Considering living in Italy...

Sep 16th, 2010, 07:48 PM
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Considering living in Italy...

DH is getting ready to retire in a few months and we are seriously considering living in Europe for a couple of years. There are books by people who have bought houses and settled in but that's not what we're thinking. We want to rent somewhere for a few months in this part of Italy, a few months in another part, a few months in Austria, etc. I'm looking for a practical guide for someone who wants to live abroad for an extended period, but not permanently. Anybody got suggestions?
Lady is offline  
Sep 16th, 2010, 08:15 PM
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Legal problem: The entire Schengen area (read up on it - it comprises most of the EU, certainly Italy and Austria etc) has a unified law that says you can stay 90 days in any or all of the signatory countries, then you have to be out for 90 days.

Out of every 180 days you can stay in for 90 days.

So you could stay, say, three months in Italy, a month in France, a month in Germany, a month in Austria - then you have to leave.

Sometimes you read things like "just go into Switzerland for a day to restart the clock" - not so. 90 in, 90 out.

Now if you bring a ton of money and buy serious property, or start a business that engages a big number of people etc., there may be exemptions to this, but for what you propose, the Schengen law is what it is.
DalaiLlama is offline  
Sep 16th, 2010, 08:18 PM
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Oops, my math was so off, I can't believe it. Three months total, not what I proposed by way of example. Sorry.
DalaiLlama is offline  
Sep 16th, 2010, 09:49 PM
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Where are you from? Do you have a legal right to move to Schengen?

If not, then DalaiLlama is right. W/o a long term visa (which is really REALLY difficult to get) you can only stay for 3 months out of any 6 month period in any/all Schengen countries.
janisj is offline  
Sep 16th, 2010, 09:56 PM
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I'm pretty sure you'd need a 'D' type visa issued by one of the Schengen countries, and then it's only valid for a long-term stay in the issuing country and transit through other Schengen countries to reach it.

We looked into moving to Italy for a year a couple of years ago. Proof of income and unencumbered assets was required. Probably more documentation, but we didn't get that far into the process.
Jean is offline  
Sep 16th, 2010, 10:13 PM
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also, I recall that has info on moving to Europe (Schengen). It is not easy. Even if you say it will be temporary.
charnees is offline  
Sep 16th, 2010, 10:32 PM
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Though the Schengen countries have a common rule about who's allowed to visit without a visa, and how long they can stay without a visa (90 days out of 180), their rules on what you need to do to get a visa for longer stays vary slightly.

They don't all require huge sums of money for a 180-day visa, though they all do require a great deal of bureaucracy. I don't know whether any offer visas between 180 days and full-time residency, unless you're on an approved course. But a long-stay visa issued by one Schengen country does allow you short stays in any other one.

As far as I'm aware, most web information about this is about either 90 day stays, or about moving full time to Schengen. To shop around the rules for what you're planning to do really requires you either:
- to research each country's rules in detail. Obviously starting off with Austria and Italy, but Spain does seem more welcoming to medium-stay applicants, or
- remember that Britain and Ireland both allow non-visa nationals a six month stay, because they're not lumbered with Schengen's "one set of rules suits all" philosophy. Much of Central and Eastern Europe is also outside Schengen, as is Turkey and the southern Mediterranean countries. So you can do three months in Austria, three in Britain, three in Italy, three in Turkey and so on.
flanneruk is offline  
Sep 16th, 2010, 11:08 PM
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looking at the profile of "Lady" she is American.
Whilst she can do this move it is not going to be easy.
ribeirasacra is offline  
Sep 16th, 2010, 11:38 PM
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Good luck with the research but it sounds as if the visa hurdle is the main issue at the moment. Do you have parents or grandparents born in Europe? That may help a lot. We moved from Australia to the UK and lived there for 4.5 years and recently moved back. Just a warning - it's a LOT of work. Be prepared.

Here is a great website about an American family who have travelled long term in Europe, you will find this useful I think.

This may be useful, 'A Motorhome Journey in Europe'

and this -

KayF is offline  
Sep 16th, 2010, 11:47 PM
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<< looking at the profile of "Lady" she is American >>

Sorry but the profile does not give nationality; it only states her current location is Florida. Lots of non-Americans live in Florida.
adrienne is offline  
Sep 17th, 2010, 12:07 AM
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I'm from the US and the way I got my first schengen category D visa is by starting a business in the Czech Republic. The investment isnt too much; you can get it by starting a small business ( even a part time teaching job counts) for less than 10,000 usd. However that is what you would pay in the first year only. The visa allows you to stay for one year in the schengen zone provided that your primary place of residence AND business is in CZ. Also yoi have to pay social security taxes every year regardless of income.

