Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Your Visa {Part 2}

In case you missed it, Your Visa {Part One}

If you're wondering what Visa I have, I am living in Scotland on a Residence Visa. It basically states that because my husband is Portuguese {a member of the European Union} I am eligible to reside where he does. It is good for 5 yrs. I will be able to renew it easily enough for a small fee. Or I can become a dual citizen of Portugal and the USA and have my very own Portuguese passport. 

They quoted me 6 weeks to get my actual Visa. It took 18 months. Yikes! I did receive a letter 2 weeks after I filed that basically said I was good to go and work etc but my actual Visa was not ready yet. That took quite a bit longer. So, be prepared for the red tape.

For those of you whom are not marrying foreigners and would like to live abroad, Christy {The Departure Diaries} and I have a few options for you:

My husband lived in the USA for 6 months on a Student Visa. He attended a language school in Utah. I previously thought Student Visa's were for those in a degree program abroad. It's not! If you want to learn a new language, why not apply for a Student Visa? You're sure to immerse yourself in the language and get more out of it than you would a class at your local college. 

Here are some of the hoops you'll need to jump in order to obtain a Student Visa:

-Apply for the school of your choice. You need to be accepted into your program/class before you can apply for a Student Visa. 

-Once you're accepted, they will send you the documentation to apply for your Student Visa. {approximately 6 months before you travel}

-Get a Sponsor. A sponsor is someone who takes full responsibility for the candidate {ie: you}. You can apply without a sponsor but you will need to show that you have enough funds in your bank account to sustain you. This amount is usually far greater than your stay will actually cost. You won't need to live with your sponsor, they are just your "guardian" in a sense. 

-Save, save save!! Save as much money as you can. While you are studying you'll also be travelling around the country. You'll need to make sure you have enough funds. My husband came to the USA in 2001 with $5,000. I'd say that's a steal! You'd need a lot more than that now. But, that was sufficient for him at the time. You probably won't be allowed to work with a student visa. If my husband would have been in a degree program he could have worked his 2nd yr for a few hrs per week. But, if you are planning on just a 6 month stint to learn the language or take a fun class you won't be allowed. Make sure you have the funds to sustain you. 

My husband said it was fairly easy to obtain but the sponsor was the hardest part. He is fluent in English now and his accent is diminishing with each year. He had a great time and learned a lot!!

LD did say that he knew people arriving on a Student Visa, and planned on staying in the USA. Do not do this. If you enter the country on a limited time Visa, make sure you abide by all the rules. If he had overstayed his Visa then, we would have trouble getting him a Visa today now that we're married. You don't want to miss any future opportunities to travel because you broke the law. 

Let's see what Christy of The Departure Diaries is doing about moving to Rome in 2013:

Now, that said, for my move to Italy, here is what I actually plan on doing: 
-I'll enter the country on a Schengen Visa.  
-Once I'm in Italy, and settled into an apartment, I'll begin the process of securing a more permanent visa. 
As an American moving to an EU (European Union) country, who has not secured a job, has no spouse living in the EU (or anywhere else, for that matter) and I am not a student, the options I have left are these: 1. Apply for Italian Citizenship. 2. Obtain a Guest Resident Visa. While I LOVE Italy, citizenship is not something I'm ready for (yet). 
So it's the guest resident visa that I'll be going for. Italy is one of a very few countries that allows for this type of visa. Perhaps it's the country's longstanding love affair with arts and artists that make this visa possible. I mean, can you imagine artists not being able to journey to the veritable Mecca of painting, sculpture and architecture that is Italy? Me neither.
The main thing about this visa is that YOU CAN'T WORK. Not Italian jobs. I think there is some leeway when it comes to freelancing or writing, so long as your employer is in your home country. As long as you have enough money to live in Italy without working there, Italy is happy to host you. 
So far as I understand it, I'll need to file a bunch of paperwork once I'm in Italy, including a form called a Permesso di Sogiourno.  Along with that form, I'll need to supply the following information: proof of a place to stay, proof of an income to sustain you, medical insurance, (which you can buy, rather inexpensively, if you so desire, from the Post Office. Yes, I said the Post Office.) a letter stating your reason for the move and a document from the police stating that you have never been convicted of a felony. (Information from: Confusing enough? I'm sure I haven't got everything perfectly right. And I'm really not worried about it. I'll take care of it when it's time to take care of it. The important thing, for me, is to be aware that there is a process (however confusing it may be) that I will need to participate in. Beyond that, for now, Que Sera, people.
Are any of you planning on moving abroad? Anyone dreaming of it?  

1 comment:

  1. I know this article is old, but bear with me!

    I am an American living in my home town of Chicago, IL. After studying abroad in Scotland in 2011 and realizing it's the BEST country on earth, I have made several trips back. My boyfriend is from Lithuania and is currently studying at the university in Stirling. Come next May he graduates, but what happens then?

    Christy is very brave for facing all the paperwork and risk that comes with the Guest Residence Visa. I know many young Americans who work "illegally", being paid cash in hand by their friends/employers, but is that worth the risk of getting caught/deported? I want to do things the RIGHT way.

    When I was in school, I asked EVERYONE for advice on how to get a visa to work in the UK. Their answer: get married. Unfortunately, getting married simply is not an option AT ALL at this point in my life. I could go to graduate school in the UK, but am already in debt from my undergraduate degree as it is.

    And the same difficulties that I face for the UK, my boyfriend faces for the US. Across the globe, the economy is still too weak. A company that is willing to offer to sponsor an American for a visa is rare, plus they have to prove to the UK that said American has a quality no Scot has. Good luck with that! ;)

    This comment has ranted on long enough. Misery enjoys company, I guess. :P I am glad to see others are taking risks and enjoying the fruit of their labors. If you meet others who have tried other options, please post their stories and give us some ideas! Thank you for your blog!


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