Moving to Europe? Here are some detailed guides before packing your belongings.
Moving to Europe?
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What amount of money do you require? Research the cost of living in your host nation and check with the embassy to determine how much cash you’ll need in your account when you arrive.
Is there anyone willing to assist? Gather letters confirming the amounts, delivery dates, and terms of your agreement if you will be receiving funds from other parties (parents, sponsors).
Do you have any contracts lined up? Bring copies of any contract work agreements you’ve negotiated, whether at home or abroad. If you’ve agreed to conduct freelance work for home-based businesses or magazines but don’t have an official contract, you should have your clients sign a statement of intent. A letter of intent, unlike a contract, does not bind anyone legally, but it does provide a framework for outside authorities.
Consult with your bank agent, organize your outputs and inputs, and prepare your home accounts to fulfill your requirements.
Create your user accounts. I opened three accounts: a “home account” into which I deposited a certain amount to meet monthly withdrawals (storage, insurance, visa card), a “foreign account” into which I gathered funds for my stay abroad, and a “professional account” into which I deposited money earned from work. The latter is beneficial for income tax purposes because it allows you to total your annual earnings.
Get a bank card in your own country. Using your bank card to withdraw cash from home will cost you a lot of money in transaction fees. Instead, create a local account and arrange for lump-sum payments from home to cover your living expenditures. For each transfer, you will be charged a predetermined price. It’s important to remember that the fewer transactions you do, the easier it will be to keep track of your cash flow.
Please contact me. To manage your finances from afar, make sure you have access to both online and phone banking services. If at all feasible, only work with one bank. It’s easier to make payments and transfers when both your accounts and credit cards are under the same roof. Better yet, request that your bank give you a personal adviser who you may call immediately whenever you need to.
For stays of more than three months in any European country, you must have either a work or a student visa. Contact the embassy of the nation where you intend to stay at least six months in advance. A passport valid for at least two months after your return date, a certificate of enrollment in a school (not a certificate of acceptance) or a job offer, the address where you will be staying, and your last three bank statements and any other proof of financial independence will be required at a minimum.
Keep in mind that a student visa does not guarantee that you will be able to work in Europe. You should inquire about the laws in their individual countries at each consulate. Working traveler paid and volunteer programs, generally organized by private groups, exist in certain European nations for summer or seasonal occupations, as mentioned in many articles and sections on jobs in Europe throughout this site. Only a few highly specialized persons are granted the EU Blue Card.
The cost of storage in the suburbs of America can be as low as $60 per month. Don’t rely on your memory alone: make a list of your belongings and their locations, and take a few minutes to write down the contents of each box as you pack.
You’ll need insurance in the event of a medical emergency, an accident, a trip cancellation, or other unforeseen circumstances. Aim for a yearly budget of $500 to $1,500. For your travel needs, World Nomads has a wonderful deal for students and other long-term visitors. See our section on health insurance alternatives overseas for more information on different types of long-term health insurance.
Before you leave, make appointments with your primary care physician, dentist, and even an eye doctor. It’s far easier to deal with minor medical procedures at home than it is to wait until you’re abroad and must deal with insurance reimbursements. Make sure you have plenty of your prescription medication (including contraception pills).
Your driver’s license will not be accepted in all European nations. Before leasing a vehicle in Spain or Germany, for example, you must have a valid international driver’s license. These licenses are inexpensive and are available through AAA and other sources in major cities. France accepts only a few states’ driver’s licenses, whereas the United Kingdom accepts any legal driver’s license.
You don’t want to get caught in a foreign country with expired plastic. Make sure you have a current passport, driver’s license, health insurance card, and credit cards with you when you depart.
Important: After you’ve finished, make two photocopies of all of the official documents and cards you’ll be carrying with you. A plane ticket, insurance, birth certificate, all agreements and cards, and, most crucially, page 3 of your passport are all required items. Leave a copy with relatives or friends at home, and keep the second set away from the originals.
When I went overseas the last time, a bank employee advised me to get a power of attorney, and it turned out to be one of my best decisions. When it came time to send a check to my storage firm, pay an outstanding visa bill, or resolve a dispute with my auto insurance, my personal administrator was able to handle it all with ease. If you’ll be away for more than six months, it’s worth thinking about.
Make sure you notify all of the organizations you’ve been working with, including banks, schools, clubs, and applicable government authorities, of your change of address. For a little fee, the US postal office can also divert your mail. It’s probably advisable to have a “home” address and have someone collect your mail in all circumstances.
International phone alternatives of all types are now accessible at low prices; you can even rent a phone abroad for a low price, but you can stay in touch via social media, Skype, and email. Skype, for example, provides fantastic value for money and is simple to set up. You can make low-cost calls to direct numbers or make free computer-to-computer calls.
Because Europe uses 220 volts rather than 110 volts in the United States, you should make sure you have the appropriate converters for the various plug shapes (this usually works very well). Every country has its own set of electrical standards, and some countries use multiple types of plugs, voltages, and sockets.
Bring a present from home to offer as an offering to your hosts.
Bring a few mementos from home (sweets, pins, cards). When you encounter someone who is willing to help, they will be grateful.
While fellow ex-pats abroad can be of great assistance and provide much-needed support, try to establish as many local friends as possible to get the most out of moving to Europe. They will, in most situations, be highly interested in learning about your life and native country. Americans continue to be respected around the world, not just for their government policies, but also as individuals who come from a country that attracts many locals to the point where they emulate the way of life they watch on television.