Americans moving to Europe

Old May 26th, 2020, 02:47 AM
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Americans moving to Europe

This post is, I confess, born out of a little boredom but also some curiosity. While stuck at home (in Australia) I have been watching more trashy television than is probably good for me. In my viewing, there are programs showing many Americans moving to Europe and renting/buying property and I'm curious as to how they manage that. I don't mean that literally but how do they get visas and so forth? They seem to go on a whim, often have little money and frequently no jobs but say they plan to get them once they arrive. They are not flying under the radar, sneaking in, because they are on international television programs. Living in Europe has been something that I've wanted to do forever but circumstances and choices have meant that hasn't happened. So I'm genuinely curious as to whether there is freedom for Americans to move to live in Europe (generally in Schengen countries). I spend (too much) time reading forums like this and planning holidays so I'm well aware of Schengen rules and visa restrictions - and everything I've read tells me that visas for long term stays are difficult to obtain. So are these programs just gloss over reality? Just how hard is it to get a visa for longer than the Schengen 90 days?
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Old May 26th, 2020, 03:09 AM
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It helps if you have Grandparent rights.

Or lots of money.

Or marry the right person

For example, my gym buddy is an ex US cop, married to an English woman. She could not afford to send her kids to a Catholic school in the US so moved home to the UK to do it for free and he came with her (bringing his large pension).
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Old May 26th, 2020, 03:19 AM
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First rule of TV is not to believe everything you see on TV.

Moving full time for most would require an extend stay visa of some sort. No different than what you require.

TV tends to leave things out if the facts hurt the story. At other times they gloss things over. Or even distort them. It's not like the average viewer is going to check things out.

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Old May 26th, 2020, 04:18 AM
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I have known many expats over the years who thought they would stay in Europe for the rest of their lives. There must be official statistics somewhere, but in my own experience only about 10% have stayed unless they married a European or raised children here. The others left after 2 years, 5 years, sometimes 10 years. The ones who stayed the longest were mortified the day they heard a little voice and their head that said "it's time to go home" and they knew it must be obeyed.
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Old May 26th, 2020, 04:34 AM
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Don't believe everything you see on TV. Most of the Americans I know in Europe have come over here as a relocation for work and their visas were sponsored by the company. Even those born in Europe do not have the freedom to go and live elsewhere in Europe - even for Brits before Brexit. Even having a parent or grandparent born in a certain country does not entitle someone to nationality, it all depends on the country and their rules.
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Old May 26th, 2020, 04:41 AM
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Americans means US citizens?
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Old May 26th, 2020, 04:55 AM
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Originally Posted by Odin View Post
Don't believe everything you see on TV. Most of the Americans I know in Europe have come over here as a relocation for work and their visas were sponsored by the company. Even those born in Europe do not have the freedom to go and live elsewhere in Europe - even for Brits before Brexit. Even having a parent or grandparent born in a certain country does not entitle someone to nationality, it all depends on the country and their rules.
EU citizens are free to settle in any other EU country provided they are looking for or have work/are retired. They still have to register in that country as required by local laws, and unless they are workinng and py the necessary qualifying taxes, provide healthcare privately or through their home country's scheme.

A few EU countries have generous citizenship allowances, many don't, and some do not allow dual nationality.

Non EU citizens, and that will include the UK from next year need a visa of some sort, and health care insurance. My UK citizen sons have to have a long stay visa from the end of this year even though they went to school in the Netherlands, and are gainfully employed here, and have Dutch partners, and Dutch children.
US citizens pay local and US taxes, and may find companies and banks reluctant to deal with them because of US tax laws.

TV shows are recorded long after the people have actually moved to the country in question and chosen a place to live.

The US also has restrictive immigration rules, possibly even more restrictive than the EU.

BDKR your comment is verging on racist, but applies to many countries besides EU, including the UK which has rejected EU immigrants in favour of those from elsewhere.
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Old May 26th, 2020, 06:22 AM
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One issue that Americans in Europe have to deal with is that banks are extremely reluctant to take on American clients. Without a local bank account you will have problems paying your rent, utilities etc.

