Any US Citizen Live or Lived in Europe? Recommendations?

  • 6packabs

    Posts: 227

    Aug 08, 2011 12:25 PM GMT
    I'm craving to live in Europe for a few years. I love the place.

    Anyone out there have any pointers on how to get set up with paperwork, visas, employment, etc? What would you recommend as a checklist of things to consider and begin to pursue in such a goal?

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    Aug 08, 2011 1:30 PM GMT
    It can be pretty difficult. Immigration regulations are pretty strict. Your best bet would be to find a company to sponsor you. Or you can do what I did and get your masters degree at a school in Europe. It should open doors and generate opportunities to stay.
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    Aug 08, 2011 1:46 PM GMT
    Where in Europe do you want to live? I imagine anywhere in Northern, Western, or Southern Europe, eh?
  • DanOmatic

    Posts: 1155

    Aug 08, 2011 2:14 PM GMT
    I lived in various places in Europe for a total of about 7 years: Ireland, Germany and the Netherlands. In each case, I had an academic internship/fellowship or teaching position lined up in advance before leaving the US. It is very difficult for a US citizen to get any type of residency or work permit otherwise.

    Apart from a study abroad type of situation, extended stays in Europe are complicated. If you want to work, your company needs to show that your qualifications exceed those of any home-grown applicant and will need to submit the official paperwork to "sponsor" you. In some countries, you will have to show that you are proficient in the official language.

    I'm sure that if you have plenty of money and work isn't an issue you can apply for an extended stay visa. The officials usually will need to know what your specific purpose is for your stay (ie doing research in archives, etc). They will also want to see extensive financial documentation and proof of health insurance that shows that you won't become a burden on their welfare/health care system.

    I would consult the embassies or regional consulates of the countries on your list of possibilities. They can tell you what all of the requirements are; they differ to some degree by country.

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    Aug 08, 2011 2:19 PM GMT
    NC3athlete is right. I worked for a non-profit in France for five years, and you need to be "sponsored" by a company which has to show that no one in that country can do the job. Hard... :^(
  • Hokenshi

    Posts: 387

    Aug 08, 2011 2:36 PM GMT
    Just the same as the US then, I was thinking about trying to find a job in the states a while back but it's too wonder people enter the country illegally.
    Where as the bonus of being a Brit is the door to European employment is pretty much open.
  • ursa_minor

    Posts: 566

    Aug 08, 2011 2:59 PM GMT
    language can be a problem, unless the company you want to join is an American-based one. once settled though, the government (Belgium for example) sponsors your (Dutch) language education. invest in self-taught French or German (or Spanish) perhaps...

    the Erasmus Mundus program allows non-Europeans to study here...

    for visas, go directly to the website of your destination country, they have complete info there

    consider the taxation of the country you wish to go to, it can be a surprise to some

    the only reason Europeans hire outsiders is that they have exceptional skills (i dodge bullets a la Matrix). so start with reviewing your resumé and send it through your global network.

    veel succes!

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    Aug 08, 2011 4:00 PM GMT
    My experience is the same as what others have posted: all of my extended stays were through academic exchange programs or research grants. I lived in Germany in '85-86, again in '92, and then again in 2000.

    A while back, you could stay for 90 days in Germany with no more than a stamp in your passport. For longer stays a visa was required. I don't know if that's still the case, and what the situation is for other countries. You could go from country to country for quite a while on 90 day stays, provided you had some means of support.

    Have you looked into one of those 'teaching English in Europe' programs?

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    Aug 08, 2011 4:11 PM GMT
    I'd recommend Italy, Spain, Germany, UK and The Netherlands. I lived overseas for 20 years and I loved it. Japan is a nice place too.
  • SomeSiciliano...

    Posts: 543

    Aug 08, 2011 4:22 PM GMT

    It is tricky but do-able. I lived and worked for my employer in Amsterdam in 2003/04 on a one year 'special assignment' project. My employer has a large operation in AMS and an anit-trust exemption with a Dutch corporation. Thanks to US Federal Aviation regulations, they had to have a cadre of US citizens overseeing US flag carrier operations in country. It was an amazing experience. I used the time to travel on my (few) days off and applied for dual citizenship based on my Italian heritage and citizenship status of my maternal grandparents. In 2006 I was approved for an Italian/EU passport. Take a look at your family several other EU countries have similar programs (thanks to declining native birthrates).

    If you do secure a position working in Europe with a US corporation, please be aware that your salary is likely indexed in DOLLARS, not Euros. At the time I was working in the Netherlands, the USD/Ero exchange was around 1.25 to 1...which cut my purchasing power by 25% right off the bat. And yes, I was subject to US Federal income addition to the value added/general usage taxes levied by the NL.

    Second thing you need to consider is housing. NL was pretty good about leasing to non EU citizens..but i have heard horror stories from expats in other countries (France & Spain in particular). They had to make arrangements with locals who were willing to sign a sub-lease agreement....easier said than done as European taxes on rental income are MUCH more aggressive than the USA.
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    Aug 08, 2011 4:57 PM GMT
    As a military Brat I lived in Europe for about 7 years.

    I'd say Belgium is super "baller."
  • 6packabs

    Posts: 227

    Aug 09, 2011 12:47 PM GMT
    Thanks all of you guys for your posts. Very kind of you to take a minute to give direction.

    I would definately love to look at a Masters program, sculpting in Italy, something in art would really hold my fancy.

    I have lived in Spain, lived there as a Mormon Missionary over a decade and a half ago---and please, don't freak on me. Ahaha.

    So, Spain would be an easy living situation as far as language would go, but I having lived there, I knew pretty much zero as far as government regulations, policies, visas, etc. I was only 19-21 at the time, and that kind of stuff was least on my mind.

    I did have a 3D animation company in Spain 5 or so years ago look at me, they wanted a native English speaker to work for their Gaming design firm. I didn't quite have their skill set developed to that point, and most likely still don't.

    I think I've been given some good

    To answer questions:

    pocketnicoWhere in Europe do you want to live? I imagine anywhere in Northern, Western, or Southern Europe, eh?

    I want warmth and would love the nude beaches of the southern part, be it Spain, Italy, Greece, etc. That climate really appeals, and Mediteranean life does seem sweet. But I love the architecture and people of northern climates too, so I'm not totally set on southern Europe, but it is my first lure.

    MikeOnMainHave you looked into one of those 'teaching English in Europe' programs?

    I had a buddy looking at one, it was to go to Italy. He was excited. But the company seemed to lead him along, wanted an investment of money, and nothing panned out. I haven't looked into it a ton, but it seemed to me to be a bit sketchy. I guess there are legitimate companies and programs as well as a need for English teachers? What do you think?

    All of what has been posted is great. I've read it all, and a private note as well. I hate government programs and have attempted on a moral basis or philosophy (which is odd today and rare) to not take government subsidies for schooling or anything else. It seems hard to be clear of that kind of entanglement in all of this kind of stuff though.

    It just so happened that, being a rare viewer of Television, I did turn it on tonight and watched on HGTV a show called "International House Hunters" featuring a Brit who left London, and searched for a property in Southern Spain where he found his "life partner." I laughed at how seductive the whole concept was to me. They were a fun looking couple, and seeing them set up in a country house in rolling hills made me so incredibly happy for them. It certainly appeared a dream come true and an amazing way of life.