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New country, new beginnings, new needs: 5 hacks for moving overseas

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Moving overseas, and feeling overwhelmed at the tasks in front of you? We share some essential steps for getting yourself set up before you leave.

Sponsored by Southern Cross Travel Insurance. With Working Overseas coverage, you'll be able to travel for extended periods, take a working holiday or even relocate for years at a time. Visit the Southern Cross Travel Insurance website for more information.

Making an overseas move? Whether it's for work, love or just the chance to see more of the world, there are a few ways you can set yourself up for a smooth trip before you can go.

πŸ‘‹ Hey there! We've partnered with Southern Cross Travel Insurance for this article, so we'll be using its product as an example throughout. However, you should also do your own research to determine which insurance product is right for you. It's a good idea to read the product disclosure statement (PDS) and target market determination (TMD) before signing up at scti.com.au for any insurance product.

1. Lock in your travel insurance

There's a lot to think about and plan when you move overseas, but one thing you definitely shouldn't overlook is your health.

A number of countries have reciprocal healthcare agreements with Australia. This can be very useful, though it won't necessarily cover all of your healthcare needs. Some of these countries – like the United Kingdom – still require you to have travel insurance to access urgent care.

It's also an important consideration in countries where the healthcare system is heavily privatised, like the USA – if you fall sick or get injured and need treatment, you can find yourself significantly out of pocket.

This is where travel insurance can be really helpful, but it's important to make sure you pick the right policy. Many travel policies are specifically designed to be short-term, which isn't very helpful if you're moving overseas for longer periods, or permanently.

But there are options available. For example, Southern Cross Travel Insurance offers Working Overseas travel insurance.

This policy includes a range of benefits that are geared towards a longer period of living and working overseas.

Unlike conventional travel insurance, Working Overseas travel insurance features options such as optical treatment, mental health care, rehabilitation and occupational therapy, and maternity care. Read the PDS at scti.com.au for more details on SCTI's Working Overseas cover.

Getting cover in advance for these areas can be substantially cheaper than the costs involved with paying out-of-pocket, or potentially even local insurance policies.

Working Overseas travel insurance also allows flexible coverage for a range of purposes. This includes your day-to-day work, as well as automatic inclusions for activities like skiing and snowboarding, riding mopeds and travelling on a cruise ship. Just make sure that the country you're working or travelling in is listed on your policy, or call Southern Cross Travel Insurance to add a new destination.

You're able to purchase cover ranging from 1 to 12 months and can also renew your policy each year, up to a total of 60 months. However, eligibility requirements, conditions and exclusions may apply. See the PDS at scti.com.au for details.

Everyone's healthcare needs are different, but by looking for a flexible policy with a broad range of coverage, you should be able to find one that suits you. You can see a selection of award-winning policies right here on the Finder site.

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2. Double up on documentation

Having up-to-date copies of your identification documents when you're travelling overseas is essential.

Certain countries are quite strict about foreign nationals having their papers on them at all times (visit the Smartraveller website for more information), so before you leave, consider getting copies of your passport, birth certificate and driver's license certified by a Justice of the Peace. This way, you won't need to take the original documents with you whenever you're out and about.

Make sure that you store the originals discreetly. Make use of safes when possible – but if not, don't disclose their location to others.

If your passport, ID or other personal information is stolen while you're overseas, it's important to contact the local Australian embassy as soon as possible.

3. Set up an international bank account

You may need a local bank account to get paid for any work you do overseas, but it's key for other tasks, too.

For example, in the UK you'll need a bank account to be able to apply for a rental property, to get your phone plan set up and to engage with a number of other agencies.

This can be easier to do ahead of time, rather than after you arrive, because it's much easier to provide proof of address from your home country, rather than in a new country where you don't necessarily have a fixed address straight away.

Be aware also that you may also need to apply for the local equivalent of a Tax File Number, too.

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4. Don't overlook your tax obligations

So, you've moved overseas to take up a new job and now you're earning money, but not in Australia – so you don't need to pay tax on it in Australia, right? After all, you're likely already paying income tax in your new home country.

Well… it's not always that simple.

Tax legislation varies pretty drastically from country to country, so check out the specifics of your new home before you exit Australia or risk being double taxed.

Also keep in mind that if you're an Australian resident or citizen, you'll still need to file an Australia tax return, even while living overseas. If you're unsure about your specific situation, contact the ATO.

5. Create a checklist for before you fly away

When you're moving overseas, there are some other admin tasks to take care of. Some of these can slip through the cracks pretty easily, so we've put together a handy checklist of things to do before you go. Of course, everyone's specific needs are different – but this is a solid jumping off point.

Let your friends and family know – they need time to plan your going away party!
Purchase appropriate travel insurance.
Contact your bank and credit card providers to ensure your card doesn't get cut off while you're overseas.
Cancel your subscriptions (e.g. streaming services, gyms, magazines)
Switch off your utilities like electricity and gas
Cancel your phone plan – no need to double-up on services
Speak to your GP if you have any health records you may want to transfer to a new doctor
Reach out to your insurance providers – some policies may need to be cancelled (e.g. car or health insurance) in favour of local policies in your new country, while others (e.g. home and contents) may need to be updated while you're overseas.
Speak to a storage supplier – if you can't take everything with you, you may want to invest in temporary storage solutions

Learn more about Southern Cross Travel Insurance

Sponsored by Southern Cross Travel Insurance. With Working Overseas coverage, you'll be able to travel for extended periods, take a working holiday or even relocate for years at a time. Visit the Southern Cross Travel Insurance website for more information.

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