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Moving Beyond Your Borders…Tips on Becoming an Expat

Article Summary:

Making the decision to become an expat is a daunting task. There are many complex issues which must be considered, but it can also be an amazing life-changing experience. Canada AM has gathered a few tips to ease you into your new life as an expat.

Photo Credit: Canada AM

Original Article Text From Canada AM:

Leaving it all behind: Tips on living abroad

There are approximately 2.6 million Canadians, about 9 per cent of the population, who are currently living overseas and are classified as expats.

Relocating to a foreign country can be a daunting task. Issues such as citizenship, taxation, health care, education and social well-being must all be taken into consideration. But it can be an amazing life changing experience.

Having a family connection whether a spouse or parent or siblings who live in your new country certainly makes the whole experience easier and less daunting. However, if you have no family connections, here are a couple of points to consider if you think you might be up to taking this big step:


  • Do you thrive on change?
  • Are you comfortable making new friends?
  • Are you ok not living close to family?
  • Are you open to learning a new language?
  • Are you intrigued by foreign cultures and customs?
  • Are you looking for a way to improve your quality of like while spending less money than you currently do?


Whether you are studying, working or retiring abroad each stage of your life comes with its own unique challenges. Some of the main areas to research:

Banking, money & taxes: Appropriate management of your finances will be critical to ensuring that you can enjoy your new life abroad without leaving a mess behind you. Tax implications alone require a lot of research.

House: If you own your own property you will need to make a decision as to whether you should sell your house or rent it out.

Visa: All countries require you to obtain special permission for entry when you plan to work – visa or work permit. Initiate the process well in advance of your departure date, as obtaining a visa or work permit can take several months. To change your employment after your arrival, you may have to leave and re-enter the country under a different visa or work permit. Verify the requirements with the Canadian embassy or one of its consulates in the host country before moving to a new job. Working without an appropriate visa or overstaying a visa is illegal; if caught, you may be subject to imprisonment, a fine and/or deportation. You may also be barred from re-entry to that country.

Residency permit: If you are planning to work for a long time abroad, you may need a residency permit. This permit gives a non-national the right to live in a foreign country. Consult the embassy or a consulate of the country concerned for further information.

Health Insurance: It is unlikely that your health insurance in Canada will provide adequate coverage while you are abroad. Make sure you understand the terms of your policy; it should cover all your needs and those of all accompanying dependents.

Where should you go? If you are still enjoying your working life, then countries where you might have a job opportunity naturally rise to the top of the list of potential destinations. Those who retire abroad for other than family or cultural reasons tend to be clustered in countries that offer a combination of low after-tax living costs and a warm climate.

In some cases, an existing Canadian expatriate community helps to mitigate the cultural isolation that can otherwise make life difficult. Countries in this category include Mexico, Costa Rica and some Caribbean island nations.
Check out the government of Canada’s website offering tips, advice and checklists.

Link to Original Article:

From Canada AM

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