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5 Things you should know about being an American expatriate

When making the decision to move abroad and become an expatriate, about 83% of the US Americans are generally satisfied with life abroad, according to a recent survey by InterNations. Among the US expat respondents, over two-fifths want to stay in their destination country forever. As more and more Americans tend to live around the world, we are going to discuss some tips and facts to help future and current long-staying US expatriates to better prepare for the steps into the unknown.

  • Make Sure You Know US Expat Taxes

One of the most important things that US expatriates should know about is US Expat Taxes. The US is few of the countries which requires tax filing to its residents after they have moved abroad, even if you are paying tax in your destination country. In order to prevent penalties and earn tax credit, US American expatriates must file US tax obligation on time. Special regulations may apply when using foreign taxes paid as a credit against US tax obligations. It is important for future and current US expats to understand US tax programs and talk to a expat tax professional.

  • Take Advantage of Social Security Agreement Between US and Your Destination Country

According to US International Social Security Agreements, The US has established many bilateral social security agreements that allow American expats to only pay social security taxes to one of the two governments. Some of the eligible countries are: Italy, Germany, Canada, United Kingdom, Spain, France, Chile, Japan, etc.  This regulation can help eliminate dual social security taxation. When working expatriates retire, the contribution to the social security system of other country may count as well.

However, the exact regulations may have certain exclusions and rules such as self-employment rules, territoriality rules, etc. US American expatriates should examine your destination country’s agreement descriptions to make sure that you are covered while you live abroad. Again, talk to your tax and legal adviser.

  • Apply for New Driver’s License In Your Destination Country Maybe Required

If you are thinking about driving in your destination country, please be aware that road conditions and driving regulations can be different from those in the United States. Insurance and a valid driver’s license are required in most countries. Many countries may not accept a US driver’s license, so you may want to apply for  an International Driving Permit (IDP) or local driver’s license.

 

  • Understand International Health Insurance 

One of the most important considerations for American expats is obtaining global medical coverage, especially where local plans may be non-existent or adequate medical care may not be available. Your domestic health plan in the USA probably won’t cover you abroad so you need to search out an international plan assuming you will become a non-US resident. Therefore, it is critical for US expatriates to purchase an international health insurance plan. A good plan should provide a large direct pay medical network so you and your family wont have to pay out of pocket fee in multiple currencies. In addition, many international health insurance plan providers offer international medical networks with English speaking doctors and medical staff for those who don’t speak the local language.

If you are an US expatriate who is living abroad and travel often back to the United States, it is also important to get the USA coverage option in your international health insurance plan. Most American expats residing abroad will seek out a global medical plan that includes the USA because if they suffer a serious medical illness or injury, the expat will most likely want to seek medical treatment back home in the USA. It is important to contact your international health insurance needs with an expat insurance expert such as Expat Financial and weigh the costs and benefits of having an international health insurance plan that provides full coverage in the United States of America. 

  • You May Have to Report You Foreign Bank Accounts When Living Abroad

Foreign Bank Account Report (FBAR) is a report of foreign bank accounts that based solely on your overseas account balances. This may be the case if you have a balance that exceeded $10,000 or more in your foreign bank accounts at any point during the year.

Expat Financial offers independent advice, solutions and excellent service and support to clients around the world and we have extensive experience in sourcing medical cover for individual  American expats and expat employers worldwide. We offer a variety of excellent global medical plans that can meet almost any need and budget. For more information and to review the plans that we offer, contact our office or visit our international health insurance page. If your organization has a group of two or more expatriate employees, our firm can source international group insurance plans. Note that the above tips are for informational purposes only as we are not tax advisors. We strongly recommend that you talk to a qualified tax accountant or lawyer to discuss your situation and requirements as these can differ from individual to individual. 

 

6 Tips on How to Become an Expat

An expatriate, or expat, is a person who lives outside of their native country, according to the definition of  Oxford dictionary. Today, more and more people are willing to leave their home country and experience a brand new job or lifestyle abroad. To better prepare you for life overseas, we will discuss six simple tips on how to become an expatriate.

  • Find a job abroad

If you are interested in living abroad, the first step you would want to take is to find a job in your desired destination country. According to research, one of the reasons why people want to become expat is that expatriate employers often offer relatively higher salaries. Therefore, expat employees are more likely to experience a higher standard of living while working abroad.

In order to succeed in an international job, Expat resource centre offer excellent information on job hunting. Practical suggestions such as prepare CV and research the job market before you move, ensure that you have work permits or visa at hand, etc. to help future expats realize their dreams. To learn more, please view Expat employment – Job hunting tips.

  • Study abroad

Another option to become an expat is through studying abroad. And it is very popular among teens. According to NAFSA study, the number of American students studying abroad  during 2015 grew from 304,467 to 313,415. Studying overseas can be a great way to get a global perspective and the chance to learn a new language. The cost of studying abroad can be expensive, but in some less developed countries the tuition costs can sometimes be lower. However, more and more universities and colleges offer scholarships and bursaries. It is worth the time to research online for tuition funds to support foreign students.

  • Understand your destination’s culture

When moving overseas, one of the most unexpected events would be culture shock. And sometimes it can be quite frustrating depending on where you are moving to. For example, tipping in restaurants is common and considered normal in the U.S. and Canada. You are expected to add a 15% – 20% mark up to the bill in any restaurant; while in China or Japan, tipping in local restaurants is not required and can be considered insulting. There might be exceptions for some high-end western style cafes. However, even in these cafes, tipping is already included in the bill. It is suggested that future expats should do some research about your destination’s culture to avoid any embarrassment. The more research you can do on the customs and practices in your destination country the more successful your expat experience will become.

  • Travel abroad

It is always suggested if you travel to your destination country before relocating for a short trip. Through traveling, you will get to know its culture, food, people, etc. You will have a general idea whether the country that you are moving to will be suitable or not.

If you are traveling abroad for a short term trip up to one year, it is critical to obtain medical coverage for your entire trip that will cover emergency illnesses or injuries abroad. Our firm offers several travel medical plans from various insurers and providers. With IMG Patriot travel insurance coverage, you are covered with trip cancellation, lost baggage, emergency evacuation & repatriation, covering from as short as 15 days to 24 months. To learn more, please view the brochure below. 

  • Retiring Abroad

Retiring overseas is becoming more and more popular for citizens around the world and is a great way to become an expat. Generally speaking, South America, Asia and Europe are among the most popular expat retirement destinations. This is not only because of its favourable weather and beaches, but also its relatively low cost of living. For example, if retiring in Thailand, the cost of living is much lower than in the western countries. It’s possible to buy a one-bedroom home in Chiang Mai for around $50,000, according to several sources. Expats can pay around $500 per month to rent a home in Chiang Mai. According to International Living Magazine, Thailand is a very inexpensive country for expatriates. You will want to obtain tax and legal advice before retiring abroad as this can greatly impact your finances. 

  • Bring International Health Insurance with You

If you want to become an expatriate, it is critical for you to obtain an international health insurance plan that will not only cover medical treatment in your destination country, but also globally. Medical expenses while living abroad can be extremely expensive and local medical care in your new country may not be up to Western standards, especially if you are moving to a developing country. In some Asian countries such as China and Singapore, the cost of medical assistance can be surprisingly expensive for expats living there.

If you are an American citizen, you will want to include cover for the United States as most Americans will want to obtain treatment back home. Expats should make sure that their plan includes medical evacuation and repatriation coveragePlease contact us today for a quote and to discuss your expatriate insurance requirements. We would be delighted to be of assistance as we are expat insurance specialists.