Preparing to move or retire abroad

Moving abroad is a big step. Apart from considerations about family and friends, you will need to deal with pensions, tax and healthcare costs and work out how you will be covered when abroad.

Moving to the EU

As a UK national, you have the right to live in any European Economic Area (EEA) country. If you plan to move to any other country, you should first visit the British Embassy website of that country for further information.

Tax, benefits and pensions

Before you move, you can:

  • get a State Pension statement
  • ask HM Revenue & Customs for information about your tax liability on any income over the UK personal allowance, UK tax payable from abroad can vary depending on where you decide to live
  • if you are retiring abroad seek independent tax advice about the benefits of offshore banking, as this could reduce your tax liability depending on where you are living
  • tell your local Jobs and Benefits office, HM Revenue & Customs, Charity, Assets and Residence (Residency), and the Department for Work and Pensions when you move and provide your contact details abroad
  • Check your State Pension
  • State Pension in EEA countries

Health

Here are some of the things you could consider doing to protect your healthcare needs:

  • find out about welfare rights abroad; some UK benefits are not payable outside the UK, others apply only in the EU or in countries which have agreements with the UK
  • find out about healthcare costs in the country you want to move to
  • you are strongly advised to take out health insurance to cover private medical and dental treatment, as well as medical repatriation to the UK
  • tell your and your family's doctor, dentist and other relevant practitioners  
  • Foreign travel insurance
  • Travel health and the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)

Your home and family

Things to remember:

  • if you decide to keep your property in the UK and it is going to be empty or rented out, you will need to let your mortgage lender, insurance providers know
  • look at how the property can be kept secure while you are away
  • give Land Registry an address where you can be contacted abroad as empty properties or those with tenants can be targeted by fraudsters
  • tell your utility companies that you are moving in order to get your final bills and provide a forwarding address for them to send you any payments or refunds that haven't been paid
  • tell your bank, building society or any financial institution that you have a policy or agreement with that you are moving abroad
  • have your mail forwarded by asking for a re-direction form at a Post Office - allow enough time for this to be set up as it can take a few weeks
  • if you have children, tell the school and the local education authority of the date when you will be withdrawing them from school

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