving to another country for the first time think about language and possibly choosing a country where your native language is spoken. If you're moving to learn a different language, then immersing yourself in a language and culture is the best way to go. 

How will you earn a living?

If you'll be going to school or simply traveling for a while, then this question might not apply to you.

Regardless, you'll need to make sure you have enough funds to keep you going for the time that you're away.  For those of you who need to earn a living while overseas should think through how much you'll need and where that source of income could come from. If you're planning on finding a job after you land, make sure you research the job market to ensure your skills are essential.

You'll also need to obtain the necessary paperwork which can take a lot longer than expected.

Can you obtain the necessary visa or work permits?

While you're planning your overseas move, make sure you find out how long it will take to get your visa or other needed documentation in place before you leave. And first, find out what's required for you to live and work in your destination country. 

Do you know how much it will cost to live?

Cost of living is a critical factor to consider when deciding whether or not the overseas move will be successful. Whether you're working abroad, traveling or using your savings to live in another culture for a while, you need to determine how much daily life will cost to see if you can afford it. 

Will you have health care coverage? 

Some countries will permit visa or work permit holders to access health care if needed while others have very strict stipulations on who is covered and when coverage begins. Check out this article on international health care coverage and researching options before you move. Most embassy or consulate sites will provide information for visitors. 

What and who are you leaving behind? 

Assess and review what opportunities we may be missing by moving.

In economics, this is called an opportunity cost. The idea here is to weigh what you're losing with what you're gaining to ensure you come out on top. Not a difficult concept but one we don't always consider when making a major life decision. 

If you've been offered a job, how secure is it?

If you're being hired by an overseas company one of the questions you should ask your future employer is how secure will your new position be. This doesn't mean that if the job is a temporary job that you shouldn't accept it, instead, you need to look at the work permit you'll be obtaining to make sure your able to apply for more jobs once you've moved. Some permits are attached to the job so losing the job can mean losing your right to live in the country. For more detailed information, read the article on negotiating a job before you move.

 

Can you afford the costs of moving overseas? 

If you've read any of the article on this site, you'll know that moving is expensive even when moving locally. So when thinking about moving to another country, you'll need to factor in additional costs that you may not have thought about such as shipping a car, renting storage space in your home country, moving your stuff via plane or tanker. Overall, you should expect to pay at least 30-40% more than for a local move. 

How long are you prepared to be away?

The question is twofold: are you prepared to never move back or are you prepared to pay all the costs of moving but only stay a short time?  Either way, you need to be ready for the long term outcome of what a move overseas could mean.