How to Move to Europe

Moving (Image: Kenn W. Kiser)

Are you considering moving overseas? If your new residence is going to be anywhere in Europe, there are a few things you should be aware of before you start packing. Learn everything you need to do for your move across the Atlantic.

Make sure that you can afford the move. Although moving is not typically an inexpensive task, a move to Europe can be costly. Research the cost of living in the area and make sure you will be able to live within your means.

Find a place to live. Good places to look include Craigslist and the Live Abroad website. See the Resources section below for links.

Contact your bank to setup a foreign account that you can use outside of the United States. You may also want to assign someone to act on your behalf in your absence--this is called a power of attorney. That way, if you need to do anything with your storage unit, bank or home, you will not have to return to the U.S. to complete the tasks.

Contact the consulate in the area that you would like to reside in. The consulate staff will be able to answer any questions that you may have regarding legal and citizenship requirements. In order to receive a work permit or a visa, you will need a job in the country you're moving to, a valid passport, the address of your new residence and bank statements. You are also required to maintain residency in the country for at least six months.

Pack only what you need and store the rest at a local storage unit.

Learn the language of the country that you are moving to--this will make it much easier to communicate with other citizens. Additionally, taking the time to learn a new language tends to impress locals in the area, as it indicates genuine interest in their culture.

Tips & Warnings

  • Change your address. In addition to notifying the U.S. Postal Service, make sure you also let your bank, credit card companies and other relevant organizations about know about your move.
  • If you have a cell phone, make sure it will work overseas. If you don't have a cell phone, you may want to consider getting one, as it makes keeping in touch with family and friends much easier.
  • Unless you obtain residence in the European country, you will have to file and pay taxes in both the United States and the European country.
  • Every country is different, so make sure you contact the consulate to discuss all of your options.
  • European electrical outlets use different voltage settings than American ones. Although you can buy an adapter, it's better to just buy your appliances in Europe to prevent destroying the ones that you currently own.

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