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Expats- first step for retired single woman moving to Europe

Expats- first step for retired single woman moving to Europe

Old Jun 25th, 2022, 03:46 AM
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Expats- first step for retired single woman moving to Europe

Iíve been retired 3 years. Iím Italian descent. Iím tired of the chaos in the US and while life is pleasant, itís unexciting and I have nothing keeping me here but my 15 year old cat(Do I really need to wait for her to pass before realizing my dream). I moved back to PA from FL to up my income but always hated living here.

i would pribsbly start with a couple months, eventually move full time. I know Portugal has a retiree visa (D-1?). However my roots are in Italy.

I got a book but the logistics feel overwhelming. Any tips on first steps? Iíd want somewhere with an expat community since Iíd be alone. Good train connections. A beach would be nice. Id be renting probably.
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Old Jun 25th, 2022, 04:06 AM
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Emigration forums are your best way to find out the info you want.
https://www.expat.com/forum/viewforum.php?id=322
https://www.facebook.com/groups/expatslivinginitaly/
Watch You Tubes too.
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Old Jun 25th, 2022, 04:22 AM
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Hallo Vicki.

I'm a single woman who also moved to Europe (Germany) on her own, with no company, no government, no family, no spousal, and no friends' help. One other consideration for you is health insurance -- you need to make sure your health insurance will travel.

This is how I did it.

I first lived in a small town (Mittenwald) for five weeks, just to see how it fit. I shopped and hiked and took local transport to see what life would be like.

Then I sold or gave away most of my household (as well as all the stuff left over from my parents, etc). I was ruthless, and I didn't want to keep anything that would cost more to ship than to replace. I kept a few pieces of furniture that I either really liked or that were nostalgic. I gave away or trashed most of the kitchen stuff. I ripped out all my parents' photos from their photo albums and instead put them into photo boxes.

Then I had a local but international moving company pick up all that was left over and seal it into a wooden box suitable for international cargo, and they stored it for me.

I moved to Europe at the end of Oct 2008 with a big suitcase and a huge carry-on that held all of my mother's old jewelry and some other items I didn't want to put into checked luggage. I rented a vacation apartment for a few months while looking for a long-term rental. I did finally find a rental and moved in in Dec 2008. As soon as I had my rental contract, I registered at the town hall (a requirement for Germany) and then applied for a 1-year residency visa. I bought a TV, a bed, some closets, and a washer/drier, and a friend donated a sofa. I used some big empty boxes as coffee tables/dining tables.

After a year, I knew that Germany was home. I looked for and bought an apartment, I bought more furniture, and then I had the moving company ship me my household goods. It cost me around $10,000 to have my stuff shipped, and deciding on the insurance was a tough call: too little, and you risk losing everything; too much, and you risk a close inspection from German customs and an import fee. I chose a middle path, and luckily there were no accidents and no customs fees.

All told, it took me about 3 years to do it all, from the test 5-week stay to selling my old place to actually setting foot in Germany. My cat was 16 years old when I started.... the timing worked out well for me, as she passed soon after I came back from that 5-week stay.

Enjoy the dreaming!

s
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Old Jun 25th, 2022, 04:48 AM
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If you are of Italian descent do you qualify for an Italian passport? Do you speak Italian or any other language?
I know your cat is holding you back from travelling much at all at the moment. Is there a good boarding facility you can leave the cat in for a few weeks? Or maybe you can find a house sitter, or even do a house swap. so you can visit Europe.
You need to spend some serious time in the country you choose, maybe not all in one place but to spend time looking around, getting a feel for things, seeing what rentals and buying costs, and what other prices are, for food, but also for heating fuel, cars if you plan on driving (you will need also to check if you need to take a new test or if you can swap your licence).
Maybe spend five or six weeks initially, then go home, think about things, if you aren't happy with the country you first tried try another one, as long as you remember the 90 day rule.
If you decide on a place to live and are happy to do so you can always bring your cat with you, provided you have all the paperwork, microchip, vaccinations etc. etc organised well in advance.
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Old Jun 25th, 2022, 05:12 AM
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If you can get the paperwork together to claim Italian citizenship it'll make things that much easier. If you can't you'll need to apply for a visa with all the hoops that requires including health care. If you're Italian health care isn't a requirement unless you want supplemental private insurance.

You can rent near most of the Roman beaches for not much money. You'd likely want a car for errands but you can take the bus or other local transit into the city.

You're likely best avoiding any of the smaller towns IMHO. Partly they can be pretty dead offseason. Partly you'll need the car for everything.

Expat community tends to mean higher cost areas. It also implies living in an expat ghetto. Make sure that's what you want. Sooner or later you'll need to fit in. Maybe your car will breakdown. The more you go native the easier long term you'll find it.

I agree with the comments above. Don't bring anything household unless the item is small and full of memories.
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Old Jun 25th, 2022, 05:40 AM
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I donít want a car. Not eligible for Italian citizenship; grandfather naturalized before dad was born.
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Old Jun 25th, 2022, 06:08 AM
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Tagging along out of curiosity. I've lived in five countries, but all were company moves, so I'm always interested in hearing how others upped sticks and moved on their own like swandav.

swandav - where did you spend that first year - did you head directly to Garmisch? I know Switzerland was on the wish list for awhile, but was prohibitively expensive?

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Old Jun 25th, 2022, 06:12 AM
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Hi Melnq8,

Well, I spent that first year in Partenkirchen, but I found I liked Garmisch more, so bought here.
Yes, Switzerland was prohibitively expensive..... one had to have an income of 100,000 chf per year. That was quite a bit more than my meager Army pension, lol!

s
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Old Jun 25th, 2022, 06:14 AM
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Originally Posted by Vicky View Post
I donít want a car.