It does take a lot of work to get the visa though. I am not sure if the OP has the energy or money to go through this kind of process just to "live" in Europe. A lot of people have the dream of living in Europe but what they may not realize is that it takes a substantial amount of time and money to make it happen. And most importantly, there's often the language barrier.
nancicita is offline  
Sep 17th, 2010, 12:44 AM
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An alternative which is relatively simple in view of your age is Switzerland. You can also negotiate a flat tax payment which is based upon the rental value of your property (if renting) or notional rental value (if you purchase it). The tax deal varies from one Canton to another.
Since you mention Italy the the Canton of Ticino would be attractive - Lugano, the financial capital, is only 20 minutes by car from Como. Switzerland is now part of the Schengen area so you can now cross over the border to its neighbours without hindrance.
If this is of interest I will did out more specific info.
nochblad is offline  
Sep 17th, 2010, 01:23 AM
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I don't mean to promote living illegally anywhere, but in practice that is what is done by most Americans living in Europe for short periods of time. Since you don't plan to set up a permenant residence in any one place, you should not run into any problems moving about and renting new places for a couple of months at a time. You won't get new passport stamps everytime you cross borders (or even have to show your passport) within the Shengen area, so no one will notice how long you have been there until you get ready to depart Europe. By that time you can just say that you were only in Europe for a couple of months and that you entered in a different country than you are departing from. They should not give you any trouble. I have done it myself and never had any issues.
RayKrebs is offline  
Sep 17th, 2010, 01:44 AM
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In addition to visa problems and whether or not you decide to risk an illegal stay - which could get you banned from future trips to Europe btw, you also need to consider things like health care.

You will not qualify for the Italian, or any other European health care service since you will not be paying into the social service/health care funds of any European country.

You therefore need to check whether your US insurance will cover your stay, and if not what insurance will cost you.
Most travel insurance is limited to 90 days.

I shall not rant about illegal overstays by Americans in this thread.
hetismij is offline  
Sep 17th, 2010, 04:53 AM
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I'm following this with interest - I'm nearing the age of following this dream; I have lots of time to prepare, so keep the info flowing!
cynstalker is offline  
Sep 17th, 2010, 07:08 AM
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We have looked into the insurance issue. Need to check out companies. Any experience here? DH is good at bureaucracy. It's what he does!

And yes, we are American
Lady is offline  
Sep 17th, 2010, 07:18 AM
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I have thought of spending an extended time in Italy...I figured I'd go for 90 days and come home for 90 days.
Is there any problem with doing it this way?
I figured I'd be in the States every three months to catch up with family and friends and other obligations.
(I'll also check on my medical insurance coverage.)

I'm only in the dreaming phase.
Bailey is offline  
Sep 17th, 2010, 07:29 AM
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Move to Costa Rica.

It is beautiful, cheap, safe and all you need for a permanent residency is proof of pension/retirement income of $800 to $1,000 per month. For $2,000/month you can live VERY VERY well. Housing is a bit on the high side, but most everything else is very inexpensive. While the coastal areas can get really hot in the summer, the central valley is called the "land of eternal springtime", with very little fluctuation in temperature. Plus, you are living in a rain forest. Oh, and about 8% of the population is comprised of American and Canadian retirees. Highest rated health care in North America. Did I mention, they are constitutionally barred from having a military. President's can only serve a single 6 year term. And you are about a 2 hour flight to the US.
daveesl is offline  
Sep 17th, 2010, 07:33 AM
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Unless you are willing to leave every 90 days, for 90 days, that's the 1st thing you have to get worked out to live in Europe (schengen countries) legally... your paperwork to be there.
suze is offline  
Sep 17th, 2010, 07:38 AM
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Most US expats find local private health insurance in Europe is way cheaper than what they currently pay back in the States, and has a better coverage too (small or no deductible, little or no exclusion for pre-existing conditions etc). I know this is the case for Spain, France and Italy. To give a ballpark figure, reckon around 400-500 euro per month, with a discount for a couple. This is for a basic cover, and there are all sorts of add-ons which push up the premium. There are also policies that specifically target US expat market, but there are more expensive than local ones, and cover is no better, though some find dealing with English-speaking company reassuring. Remember having an adequate health plan in place is a condition for being granted a visa.

You probably find that instead of moving full-time to Europe with all the visa hassles and what have you, it makes more sense dividing your time between US and Europe, staying within Schengen rules where they apply and combining with stays outside Schengen and periods back home - to keep up with families and friends, see to practicalities of financial planning and to retain a base, where you eventually plan to retire permanently.
Alec is offline  

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