All You Need to Know About Settling-in Services

Settling-in services are key to adjusting to your life abroad and integrating into a new community. Find out how we can help you feel at home, from assistance with registering with local authorities to setting up utilities and bank accounts.

Expats learn this the hard way when they arrive to a new country and the list of smaller tasks takes over their lives. Relocation settling in services assist you in this process, so you can enjoy this period of adaptation to the fullest. These services go beyond arranging a good gas or internet provider; they also include helping you register with local tax authorities and national health services, and even assisting you in exchanging your driver’s license… and that’s just the beginning!

What are Settling-in Services?

Settling in services help you with smaller tasks that are crucial to a successful relocation. When you move to another country, the process of acclimatizing to your new life will become a priority. In order to acclimatize, aside from socializing and making friends, you will need to organize things like registering with local authorities, exchanging your driver’s license, and setting up utilities. Settling in services organize and address the potential obstacles you will face in the process of establishing a routine in a new home and country.

What are the Main Issues You Face When Settling-in?

Expat life offers many exciting adventures, including navigating an entirely new culture. However, managing the logistics of the long list of tasks that awaits you is time-consuming and can impact your performance at your new job or put a strain on your relationships. This can ultimately make your adaptation process longer than expected.


Unfamiliarity with Local Services, Paperwork, and Requirements

Local registrations are a burden when you don’t know how to deal with the legal system in your new country of residence.  You will likely have to register with the local tax authorities, the national health system, and register your address with the local police. The same goes for other legal requirements you may have to meet, like paying road tax or swapping your driver’s license. Small matters can easily be overlooked, causing issues in the future.


Things to Think About:

  • Find out if there are any mandatory registrations in your destination country. Once you have an address, you will likely need to register with multiple local authorities (e.g. immigration office, local council).
  • Check the expiration dates of your ID, passport, and driver’s license, and see if you need to renew them before you move abroad.
  • Register for a tax or social security number. In most countries, this can be done online or in person at the tax or social security local office.
  • Gather all the necessary documents and apply for your residence card.
  • Register with the national healthcare system of your new country, if you qualify.
  • Find, and register with, a family doctor.
  • Exchanging your current driver’s license.
  • Check if you need translations into English or the local language of all your important documents, and if you need notarized copies.

For country-specific information, check out our complete relocation guides. They include all the insider knowledge you will require on this topic, and all other aspects of moving abroad.


Managing Finances and Setting Up Bank Accounts

An important challenge you will face when moving abroad is money management. You will likely have financial commitments in both your home and destination country. This will entail navigating unfamiliar tax systems, moving money between countries, administering finances in different currencies, risks caused by currency fluctuation, among many other financial hurdles.

When you move abroad, you might lose track of your finances because you are focused on more immediate aspects of the relocation process. Yet, expats should not lose sight of this important aspect at this stage of relocation. Even though you have already dealt with the finances of the pre-departure and moving stage, in the settling-in face there are concrete steps you should take.

For instance, opening an international bank account is good option because making international transactions is faster and easier. However, in terms of your finances, there’s much more to consider than opening a bank account. You will probably start thinking about where to keep your money. For this, you need to factor in the stability of the country you are moving to, how local tax systems and regulations work, how to avoid dual taxation, how to transfer your pension, how much time you are planning on staying, etc.


Things to Think About

  • Find out about the requirements to open a bank account in your new country and look into different banking options. Research both international and national banks to find the most suitable account for your needs.
  • Check if your home country and new destination have “double taxation agreements” or if you will need a tax advisor to help you navigate the more complicated tax arrangements.

Setting Up Utilities

Setting up utilities such as gas, water, electricity, TV and Internet services is never easy, even when you move in your home country. Picture the same scenario when you are not familiar with the local system, or local language.

This is why settling-in services are fundamental to a good relocation experience. Setting up household utilities is often last on a to-do list, making it an easy step to forget or postpone. It is only after you have moved in that you realize you haven’t made appropriate arrangements. Not having access to the internet or running hot water when you first move in can make the first days in your new home unnecessarily complicated.