Not kidding about this, many banks flat out refuse new clients with US passport, or even Europeans with a green card. One bank here (Belgium) asked a green-card holder to sign a form that would make him personally liable to pay for any fines the IRS charges the bank for any mistakes the bank makes.
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Old May 26th, 2020, 08:09 AM
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So are these programs just gloss over reality?

Yes! They do.

You haven't noticed on those reality shows how stuff kind of miraculously happens??? I'm talking all of them, whether you are Naked & Afraid or remodeling your home or Rescuing your homestead or restaurant. Or buying a fabulous flat in Paris.

Kind of like in TV movies, how everyone, even poor people, live in really nice apartments -lol!
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Old May 26th, 2020, 08:30 AM
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I think the grass is always greener on the other side, but I like watching those shows just for fun and to see other places. Although I get sick of all the whiners looking at apts who complain about trivial stuff (bathtubs is one big one), like "OMG, we'd have to spend 20 minutes commuting, that's so far!". A lot whining about spendming more than 5 minutes commuting, I have no idea what planet these people are from that thing 15 minutes is a long commute. It's not very realistic as a lot of them seem to be independelty wealthy somehow and they totally ignore any legal or political issues (like all the ones moving to Mexico, as if it's some paradise).

I suppose you are talking about HH International? That's the one I watch. \Some of them talk about how they have the job offer already, though, and a few have some family ties that might get them visas. However, I found it interesting that one couple that supposedly wanted to move to Prague that I saw recently, just had some article about them about how they had to flee home due to coronavirus. I didn't really understand that as on the TV show they were supposedly going to live there long term. They were Canadian, though. Turns out they have a real business in this stuff, being on TV shows, blogs, etc.
this is the couple and explains how the show works (I knew a lot of it was fake but don't really care, such as if they already have picked a place out --- who cares)

https://teaspoonofadventure.com/hous...international/

same woman
https://www.ashleyabroad.com/2019/11...ing-in-prague/


Now she says they have some kind of visa that allows them to work and live abroad for a year, but she's Canadian (a Youth Mobility Pass)
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Old May 26th, 2020, 09:01 AM
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Italy allows people to obtain some sort of renewable residence visa with adequate income (not from employment), health insurance, and a good reason for wanting to immigrate to Italy. I knew an American who immigrated that way. The amount of income was not outrageous, and I think there was also the possibility of buying into the Italian national health scheme. The following links are from the Italian consulate in Boston, but I imagine the requirements are the same for a citizen of Australia.
https://consboston.esteri.it/consola...residency.html

Or by starting your own professional business
https://consboston.esteri.it/consola...ent-visas.html

There is also a two-year, renewable, investment visa, which requires you to invest a large amount of money in a startup or in some other form of Italian investment.
https://investorvisa.mise.gov.it/index.php/en/

Once you've lived in Italy, or in another European country, for five years, you can apply for an EU permanent residence card. The requirements differ slightly by country. This requires that you have an adequate income to support yourself, health insurance, and a suitable residence. This card allows you to live anywhere in the EU.
https://visaguide.world/europe/eu-residence-permit/

After having lived legally for ten years in Italy, you can apply for Italian citizenship.

I did it the easy way, by marrying an Italian, and I was able to apply for citizenship after five years.

Last edited by bvlenci; May 26th, 2020 at 09:07 AM.
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Old May 26th, 2020, 09:37 AM
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When I retire in five years or so, I will seek the privilege of living in the EU for approximately half of the year. I’m first generation American and will seek German citizenship through my mother who was born in the Schwarzwald.
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Old May 26th, 2020, 11:31 AM
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I know some people have had problems opening bank accounts in Europe. If you're not a legal resident of the country where you want to open the account, they can refuse to open an account for you, and often do, to avoid problems with reporting to the IRS and other foreign tax agencies. If you're a legal resident of the country, however, they have to open an account if you meet all the requirements that apply to their own citizens. It's definitely not as easy (even for a citizen) to open an account in Europe, as it is in the US.

I didn't any problem with opening an account in Italy. I was already an Italian citizen when most of these recent anti-money-laundering laws came into effect, but I opened an account as soon as I moved here, with no trouble. However, I opened the account in a bank that my husband had done business with for years.

