It’s never been easier to live a seamless international life. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be prepared.
With technology and online resources at your fingertips, and with similarly minded modern expatriates communicating and collaborating all over the world, it’s never been easier to live in a foreign land. But packing it in entails more than packing your bags. From tax codes to residency restrictions to health care systems, each country offers a slightly different introduction to expatriate life.
Daniela Coleman, 42, an American university administrator whose career has led her back and forth across the pond several times (she’s now a resident in Bologna, Italy), has faced all of these logistical hurdles at one time or another. Her advice: Make sure you’re ready. “A lot of people fantasize about living abroad, particularly after having a junior year abroad experience,” she said. “But one has to figure out: How do I want to do it?”
Here are five things you should consider before you make the move.
1. Vetting Visas
Anyone who isn’t marrying a foreigner and moving to that person’s country must check the visa requirements in their destination. When Jennifer Ceaser, 51, a freelance travel writer, moved from the U.S. to Europe in 2016, she assumed she had a visa sponsor through a relative in Germany. When that fell through, she faced “a year of frustrating appointments and a bureaucratic nightmare” — only to be denied. With the help of a lawyer, she made a second round of applications and finally got a two-year visa.