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Long Term Visa/Residency Options

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Sep 1st, 2013, 09:45 PM
  #1
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Long Term Visa/Residency Options

I initially posted this in the wrong forum.

I hold and Australian passport and am about to retire (coming up to 60) and would like to spend years touring through Europe, starting and finishing with a 6 month stay in the UK. I can cover living expenses (including health cover) and have no other problems that would prevent acceptance (no criminal record and no desire to obtain work). The plan is to return to Australia and therefore I am not looking for permanent residency.

I would have thought self funded retirees that will put money into Europe and take nothing but memories away would be welcomed but alas, it appears not the case.

I have contacted 2 "visa specialists" and been disappointed with the result - forum checks on them were negative as well.

Research so far tells me Shengen visas are out (too short and extended stays, even going in and out of non convention countries is unlikely to be sufficient), there are 1 year options as a temporary resident in France, Austria and Germany but renewal may be a problem if I don't reside in the country for most of the year. There are options to buy property in Portugal and others (500,000 Euro) where it appears I can have temporary residency status. The amount of investment is very high relative to my needs and these appear to be for those moving permanently

Then I came across a Bulgarian investment option that requires 300,000 euro investment in property and allow significant freedom, i.e. no need to stay in the country - free to roam

http://www.key2europe.com/en/Real-Estate-Investment

Has anyone found a solution to long term touring in Europe?
Is this Bulgarian scheme legitimate?
Can anyone recommend reliable visa specialist's that can truly help?
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Sep 1st, 2013, 11:18 PM
  #2
 
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It looks like you are looking for a D type Schengen visa; there are different kinds of them, mostly are work visa, but there could be plans allowing for persons who do not work (in Italy it would be an "elective residence" visa). As long as you have enough funds (a lot) and/or a pension stream to provide for yourself without working, an health insurance and you have a possible residence available (no need to buy, you can rent an home), it is not impossibile to get one. Not easy but not impossible. You will be expected to take residence and the red tape could be numbing, still it can be done. It may be easier when you are retired (so you would not be tempted to work).
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Sep 1st, 2013, 11:27 PM
  #3
 
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Unless it's a Schengen visa then it will be country specific - so you are limited to the 90 in 180 day rule for other Schengen countries.

In practice it's unlikely that it will cause problems - unless you come to the attention of the authorities in some way or you have to claim under an insurance policy
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Sep 1st, 2013, 11:32 PM
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It must be possible somehow. A friend of mine stayed as a guest on a private barge converted into a houseboat by a retired American who spends 5 months out of the year (longer than the 3 month visitor visa) on the canals of France.

I think that a consulate from a Schengen member might be able to provide the proper information.
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Sep 2nd, 2013, 01:16 AM
  #5
 
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Michael, your friend probably got a temporary long-stay visa. Those are good for up to 6 months.

OP, get a 6 month UK tourist visa, then a 6 month visa for a Schengen member country, then 6 months in non-Schengen European countries, then another 6 months visa for a Schengen member country, then 6 months in non-Schengen European countries, then another 6 months visa for a Schengen member country, then another UK tourist visa, and then back to Australia. Easy peasy.
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Sep 2nd, 2013, 02:47 AM
  #6
 
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I have no idea whether or not the Bulgarian offer is legitimate but I think there are other cheaper ways to secure a long-stay visa.

I would make appointments with 2 or 3 Schengen member consulates, explain what you want to do and see what they have to say. A long-stay visa (one year, renewable) is certainly possible in France. We have friends without EU passports who are not wealthy but have met the inome and health insurance requirements.

