Brexit is due to happen, in one way or another, on March 29 2019. This means that UK nationals interested in buying overseas are strongly recommended to think seriously about their options now and to implement them as soon as possible.
Brexit and the right to residency
Anyone who has lived in another EU country for five years is considered to be resident there and to have the right to remain even in the event of a hard Brexit (and similarly EU nationals will have the right to remain in the UK, even in the event of a no-deal Brexit).
For everybody else, if you are planning on basing your residency rights on the UK’s former membership of the EU, or even if this would simply be your preferred Plan A, then you would ideally want to be established in your new home by the time that Brexit actually happens, or, at a stretch, by December 31 2020, which would be the end of the transition period, as currently proposed, although it’s worth noting that this is currently not guaranteed.
Having said that, even in an absolute worst-case scenario, it is more than probable that UK nationals would still be able to go on living in other EU countries. At the end of the day, most countries, all around the world, are eager to welcome people who will benefit their local economy. For example, by spending their pensions without working or by filling shortages in the labour market, by bringing specialist skills, like the ability to speak native-level English.
In other words, all Brexit would mean is that UK nationals would have to go through a formal immigration process as they already do in many other countries.
The practicalities of moving abroad
There are basically two sides to moving abroad. One is wrapping up your life here in the UK and the other is establishing yourself overseas.
Both sides matter and you may find that the realities of transitioning between two countries leave you in a bit of a state of limbo. For example, if you have decided to sell your home, then it would typically be advisable to accept a reasonable offer for it even if it means you have to find somewhere to rent, short-term, in the UK before you find a suitable property abroad.
You probably also want to work on the theory that any action you take in one country should usually have a partner action in the other.
For example, you will need to close down your UK bank account, or, as a minimum, inform your bank that you are moving overseas. You will also need to open a bank account in your new home country.
This second point is advisable even if you could, in theory, continue to have your needs met by your existing bank as it helps to provide evidence of you having become established in your new home.
Similarly, you will definitely need to inform the UK tax office of your departure and register with the tax authorities in your new country of residence.
*For more information on investing in the UK or overseas, please contact Hopwood House.