Coming home after living abroad requires preparation

Coming home after living abroad requires preparation

Jetting off overseas to live and work is such an exciting experience that, for most people, the process of returning home will be the last thing on their mind.

However, it is also true that a large proportion of people spending a sustained period of time in a foreign country will not be relocating permanently. So when you are approaching the end of your overseas adventure, what do you have to consider as part of the repatriation process?

Selling property

If your time spent overseas involved the purchase of a home, the chances are you will want to sell the property before returning to Britain. It is also likely that you will want to complete the transaction as quickly and easily as possible to ensure there are no loose ends when you come back to the UK.

Your chances of selling a property will increase if you take a practical, common-sense approach to the process. Make sure any improvements or DIY projects you have undertaken are completed and ensure that everything is clean and presentable when people come for viewings.

It can also help to clear as much clutter and furniture as possible to increase the sense of space and to remove any items that are very personal to you, so prospective buyers see the home as a blank canvas.

According to Shelter Offshore, another good tactic is to sell the lifestyle associated with the destination as much as the property. Use your personal experience to tell would-be investors about the sort of life they could be buying into.

Repatriating money

Having spent a sustained period of time living and working in a foreign country, you will probably need to consider sending money back to the UK in preparation for your return.

Any funds saved in a foreign account will have to be moved to a British bank so you can easily access them at home, as will any proceeds from the sale of a home.

One of the best ways of completing these tasks is by using an overseas money transfer service, which provides advantages including exchange rates that often beat those offered by banks, same-day international payments and the option to both send and receive funds in various currencies.

These facilities are available in numerous countries, from British expat hotspots in Europe like France and Spain to more distant nations including Australia, South Africa and Canada.

Credit history

One of the issues you will have to consider upon your return to the UK, particularly if you want to buy a home, is your credit history.

Your record with regards to financial affairs in Britain will be effectively non-existent if you have spent years living abroad, so it is important to start rebuilding it as soon as possible.

The first essential is a bank account. It may be that you kept a UK account open during your time overseas, but if not you could start one with a major international bank that has a UK presence, such as HSBC, Barclays or NatWest, before returning.

You will also have to re-establish yourself on the electoral register, as this is the first place any potential lender will look to confirm your identity. In its guide to repatriation, Shelter Offshore also recommends signing up to a mobile phone contract or getting a credit card as ways of building your credit history.


Making financial transactions as simple and reliable as possible is extremely important, and working abroad should have taught you that each country will have their own rules and regulations. For example, if you were working in India, then you would have been aware of the PAN Card; if not, you can find out more about it at It can get easy to grow familiar with your current countries rules, so don’t forget that things are likely to change on your return.

Granted, it’s not the most exciting or heart-warming topic to be thinking about as part of a life change, but tax is unfortunately a key issue you will have to address during the repatriation process.

Inform HM Revenue & Customs that you will be coming back to the UK, so you can find out about your tax liability on your return. You might also want to get in touch with the Department for Work and Pensions to clarify arrangements regarding your pension and any benefits you may be entitled to.

Another important step is to contact the relevant authority in the foreign country you are living in to check details of any tax you might owe before you leave. Tying up all loose ends will mean you can return to the UK with complete peace of mind.

Finance articles

View More Articles

Related stories

Top tips for buying an overseas property

Buying an overseas property can be riskyA dream property overseas is a tempting option but to ensure your dreams don’t become a nightmare you need to pay careful attention to the legalities of buying home overseas.

Student Finances: The top five student bank accounts for 2013

Managing your money as a student helps reduce your student debtsA-level results arrived this week and thousands of students are set to start university next month. Find out what are the best student bank accounts and how to manage your money.

Economy getting greyer

Older people now make up a far higher percentage of the workforce. Image:ThinkstockOlder people’s employment rate is higher than before the recession, a new official report shows.

20% of UK workers earn less than a living wage

Most restaurant workers earn less than the living wageA new report by the Resolution Foundation has found that 20 per cent of workers in the UK earn less than the living wage and the recession has increased the gap between the top and bottom.

Forward Guidance: How will it affect savers and investors?

Mark Carney, the new Governor of the Bank of EnglandPete Comley, author of ‘The Plan To Deal With The Debts’ gives his insight into the new central bank policy of forward guidance on interest rates and what it means for your money.

Workless household numbers are at lowest since 1996, says ONS

The number of workless households has fallen to its lowestThe number of households in the UK, where no adult aged between 16 and 64 is in work, is at its lowest figure since records began in 1996

Rightmove survey shows Brits want to own their own homes

Owning your own home is still a hope for most people in the UKDespite the difficulty in doing so, a new survey by Rightmove reveals that most tenants still hold onto the dream of owning their own home.

TUC warns ending of S2P will leave workers £29pw worse off

Millions may be worse off from the pension changesThe TUC has warned that millions of people will be financially worse off after the government rolls out a series of pension changes

Newsletter sign up


In addition to the weekly newsletter, which areas of finance would you like to hear from us about:

Tick this box if you would like us to send you promotions from carefully selected third parties.

By signing-up you agree to the terms of use and privacy policy.

sign-up button

Get the latest information on: