What is an expatriate and how do I become one?

There are numerous reasons as to why someone will make the decision to relocate to a new country and become an expatriate. Whether it is an inbound decision for wanting a new life of adventure or you are being relocated due to your job, there is an abundant amount of benefits for making the move. The term expatriate is often misinterpreted and misconstrued and this page is 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? Who is considered 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 as permanent, semi-permanent or temporary placements, depending on the expats’ specific situation.

Definition of Expatriate: ex·pa·tri·ate

Noun: Someone who lives outside their native country – “A Canadian expatriate living in France”

Verb: To settle and live abroad – “Employees should be willing to expatriate to Belgium”

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 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. Nowadays, there are lots of people leaving their jobs and homes to live abroad as digital nomads who work remotely in a country far away. We have created a small guide to answer some big-picture questions that are crucial to know about before your big relocation.

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How Do You Become an Expat?

This is not as easy a question as it may appear. You could answer by simply saying, move away from your country of citizenship. You just can’t pick up and move to a new country. There are legal and immigration considerations, where will you work, housing etc… You will need to talk to the destination country immigration department and also a good immigration lawyer. Each country will have specific requirements to obtain a permanent residence in their country. You may also need to obtain adequate health coverage to obtain that visa. This has become an issue in several countries, including the USA with recent Donald Trump pronouncements.

Don’t Forget Expatriate Health Insurance

If you are an expatriate or you are about to move abroad, it is quite important that you think about the health system for the country you and your family are going to live in. Also, how are you going to access medical care – through a private or public system? Obtaining a high-quality global health plan is vital if you are living abroad. A good plan will allow you to seek treatment outside your destination country and even back home. Some plans will even provide for medical evacuation if the local health system can’t properly treat you locally. Some global nomads will also add vision and dental coverage to their health plan.

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