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Tuesday, 2 October 2023

Preparing to move or retire abroad

Moving abroad is a big step. Apart from considerations concerning family and friends, there are issues around pensions, tax and healthcare costs that you will need to be aware of. Here's a checklist to make sure you've got the essentials covered.

Moving to the EU?

As a UK national, you have the right to live in any European Economic Area (EEA) country. If you intend 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 an estimate of your State Pension
  • 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
  • inform HM Revenue & Customs Charity, Assets and Residence (Residency), and the International Pension Centre when you move and provide your contact details abroad


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 if appropriate to cover private medical and dental treatment, as well as medical repatriation to the UK
  • inform your and your family's doctor, dentist and other relevant practitioners

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, visit the link below for more advice
  • give Land Registry an address where you can be contacted abroad as empty properties or those with tenants can be targeted by fraudsters (see link ‘Protect your property with Land Registry’ below)
  • contact your local council - their Council Tax department and electoral registration unit will need to know when you are leaving and a forwarding address
  • notify 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 outstanding payments or refunds
  • 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, notify the school and the local education authority of the date when you will be withdrawing them from school
  • if you have children, ensure you have the other parent’s permission to take the children overseas - you might be breaking the law by taking your children out of the country without permission from the other parent or the UK courts

Additional links

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Budget 2012

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