International money transfer guide for expats

If you are planning to move overseas or are already an expat, it is likely you have a large number of items to deal with in a new country. In our guide below, we summarise areas that we believe are important to pay attention to as an expat. Often these items will relate to your money transfer needs. In many of the search pages and key currency corridors on our site, you will also find additional specific information about moving from one country to another.

Visas and Immigration

Nearly all countries worldwide require you to apply for in advance and be approved for a work permit if you are planning to move to a new country and work there. This is often a complicated and expensive process and typically requires support from an immigration lawyer. There are several factors worth considering if you are planning to move overseas for work:

Different types of visas

Are you moving with your existing company to one of their offices overseas? This is typically the smoothest and easiest method to obtain a work permit in a new country, especially if you work for a larger organisation. If on the other hand you cannot be sponsored by a company in your home country, then often you will require sponsorship for your visa in the country you plan to move to. The bigger the sponsoring company is and the more people they have sponsored previously, the easier it is to move.

Many countries have fast-track programmes or extra Visa allotments for people with specialist skills. This can be as broad as musicians to scientists to construction workers. Be sure to check with the relevant immigration authority whether you have any skills listed for these programmes.

Moving with a spouse and family

If you are planning to bring a spouse, parents or children, they will all need to be included within any visa application. Every country has a different procedure for bringing family members, some are stricter than others. Additionally, only certain visas will allow a spouse to work in the country you are moving to so if this is an important factor, seek specialist advice or even lodge a separate application.

Opening a bank account in a new country can be especially tricky. You will need multiple forms of ID and many banks still may not accept you. Look up banks that offer expat banking and see if you home bank has a branch overseas. Often, larger companies that move workers overseas will have existing relationships with a bank to help you start the process. Be sure to ask about these.

Obtaining credit cards

The next financial step will be to obtain a credit card. This is even harder than opening a bank account and it often requires a credit history to be built up in the new country and can be a “chicken and egg” situation. Try to build up a credit history in your new country as soon as possible. This can sometimes be done using retail store cards with very low limits (which you must pay off on time) and then eventually you will be able to obtain a credit card.


If you are moving with children of school age, do plenty of research in advance as to how to enroll them in local schools and what your options are.

Learn the local customs

Many countries will have very different personal and business customs to your home country. Be sure to research and ask about these so you can ensure that you do not offend anyone unintentionally.

Research and prepare

Wherever you end up moving to, be sure to research and prepare for the move well in advance. This will give you the best chance of a smooth transition to your new home.

Transferring money internationally as an expat

Once you begin your life as an expat, you are likely to need to transfer money both to your new country and often to cover expenses in your home country. Using a money transfer provider can save you large amounts on fees and offer you much better rates than the traditional bank. By using one of the providers listed on FXcompared, you will also receive a dedicated account specialist as opposed to having to try to send money through your high street bank. From small amounts for living expenses to large amounts to purchase property, we recommend you setup an account with a money transfer provider to help you in this area.

Our most popular money transfer guides

These guides cover the specifics of moving from one country to another including handling money transfers but also proving guidance on each of the items above such as property, taxes, healthcare

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Transfer Money from the USA to the UK is an fx money comparison site for international money transfer and to compare rates from currency brokers for sending money abroad. The website and the information provided is for informational purposes only and does not constitute an offer, solicitation or advice on any financial service or transaction. None of the information presented is intended to form the basis for any investment decision, and no specific recommendations are intended.  FXC Group Ltd and FX Compared Ltd does not provide any guarantees of any data from third parties listed on this website. FX compared Ltd expressly disclaims any and all responsibility for any direct or consequential loss or damage of any kind whatsoever arising directly or indirectly from (i) any error, omission or inaccuracy in any such information or (ii) any action resulting therefrom.