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EURES (EURopean Employment Services)
News article4 December 2020European Labour Authority, Directorate-General for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion3 min read

How to prepare for your move abroad

Moving abroad for work may be great for your career, but it can be a daunting experience. You have made up your mind and accepted the job, but now is not the time to get caught up in the excitement of the moment. You still have some planning to do.

How to prepare for your move abroad

COVID-19 travel restrictions

Before you plan any travel, check if your country and your country of destination allow international travel. Let your employer know if you have any concerns about travelling abroad. They could advise you to work from home until the restrictions are lifted. To get the most up-to-date information on travelling within Europe, check out the platform Re-open EU.

Visas, passports and work permits

The EU guarantees the free movement of its citizens, which means EU nationals can choose to live and work in any Member State or country in the European Economic Area (Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway). However, some restrictions may apply to citizens of Croatia as well as non-EU nationals, so make sure you check your host country’s requirements.

Do not forget to check what type of ID document you need for your travel – you might need an international passport, a visa or just an ID card – it all depends on where you are from and where you are going. Also, your travel document should have at least six months validity.

If you are a UK citizen or considering to move there, make sure you check these questions and answers about the rights of EU and UK citizens, and read the UK government’s information and guidance on Brexit.

Social security number

In some countries, you might have to obtain a social security number or to register your residence with the local authorities. This may be important for accessing essential services, such as healthcare, and may be legally required for work. Some countries even allow you to do this ahead of time.

If you are an EU national, you may be able to get a free European Health Insurance Card. This will provide you with some peace of mind in terms of healthcare, until you sort out your documents.


Nowadays, the internet makes it easy to find and sort out your accommodation remotely. Do an online search of what the most popular housing websites are in your host country. It might not be the perfect place, but the most important thing is to have something secured for when you arrive. Once you have settled in, you can always look for better housing.

Always be on the lookout for scams, and remember – be cautious of landlords who ask you to send them money in advance via Western Union or MoneyGram.


You can get by with English in many places around Europe, but there are also many European countries where English is not enough. Some countries offer free or affordable language classes for expats, which you can research in advance, but you can also start learning the language from home with one of the many free language learning tools available online.


Sorting out your bank account might not be the most exciting thing to do, but it is important for starting a new job abroad. In some countries, opening a bank account can be more difficult than getting a social security number, so do your research about the type of documents you need to have. Some banks or account types might be recommended to expats.


Moving abroad incurs a lot of costs – from travel costs to having to pay for at least one month’s rent and a security deposit upfront. You might also have to buy other items like bed linens or even furniture. In many jobs, you might have to wait up to a month or even longer before you receive your first salary, so make sure you find out when you’ll get paid and save up enough to bridge the gap.

If you have any questions about moving abroad for work, check out EURES’s Living & Working section, and do not hesitate to contact your national EURES Adviser for help.


Related links:

Brexit transition period

European Health Insurance Card

Free language learning tools to help you upskill from home

Free movement – EU nationals

Living & Working

Questions and Answers – the rights of EU and UK citizens, as outlined in the Withdrawal Agreement

Re-open EU

Search for EURES Advisers

Work permits

Read more:

European Job Days


Find EURES Advisers

Living and working conditions in EURES countries

EURES Jobs Database

EURES services for employers

EURES Events Calendar

Upcoming Online Events

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EURES on Twitter

EURES on LinkedIn

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