Fulltime sitters travelling the world - some legal questions

Hello,

As Trusted Housesitters is a British company I wonder whether any of you can answer the following questions. I want to start travelling abroad towards the end of the year from house-sit to house-sit and may stay away for a few months to a few years at a time, and I wonder about some legal issues.

  1. Do long-term travellers have to maintain a permanent residence in the UK? If so, is it enough to just give the tax office, insurance companies etc. as well as the THS office the address of a relative or friend who I am constantly in touch with, or does my name have to be on a lease document for a place where I will not be? If I have my own home, can I rent it out while I am away and have my mail forwarded elsewhere?

  2. Travelling by car with a British number plate, what happens if I don’t turn up back in the UK every April to have my MOT done? Can the MOT be postponed until I return or can a certificate from another country replace it?

  3. Can I actually shift my tax residence to any other country of my choice when I work on the Internet and don’t live in the UK permanently anymore? I pay awfully much tax here.

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I don’t really understand this either Romana. I mean we should be able to travel the world as long as we want, so long as we pay tax if due. There is a 183 day rule - that you have to be resident in the UK for 183 days in each year, and some people say they’ve come a cropper when not following this rule, others just ignore it. I would say phone the tax office to ask but then they’ll likely note the question by your name.

I don’t know the answers to your questions, but I did find this.

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Hi @Romana your personal travel situation is independent of any connection with TrustedHousesitters.

You are doing exactly the right thing in researching your position and all aspects of personal responsibilities before embarking on any extended overseas travel.

All information for travelers will be available through official government websites and other specialist advisers. It is always advisable to go the official route as every person’s situation is different

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The answer to question one is no. I used my brothers address, with his permission, for five years. Everything just went on normally but I wasn’t working or paying tax. The biggest hurdle was to get people to use email instead of postal letters. The tax office and NHS were the worst.
We are now travelling in US, Canada and South America for the next two to three years. There is a company called Mail Box US, in North Dakota who acts as a mailing address for us so when we buy cars or need insurance we have a legal postal address.
I’m sorry I can’t help with the other questions. I do know to be very careful about taxes in the US. Once you are on their radar there’s no getting away. We travel on a B1/B2 visa so we have to leave every 6 months which seems to comply with the tax laws as well.
Good luck and if you find out anymore information please post it. I would be very interested

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Yes, most Canadian snowbirds are pretty careful about how many days they spend per year in the US. And it’s a bit complicated if I remember correctly.

Hmm. So I read a bit on Google about the 183 day rule in the UK and it seems to be the same in the US and other countries. So, basically, if you don’t spend at least 6 months per year in the country you lose the residency status.
Does that mean that a travelling income earner doesn’t need to pay tax in any country at all? That would be good. But would such a traveller also lose all their old-age pension entitlements?

@Kelownagurl and I’ll add to that point. Each Canadian province has additional rules concerning days out of the province (not country) to be eligible for health/medical coverage. These are things that certainly need a lot of time dedicated to them in every country and are sometimes so difficult to interpret and in some instances, change so frequently. :roll_eyes:

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Natural born US citizen can stay indefinitely out of the country. There are no residency requirements. There are tax laws of course for those earning income.
As Angela said, every individual case is different so it is best to research official sites or seek legal counsel.

US citizen here as well. We haven’t stepped foot in the US in 4 years.

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Same with UK citizens. The only reason we go back every six months is to check on our apartment and do any maintenance required.

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Another consideration is your travel medical insurance. The most common type of travel medical insurance requires you to be resident of some country so that they have somewhere to repatriate you. If you have no home country, then you must purchase a different kind of travel medical insurance. Also, both types become very expensive the older you get and the longer the period of time for which you want coverage.

And has also been pointed out, in some countries you will lose your home medical coverage after you have been gone X days.

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Goals I’m working on :raised_hands:
Was on my way 2.5 years and the world took a sharp detour

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It is very difficult to get travel/health insurance for a long period abroad if you are over 60. The so called back packers insurance is for youngsters and they won’t even entertain us oldies.
The insurance industry is going to have to take a long hard look at this problem in the very near future. In the UK retirement age is going up, 67+. However, it is almost impossible to get travel/health insurance for over 65s. So, when people eventually retire they cannot travel which is very unfair. People are living longer but insurance companies haven’t shifted their age limits to reflect this.
We have had to resort to using an American Company to get good insurance for our nomad lifestyle.

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Agreed medical insurance can be a bit tricky.
I use a legal address in the US and being an older fabulous person I have our country’s medical plan for retired folk. When I travel I have travel insurance and am now exploring Asistcard which has a very inexpensive annual travel insurance that includes repatriation and COVID related incidents. It was recommended in a expat group so don’t know very much as yet and I believe it is only for US residents.

World Nomads goes up to 66 and Safety Wing up to 69. But it won’t be cheap. The costs will be considerably less though if you exclude travel to the US.

(This is not an endorsement of either of those companies; just two examples.)

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But I want to travel in North and South America so I pay the premiums. It’s just another cost of my retirement.
Do both of these companies have trip length stipulations? That’s another thing we have found difficult to find. Usually they want yo7 back in your own country after 13 weeks.

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Research is everything. It’s amazing what can be found by just taking your time to look for things.

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Assist Card is definitely available for non-US residents.

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There you go. Excellent.

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