Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Your Visa {Part 1}

I personally feel that your Visa {permission to stay} in the country of your choice is the most important piece of documentation that you will need. Period. Don't try to out smart the authorities. You could land yourself in a heap of trouble sooner or later. You can live abroad, but there is a process. Do it legally.  It will be worth it.

When LD and I got engaged we had to choose where we wanted to live. My husband was born and raised in Venezuela to Portuguese parents. He was living in Scotland. We knew we needed to get our future spouse permission for where we wanted to live. Scotland or America? We decided I'd come to Scotland. I thought it would be a great adventure, and it is!

We thought about these Visa's:

-Fiancée Visa {takes a few months to get and you need to be married within 90 days of receiving}.

-Married Visa {I'd be a spouse of an EU member, but I wouldn't be living in Portugal, so this one would be complicated to obtain at the present time}

-Residence Visa {I could reside with my husband in his country of choice}

I think these are the easiest ways {probably} to live abroad. Just marry yourself a foreigner and you're good to go! There was a lot to think about though. If LD was to move to the USA we'd have gone through rigorous questioning and a lot of expense. We chose Europe because the process was cheaper and faster. We had more options. We could get married when we wanted and I'd be able to move straight away. This was our main reason for choosing Scotland. We were married in Ohio Feb 2008 and I moved to Scotland 3 days later! It has been quite the adventure.

Let's see what Christy, of The Departure Diaries, has to say about permission to stay in Rome.

So, Mary's needs for entering Scotland are a bit different from my needs entering Italy. Mary needed to move (permenantly) abroad, while my plan (for now) is a six-month abroad plan. As an American going to a European Union country (Italy), in general, there are several options available.
-Student Visa (I won't be going to school there, so this isn't an option for me.) 

-Work Visa (It is VERY difficult for Americans to obtain permission to work in the Eurozone. There aren't enough jobs in Italy for Italians right now, so unless your company is sending you to Italy, you should probaly not expect this one to happen.) 

-Spouse Visa (I'm not married, so this is right out) 

-Non-working guest resident visa (For this visa you have to prove that you have the means to live in Italy without working an Italian job while there. There is base income chart you will have to prove you have the funds to cover for the length of your visa. There are also other requirements you'll have to meet, but income is the main factor here.) 

-Holiday (90-day Schengen) visa 

-Visa run (more on this in a minute, this goes hand in hand with a 90-day Schengen visa)
The best two options for me are the non-working guest visa and the Schengen (90 day visa) and resulting Visa Run.
Before I go any further, a bit of explanation on what a Schengen visa is, just in case you wanted to know: 

"The Schengen Agreement is a treaty signed on 14 June 1985 near the town of Schengen in Luxembourg, between five of the ten member states of the European Economic Community. It was supplemented by the Convention implementing the Schengen Agreement five years later. Together these treaties created Europe's borderless Schengen Area, which operates very much like a single state for international travel with external border controls for travellers travelling in and out of the area, but with no internal border controls."

So, for the purposes of this post, let's say that I'm not a student, not going to Italy for work, I'm not married to a EU resident I don't want to be bothered trying to secure a guest visa. After all, I'm only going to be in the EU for six months, and I may not spend all of that time in Italy, so why get an Italian residency visa? In this instance, the best option for me would clearly be to simply stay in the EU for 90 days and then fly home. Once I get that US re-entry visa in my passport I can immediately fly back to the EU and start another 90-day stay. People do this all of the time, and since I only expect to stay in the EU for six months (two 90-day visas) on a very long holiday, it shouldn't be an issue.
The downside of doing things this way:
-You can run into problems doing visa runs if you continually do this over a long period of time. If any country suspects you of doing these visa-runs with the intent of LIVING overseas, they can detain, deport you bar you from entry. (If you've read Elizabeth Gilbert's Committed, something similar happened to her husband.) 

-Round Trip tickets to/from the US are VERY expensive. For the cost of a round trip ticket home for a visa, I could take two or three nice holidays in Europe... I mean, holidays on my holiday... nice.
There are many different ways to live and work abroad. It can be confusing and daunting, but if you prepare and do your homework I'm sure you'll find the right Visa for you. Don't let it scare you away.

Come back next week to find out what Visa I have and find out more tips and tricks about obtaining permission to live abroad. 

If you have any questions or topics you'd like discussed, please leave a comment!

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