Finding Accurate Overseas Info
So far, I have not seen the definitive book on Moving Offshore Made Easy. If you see one, my advice is, "Save Your Money."
The web and USENET can be your best sources. The difficulty comes in deciding, "Who can I trust?"
Answer: Trust your instincts and use good judgment. Remember, if it sounds too good to be true ..
Where to Look - Who to Trust
- Consular - Pay a visit to the Embassy, Consulate or Honorary Consulate of your chosen country. Ask questions. That's one of the reasons they exist. They should be able to provide you with accurate and current Visa, immigraion and long stay information
- Government web sites - can provide good information on visas and permits. Look to embassy websites of your country of choice. However, some countries' sites are notoriously out of date. Immigration sites may publish information that conflicts with that of an embassy site.
- USENET is a good way of asking questions and getting answers about certain issues. Look for rec.travel.(country). It's very common for expats living in those countries to hang out on the news groups. It may take some time to filter out misinformation, but the information can be timely. If you don't have access to a Newsreader, try Google Groups.
- Forums ? - especially country specific forums can be a wealth of information .. assuming it is well attended and well moderated. Read for awhile to get feel for the board. You may need to sort through some petty posturing and bickering.
Some forums are little more than advertising venues. A few make it obvious. Others hide their involvement. If you start seeing threads that bash real estate developers dissapear from the board .. or aggressive defense of them by moderators .. you have found what is essentially an ad agency.
- Web sites ? - vary from useful to rubbish. Any website will have an agenda. RetiredExpat.com has an agenda .. we just haven't defined it very well yet. Right now, we make a little money from text ads.
Many "expat information" websites .. and a few forums .. are little more than storefronts for expat services. Real estate and relocation services seem to be the most prominent. Some of the information they purvey is very good, but much is biased in favor of their commercial targets.
Do you believe that the developer of "Hidden Valley Estates" is not likely to tell you about that great little cove where land is cheap?
Getting accurate expat information is an exercise in determination and judgment. Take the bits that seem right and sound credible and assemble your own virtual manual. It can be like building a house, or a business .. or a life.
Then share your valid information and opinions with us .. here is how.