Europe for extended periods (6 mo +)

Jun 5th, 2007, 01:24 PM
Original Poster
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Posts: 32
Europe for extended periods (6 mo +)

Has anyone gone and stayed for 6mo or more? My hubby and I are thinking of doing that in approx 5 years. (we figure that should give us time to: 1)save enough money to pay bills here and not work there 2)learn at least Italian well and French and German ok)
Any advice? Stay permits, visas, Do's Don'ts, etc??
We are currently thinking:
1)Home exchanges
2) Extended rentals
3) RV it!
1) RV + Scooter(see accomidations)
2) Ship a car over
3) Take European deliver on a Mercedes (you can have it there for up to 6 mo before they require it to head for the US)

Other suggestions? We have traveled alot-but this is totally new and after some preliminary research we are not find much out there...

SLCLibrarian is offline  
Jun 5th, 2007, 01:32 PM
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First thing to learn about is Schengen

Basically you treat the countries in Schengen as one "country" to which you can visit for up to 90 days in the 180 days after 1st entry to the "country" of Schengen. All other time has to be spent outside of that "country"

And note Schengen is NOT the same as the EU nor is it the same as Western Europe
alanRow is offline  
Jun 5th, 2007, 01:51 PM
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Excellent! Got it!
SLCLibrarian is offline  
Jun 5th, 2007, 02:01 PM
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I suggest you look more closely at the Schengen confederation. You can stay 90 days without a visa; however, if you want to stay longer in one of the Schengen countries, such as Italy, you can by obtaining a visa. Requirements for a visa vary by country, so you should check with the consular authority of any country you intend to visit long enough to need a visa.
clevelandbrown is offline  
Jun 5th, 2007, 02:02 PM
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I assume you are American? If so, the rules say that you can only be there 90 out of each 180 days (which means you can't leave for a few days and then return and start another 90 days). Any more than that and you are supposed to get a visa (I don't know much about that process). But I've had many friends stay in Europe longer than 90 days without any problems. I think no one pays attention if you are in a relatively "trouble free" country, and you don't get in any trouble and come to the attention of the authorities. Many of my friends are willing to risk it -- you have to decide if you are. I have no idea what would happen if you are "caught."

If are lucky enough to live in a "desirable" city (NY, DC, San Fran, Las Vegas, Miami) you might get a home exchange. I tried it a few years ago -- I probably sent out 500 inquiries -- no one wanted to exchange for a house in Austin!

The RV could be as expensive (or maybe more) given the cost of gas, than renting an apt. It is possible to find fully furnished apartments for 1000 euros/month or less in most cities, and even less in smaller towns or countyside. If you are wanting a Mercedes anyway, that sounds like a great idea. A couple of car companies (Renault & Peugeot) have interesting lease/buyback deals that are much better than long term renting.

The most I've spent is 3 months over there, but doubt 6 months is that much different. If you have any specific questions, I'll be happy to answer them.

There are a lot of other details that need to be handled before leaving home for such an extended time, but 5 years should be enough planning time! ;-)

Good luck!
RondaB3 at yahoo
RondaTravels is offline  
Jun 5th, 2007, 02:07 PM
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2)learn at least Italian well and French and German ok)

This is going to be a formidble task to learn those languages. Possibly some CD which will give you jump-start lessons. Michel Thomas has a good series which can get you started. No books, no writing and just spoken language. You can find his CD's on Ebay and Amazon.

blackduff is offline  
Jun 5th, 2007, 02:19 PM
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Thank you all!

Yep We are American. Located in Salt Lake City (so possibly desirable for a home exchange).

We are planning on using Rosetta Stone for the lang learning. I just think it would be rude to go for that long without learning as much as possible before-hand. Its one thing when we got for a week...but half a year?

I have just been checking out RVs and yeah, they are around $30K for the 6 months. Ouch!

Well, we will do our homework and try to be "legal" and get the Visa's but I'm afraid I might 'risk it' if there any problem with them...especially if I'm not trying to stay permanently or work...seems like it shouldn't be a problem.

SLCLibrarian is offline  
Jun 26th, 2007, 07:49 AM
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Note that getting a visa will likely not be a big deal since you are NOT going there to work - maybe you'll be semi-retired?

Also, having the visa is protection for you in case you do have any kind of problem while there: like the international driving permit, not having it may not land you in jail, but it could cause serious interruptions in your plans, and in the worst case, could send you packing for home (and if someone else happens to be living in your house ...!)

While the US is in the midst of loud debate and many security considerations involving immigration and how people overstay visas, etc, we really should be serious about giving the same regard to rules elsewhere!

Keep us posted SLCL! You'll be living out a dream shared by many of us, and we'll be happy to know how it goes.

You might check your public library for information, too. I have a book called "Living, Studying and Working in Italy" with a ton of useful info. My copy is from 1998, but a revised version may be available.

