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Top Tips for What To Do When Moving to an EEA Country

Here's a quick guide for what you should think about doing when you arrive in a new EEA (European Economic Area) country. The EEA countries are all of those in the (EU) European Union plus Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway. Generally, they have slightly different rules compared to moving anywhere else in the World. Before you even leave you may want to think about anything that needs doing first.

Register with the local authority

When moving to a new EEA country you must apply for a residence permit within three months of arriving. If you don't you will be unable to access local benefits to which you are entitled, or you could be seen as breaking the law.

Contact the local embassy

Countries that have a large expatriate population may hold a fact sheet to help new people to the country settle in more easily. It is sensible to keep the details of your closest British embassy with you. In the case of an emergency advice is provided on fco.gov.uk as well as the British Foreign & Commonwealth Office's Facebook and Twitter pages.

Ensure your passport is valid

Ensure that the contact details for two friends or family members have been filled out so that they can be called in case of an emergency. In EEA countries your residence permit also counts as your form of identification so there is no need to carry your passport around with you.

Open a foreign bank account

When arriving in an EEA country you can apply for a non-resident bank account and then after around 3-6 months, once your residence permit has been granted, you can apply for a regular bank account.

In a great deal of countries your pension can be paid directly into your bank account wherever you are.

Learn the language

It will show that you have made an effort if you take time to learn the language and make an attempt to fit into the local area. This will also make things easier for you as local hospitals and welfare services are unlikely to speak English. Day to day life will be much easier if you can communicate with everyone.

Make a will

It may not be something you want to think about, although if you die while you are living abroad this can cause problems for your next of kin, it is best to seek professional legal advice. You may require separate wills for anything left in the UK that you want to leave to others.

Check the local traffic regulations

Driving is permitted on a valid UK driving license in an EEA country, although you will need to be insured in the country you have moved to. You may also be expected to change your driving licence to an EEA national one once you have become a resident. For other countries you will need to take an international driving permit, which needs to be obtained before you move.

Keep your vote

You are allowed to vote in the UK elections once your name has been added to the electoral register. Once an overseas resident you will still be able to vote in parliamentary elections, but not for the local government. You can register to vote for up to 15 years after the date you left the UK. To do so you will need to contact the electoral registration officer at the local council where you last registered.