If you’re thinking about, or have just started the process of, relocating to the EU, then this is an exciting time! But it’s likely to be a stressful one, too, with so much to think about and plan for and a million tasks to complete ahead of the big moving day.
Things may seem daunting, but with some forward planning and awareness of a few key requirements and regulations, the move could run more smoothly than you think. Getting organized early is key. Use the guide below to check you’ve got all the boxes ticked, from residency applications to the opening of a cross-border bank account.
Ways to Gain Residency
Firstly, you’ll need to decide the residency route you’re planning on taking. While this varies from country to country, broadly, most territories within the EU offer several ways to gain residential status.
Being hired by an employer in the target country and having this employer sponsoring your work permit is one way to gain residency. There are alternative, and often easier, routes for those who can already support themselves financially through, for example, investments, retirement income, or rentals.
Some individuals choose to apply for residency by undertaking remote work for an employer back in their home country, and these circumstances are increasingly covered by a range of European digital nomad visas.
Sort Out Removals
Moving home is never an easy task, and it’s even more substantial if you’re relocating abroad. To this end, hiring a professional removal company is likely to be a very wise move that could save you a significant amount of time, money, and stress.
Many removal companies offer overseas specialist services and can take care of every aspect of getting all your furniture and household items to your new property. The very best moving companies of 2023 offer experienced staff, flexible services, and adequate insurance for the best peace of mind possible.
The ETIAS Visa Waiver
From Spring 2023, visitors from the USA (as well as residents of 58 other countries) who will be staying in Europe for less than ninety days will require a European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS) visa waiver to travel to any of the countries in the Schengen zone. The aim of the new regulations is to help prevent both terrorism and illegal migration. Travelers will also be pre-screened before arrival in any EU countries, although no biometric data will be collected.
This requirement is only for those who will be visiting or relocating to the EU for a short time.
Find Out About the Tax Situation
Understanding the tax implications of moving to a new country in good time is crucial. It’s worth bearing in mind that applying for residency in most EU countries and staying in that country for more than 183 days will make you automatically resident for tax purposes.
Several EU countries offer new residents a preferential rate of tax; Portugal is one of the most notable of these, with its NHR program, which makes it an attractive proposition for those interested in relocating to the EU.
It’s highly recommended to consult with a professional tax advisor in the new country before moving there to discover exactly what the tax implications of the new location will be. Also note that if you’re a citizen of the US moving abroad, you’ll still need to file an annual tax return with the IRS, although you may be able to benefit from foreign income exemptions.
Consider a Cross-Border Bank Account
Opening a cross-border bank account could make your financial affairs run much more smoothly in the wake of the relocation. Many account options are free to open, app-based, and offer local accounts in a range of different currencies. These accounts may be especially useful for those working remotely with clients around the world, as they allow individuals to make payments in their ‘home’ currencies.
Upon gaining residency in your new country, it’s also a good idea to open an account with a local bank for convenience and to ensure easy access to banking services.
Renew Your Driver’s License Before Leaving
In most countries in the EU, you’ll need to exchange your current driving license for one issued by the new region within a certain amount of time of becoming officially resident - this is often around ninety days.
However, if your driving license expires within this date and before you’ve exchanged it, you may need to retake your driving test in your new country in order to be issued a license. For this reason, it makes sense to renew your driving license before jetting off - just in case.
Now You’ve Moved: Settling in Your New Home
The relocation itself is just the start of your adventure! Get to know your new area by exploring, joining local groups, or connecting with the resident ex-pat community. Make sure that you’re aware of local customs and etiquette, and enjoy immersing yourself in the culture of your surroundings. In such an environment, you may be surprised at just how quickly you start to pick up the language.
Relocating to a new country can be a challenge, but it’s usually an intensely rewarding and enriching experience, too, that can pave the way for new opportunities, friendship - maybe even romance!