Renting a small place in an area of France you want to visit anyway would most likely satisfy the residency requirement should you want to renew the visa. Small flats, even in popular areas (excluding central Paris), can be had for under 1,000€ a month for 12-month let.
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Sep 2nd, 2013, 03:07 PM
  #7
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Hi and thanks to you all for your help - It has given me a few new ideas. On thing I forgot to mention was that I was keen to travel in a large (35-39 foot long) bus which I will purchase and later sell. It will be home for the extended travel in Europe. I will also tow a small vehicle for exploring areas with narrow streets.
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Sep 2nd, 2013, 03:12 PM
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>>I was keen to travel in a large (35-39 foot long) bus which I will purchase and later sell. It will be home for the extended travel in Europe. I will also tow a small vehicle for exploring areas with narrow streets.<<

That will be very difficult. In most countries you need a permanent address to buy/license/insure vehicles.
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Sep 2nd, 2013, 05:49 PM
  #9
 
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I think you will find you need a special local license (and training) to drive a large bus rather than just a car.

Don't know difficulties of purchase/registration, but it sounds like something to consider.
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Sep 2nd, 2013, 08:45 PM
  #10
 
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Do you mean an actual bus (why?) or an RV/caravan? If the latter, see this blog: http://soultravelers3.com/ - Americans who bought an RV in Europe. Don't remember seeing anything about them needing a special license, but a bus would probably be regarded as commercial.
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Sep 2nd, 2013, 09:04 PM
  #11
 
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>>Don't remember seeing anything about them needing a special license, <<

I was talking about buying, registering, and insuring a vehicle.
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Sep 2nd, 2013, 09:53 PM
  #12
 
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janisj - I was responding to nytraveler, not to you.
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Sep 3rd, 2013, 01:41 AM
  #13
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Everyone is being very helpful and I thank you all.

Just to help with the bus discussion - yes it is a bus built to live in. Examples can be found at http://www.motorhomes.mobi/Motorhome...V/Default.aspx

I hold a suitable licence in Australia (which I can convert to international before I leave Australia) and there is a short course in the UK that will skill me for driving overseas. For those interested details of the course can be found at www.bigpitchguides.eu

39 foot is the maximum length allowed in the UK where I can use a friend's permanent address for registration. My only issue is that I may have to return the bus to UK annually for the MOT certificate for re-registration but I can live with that.

The issue for me is making sure I can explore Europe with what will probably be over 100K's worth of bus/car.
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Sep 3rd, 2013, 02:13 AM
  #14
 
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Interesting idea. It sure would suck if someone stole your home while you were out exploring a town in the car.

Your trip sounds like something that's more suitable for the U.S. and Canada than Europe.

You might get some better info on Lonely Planet's Thorntree, where your mode of travel might get more useful answers.
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Sep 3rd, 2013, 02:17 AM
  #15
 
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UK is indeed the only EU country (to my knowledge) where a non-resident can register a vehicle, though getting suitable and affordable insurance is another matter. There are a few specialist brokers/intermediaries you can contact, such as https://www.hertsinsurance.com/walkabout.php.

As for your visa situation, getting Type D visa from a Schengen country is probably your best bet, though it doesn't give the freedom you are looking for, as in other Schengen countries you are limited to 90-in-180 days (not that they will check up on you, but if you have an accident and come to the authorities' attention etc). You can come to UK visa-free for up to 6 months, but you do risk being turned away if they suspect you are trying to live long-term in UK and not a genuine visitor (e.g. driving a vehicle on a GB plate registered to a UK address and owned by you).
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Sep 3rd, 2013, 03:22 AM
  #16
 
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If there is only you why do you need such a huge vehicle? It will be a pain to drive in most of Europe and cost a fortune in fuel and campsite fees.
It is possible to buy and sell back a smaller camper in the Netherlands. The company holds the registration and insurance for you. There was a thread recently about doing just that. If you click on my name you will no doubt find it as I commented on it.
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Sep 3rd, 2013, 06:53 AM
  #17
 
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Have you driven in Europe before? A 39 foot bus is going to be a pain anywhere off the motorway (or equivalent?)
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Sep 3rd, 2013, 07:41 AM
  #18
 
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Especially a RHD drive on mainland Europe.
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