1 Year in Europe with Family

Old Jul 11th, 2016, 11:08 AM
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1 Year in Europe with Family

Hi everyone,

My wife and I have decided we want to fulfill a dream and spend a year somewhere in Europe with our 3 daughters. We plan to do this in a few years when the girls are 12, 8 and 8 respectively. I can work remotely for my employer in the United States, and my wife will try to find work. The girls will spend a year in school wherever we go. So, the big question is-- where should we go? Below are some considerations and we would so appreciate input from others:

1) Language - we live in close proximity to Montreal, and travel there often. Since we are doing this we feel we should all learn a language while we are at it. So, French does make the most sense. We would start language classes at home 1-2 years before we left so we had a good foundation. To me, this means we limit ourselves to France and perhaps Switzerland or Belgium.

2) Daily life - we are looking for affordability (which makes me think Switzerland won't be the best option). We would rent our home and then seek to rent a furnished apartment/home wherever we go. With the girls going to school, we would need to consider public v. private schools, which likely may depend on cost and also where we end up. Ideally, I'd prefer a small city with good schools which allows us to live in the heart of the action where the girls could walk to school or have easy public transport, and I could work from home but be able to walk for work supplies, printing, coffee, etc.

3) Skiing - we love to ski and living in Europe I feel the girls would be blown away, so I'm hoping for ski access that is accessible not only for weekends but for me to break away every once in a while for a quick day on the slopes

4) Beauty - we want to live in a beautiful place, obviously.

5) Safety - first and foremost, I want my family to be safe, and for the girls to have a welcoming and full and amazing experience in school and in recreation.

So, some initial thoughts I had were Lausanne, Bern, Geneva, Marseilles, Toulouse, and Lyon. I'm admittedly doing this not based on much more than the language consideration, geography, consideration of being able to get into and out of a major airport (as I anticipate having to travel back to the States every 8 weeks or so for roughly one week), and just overall fee.

So, where should we go and why??

Thank you so much for your time!
-D
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Old Jul 11th, 2016, 11:25 AM
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Sounds like a wonderful plan. I am not sure this is the right forum to begin your research, but here is my personal take on possible snags if you decide to live in France for one year.
You will need long-term visas for stay beyond a 90-days.
Check into your tax obligations in France. I believe they consider you fiscally resident if you spend 183 days per year in the country. France taxes worldwide income, but there is a tax treaty with the US that provides some help with that up to a certain dollar amount.
You need to inquire at the French consulate nearest your home. And then you should probably get expert advice.
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Old Jul 11th, 2016, 11:31 AM
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If you're American citizens your first issue, as I understand it, will be visas, not language. For Schengen counties the rule is 3 months (90 days?) in 6 months. Other non-Schengen countries may have different rules.

https://travel.state.gov/content/pas...act-sheet.html

There may be options other than entering as a tourist but you should know before you start making what you believe are concrete plans.
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Old Jul 11th, 2016, 11:37 AM
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>> I can work remotely for my employer in the United States, and my wife will try to find work.<<

Are you dual citizens? Doesn't sound like it. If not, sorry but it ain't going to happen without a long term visa . . . and if you get visas you most likely won't be able to work remotely and your wife definitely won't be able to work locally.
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Old Jul 11th, 2016, 12:10 PM
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Check Grenoble, France.

Terrific scenery, area has jobs, ski resorts at 2 hours, lakes nearby, frenchspeaking, not big city but a city that has it all.

Belgium has no ski resort, obviously, if you choose Belgium I'd go to Namur or join the many Brits in Waterloo, in the suburbs of Bruxelles.
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Old Jul 11th, 2016, 12:33 PM
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Visas will be a big issue for you - both in terms of being able to stay that long and in terms of whether you are allowed to work (even remotely) and whether you wife will be allowed to work. Spend some time researching the visa issue before you go any father.
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Old Jul 11th, 2016, 12:53 PM
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<<So, the big question is-- where should we go?>>

No, as already noted by many, the big question is, how will you manage to get a long-term visa?

And yes, there will be tax consequences, no matter where your income comes from, if you live in France. Dual taxation is alive and well for many people, including those working remotely with clients from other countries, including the USA. And your wife looking for work in France is going to be almost impossible even with a long-term visa, unless she can provide a unique service that no resident of France or the EU can provide.

So before you go wondering about where would be a good place to live, get in touch with the consulates of countries you might like to inhabit and find out if you can actually do this. You might start by going to the consulate websites, which are usually quite comprehensive.

Good luck. It's a great dream, but not one even remotely easy to achieve.
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Old Jul 11th, 2016, 01:44 PM
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It sounds like a wonderful plan. Have you thought of homeschooling and moving from country to country, rather than staying put? The world is full of nomadic travelers who do just that. My own family is planning a round-the-world trip beginning next spring. I'll continue managing my various websites and online businesses and visas won't be an issue. You could use airbnb to stay in actual homes, rather than in hotels.

There are many, many families with kids the same age as yours. To rephrase one commenter, "It's a great dream, and is completely doable with some tweaks."

