The FCO (UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office) has recently released new information for UK citizens considering moving abroad as part of its Know Before You Go campaign.

This most recent advice urges British nationals planning to retire or move abroad to learn more about their destination before moving.

You can read our comprehensive guide to leaving the UK which will help you avoid common pitfalls, as well as our new guide for moving with children

The key advice from the FCO

  • Do your homework and research the local laws and customs
  • Don’t rush into buying abroad, try renting in the area to help you make an informed choice
  • Make an effort to be part of the community and learn the language
  • Consider your financial requirements – how will the move affect your income, pension and/or benefits
  • Read up on tax regulations that may apply in your new home
  • Seek independent legal advice from an advisor who understands the law in the country
  • Notify the relevant authorities that you’re leaving

It is especially important to research the laws, health policies, taxes and customs of your new destination.

The FCO has seen a return to people retiring to more traditional countries such as Italy, Spain and France.

Andy Bridge, Managing Director of A Place in the Sun, said:

“It’s no coincidence that people who make the most successful transition abroad are those who are fully prepared and have done their research. Considering long-term financial requirements, learning the local language and seeking independent legal advice are just some of the important things you should think about. The FCO’s moving abroad checklist is a good place to start.’

Information about how the FCO can help British nationals abroad:

The FCO can:

  • Issue you with an emergency travel document
  • Provide information about transferring money
  • Provide help if you have suffered rape or serious sexual or physical assault, are a victim of crime, are ill or in hospital
  • Give you a list of local lawyers, interpreters, doctors or funeral directors
  • Contact you if you are detained abroad
  • Contact friends and family back home for you if you wish
  • Provide help in cases of forced marriage
  • Assist people affected by parental child abduction

The FCO cannot:

  • Help you enter a country if you do not have a valid passport or necessary visas
  • Give you legal advice or translate documents
  • Investigate crimes or get you out of prison
  • Get you better treatment in hospital or prison than is given to local people, but we will raise concerns if treatment falls below internationally recognised standards
  • Pay any bills or give you money
  • Make travel arrangements for you