Road Blocks to Working Abroad

Three Roadblocks to Working Abroad

by Leslie West

It takes a lot of courage to decide that a job in another part of the world is what you want. If you’ve found work abroad opportunities, gone through the introspection and mastered the skills to do the job, the last thing you want is an unexpected road block to stand in the way of your dream. But that’s exactly what could happen if you don’t make sure you are all clear on these three potential deal-breakers.

Criminal Record

Yeah, nothing can throw off your plans like a rap sheet. Not all crimes will prohibit you from getting a job across the pond; but if you’ve ever had your mug shot taken it’s something you’ll want to look into before you get too far along in the application process.  But some crimes will create limitations in getting certain visas, or even a passport so it’s important to find out if your past indiscretions are going to get your the way.

Even if your standard paperwork is in order, find out if there is any other documentation you might need. In Canada for example, Canadian citizens with criminal records, may need to obtain U.S Waivers before crossing the border. If someone with a record is stopped in America without one, they could be detained, arrested or deported. But it doesn’t matter what country you call home, you should find out if your criminal past can affect your traveling future. It’s worth it to be proactive because you never know what can happen if you run into trouble with the law in another land.

Even if you don’t have a criminal record, it is in your best interest to get a piece of paper that proves it. Before trying to work abroad, get a records check yourself, to make sure you’re all clear and then have Big Brother issue you a certificate of good conduct. Just to be on the safe side.

Health Records

Ok, so maybe your Health records won’t stop you from going where you had planned, but they could cause some serious issues. Getting all of your health ducks in a row can mean proactive, pre-emptive measures. Depending on your destination there may be vaccinations, preventative anti-biotics or other precautions which may be required before you are clear to travel. Diseases like Malaria can be fatal, but also very preventable with the right medication. The proper pills are fairly obtainable in the States, and can be carried with you, but in some other countries, they can be nearly impossible to get.

It’s also important to consider your current state of health. Being diagnosed with some conditions, could preclude you from traveling altogether. While there are no specific laws regarding traveling with illnesses, doing so with some contagious diseases will put everyone else around you at risk. It also puts you in danger. In a lot of other countries, the medical care you need may just not be available. This is particularly true if you are looking to work in a less developed country. Even if it is, you’ll also want to make sure that your health insurance will cover you aboard. And if your standard plan doesn’t, pick up some extra insurance that will.

Speaking of medicine, if you have any that you need to take you’ll want to make sure you have plenty of it just in case it’s not available where you are heading. You’ll also need proper documentation to get your meds safely through security and customs.

The smartest, safest and most time saving measure is actually pretty simple. Visit your doctor when you start making travel arrangements and get a clean bill of health. According to USA today, only 36% of travelers get health advice before traveling to several destinations with high-risk health issues. Do yourself a favor and fall into the wiser demographic. Tell your doctor where you are planning to go and find out if there are any red flags in your medical history. Then, get all the meds and paperwork you need for smooth sailing at the airport, in customs, and all the way through your trip


For most people citizenship is pretty straightforward and shouldn’t impede your plans, but in certain cases it could create problems. Most of the time you will run into any citizenship issues during the passport application process, which is why whenever possible you want to apply for a passport as soon as you even think of leaving the country. No matter where you’re headed, or where you’re from, the majority of countries require some version of a passport to leave and re-enter the nation. If you are a naturalized citizen or have dual citizenship it’s extremely important that you don’t try to get your passport at the last minute, just in case complications arise. Not to mention, some countries even require that a passport be valid for 6 months as a condition of entry.

It’s also important to be aware of the political situation wherever you are going. Not all countries have diplomatic relationships with one another. That means if you run into trouble someplace where your homeland does not have an embassy, you could find yourself in a lot of trouble without much recourse. Granted this is an unlikely situation as the global community becomes more and more interconnected, however it’s something to consider before booking a flight. If you are from the US it’s also worth your while to register your travels with the State department. It will help protect you in the event a crisis does occur in the country you are visiting, or if an emergency happens back home.

Take the Time

Traveling and working overseas can be rewarding and even life changing. Of course, if you don’t take care of issues like a criminal records, health considerations and citizenship documentation before you leave home, it could be life changing in a bad way. Some of these measures may appear tedious or unnecessary, but if anything were to go wrong on your trip you’d regret not taking the extra precautions. Cover your bases ahead of time, and nothing can stop you from having the amazing experience you’ve always imagined.


About the Author: Leslie writes frequently for a site specializing in Canadian pardons: She is a frequent traveller, loves experiencing new places and cultures.

Images courtesy of The U.S. Army and Joop Dorresteijn

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