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Expat checklist: five simple steps to help you settle in

When you choose to live abroad, you know it will take time to truly feel settled in your new country. But some people adjust faster than others.

Expat checklist: five simple steps to help you settle in
Photo: Getty Images

Certain steps you can take are straightforward. Others require a little more research (like learning about your new healthcare system) or a lot more patience (did someone mention mastering the language?).

The Local, in partnership with international insurance broker ASN, offers five essential tips to help you feel at home in your new life abroad.

International insurance solutions to suit your needs – find out more about ASN

1. Save and learn emergency services numbers 

You’ll never forget the emergency services phone number in your home country. But can you say the same about your adopted home? Finding the number, saving it to your phone and even memorising it will not take long. 

If you live in the European Union, 112 is the European emergency number – free to dial across the EU from fixed and mobile phones. You can use it to ring for an ambulance, the fire brigade or the police. In some EU countries, 112 functions alongside other national emergency numbers, while in others it is now the only number to dial.

2. Learn local laws and rules of the road 

The law is the law. Except, of course, it varies widely between countries and regions. Some bizarre old laws have never been repealed but seem unlikely to be enforced (we doubt, for instance, that frowning in Milan will actually land you in court). 

But as an international resident, some areas do require your attention to avoid getting caught out – driving rules, for example. Find out whether you need to exchange your driving licence for a local one and familiarise yourself with national speed limits and road signs.

And remember that legal drink drive limits vary internationally. In Europe, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary and Romania all have a zero tolerance approach – while Germany does not allow novice drivers to consume any alcohol before getting behind the wheel.

3. Understand your healthcare coverage and choices 

National healthcare systems are very different – in Europe and around the world. A good understanding of the local rules on social security and entitlement to healthcare could really boost your peace of mind. 

In the EU, it’s your economic status and place of residence that determine the country responsible for your health cover – not your nationality. Make sure you understand the rules that are relevant for your personal situation.

You may want to compare what publicly funded healthcare covers with your options through private health insurance. Going private can offer far more comprehensive coverage, with access to the best hospitals and doctors. 

With international health insurance, you can also add benefits such as dental, maternity, physiotherapy and alternative medicine. You also have flexibility to upgrade or downgrade your policy. 

ASN offers tailored worldwide international health insurance through a range of partners. It also offers travel insurance – including emergency medical cover – lasting for up to 11 months and life insurance.

ASN offers global health cover wherever you are – for when you need it most

Photo: Getty Images

4. Learn the language – but beware false friends! 

Learning the language of your host nation might feel like the biggest step to take before you can feel totally settled. But Rome wasn’t built in a day. And fluency will not come in a hurry either. 

Finding a way to learn at your own pace – without too much pressure – could help you build your confidence. If you’re able to enjoy the challenge of expressing yourself in your new language, some of the worries associated with living abroad may gradually start to reduce.

Be on your guard with 'false friends' – words that sound similar to an English word but mean something very different. For example, the Spanish word 'embarazada' does not mean embarrassed – it means pregnant!

While learning, it’s important to be able to take care of personal matters in a language you’re comfortable with. ASN, which is based in Switzerland, offers global support in English, French, German and Italian, as well as access to 24/7 multilingual helplines.

5. Update your address 

One final tip – and a simple one! It has never been easier to stay continuously in touch with friends and family wherever you are. But could this lead you to overlook the need to update your address?

Governments, banks, insurers and other institutions still require an up-to-date postal address. And knowing you’re not missing any important mail can help secure your peace of mind.  

Need bespoke international health, travel or life insurance solutions? Find out more about how ASN can help you feel at home – wherever you are.

HEALTH

What happens if you lose your Danish yellow health insurance card?

Most people who live in Denmark will be familiar with the yellow health insurance card, but what do you do if it gets misplaced?

What happens if you lose your Danish yellow health insurance card?

All persons who are registered as resident in Denmark are given a personal registration number, which allows you to access public health services.

Your personal registration (CPR) number is printed on a yellow health insurance card which is issued to all residents of the country. Your GP’s surgery name and address are also printed on the card along with your name, address and the regional health authority you come under.

The rights to public health services are stated on the yellow health card itself, which is issued by the municipality in which you reside.

Denmark’s health services included under the public health system provide you with a family doctor or GP as well as free specialist consultations and treatments under the national health system, should you be referred for these.

You can also receive subsidies for medicine and medical services including some dental treatment, physiotherapy, chiropractor treatment and psychological consultations.

In most cases, you use your yellow health card to register that you have arrived for health appointments by scanning it once you enter the clinic’s reception area.

READ ALSO: Can foreigners in Denmark access free health care?

The yellow card can also be used as a form of ID in some situations – for example, newsagents will often accept it when you collect a package. This is despite the fact it doesn’t have a photo printed on it.

When you change address, thereby rendering the details on your yellow card obsolete, a new one is automatically sent out to your free of charge. But what happens if you lose the card or it is stolen (if inside your wallet, for example)?

According to borger.dk, it costs 215 kroner to replace a yellow health insurance card if you lose it, as well as if it is damaged beyond repair and is less than four years old; if you change doctor or insurance category; and if you change your name (provided the name change is not related to marriage). Some municipalities do not charge at all for new cards issued due to a change of name.

Most municipalities require you to pay for your new health insurance card with a debit card (Dankort), rather than by post or with payment apps like MobilePay.

In addition to a change of address, there are a few other circumstances in which the new yellow card is issued for free. These include your current GP closing or moving; if you change CPR number; if the card breaks and is over four years old; or if it is defective.

Unless you have a broken or defective card, in which case you should contact your municipality, the new one will be sent out automatically.

It usually takes around two weeks for a new health card to arrive, but if you need one more urgently for documentation purposes, municipalities can provide you with a temporary version. This is free of charge.

New cards can be ordered online, including cards ordered on behalf of children under 18 who live at home.

Source: borger.dk

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