Friends of mine spent a year in Italy in 98-99 and had no visas, but toward the end they were beginning to worry - they wanted to do some travel on the continent before heading back to the US, and faced the real concern that at any time someone could question their status. That said, no one ever asked for a visa when renting an apartment or car, etc, or even when getting short term car insurance.

tomassocroccante is offline  
Jun 26th, 2007, 09:13 AM
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Visa issue is irksome, involved and bureaucratic but not insurmountable. You need to bear in mind that Schengen visa-waiver (for US and other citizens) is meant to cater for the need of 99% of tourists and other short-stay visitors, so national visa for long stay is exceptional and involves a lot of supporting documents. Just find out, e.g. from the French Consulate in NYC website (one of the biggest) for what that involves. You need, for example, proof of adequate funds without the need to work (bank statements etc), health and medical insurance, where you'll be living (e.g. hotel reservations or rental agreement), reasons for needing to return to US (such as employment, home ties etc) and proof of travel tickets (preferable r/t). If you have a conviction of criminal or immigration nature anywhere in the world, you have to declare it and it can seriously jeopardise or delay your application. But otherwise expect it to take weeks, even months, for approval and eventual issuance of visa (often application has to be referred to the government agency or provincial authorities). So make sure you start the process well in advance of departure, like 6 months minimum.
Alec is online now  
Jun 26th, 2007, 07:38 PM
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Does it begin to seem like a 3 month stay, followed by another one 3 months hence, is the way to go?! You'd be handing your house over for half the time, come back and see the kids ... and no visa required! YOu can do fall and spring and have the best of everything.

Sorry - I guess that's MY fantasy showing.
tomassocroccante is offline  
Sep 21st, 2007, 02:42 PM
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Does anyone happen to know what would happen if you were "caught" without a visa (Schengen or not)? Just asking out of curiosity...
GillsinEurope is offline  
Sep 21st, 2007, 02:45 PM
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partly depends on how you were caught and what you were doing when they caught you.

But - far from the worst case is you would be deported and not allowed to return.
janisj is online now  
Sep 21st, 2007, 02:48 PM
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If you get caught, it's possible that you will be banned from returning to any Schengen country for an extended time.
SusanP is offline  
Sep 21st, 2007, 04:30 PM
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If you look at the trip carefully you may be able to do it legally - as long as you're willing to spend 90 days outside of Schengen after 90 days there and before another 90 days there. This is not that difficult if your plans are flexible - since UK/Ireland, Switzerland, Czech republic among others, are not Schengen.

Also - if you have ties (family and/or property) in the US, a good source of income, can prove medical insurance coverage and are of an age to be considered semi-retired you probably can get a longer visa - even if it takes some trouble.

Do not suggest just ignoring the regulations - since if caught you can be summarily deported - at your own cost (and lose any moneys spent on renting places to stay, car etc in europe).
nytraveler is offline  
Sep 21st, 2007, 04:43 PM
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nytraveler: FYI the OP hasn't been back since early June. The new posts are answering GillsinEurope who asked what will happen to them if they are caught w/o a visa
janisj is online now  
Sep 24th, 2007, 01:15 AM
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Thanks for answering guys. I guess we'll just have to decide if it's worth the risk or not, and if we do risk it....keep a low profile!
GillsinEurope is offline  
Sep 24th, 2007, 01:23 AM
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Thanks for answering guys. I guess we'll just have to decide if it's worth the risk or not, and if we do risk it....keep a low profile!

If I may say so, it would be very unwise to take such a risk.
Pvoyageuse is offline  
Sep 24th, 2007, 01:42 AM
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We got a long stay retirement visa and it was a big pain, but doable. I know others that have just gone out of schengen area to avoid the problem. Some have stayed years and were not ever illegal. It is easier than most people think and a wonderful way to get to know Europe in a non-rushed way.

It takes a lot of work to plan but it really easy once you are here. We have been Rving around Europe for more than a year and absolutely love the lifestyle.

If there is a will, there is a way. Carpe diem!!
WTnow is offline  
Sep 24th, 2007, 05:38 AM
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The UK is not a signee of the Schengen agreement and if there are some intersting requirements including those reagrding health care.
Aduchamp1 is offline  
Sep 24th, 2007, 06:08 AM
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Ten or 15 years ago, someone quietly overstaying their tourist time allowance in Europe would have been tolerated (to a degree), were they minding their own business and paying their own way. We knew people in their 20s who traveled around Europe for over a year and didn't have any problems while they were there or when they left.

BUT there was still an element of risk back then and I simply wouldn't do it now. Everyone is much touchier about visas and the legal status of residents. That's just the way of the world these days.

Don't even think of shipping a car over. As for having the Mercedes in Europe for over 6 months, that doesn't apply to you as someone coming from the U.S. (well, Mercedes won't care, but immigration officials will). The six months normally refers to expats who are already in Europe and plan to use their car in Europe for their final six months before shipping it home.
BTilke is offline  

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