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Moving to Europe? Here’s Everything You Need to Know

In a post-Brexit world, it is now significantly harder for Brits to move abroad to other EU countries. However, that doesn’t mean it is impossible and there are many places that you can enjoy immigrating to as a British citizen – there are just a few more hurdles to jump through. Suppose you are already planning your European removal service or you’re just imagining your life abroad. In that case, it’s never too early or too late to learn about the process of moving to another country.

Whether you are dreaming of living in an authentic Spanish coastal town or city life in Paris, getting started on the moving process can feel daunting. That’s why we’ve put together a guide to moving to Europe, covering everything you should know about making the jump across the channel.

Keep reading to learn more.

Where are you going?

Most British expats moving to Europe head for France, Germany, Italy, Portugal, or Spain. However, each of these countries has different immigration rules, so it’s important to research these before planning your European removals.

Here’s a brief rundown:


Considering moving to France from the UK? You’ll need to obtain a long-stay visa. A long-stay visa is required for anyone staying in France for longer than 90 days. You will then have a year after you arrive in France to apply for and obtain a full residency permit from your local prefecture.


In Germany, there are many different pathways to residency based on your education, whether you hold a job offer and where you are from. You can use this tool to see if residency is an option for you. If you are moving to Germany for a job, you will have 90 days to apply for a residency permit and you can only begin working once this has been completed.


When moving to Italy, you will need a long-stay visa. You can check whether you are likely to qualify by filling in the website form and paying £100 when you make your application. If you are moving for work, education, family reunification or adoption, retirement or religious purposes – but they can’t be permanent. You will be given a specific length of time to stay in Italy based on your individual circumstances.

This may vary from three months to two years. If you want to stay in Italy for longer, you must apply for a residency permit at an “immigration one-stop shop” and a police station – in that order – within eight working days of arriving in the country.


When considering moving to Portugal as a UK national, you are first able to stay for three months but after this, you will need to get a “visto para obtenção de autorização de residência”. This is a visa that allows you to obtain a residency permit. A visa can be requested for several reasons such as for work, scientific research or teaching, self-employment, and studying.

This will let you stay in the country for four months during which time, if you want to stay permanently you must obtain a full residency permit. You will have to prove you have enough money to cover your living costs. If you are successful you can then stay in Portugal for one year, which can be renewed for up to five years, at which point you can apply for a permanent residence visa.


If you’re considering moving to Spain, you’ll need a temporary residence visa — Tarjeta de Residencia — so you can stay in the country longer than 90 days. Make an appointment with the Spanish Consulate in London by emailing The temporary visa will allow you to stay in Spain for three months to five years, depending on your circumstances. After five years you can apply for a permanent residence visa.

What will you do with your UK property?

When moving abroad, you’ll need to consider your housing situation. If you own a home in the UK, will you sell this or rent it out to others? Would you like to buy a home in your new country or just rent? Renting your UK home is a smart idea because it provides a regular source of income while you are gone but will still be there should you ever want to move back.

You’ll also need to think about what you will do with your furniture. Will you keep it in the rental or take it with you? You will likely have a lot of belongings to move so you’ll have to arrange European removals or pay for storage while you are gone.

If you decide to rent out your property, you will need to consider how to manage this. Finding tenants, collecting rent and organising improvements and repairs while you are gone can be challenging as you are not in the country to communicate with your tenants. However, you can find a letting agent to take care of all this for you and they will usually take a fee of between 10-15% of the rental income.

Finding a European moving company

Finding a long-distance removal company can be a daunting task, but choosing the right one can make all the difference. Here are a few tips to help you find a quality moving company:

  • Get recommendations from friends or family. If you know someone who has recently moved to Europe, ask them for recommendations for moving companies. They can provide you with first-hand accounts of their experiences with European movers and help you narrow down your choices.
  • Do your research online. Read online reviews of moving companies to get a sense of their reputation and customer service. Pay attention to both the positive and negative reviews, and look for companies that have a consistently high rating.
  • Get quotes from multiple companies. Once you have a few companies in mind, get quotes from each one. Be sure to compare the prices, services, and insurance coverage of each company before making a decision.
  • Ask about the company’s experience with international moves. Make sure the company you choose has experience with international moves, especially if you are moving to a country that is not part of the European Union.
  • Check the company’s licensing and insurance. Make sure the company you choose is licensed and insured. This will protect you in case of any damage or loss of your belongings during the move.
  • Read the contract carefully before you sign it. Before you sign a contract with a moving company, read it carefully and make sure you understand all of the terms and conditions. Pay attention to the cancellation policy, the insurance coverage, and the liability of the company.

By following these tips, you can find a quality moving company to help you with your move to Europe.

Managing your money

You’ll need to open up an international bank account that is designed to facilitate the quick and cheap movement of money to avoid excessive transaction fees. It is also a good idea to open a local bank account to manage your day-to-day banking. It’s a good idea to keep your UK account open to handle ongoing transactions such as direct debits, standing orders or income from rent. This will also be helpful if you plan to return to the UK.

Essex Removals – European Removal Service

If you’re planning your International move, Essex Removals offers the very best European Removal Service to assist you with what can be a challenging and stressful time. We aim to make your European move as stress-free as possible with quality and experienced movers who are capable of ensuring your belongings get to your new home safely.  We guarantee the safety of your belongings with free insurance worth up to £50,000.

To get a quote for your long-distance removals, contact our team today.


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