There are numerous reasons as to why someone will make the decision to relocate to a new country and become an expatriate. The decision can be an inbound decision of wanting a new life of adventure or you are being relocated due to your job. Regardless of the reason, there are an abundant amount of benefits for making the move. The term expatriate is often misinterpreted and we are here to help you understand what it means to be an expatriate and how we recommend preparing for your new life.
What is an Expatriate?
An expatriate is considered as anyone who is living outside of their native country – meaning the country in which they were born and/or brought up in. Expats that are living overseas can be considered in a permanent, semi-permanent or temporary placement, depending on the expats’ specific situation.
When relocating abroad, regardless of the reason for moving, there are plenty of considerations to think about beforehand. Some top priority factors are to determine where your income will derive from, are you living in a safe area, how to attain housing, are you moving somewhere with a different language than your native tongue, whether or not you need a visa, and how does the medical care system work in your new country. We have created a small guide to answer some big-picture questions that are crucial to know before your big relocation.
Most countries will require a visa in order to become a local resident, and the process and availability will be dependent on your country of origin, as well as the inbound country. It is very important to understand all the factors and limitations of your visa before moving. More often then not, a work visa will have a longer period of validity in comparison to a visitors visa, resulting in a more stable duration of stay.
Adapting to local culture
Your international relocation may bring you to a country that is vastly different than your home town, whether that be in Africa, Asia, Europe or South America. Each region and country around the world has it’s own unique offerings to you as an expatriate, and it will be important to learn and appreciate how differently things are done. One aspect that will greatly benefit you as an expatriate will be to learn the local language as well as possible. Learning a new language has many benefits and challenges, and in the end, it will greatly improve your experiences in the new country. The more you adjust and dive into the culture and experiences of your new home, the easier it will be for you to adjust and enjoy your time away from home.
The benefits of Expatriate health insurance
Countries all around the world vary in healthcare, in cost and standardization and care. As an expatriate living abroad, you will want to have the best healthcare coverage as possible. In most circumstances, countries will require expatriates to obtain a global medical coverage plan for extra protection, as most expats won’t be covered under a domestic plan. A comprehensive global medical plan that can move with you and cover you locally, regionally and globally – especially back home will be critical.
A major benefit of a global medical health care plan is the ability to cover other dependents as well – whether that be a spouse or children. Obtaining the best care for yourself and your family will be extremely important as you choose to live an expatriate life.
Domestic government health plans often only provide access to public hospitals and doctors. This may become problematic as you will have more restrictive access to medical care. In order to avoid the complications of long wait lines, extra costs of medical testing and surgeries, most expats will seek out a global medical care coverage in order to have access to private hospitals, doctors and clinics.
The keys to success
As rewarding as living an expatriate life can be, there will surely be some obstacles along the way. Here are some suggestions in order to get the most out of your expatriate experience.
- Appreciate the cultures and languages of your new country! Many people will never be given the opportunity to travel and live the way you are, so make sure to take the time to dive into new cultures, meet the local populations and learn to appreciate the way of life that is different than your norm.
- Moving abroad is the perfect opportunity to do a major clean out of your house! Deciding what to pack when moving abroad can be a stressful and tedious experience, however, it is an excellent opportunity to purge out old household items and clothing that you don’t need!
- As you are becoming an expatriate, it will be important to engage in an expatriate community as well as the local natives. There are several benefits to relying on other expats, including learning from their past mistakes and suggestions, as well as their knowledge on conducting business and creating a social life in a foreign land.
- It will also be important to know about your countries taxation policies. As all countries differ in tax legislation, it will be important to be up to date on your tax status and whether double taxation agreements are in place between the two countries.
- Lastly, obtaining your international health insurance before relocating, or within the first few days of moving will be crucial. This will alleviate a large amount of unnecessary and added stress that is preventable in order to protect yourself. At Expat Financial, we are able to meet the growing needs of expatriates living around the world who require global healthcare coverage for themselves and their families. To view available international health insurance plans available, click here!