45 Things to Do Before You Leave the UK

A to do list for people leaving the UK

Once you have obtained the right to live overseas, there is a long list of things you need to do so you can turn your dreams into reality:

  • Ensure you and anyone going with you still has at least a year left on your British passports. Ensure the correct visas are (or will be) present for the country you are moving to.
  • If you have pets you want to take with you, check if there are any medical requirements – such as vaccinations or identity chips – they will need to comply with and arrange these.
  • Book your flight(s).
  • Arrange a new home or transport for your pet(s).
  • Put your house up for sale. If you are going to rent it out, you can leave this until closer to your departure date.
  • Inform your employer. Depending on your notice period, your relationship with your employer and whether you will need references, you will need to decide the best time to do this.
  • Start thinking now about your airline luggage allowance. Think about which personal effects you want to travel with you because they are too valuable to lose. Think about which items you want to travel in your luggage rather than waiting for them to arrive in a ship.
  • Arrange shipping – get quotes from several reputable shipping companies. Try to do this in good time so you have maximum choice of shippers.
  • Decide which of your belongings, furniture, appliances, etc, you want to take with you and which you are going to leave behind. This can be done after discussion with shippers about costs when you can decide fully whether it is worth taking some items or not.
  • Vaccinations – check if you and your family will need any vaccinations.
  • If possible, open a bank account in the country you are moving to so it will be ready to receive funds before you go. Ask your current bank for a credit reference. This may help you get credit in your new country. Some British banks will be happy for you to remain a customer even after you have moved abroad. The Nationwide is particularly handy because they do not make extra charges on their debit and credit cards when you use them overseas.
  • Contact credit card or other finance/loan companies and arrange pay off any debts. Again, ask for references.
  • Contact your pension provider and inform them of your move. Request an up to date statement of your pension position.
  • If you will be seeking to rent accommodation overseas, the landlord may require references – financial and personal. Think about who would be best to provide these for you and get written references before you leave the UK.
  • If you are renting a house in the UK, give notice to the landlord of your departure.
  • Arrange a dental check up and get any work done before you move. If you have an NHS dentist, it will almost certainly be cheaper getting the work done in the UK than overseas. Besides, the last thing you want as you settle in your new country is toothache.
  • Clearing a house completely always seems to take longer than you think. Start getting rid of stuff as early as possible.
  • Arrange to sell your car(s). You can do this privately, with a local dealer, or an auction. There are also companies which will give you an Internet quote and arrange to collect your car when it’s convenient for you.
  • Contact your car insurer – tell them you’re moving and ask for written confirmation of your no claims bonus because this will often be accepted overseas, enabling you to get cheaper insurance after you’ve moved. Cancel remaining time on your car insurance for a refund.
  • Cancel your TV licence – you can claim a refund on any time (in 3 month blocks) the licence has to run after you have left the country.
  • Contact the AA (or similar breakdown service) – cancel your direct debit if you have one.
  • It’s better to cancel everything in writing but inevitably you will cancel some things by telephone. At this stage, it’s worth pointing out that you should keep a diary every time you make a call to cancel a service because call centres are notorious for not following through your instructions. By keeping a record of who you spoke to and at what time you made the call, you will be in a stronger position to get a refund when a company keeps taking money from you even after you cancelled their service. If a company still won’t give you a refund, and you paid by credit card, you can complain to the credit card company. They will ask you to fill in a few details of your complaint and they will then usually refund your money.)
  • Contact other organisations you are a member of that you might want to cancel your subscriptions to, such as Which Magazine or sports clubs, etc.
  • If you have investments such as shares, unit trusts, premium bonds, etc you need to write informing the providers of your change of address. You also need to withdraw any money you have in ISAs, as these are only available for UK taxpayers.
  • Look through your bank statements and make a list of regular payments that should be stopped and stop them at the appropriate time.
  • Contact the Inland Revenue. If you are on PAYE and are leaving before the end of a tax year, it’s likely you’ll have overpaid tax. This is because the earlier in the tax year you leave, the less your tax-free allowance will have been factored in by your PAYE payments. Claim a refund of the overpayment. Also contact National Insurance. You can choose to keep making payments if you wish to.
  • Contact your local council and arrange a refund if you will have overpaid council tax.
  • Inform the DVLC of your move – perhaps give them a relative’s address to write to. Hold onto your British driving licence. You’ll need it until you get a new driving licence at your destination. (If you move overseas, the DVLC will not update the address on your licence to an overseas location.)
  • Cancel your house insurance from an appropriate date. (If you’re currently renting, and paying contents insurance this will be at midnight on the day you leave. If you own a house, only cancel buildings insurance after you no longer own the property.)
  • Contact your medical insurance company to discuss options regarding your move.
  • Contact your life insurance company. You’ll probably want to continue payments so it’s important they know your new address.
  • Check your mobile phone will work at your destination. If it won’t, make arrangements to buy one that will.
  • Inform schools of your children’s move and request an up to date report to take to their new school to enable them to be placed appropriately.
  • Arrange to dispose of whatever effects and furniture etc you are not taking.
  • Have your mail redirected. You can have it redirected to an overseas address – if you have one arranged. Alternatively, have your mail redirected to someone in the UK who can then forward it to you overseas.
  • Cancel any services or deliveries you get such as newspapers, milk deliveries, window cleaners, gardeners, etc.
  • Arrange for gas, electric, telephone, satellite, internet provision etc to be disconnected. Do make sure you pay all your bills before you leave. Debt collection agencies operate worldwide. The last thing you need is for your credit record to be spoiled and debt collectors chasing you in your new country.
  • Book temporary accommodation and car hire at your destination.
  • Ensure you have returned all borrowed books to the library.
  • Cancel your child tax credits – this can only be done within a week of departure.
  • Cancel child benefit.
  • If you need prescribed medicines, make sure you have sufficient to last you until you can arrange prescriptions at your destination.
  • Backup the entire contents of your desktop computer onto a portable hard drive and take it with you.
  • If you are selling computers, ensure the hard disk has been wiped completely using a program such as BCWipe. (Deleting the contents of your hard drive is not enough to prevent the person who gets your computer from retrieving and reading the contents of the deleted hard drive.)
  • Print out anything important from your computer or the web that you will need, such as contact details, bookings, itineraries, etc.

Provided you have a good mail redirect, a few of the above items can easily be left until you have moved into your new address overseas – for example, items such as writing to tell share registrars your new address.

There Are 2 Responses So Far. »

  1. How can I proof then I do not have any incom in UK?
    I have moved to France few months ago and nobody in H&M Revenues can help me
    I have filled P85 and waiting for E301

  2. while staying abroad do we have to inform British consulate there? How long a naturalised citizen can stay outside uk?