What does an attorney and a frequent traveler or ex-pat have in common? A lot more than you think. Even in the US, every state has a variety of different laws (take recreational marijuana for example), and different degrees of punishment for convicted criminals. Travel outside the US, and you need to know exactly what laws your facing (for example, in the United Arab Emirates a man is quickly thrown in jail for even touching a woman on the elbow).
Before you travel, and especially before you move abroad, make sure you have a quality attorney on your side. Firms and lawyers specialize in different things, from product recalls to small business law, so you need to get a professional on your team who’s familiar with your travel destination. Here are a few times they’ll come in handy:
1. When you’re moving abroad
There are various tax laws, residential laws, and other legal items you need to stay on top of when you become an ex-pat. Plus, CBS News reports that the government is cracking down on businesses moving abroad to avoid taxes. If done legally, you’ll be perfectly fine, but don’t try this risky move on your own. Make sure an attorney is taking care of things.
2. When you’re traveling in unfamiliar territory
There are some countries, such as Thailand, where being caught with a small amount of marijuana can quickly get you behind bars. If you’re a frequent traveler, or go to less popular destinations, check in with an international attorney first. While National Geographic is behind the popular “Locked Up Abroad” series, you certainly don’t want to be a featured story on this channel.
3. When you’re starting a business abroad
If it’s a brick and mortar establishment, it’s best to have an attorney both in the US and in your adopted country to make sure everything’s on the up and up. There are many legal ways to do this and make a lucrative living. However, missing one or two elements can cause you a world of hurt.
4. When you’re freelancing abroad
Being a freelance writer, graphic designer, or other expert while living overseas is a great way to score that foreign exemption tax. However, you don’t want to miss a requirement. Work with both a tax attorney and a CPA to make sure you’re up to snuff.
Traveling and living abroad is exciting, but it can also be a legal maze. With professional help, though, it’s all smooth sailing.