Good luck!
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Old Jul 11th, 2016, 02:03 PM
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>> Have you thought of homeschooling and moving from country to country, rather than staying put? <<

As long as they don't stay longer than 90 days in Schengen . . .

>> I'll continue managing my various websites and online businesses and visas won't be an issue.<<

Could definitely be and issue - depends on where you are going.
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Old Jul 11th, 2016, 03:21 PM
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How are you going to be allowed to stay in Europe for an entire year? What languages does your wife speak fluently other than English? How about the kids?

Anything beyond the typical 90-days tourists/visitors are allowed in Schengen countries is going to take some doing. You do realize that, right? You can't just arrive in France, your wife gets a job, your kids enroll in school, and your family stays for a year, for example.
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Old Jul 11th, 2016, 03:24 PM
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by the way, I *love* the Lac Leman area myself (have friends living there, have visited 5 times). Outside Geneva, Lausanne, Vevey, Montreux, etc.

But a couple years of language study isn't going to be enough for your wife to be able to work, plus she needs working papers from someone sponsoring her. And then it's back to the... you can't just show up & stay for one year there.
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Old Jul 11th, 2016, 04:16 PM
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Glad people chimed in with reality. You would think if someone was going to take his family they might have looked into some of this 'stuff'. Imagine that--being able just to work in a country if you want to while on holiday for a year--while unemployment is X.
I am amazed at Americans' entitlements--here AND abroad.
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Old Jul 11th, 2016, 04:30 PM
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"I am amazed at Americans' entitlements--here AND abroad."

I'm amazed that someone would make such a sweeping statement and, apparently, believe it. Tell us more about huge groups of people.
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Old Jul 11th, 2016, 04:31 PM
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This is not something we will do for at least four years. The ages I put for my children are what they will be four years from now. And I do not know a lot about the logistics which is why I started inquiring to people such as yourselves now. Thank you for a lot of this feedback which is extremely helpful and shows me some of the bigger issues and challenges we will have to consider and address. What I do not understand is the negativity in some of these responses as if I've committed a crime or something. It is bizarre. I would think if someone had helpful information, like many of you did, you would provide it. But insults and negativity seem unnecessary and somewhat pathetic for someone to spend their time doing on the thread on folders website. Anyway, for those of you who did respond with a very helpful information, I truly appreciate it and will keep it in mind as I start planning over the next several years.
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Old Jul 11th, 2016, 04:32 PM
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Mme Perdue--- I could not agree more.
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Old Jul 11th, 2016, 04:41 PM
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no one attacked you (well except for Gretchen a tad)

Put yourselves in a European's shoes. Can they just up and move to the USA . . . not on your life.

What you take as 'negativity' is simply the reality -- you can't just move to most places in Europe. And even more so with a family. It isn't just 'challenges' - it is very (VERY) strict immigration rules and one can't just say -- I'll work on line' . . . even volunteering and not earning ANY €€€/$$$ at all is generally not allowed.

It isn't like back in the '60's or '70's when anyone could back pack for a year around Europe w/ no rules/regulations. It is a WHOLE different world now.
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Old Jul 11th, 2016, 04:42 PM
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oops -- I cut a clause by accident . . . >>It isn't like back in the '60's or '70's when anyone could back pack for a year around Europe picking up odd jobs, w/ no rules/regulations. It is a WHOLE different world now.<<
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Old Jul 11th, 2016, 05:00 PM
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Ugh i would homeschool the kids u less you can find an english school.
Why, because a year will barely be enough time or them to catch up to their europeon conterparts( i am not kidding,my nieces were moved back to Gremany after living in canada from 5-13 yrs old( they were born in germany and spoke german) and they were A students here in Canada , without even trying, in Germany they fought hard to manage Bs ,it was a shock how much more advanced the education levels are in Europe. And your kids will be put back a year as they do not speak german.
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Old Jul 11th, 2016, 05:43 PM
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I just went back and reread the responses and with one exception, I found no negative posts. Most were concerned about the reality ( visas, possible work situations etc ) of pursuing your dream and offered reasonable advice. As Janis stated it's no longer as easy as it once was to spend unlimited time in Europe. In fact, rules regarding visas for Americans may well change in the next few years. I agree with others that you should pursue the legal problems of such a plan before thinking about specific places.

Good luck. Our family lived in Australia South Africa and Germany for some 8 years. Our kids were 9 and 10 when we left the U.S. It was a fantastic experience, but my husband was with an international company and all legal aspects were taken care of by the company and, again, that was some 35 years ago. Things change.
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Old Jul 11th, 2016, 05:53 PM
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Have you thought about health insurance?

Although these countries do have free/low cost healthcare for their citizens as foreign nationals it would not cover you - and you would have to prove you have full coverage - as one of the many conditions of trying to get any sort of long-term visas.

There are also a plethora of other potential issues - including that it would be almost impossible for your wife to be allowed to work - even if she spoke French well enough to do so.

Suggest you have a look at some of the web sites for expatriots to get a lot more in-depth information.
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