Living in Europe: The Ultimate Guide for Americans Looking to Move Abroad

Ah, Europe! Land of varied cultures, breathtaking landscapes and a thousand-year-old history. For Americans who dream of settling abroad, this continent is full of fascinating opportunities and destinations. But how to navigate this maze of administration, visas and cultural differences? Don’t panic, this guide is here to accompany you step by step in this adventure towards a new life on the Old Continent. Fasten your seat belts, we’re flying to Europe!

How I achieved my European dream

Originally from Houston, Texas, I spent over 20 years traveling internationally. I fell in love with Spain over a decade ago and eventually moved to Madrid in 2015. Today, I have lived in different European countries under various visas: student, working and non-profit. My background has allowed me to help many Americans make the leap to Europe.

Can Americans move to Europe?

The short answer is yes! U.S. citizens can travel to most European countries for up to 90 days (in a 180-day period) as tourists. However, for those who wish to live there, a long-term visa or residence permit is essential. Contrary to popular belief, you do not need to be rich or be transferred by a company to live your European dream. There are several visa options for all ages, income levels and interests.

Which countries in Europe are good for Americans?

Among the 44 European countries, some offer more accessible options for obtaining residency. Popular destinations like Spain, THE Portugal, THE The Netherlands, L’Germany and theEstonia are particularly welcoming. For example, Spain and Portugal offer user-friendly visas that can be renewed and lead to permanent residency. The Netherlands and Germany also offer attractive visas for entrepreneurs and freelancers.

What you need to know before moving to Europe

Living in Europe can take a lot of paperwork and patience, but it’s definitely doable. Here are some key points to keep in mind:

  • Finances: You don’t need a fortune, but understanding your financial situation is essential. Try to pay off your debts, increase your savings, and plan for your future income.
  • Visa application : Gathering the necessary documents may take longer than expected. Some documents may need to be translated or apostilled. Patience is essential.
  • Reduction of goods: Take a few months to decide what you want to take, sell, donate or store.
  • Research : Find out about your future country and city. The more you know, the fewer surprises you will have. A visit before moving is strongly recommended.
  • Community : Connect with expats and locals through online groups before you move. This will help you feel less isolated and get helpful advice.

FAQs about moving to Europe

  • Do I have to pay taxes in the United States and Europe? Yes, U.S. citizens must pay taxes on their worldwide income. It is advisable to consult an accountant specializing in expatriate taxes.
  • Is healthcare in Europe expensive? Compared to the United States, no! European health systems are among the best in the world. Private health insurance is often available at very affordable rates.
  • Do I need to speak the local language? Although you can often get by with English, learning the basics of the local language will make your integration much easier.
  • Do I need travel insurance? Yes, it is recommended to subscribe for the duration of your stay.

What type of visa should I get to live in Europe?

  • Tourist visa : Allows stay up to 90 days out of 180 days for leisure activities.
  • Work visa : Necessary if you have found a job in Europe. Fees vary by country.
  • Student Visa: For those who wish to study in Europe. Fees vary depending on destination.
  • Entrepreneur Visa: Some countries offer visas to entrepreneurs to start business activities.
  • Digital Nomad Visa: Intended for remote workers, allows you to live and work in certain countries such as Estonia for a limited time.

Practical tips for moving to Europe

Before you take the plunge, consider trying living in Europe temporarily to see if it’s right for you. You can use home exchange networks like NOAD, which allow you to stay with other members for free.

To know more

For an in-depth understanding of visas and destinations in Europe, consult specialist guides and online communities for advice and recommendations.
Good luck on your European adventure!