What to do before you leave the UK

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A checklist of financial tasks to consider before you move abroad

Banking abroad before you move

• Open an overseas bank account

Consider how you're going to manage your finances while living abroad. You may decide to keep a bank account open in the UK to pay ongoing expenses and direct debits, for example related to your property or dependants in the UK. You'll probably also need a bank account in your new country of residence, for day-to-day banking and for your salary to be paid into if you're moving for work.

If you are an HSBC customer and you contact us three weeks before moving, our International Banking Centre can help you to open an overseas bank account in more than 45 countries before you leave the UK – as well as answering any queries you have about international banking. For providing this service, a charge of £100 applies. This service is free for HSBC Premier customers and reduced to £50 for Advance customers. Find out more by visiting our overseas accounts page.

If you are planning a move abroad, or you're already living or working overseas, then expat banking could be for you

Alongside your bank accounts back home and your overseas account in the country where you're living, you might also want to consider expat banking, which enables you to protect, grow and manage your wealth while you travel around.

• Consider whether you could benefit from expat banking

If you are planning a move abroad, or you're already living or working overseas, then expat banking could be for you. Put simply, expat banking is about holding your money in a country other than the one where you live and allows you to bank without borders.

Expat banking – where you have an account located outside the country where you live – gives you the freedom to manage multiple currencies across different countries. It might be that you're looking for a safer environment in which to grow your savings and investments. Expat banking also provides potential tax benefits, and our specialist team will be on hand to advise you on how to make the most of the available opportunities while you're overseas.

Find out more by visiting our Expat Explorer Survey or by talking to a financial adviser in your
local branch.

• Make sure you have the insurance cover you need

You may have travel insurance with your HSBC bank account, but when you leave the UK you'll no longer be eligible for this cover – even if you keep your UK bank account open – as you need to be a UK resident to qualify (meaning that your main home is in the UK, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man; you are registered with a local doctor; and are liable to pay local taxes).

You'll also need to consider your travel insurance arrangements for the trip to your new home, because you won't be able to use your existing HSBC travel insurance for this journey. Once you arrive in your new country, contact your local HSBC branch to discuss your insurance requirements.

• Think about healthcare issues

Research healthcare costs in the country you are moving to. If you're moving for work, your employer may provide you with health insurance as part of your relocation and benefits package. If they do not, you may want to consider private health insurance to cover private medical and dental treatment, as well as medical repatriation to the UK. Before you leave, inform your family's GP, dentist and other relevant practitioners that you are going.

Your UK investments and pensions

• Seek advice before you move

Before you go, you may want to seek advice from a financial adviser to see if there is anything you might want to consider doing now that may be tax efficient. They will also tell you what is available to you once you have moved. There may be tax advantages in holding investments and savings offshore; contact us for an appointment with a financial adviser, who will be able to go through the options
with you.

Before you move, it's a good idea to talk to your pension provider and potentially a financial adviser about how your move will affect your personal pension.

If you are working overseas, check your contract as you may not be able to continue to pay into your UK pension. You may have to contribute to a pension fund in your new home country; or there may not be one at all. Depending on where you are going, local pension arrangements may be limited and this can lead to small pension funds in various locations around the world. You may wish to start planning to make the most of disposable cash, so you may want to consider a portable plan that can move with you, potentially providing tax efficiencies and flexibility.

If you don't have a pension and you don't start one in your new home country, you may find you have more disposable income while living abroad and you may be eligible to take advantage of expat, tax-efficient savings plans.

• Think about tax planning

Our advisers may be able to help you take advantage of available tax efficiencies, but we recommend seeking advice from tax specialists – particularly if you are a high-rate taxpayer or have significant assets.

You can get information about UK income tax liability while you're abroad by contacting HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) Charity, Assets and Residence (Residency) on 0845 070 0040.

• Be clear about what happens to ISAs and other investments

To contribute to an Individual Savings Account (ISA), you must have a permanent UK residential address for tax purposes unless you are performing duties as a UK Crown employee working overseas or you are married to, or in civil partnership with, a person who performs such duties. So if you open an ISA and then move abroad, you may not be eligible to carry on paying into it while you're away. But you may be eligible to contribute up to the full annual ISA allowance before you go. You can also keep your ISAs while you're living abroad while still getting the usual tax relief. If and when you come back, you may be eligible to start contributing again. If you have old PEPs and TESSAs (opened before 6 April 1999), they too will keep their tax-exempt status while you are resident overseas. If you have other investment products or services, it may not be possible to continue holding these if you are no longer a UK resident. You should check with your provider before leaving the UK.

Tie up loose ends

• Take care of your property

If you're leaving for good, you may decide to sell your UK property. However, if you're keeping your home as an investment and intend to let it out to tenants, you'll need to inform your insurer and mortgage lender, who may require you to either switch to a buy-to-let loan, or to pay a higher interest rate on your current loan or to pay a consent-to-let fee. If you're moving abroad for a fixed period and want to let your UK property during that time, you must still inform your mortgage lender.

Letting agents or tenants of any landlord who is living outside the UK for more than six months must deduct basic-rate tax of 20% from the landlord's UK rental income and pay the tax to HMRC. You can, however, apply to HMRC to receive the rental income with no tax deducted.

Give the Land Registry an address where you can be contacted abroad, because empty properties or those with tenants can be targeted by fraudsters. Visit Land Registry for advice on how to keep your property secure while you are away.

• Inform HMRC

You must tell HMRC if you are moving abroad. If you're changing jobs, your employer should give you a P45 form, showing details of your pay and tax up to your date of departure, which you should send to your local tax office together with a completed P85 form ('Leaving the United Kingdom').

Whether you have to pay UK or overseas social security contributions while living or working abroad will depend on several factors: how long you are leaving the UK for, what country you are going to and whether you will be employed by a UK or a foreign company.

• Check what to do about National Insurance contributions

Whether you qualify for UK benefits in the future will depend on the total contributions you have made during your working life, so it's important to check your position by talking to your employer and contacting HMRC and the Department for Work and Pensions for advice.

• Benefits including the state pension

The International Pension Centre deals with all enquiries regarding the payment of the state pension, bereavement benefits, incapacity benefits and other benefits to those living abroad. Contact the centre by visiting the Government website. You'll need to let them know your new overseas address, and you can also ask them for a state pension forecast before you leave the UK.

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Everyone's circumstances are different and what applies to one person may not be right for someone else. The suggestions above are based on a general assumption of each circumstance and they are not intended to provide advice or recommendation.