It's true that if you're a US citizen, you have to report all your world-wide income to the IRS, but any taxes you pay in another country can be deducted from your US income. US Social Security income is taxed in Italy, per a tax treaty between the two countries. The tax I pay is far higher than what I would pay in the US, but I keep reminding myself that I don't have to pay for health insurance. My private pension is taxed in the US.

US citizens have to file a form every year reporting all foreign assets in financial institutions if their total value is over $10,000. I keep almost all my funds in US bank accounts, and transfer to my Italian account only what I need from time to time, so I've never had to file this form.

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Old May 26th, 2020, 11:56 AM
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Someone said something about people always thinking the grass is greener someplace else. I think they do and get frustrated with inconveniences. There are so many other factors though and you have to know what life style makes you happy. The three things that made life more desirable for me in Europe (where I lived and spent time) was decent local public transportation, local small and large fresh markets and less emphasis (at the time I was there) on acquiring stuff. I do not need a big yard if there is a park or place to walk nearby. I do not need a big house to entertain in if there is a square or plaza. Had we not had elderly parents in the states all those years ago, we would not have come back. If we did not have a young grandchild here now, we would leave. I do not hate the US (though I am quickly leaning that way) because I see problems everywhere. I just find life here less pleasant and less convenient, or unaffordable for me.
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Old May 26th, 2020, 03:28 PM
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Originally Posted by kerouac View Post
I have known many expats over the years who thought they would stay in Europe for the rest of their lives. There must be official statistics somewhere, but in my own experience only about 10% have stayed unless they married a European or raised children here. The others left after 2 years, 5 years, sometimes 10 years.
We’re lived in Europe for more than 20 years and haven’t had kids here or gotten permanent residency through marriage. We think of ourselves as immigrants rather than expats and are not hearing any voices in our head telling us to return to the US.

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Old May 26th, 2020, 06:56 PM
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Dremon

Did you read any of the posts from Cheska15.

In one early post of her time in France, sadly cut short by Covid 19, she described the hoops she had to jump through, as an Australian, to overcome the 90 days in 180 Schengen visa issue.
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Old May 26th, 2020, 09:24 PM
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I've lived in Germany since Oct 2008, so I'm one of kerouac's 10% -- no spouse or children or relatives here. I could not live in the USA (I'm American). But then, I was raised as an expat (my daddy worked for an oil company), so living abroad was normal and everyone I knew did it.

I calculated the other day, and I realized --with studying abroad, being stationed abroad, growing up abroad, and now living abroad -- I've spent about half of my 65 years outside of the US.

I knew I wanted to live in Europe since 1968, when I was 13 years old. But it took 40 years for me to get there-- my working life, my parents, my sister. Of course, I worked through the German hoops of getting my resident visas.

I love it here. Do wish I had a utility sink, a utility room, and a disposal. But that won't make me move back.
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Old May 26th, 2020, 10:06 PM
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I was blessed with French citizenship at birth, but even that can cause complications. Since I was born overseas, at age 21 I had to jump through hoops to prove that I have not renounced French citizenship, even though I moved to France permanently at age 20. This consisted of obtaining a "certificate of non-repudiation" from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. And I have had to tangle with the central office of identity documents which groups all foreigners along with all overseas French every time I need a paper. It is a breeze now that it is all computerized, but it was a nightmare 40 years ago. There is a movement among the overseas French saying that we are being unreasonably harrassed by the authorities because they make demands of us that are not made of citizens born on French soil -- and that violates the law against discrimination.

In fact, that is the law that I invoked when the banks began to bother me about that country with the stupid tax laws. It is interesting to note that I did not need to go to court to make the banks drop their requests. I merely pointed out the financial penalties and prison terms for which they were liable if they asked me for something that they did not request from other French citizens.
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Old May 27th, 2020, 02:08 AM
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Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and information, everyone. Not surprisingly, it appears that these programs do gloss over both the challenges in actually moving but also what life is like once there.

Watching these programs does highlight cultural differences between people from the US and others, and the things which they often consider 'essential'.

