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As an expat, do you need ‘wheels’?

By March 19, 2018February 8th, 2023FinGlobal

As an expat, do you need ‘wheels’?

March 19, 2018


Becoming an expat involves a lot of change – from applying for visas to setting up bank accounts and finding the right accommodation. One of the things you also need to consider before you move is whether you need transportation in your new home. Public transport varies widely from country to country and in some countries it is very localised and the distance between your place of work and your accommodation might require that you own a car.

Fortunately, if you live in one of the cities mentioned below, you can rely solely on the public transport to get around. These cities topped the 2017 Sustainable Cities Mobility Index from Arcadis, which examined 100 major cities across 23 different indicators to achieve a ranking of the mobility and sustainability of their transportation systems.

Hong Kong leads the way in transportation

Hong Kong topped the list due to its innovative and well-connected transport network, which carries 12.6 million passengers to their destinations every day. Despite being densely populated, Hong Kong’s public transport is one of the most sophisticated of any major city and is very affordable.

Europe is also top for transport

The rest of the top 10 places were dominated by cities from Europe with Zurich’s efficient system coming second followed by Paris (3rd), Prague (5th) and Vienna (6th).

The world’s top cities for sustainable public transport:

  1. Hong Kong
  2. Zurich
  3. Paris
  4. Seoul
  5. Prague
  6. Vienna
  7. London
  8. Singapore
  9. Stockholm
  10. Frankfurt

What to do if you do need wheels

If you’re not living in or moving to one of these countries, you might need to invest in an international driving permit. This depends on the country you are moving too. If the duration of your stay is expected to be less than a year, the license from your country may be all you need. However if you do plan on staying for longer than a year, you will generally need an IDP or a locally issued license.

Applying for an IDP

Before applying for an IDP, make sure the country you are moving to is one of the countries that recognise it. China, for example, requires you to have a Chinese license if you want to drive within the country. The IDP is recognised by more than 100 countries around the world as a valid identity document and proof of your fitness to drive a motor vehicle. An IDP is normally valid for a year, after which you can get it renewed.

If you are moving abroad, you will need to get your IDP before you leave. An application for an IDP generally requires:

  • Valid proof of address stating your current address
  • Valid ID with your date of birth
  • 2-3 passport-sized photographs
  • Your current valid driving license

Finally, check what insurance your IDP covers you for. It is always recommended that expats check whether third-party liability and physical damage coverage are the same abroad as in their home country.

If you have relocated abroad or are thinking of doing so in 2018, contact us for expert, personalised advice concerning financial emigration, competitive foreign exchange rates, transferring of retirement annuities and tax refunds claims.

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