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How to Move Abroad Permanently in 8 Steps

Thinking about making a huge life decision and moving abroad on a permanent basis? Wow, it’s a huge decision, but an incredible one. How can you live abroad permanently? Let’s find out! 

Moving overseas gives you a chance to get out of your comfort zone and discover new cultures and new ways of living.

Given what’s going on in the world, certain countries limiting women’s rights, increasingly scary conversations around race, and more, many of us are considering moving to more progressive or just safer countries.

Want to test out a city before you move there for FREE? Trusted Housesitters is a site where you can stay at someone’s house while they are away in exchange for watching their house or sometimes their pet.

It’s a great way to travel the world for free!

Can You Move Abroad Permanently?

If you want to move abroad permanently, it’s definitely doable, but you need to jump through a lot of hoops and cut through a lot of red tape to get a permanent residency permit or citizenship in your new home.

There are a lot of aspects to consider, and a lot of hassle to go through, but in the end, it’s totally going to be worth it.

Living in a new country that values you, makes you feel safe to be who you are, and allows you to live in a way that works for you makes all the difference.

Go for it!

I‘ve lived abroad for many years and love helping others find work abroad and figure out their “Move Abroad Plan.” Check out my class below to get you started ASAP!

how to move abroad master class

How to Live Abroad Permanently

1. Decide on a Location

If you’re going to move to another country permanently, you need to move to the right place for you.

That’s not just about finding the right country for you, it’s about finding the right city, town, village, or plot of land in the wilderness for you. 

Okay, so the country itself is massively important. You need to make sure you’re eligible for a visa to live there permanently. That’s going to limit where you can call home.

If you have familial connections to a country overseas, that normally makes it a lot easier. Other places are easier to move to than others. 

Also, it’s probably not a great idea to move permanently to a place that you’ve never visited.

Take the time to book a vacation to check out the area from the perspective of a local, rather than as a tourist or taking a romanticized version of a place from TV or magazines.

Get out there before you commit to a huge permanent move.

To get you started, here are the move-abroad guides that I’ve written so far:

2. Get Real About Visas

So, let’s be real, you’re not moving anywhere without a visa.

There are a ton of different ways to live in a new country for a prolonged time period, from work visas to family or generational visas to buying what’s called “Golden Visas” through expensive investment options. 

passport with visas

Some places need you to live in a country for five years on different temporary or work permits before being able to apply for permanent residency or citizenship.

This is pretty common and allows you to get a feel for the area and the quirks of living in the country before becoming a permanent resident with voting rights, a lack of reliance on visa applications, and all those other good things!

3. Research Citizenship

If you want to fast-track the permanent residency process, you can apply for citizenship in another country.

There are normally rules about who can apply and under what circumstances, so it might not be an option for you, but it’s well worth considering. 

If you have a grandparent or other family member who is a citizen, this can make things easier, or if you were initially born in the country.

If you’re married to a citizen, your child is a citizen – these are all paths to citizenship of your own. 

You need to check if you can apply for dual citizenship, or if you have to renounce your native country’s citizenship first.

This takes some consideration as there are benefits that come with certain passports and citizenships that you may no longer have, and if you have friends back home that you want to visit, it might make it more difficult.

how to move abroad starter kit

4. Check Your Family Connections

I’ve mentioned family connections a lot throughout this, so to clarify it here, if you have family members already living overseas as permanent residents or citizens, or your genealogy is linked to a particular nation, there are specific visas and permanent residency tracks for that exact purpose. 

This can make your life a lot easier in terms of red tape.

Having people already in the country that are willing to vouch for and support you, goes a long way in the eyes of a residency board.

It essentially means that if you do stumble when trying to build your new life, someone is going to be there to help you, rather than burdening the state.

That’s from their point of view anyway! 

5. Figure Out Your Work Situation

If you want to live abroad permanently and aren’t retired, you’re going to need to work. A lot of the time you’re going to need a work visa to live in the country in the first place.

If you’re working for yourself, you can likely get an entrepreneur or small business visa.

Also if you’re a remote worker, there are now a ton of digital nomad visas – although these tend to only be a year or two in length. 

Importantly, if you’re on a sponsored work visa and you leave that job, you need to make sure that your next job will take over the visa sponsorship, or ensure that you can line up another visa.

Make sure you’re covered! Working without a visa, if you need one, is a crime in pretty much every country, and can lead to deportation, or a permanent ban from the country in the future.

Work legally, get everything in a row, and ensure you meet all the criteria to live and thrive in your new home!

6. Know the Laws of Buying Property 

Living somewhere on a permanent basis means setting down roots. Nothing says that like buying property in your new home and getting off the rental hamster wheel.

house in the fall

A lot of nations have reciprocal arrangements with the US when it comes to buying houses, which means that you can buy property in that country with the exact same financial and legal privileges as local citizens. 

So, if you can buy property, it also shows that you’re dedicated to investing in the local area and the economy. This can go a long way with getting residencies and proving that you’re committed to your new home!

7. Solo or as a Family?

A big question to ask yourself is if you’re moving on your own, with a significant other, or with a wider family.

This is going to impact the types of visas, residency considerations, and budgets that you’re going to need to think about.

If you’ve got kids, there are school and childcare costs as well as any mandatory vaccinations they might need. 

Obviously, if you’re moving as a family, there is a lot more to take into consideration and a lot more paperwork.

That’s the general rule of thumb – the more people, the more red tape you’ll have to get around.

8. Get Some Language Skills & Commit to Learning

Okay, I cannot state this enough – if you’re going to move permanently to a new country and you don’t speak the language yet, you absolutely have to learn it.

Separate from it being a mark of respect to the locals, it’s going to make it much easier to live, work, and thrive in your new home.

When you can speak the language, you can integrate into the local community a lot easier, which is when you truly start to feel like you belong in your new home! 

Also, certain long-term visas actually have minimum language requirements and tests, so definitely check out if that applies to your situation.

Learn the language – there are an almost unlimited number of benefits!

I seriously love using Pimsleur to learn useful phrases quickly (instead of “The duck is yellow” like Duolingo!).

The phrases I have learned on Pimsleur have stuck with me for years, so I can’t recommend it enough for language learning.

Ready to Move Abroad Permanently?

I’ve done it and so have so many others, so if it’s your dream, you can definitely do it!

Let me know where you’d like to go and any questions about moving abroad permanently in the comments!

private coaching session for moving abroad

Radu Seserman

Friday 5th of January 2024

Is it worth shipping your belongings and your car to Europe, or is better to get rid of them and buy a new? That is moving a two bedroom house. Thank you

daynalanell

Monday 15th of January 2024

I would say it's definitely worth getting rid of everything and buying new, especially since you might want a smaller car and your appliances would all need a converter plug. I think it's better to start fresh, Facebook marketplace is a great place to both sell your stuff and buy used things once you get to Europe! Good luck!