Top 10 Tips When Moving Overseas


Top 10 Tips When Moving Overseas -You’ve been considering the idea of moving overseas, whether that is for adventure, work or to retire overseas, and have now decided to look seriously into what you need to do before you jump on the plane.

But where do you start? With the rules and regulations changing so frequently where do you find the information that is relevant to you? As we’ve helped hundreds of Australian citizens just like you make the move overseas a success we have compiled our Top 10 Tips When Moving Overseas list below to make what is normally a stressful time a little bit easier.


  1. Seek Financial Advice

    All too often Australians move overseas not understanding the financial ramifications until it is too late. Whether you have a property (or numerous properties), superannuation, investments, insurance, or student debt (or all of the above) any one of these topics can trip up a future Australian expat. By obtaining financial advice before you move you understand what the change in jurisdiction entails and can make the required changes where suitable. We have recently launched a Pre Departure Review service for Australians looking to move overseas. The review is a great starting point and covers off on the key areas you need to consider and is priced at a level that is accessible to all Australians looking to move abroad.

    Pro Tip – When speaking to a financial adviser or accountant make sure they have experience in providing Australian expat tax financial advice because providing advice in this area is a niche service and not everyone is able to provide this. When interviewing a professional the first question you should start with is how many Australian expat clients they have and secondly how often they provide financial advice to Australian expats.

  2. Student Debt

    Up until the 1st of July 2017, Australian expats were not required to make repayments on their student debt in Australia (HECS, HELP or TSL debt). Since July 2017 Australians living overseas are now required by law to notify the ATO within 7 days of moving overseas with your new contact details. You also must make annual lodgements with the ATO declaring your worldwide income which may result in you having to make a repayment on your student debt if your income is at or above the threshold limits. We recently wrote this blog (Overseas Repayments For Australian Expats With HELP HECS Debts) which covers the requirements for a Australian expat living overseas.

    Pro Tip – Make sure you turn off the two factor authentication on your my.gov.au login before you move overseas as this requires your Australian mobile number and more than likely you will be cancelling this which means you won’t be able to receive the security code.

  3. Budget Before You Go

    More than likely when you move overseas you won’t receive the 9.5% Super Guarantee from your employer anymore. What this means is that if you aren’t saving at the same rate when you move overseas that you will be at a financial disadvantage to your Australian colleagues.

    Pro Tip – If you have excess cash make sure you save and do not let your lifestyle adjust to your new higher disposable income. You want to return to Australia with great stories as well as a higher bank balance

  4. Don’t Use The Banks To Transfer Your Cash

    Sending an international money transfer can be an expensive exercise if you use any of the Australian banks. Not only may there be transaction fees but the exchange rates quoted can vary substantially. The banks rely on making the process easy for you by allowing the transfer to be completed from your existing internet bank account but if you make a little extra effort the result is a real dollar saving in your pocket.

    Pro Tip – make sure you shop around for the best exchange rate and investigate alternatives to the banks like OFX, WorldFirst, & TransferWise.

  5. Obtain An International Driver’s License

    An International Driving Permit (IDP) is a translation of your current Australian Driver’s Licence in nine languages and is proof that you hold a current domestic driver’s licence in Australia. Not all countries require one but for such a low cost it can save a lot of hassle and heartache when you arrive.

    Pro Tip – you can check to see if the country that you are moving to requires a IDP by going to the Australian Automobile Association (AAA) website as well as ordering your IDP online. An IDP costs $39 AUD plus postage and can take up to 3-8 business days, to be processed and delivered in Australia.

  6. Suspend Your Private Health Insurance

    Australian private health funds don’t cover you overseas, so there’s no point in paying for cover. The minimum and maximum times for which you can suspend cover differ between funds.  You can suspend your membership for a maximum of two years. Alternatively investigate cover that does provide health insurance whilst overseas.

    Pro Tip – If your health fund doesn’t allow you to suspend your membership or the suspension is only for a short period of time investigate the option of changing health funds before you go to a fund that provides a longer suspension period.

  7. Notify Medicare

    If you’ve moved overseas, you continue to be eligible for Medicare for 5 years. The 5 years starts from the date you first left Australia. If you live overseas for more than 5 years you’ll no longer be eligible for Medicare. You will need to re-enrol in Medicare when you move back to Australia to live.

    Pro Tip – You can’t access Medicare services from outside of Australia. If Australia has a Reciprocal Health Care Agreement with the country that you’re moving to, you may get access to medically necessary care. You’ll need a Medicare card to do this.

  8. Amend Your Details On The Electoral Roll

    If you move overseas and intend to return within six years you can register as an overseas elector. If you are moving indefinitely your name will be removed and you will not be able to vote while you are overseas.  Should you return to live permanently, you may re-enrol after you have been at your residential address for a period of 1 month.

    Pro Tip – If you are already enrolled, you can apply to be a overseas elector up to three months before, or within three years after, you leave Australia.

  9. Notify Your Bank

    You need to let your bank know that you are a non-resident and provide them with your overseas address. They will deduct 10% of any credit interest that you earn as Withholding Tax (WHT).

    Pro Tip – Failure to do this may result in the bank withholding 47%

  10. Don’t Put Your Head In The Sand

    10-20 years ago you could get on a plane with little to no preparation and start a new life overseas. In today’s digital world “everything” is being shared between countries and governments thanks to the introduction of the Common Reporting Standard and FATCA. Ignorance is no excuse and could cost you a lot of money. We live in a digital world with data sharing agreements between over 100 countries and territories (including tax havens). When we conducted our inaugural Atlas Wealth Management Expat Insights Survey this year over 26% of respondents said that their finances had become more complex as a result of moving overseas.

    Pro Tip – The tax rules have significantly changed in the last 5 years that is costing ill-informed Australian expats a lot of money. Get the right advice before you go (see Point 1).

We hope you found these Top 10 Tips When Moving Overseas useful. Relocating overseas can be a very exciting time and the financial ramifications don’t have to be a deterrent from moving as long as you are fully informed, make the required changes (where applicable) and most importantly maximise the time that you spend abroad.


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