Moving Abroad: How Long Should You Stay For?

Last updated on May 5th, 2024 at 03:19 pm

A person standing outside. The handle of a pull along suitcase can be seen and they appear to be holding their passport and a ticket

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When moving to another country, it’s important to consider just how long you plan to stay for. It could be a few months, a year, a couple years or even forever. Typically, the longer you plan to stay in another country, the more preparations you’ll need to take. This post offers a brief guide to some of the things you need to consider.

Should you consider a short-term move abroad?

A short-term move can allow you to experience living abroad without committing too much. It could be ideal if you’re looking to study abroad, get a short-term job or test out living with a partner or family abroad. 

Instead of shipping all your possessions over when you move, you can take only a few possessions and put the rest in storage for when you return. This could save you a lot of money and allow you to be more flexible with accommodation.

Visas for short-term residence are meanwhile often cheaper and easier to obtain. The cheapest visas are those that allow you to stay in a country for less than 6 months, which could be all you need when doing summer work or winter work abroad. Visas lasting over a year can be a little harder to obtain, although there are some exceptions such as student visas

Should you consider a long-term move abroad?

A long term move is better suited for those that want to start a fresh new life and settle down somewhere. Such a move requires a lot more commitment in terms of acquiring legal documentation and immersing oneself in the culture.

You’ll typically need to move over all your possessions and apply for a long-term visa. This will be more expensive, so make sure that you have saved up the necessary funds. 

Quite often, you need to live in a country for a few years before you can apply for citizenship. For example, to apply for UK citizenship, you need to live in the country for 5 years first. You also need to take a Life in the UK test.

Or for living in Canada, it’s essential to understand what is LMIA application in Canada(qu’est-ce que la demande d’EIMT au Canada) for the long term. In addition, you should consider securing insurance from Group Medical Service an immigration insurance company, for your healthcare needs. It is a crucial step if you’re planning to work in Canada as a foreign national.

What is the Life in the UK test?

This is a type of test that many countries have to determine if an applicant has sufficient knowledge of the country they’re planning to live in. In the case of a Life in the UK test, this involves a basic knowledge of UK politics, culture and values. 

Learning the local language is also very important when planning a long-term move. Having a certain degree of fluency could be important for getting accepted into the local community, for finding work, for making friends and for applying for citizenship.

Which is best for you?

If you don’t have much experience in your chosen country, you may want to consider planning a short-term move first to get a taste for life there. You don’t want to commit everything only to realise there are big parts of the culture you dislike – moving back could prove very challenging once you’ve settled. 

A long term move is better suited for those who have a lot of experience visiting their chosen country. You may have even lived there before as a child or spent several weeks at a time there. You want to be certain that you will enjoy living in your chosen country before you commit to living there long-term. 


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