With regard to refugees, I cannot begrudge someone a safe haven when often their home country threatens their very existence.

I will look further into some of the suggestions made but I think I have left my run too late, not because I am too old but because I am too firmly imbedded with my family here now. I hope to be able to travel more regularly in the future, and stay a little longer. I have visited a fair amount of Europe, over an extended time, but there is an endless amount to see and enjoy.

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Old May 27th, 2020, 02:45 AM
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I sometimes enjoy watching those silly TV shows like HHI featuring innocents thinking there is a "dream life" in Europe. I have no idea how they actually come here and make a go of it, except that in the case of the ones who buy property in France I suspect that miscreant Adrian Leeds deals with some of it for them. Like Christina, I'm always amazed at the things that put them off - the bathtubs, for certain, but other stupid things like kitchen tiles and hanging light fixtures. I've never seen a show where anyone even looks at or talks about the important stuff like fuse boxes and water mains and utility bills and foundations and erosion and the cost of re-pointing stone walls or the importance of speaking the language. It also astounds me, in some of the recent shows I've watched where people are looking to rent a place rather than buy, that they think they can get, say, a nice Greek villa with a sea view for US$700 a month or less, and are downcast and irritable when they can't. Anyway, as noted, it's TV and as far as I can see mostly fabrication. I'm glad I don't have any folks like that as neighbors.

As for BDKR's views on immigrants, it's true that we don't have loads of them here in the Périgord, but we have more and more each year and they seem pretty well assimilated to me and more than willing to try to embrace the local culture. There's little animosity toward them among the locals, either. Most people here have a pretty deeply rooted sense of generosity and caring, whether it be for the elderly or the poor or anyone struggling. Social services are good, and the French instinct to keep people fed seems alive and well - during the "confinement" both the government and private producers have significantly stepped up efforts to make sure that food is widely available to those in need. And apart from the small world we live in here in the Périgord, my impression from traveling all over Europe in recent years is that it is indeed a very diverse culture overall. The one stark exception to that was, interestingly, when we visited Hungary, BDKR's homeland, where we got a general sense of disgruntlement and unease, not to mention an alarmingly homogeneous population. I've spent a lot of time in North Africa, BTW, and waking up to the dawn call of prayer is hardly a hassle to me, BTW. It's a graceful way to start the day IMO, and nothing to be dismissed as irritating.

We had no problem opening a bank account in France. It's true I'd had one for years after I first bought my house here in 1993, so I had a "track record" of French banking. I'm not sure that made any difference, though, as my old French bank no longer exists, and when we came to live here permanently I had to open new accounts. I guess the FATCA requirements put some banks off from opening accounts for Americans, but our bank takes full responsibility for filling out those forms every year and simply sends them to us to sign off on. Unlike bvlenci, we now keep very little money in the US, just enough for the occasional expense. We pay taxes foncières and taxes d'habitation here in France and US taxes if we have any income derived from the USA. We cannot invest in the US stock market, but that hasn't proven to be much of a drawback, and we aren't wealthy or have gobs of money stashed away in investments anyway - European and Asian and Canadian markets do well enough for us, although of course all investments are hurting at the moment.

I've had Irish citizenship through the Foreign Births Registry since 1987, and an Irish passport since 1988; consequently, the right to live in the EU. When I bought the house here in 1993 it was, among other things, with the express intention of coming here to live permanently. My husband has the right to be here with me. As of the end of April of this year we will have been here permanently for 5 years and now have the right to apply for French citizenship, which we fully intend to do.

Like swandav, there are a few things I'd like to have that I can't, like a disposal, but that's a trivial concern. I don't think I even realized I didn't have one until we had lived here for a couple of years. I have peace and quiet, I have a heavenly view, I have kind and helpful neighbors, I am surrounded by history and prehistory, I can grow my own food, I eat really well....there is nothing I miss about living in the USA, particularly right now. I have no intention of returning there.

IMO there is no such thing as "living the dream life" much of anywhere unless you have unlimited funds and the kind of life you're seeking is one where you don't have to have much input into it and aren't willing to do some hard work. I don't know people like that.

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