You can find detailed country-specific and step by step guidance on setting up utilities in our complete relocation guides.


Things to Think About:

  • Research the process of setting up utilities in your destination.
  • Find out which are the main utility providers.
  • Find out how far in advance you need to set-up an account with utility providers.
  • Look at the websites of the main telecommunications companies to review their internet, TV, cell phone, and landline offers.

Feelings of Isolation

Moving abroad can be difficult in terms of social interaction. You have left your extended family behind, a circle of friends, and familiar surroundings. The good news is that at  InterNations you will find the largest online expat community. You will be able to connect with a welcoming, lively and active group of globetrotters, who have experiences in common and come together to help each other thrive.


Things to Think About:

  • Research local hangouts for expats.
  • Join a class or activity of your interest, where you are likely to make friends who share similar interests (i.e. writing, hiking, or traveling groups).
  • Look into InterNations expat groups in your destination and attend their offline and online events.
  • Connect with expat social media groups before you arrive in your new country.
  • The issue of language barriers is critical for expats’ adaptation to a new culture. You may find yourself struggling to communicate what you need in everyday interactions, or failing to obtain necessary information about products, services, and processes

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What do Settling-in Services Include?

The aim of relocation settling in services is to get individuals, couples, or families settled and comfortable in their new environment as quickly as possible. The value of professional assistance should not be taken for granted. Even though this is a simple goal, it requires forethought, expert planning, and support. Settling abroad services cover:


  • Assistance with local tax authority and national health service registration.
  • Setting up utilities.
  • Obtaining or exchanging a driver’s license.
  • Buying or leasing a car.
  • Finding insurance solutions.
  • Advice on the best banking options, including accounts with multiple currencies and international transfer alternatives.
  • Connecting you to professionals who speak your language, including doctors, lawyers, financial advisors, and translators.

Which are the Benefits of Settling-in Services?

Settling in services organize and address the potential obstacles you will face in the process of establishing a routine in a new home and country.  Studies show that, when moving abroad, feeling settled and comfortable usually takes between one and two years. With professional assistance you can accelerate this process and start enjoying your new life much sooner.


Key Benefits:

  • Reduces stress for you and your family.
  • Allows you to focus on your family’s needs.
  • Provides the necessary support for your children’s adaptation process.
  • Gives you the tools for you and your family to integrate to your new community faster and better.

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How Much does It Cost?

The costs of settling in services will vary depending on the specific services you require.

Every relocation is different, and everyone has different needs, expectations, and requirements. We don’t have a one-package-fits-all kind of service. For this reason, our experts assist you throughout your relocation journey to provide services that are tailored to your needs. You will not have to research, hire, and evaluate each service individually. Get in touch now and find out how we can help you with all aspects of your upcoming expat adventure.

How do Settling-In Services Work?

Our InterNations GO! international relocations experts connect you with services that will help you feel at home. We have worldwide network of highly rated local professionals who will assist you in your settling-in process.  Simply fill out our contact form to speak to our team of expats who have  experienced relocation processes themselves. They can offer you informed advice, as well as specific information about all the settling-in services you require in the country you are moving to.


Settling-in services we offer:

  • Country overview
  • Cost of living overview
  • Advise how to register at the local authorities
  • Connecting you with local experts who will accompany you to a bank of your choice to open a bank account or apply for credit cards.
  • Support with setting up your utilities including water, electricity, gas, internet, and mobile phone contracts.
  • Support with filling in the forms to convert your driver’s license or apply for a new driver’s license and registering your car.
  • Support with setting up insurances including, liability insurance, housing insurance, car insurance, and pet insurance.
  • Support with engaging local services including, llawyers, domestic support, and child support.
  • Support with leasing a car
  • Support with navigating the local public transportation system.
  • Overview of the local public healthcare system and registering with your local doctor


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