Then you'll want to be inside a larger city. The smaller you go the more the car becomes a requirement.

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Old Jun 25th, 2022, 06:57 AM
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Originally Posted by Vicky View Post
I donít want a car. Not eligible for Italian citizenship; grandfather naturalized before dad was born.
Iím going down that path. For the longest time all I knew was that my grandfather applied to become a US citizen long before my father was born, and it was only ďrecentlyĒ I discovered he was actually naturalized AFTER my father was born, hence Iím eligible. Several years of acquiring all the required documents, getting them properly certified. That was the east part. Getting an appointment with the Italian consulate proved far harder. Several more years later and thatís now behind me. I mailed my docs in and the envelope is in their hands, waiting to be opened and the application reviewed. Fingers crossed my paperwork is all in order and Iíll get my Italian citizenship by the end of the year.
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Old Jun 25th, 2022, 07:33 AM
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Iím not asking Where to go, but how to start the planning process. Baby steps. Iím thinking a two year timeline. However if the cat passes Iíll be on a plane for a couple months trial.
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Old Jun 25th, 2022, 08:11 AM
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OK, babysteps are look at retirement visas for different countries, look at expat websites, search online for house prices/rentals to give you an idea, but realise that for instance Portugal is popular with younger Americans who do distance working and are pushing the prices up. Look at climates, can you stand Italy/Portugal/Spain/southern France in the summer, given they are only going to get hotter and hotter, earlier and earlier.
Check your health insurance.
Read about different countries that appeal, if you can leave the cat for even a couple of weeks visit the one that appeals the most.
Look into small cities, large towns with good transport links since you won't have a car. Learn a language if you don't already have it, as it will make the whole process easier.
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Old Jun 25th, 2022, 08:49 AM
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You want to move to Italy, correct? This is a possible visa for you, on the Italian consulate in Philadelphia websiteÖ

elective_residence_checklist.pdf

You need to have your lodging sorted out to apply, though. So it is probably better to figure out where you want to be, then apply once you have a lease in hand.

ĎYou can get insurance that will cover you in Italy, you just need an Italian address to apply.. Cigna Gloval is one option - https://www.cignaglobal.com

good luck!
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Old Jun 25th, 2022, 09:03 AM
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In addition to the above start looking at things like banking. Does your current bank charge for ATM withdrawals? How do they handle wire transfers? If they're expensive look if somebody else has a better offer. I'd suggest having a backup card from a different bank just in case.

Last edited by Traveler_Nick; Jun 25th, 2022 at 09:28 AM.
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Old Jun 25th, 2022, 09:23 AM
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Originally Posted by Traveler_Nick View Post
In addition to the above start looking at things like banking. Does your current bank charge for ATM withdrawals? How do they handle wire transfers? If they're expensive look him somebody else has a better offer. I'd suggest having a backup card from a different bank just in case.
Excellent point, Nick. Schwab does not charge for ATM withdrawals. It has been a long time since I paid a utility bill in Italy, can you still go to the post office and pay in cash?
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Old Jun 25th, 2022, 09:27 AM
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If your contract allows you but many now require direct debit. That would require an Italian bank account.

It's not a huge issue to use one bank card to withdraw money from the ATM than use an Italian one to deposit the same money into the Italian account but if the banks are all hitting you with fees it's going to hurt. Plus every so often you might need a bigger payment.

A bank card that works in Italian POS can make life easier.
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Old Jun 25th, 2022, 09:42 AM
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Oh yes. Good point about the banking issues. It can be hard to get a European bank account these days, as foreign banks now have to send reports of Americans' accounts... it can be a big headache. Also, there can be limits on ATM withdrawals. For years I was able to withdraw $1000 or so from my US bank via ATM and deposit in my German bank... then the withdrawal limits made that harder. I now just use "Wise" (used to be Transferwise). And at least here you need a local bank for automatic payments of utilities & rent.

s
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Old Jun 25th, 2022, 09:45 AM
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Also consider your tax situation. It can be a problem for US citizens living abroad as many companies/banks/organisations do not want to have to deal with the IRS, which of course you will still have to.
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Old Jun 25th, 2022, 10:06 AM
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I appreciate all the info. I wonder how long that Italian visa takes
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Old Jun 25th, 2022, 10:15 AM
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Hi

This is the order I would follow:
First - determine in which country which is easier to obtain status - there's no point trying for a country that makes it almost impossible, and of course a country that you like.

Second - take a extra long vacation in the country to look at all the practicalities:
location, transportation, medical care, art and culture, entertainment, safety, prices, etc.
You can visit Portugal up to 90 days without a visa.

Practical info on Portugal visas that apply to you:
D7 - retiree visa - must show proof of income
GOLDEN VISA - requires a set amount of investment.

D7 - you first apply at your nearest consulate or embassy. You will be given a 4 month visa that allows you to travel to Portugal. While in Portugal you must apply for your residency visa. Your residency visa must be renewed yearly, after 6 years you can apply for permanent status.
Info from Portuguese government site:
https://vistos.mne.gov.pt/en/nationa...ixed-residency
Info from lawyers site:
https://asag.pt/en/2016/07/visto-de-...ntos-proprios/

GOLDEN VISA - this type of visa requires a direct financial investment.
There's talk about both cancelling and extending this visa.
Info from lawyers site:
https://asag.pt/en/direito/golden-visa/
Updated info site:
https://www.globalcitizensolutions.c...-visa-changes/

Whatever you choose to do I suggest you hire a good lawyer with experience in this area.
Dealing with bureaucracy is time consuming and frustrating, a lawyer makes the process a lot easier.

Happy travels
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