Can I really live in my dream overseas location?
Before you buy your ticket and jump on that plane, it’s really important to take the time to delve a bit deeper into what’s required in order to live in your chosen location. After all, no-one wants to arrive only to immediately be sent home! Here are a few things you might need to think about.
Visas and permits
Before you really get the ball rolling, you should contact the relevant consulate or embassy to find out how to apply for a residency permit, work permit or working visa. For example, in some cases, established professionals will need a prospective employer to sponsor them before the country will grant them a work permit or working visa.
If you’re interested in taking advantage of one of Australia’s reciprocal working holiday visa arrangements, you need to apply for a working holiday visa with the country’s embassy, high commission or consulate before you travel.
Other entry and exit requirements
For travellers of any age, in addition to visa requirements, you’ll want to research whether the country you wish to visit has other prerequisites, such as mandatory vaccinations. Also, while travelling to your new home, you may need to have a visa for stopover countries. Don’t overlook those.
If you want to drive in your new country, find out whether you need to get an International Driving Permit (IDP) – in some countries you’ll need more than your Australian driver’s licence to be able to drive. IDPs are United Nations-approved documents, and more than 150 countries worldwide accept them as valid driver’s licences. State and territory motoring clubs issue IDPs.
Even in these early stages, if you have children who’ll be attending school overseas, you’ll want to start looking into things. For starters, the school term in your country of choice may be different from Australia’s. (The US, for instance, does not follow a year-round school year, and students have roughly three months off during summer.)
Also, you’ll need to start thinking about whether you’ll send your children to private or public school or to an international school versus a local institution. Do some digging on the available schools in your new area. Homeschooling your kids is another option; however, you’ll need to research this thoroughly to see if it’s right for you and your family.
Once you’ve worked out broad issues like these, and if all is well, you can start making real, concrete plans for your overseas adventure.