Tag: europe

How to Get into Europe

How to Get into Europe

Since immigration laws for non-EU citizens in Europe are getting stricter by the minute, if you’re really serious about moving to Europe and staying here, you’ll need a visa. Laws also change quickly, so please check the consulate or embassy page for up-to-date information.

How to Get into Europe

The EU is made up of two zones: the Schengen area and the non-Schengen area. The non-Schengen area consists of Ireland and the UK. The Schengen area consists of mostly continental Europe. If you travel within the Schengen territory, you don’t need to show your passport in each country that you enter. So if you fly from Rome to Athens, you’re not going to go through passport control.

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From: http://ec.europa.eu
From: http://ec.europa.eu

Tourist Visa:

Americans don’t need a tourist visa to enter the EU.

UK and Ireland: You’re allowed to stay as a tourist for a total of 180 months within a 12 month period.

Schengen Europe: You’re allowed to say for a total of 90 days within a 6 month period.

*In the past, a lot of non-EU peeps thought that they could stay in Italy or another country without a visa and leave the country for the a short weekend or a visit back home and come back in to renew their tourist visa. But that’s not the law. Some countries might seem to have lax border controls at the airport, but you don’t want to test them to find out. No one in Italy had ever asked to see my permesso di soggiorno in Italy, but whenever I flew into London, they always asked to see my permesso and asked me personal detailed questions about where I lived, where I studied, whether I was dating anyone in the UK, etc. etc. This shit is no joke.

The EU Blue Card:

This has been implemented in recent years  and had I known about it then, I probably would have taken advantage of it. This is probably your best bet for getting a working visa if you want to move to continental Europe.

This visa is for highly skilled workers that want to work in Europe. Countries excluded from the Blue Card are Ireland and the UK. It entitles you to work and benefits in your country of residence and free movement within the Schengen area. It also allows you to apply for permanent residence between 2 and 5 years depending on the country you reside in.

Requirements for the Blue Card:

-non-EU citizen

-must have completed higher education

-must have a work contract or a binding offer from an employer

*If you’re in the Schengen area on a student visa, you’ll be allowed to switch to a Blue Card visa provided that you find an employer.

Student Visa

Whether you want to do a university course or study the language long-term, you’re going to need a student visa. Depending on the country you live in, you may be allowed to work on a student visa.

UK: At the moment in the UK, if you’re on a student you’re allowed to work up to 20 hours a week. For those making applications from 3 August 2015 and on, you will not be allowed to workThe cost for a UK student visa is £322. 

Italy: In Italy, you’re allowed to work up to 20 hours a week. There is no visa fee. Once you arrive in Italy on your visa, you are required to apply for a permesso di soggiorno. Most schools will help you with that. *The nice thing about this is that you would be able to make contact with employers while on a student visa and be able to apply for a Blue Card without them having to sponsor you for a work visa.

Work Visa

A work visa is one in which your employer sponsors you for a visa. This is quite difficult to get because under EU laws, the employer would have to demonstrate that you are more qualified for the job than any other EU-member candidate. So if you have a skill like able to speak Chinese or Russian than that would put you at higher advantage of getting your visa approved. BUT it’s not impossible and there are also a lot of American companies based in Italy and the UK that might have an easier time sponsoring you for a visa.

Elective Residency in Italy

This is a visa that allows you to reside in Italy, but not work. It is usually given to retirees who can prove that they can live without working. This is the visa that I got when I first moved to Rome in order to do a six-month internship. I applied through the consulate in London and maybe my Italian name and speaking to them in Italian charmed them because I don’t know how else I could have gotten it. I’m sure that if I had applied to through the consulate in New York, they wouldn’t have given it to me. I’ve read some places online that in New York they’re dicks (which I’m not surprised about) and you have to be a millionaire in order to get the visa. Go figure. As with any Italian visa, once you arrive in Italy, you must apply for a permesso di soggiorno.





I want to be in Italy

I want to be in Italy

A few years ago a friend in London said to me, “I don’t really get the sense of what you want to do with your life. Just where you want to be.”

As an American living in Europe and playing the visa game between the UK and Italy, where I wanted to be took precedence over what I wanted to do. But now that the visa game is over and I’m free to work and do whatever I want, I’m still struggling with this where I want be vs what I want to do.

We’ve just come back from Italy and again I have that pull. I used to call it a bug when I was living back in New York and I’ve probably had this bug since I was born. It doesn’t let me rest and I have to face it now that all I want to do is move back to Italy.

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And I’ve tried before. I managed to get a visa and live in Rome for a year a half, but the visa didn’t let me work. Of course I worked under the table or in nero as they say in Italian as most of my Italian friends did, but that didn’t help for anything long term. Plus the immigration laws were changing in Europe and especially in the UK, so I decided to move back to London where I was allowed to get a two-year working visa just before they got rid of it. If I had stayed in Italy, I probably would have eventually had to move back to the States, so I went back to London to buy more time.

It was a good move since I luckily met and married my wonderful and crazy Italian husband, D, there, but still I have that bug. We’re thinking of moving back to Italy, to Venice where he’s from and if we do, then it’s a big decision.

Since I was little anytime I mentioned to my family and relatives about moving back to Italy. The ones in America all said I was crazy and stupid. That Italy was a terrible place to live and that’s why they left. The ones in Italy said that I didn’t realize how lucky I was in America. An old Italian boyfriend told me that he didn’t love me enough to ask me to sacrifice my whole life to be with him in Rome. I mention it to Italians here in London and they say I’m crazy. “We all want to move back, but there isn’t any work.”

Maybe I could get a job here.
Maybe I could get a job here.


It’s always the attitude that hey know more about Italy then I do because I wasn’t born there. As if my roots weren’t enough entitlement to move back to the country of my parents. Hah!

But if you wait for anyone to tell you it’s okay to do something, you’ll never do anything.

And if you have this thing inside of you, this bug, until you honour it, you’ll never move on. You’ll just still coast and scheme and strategise and compromise and then scheme and strategise and compromise and coast over and over. That’s why I’m still in London doing lots of little jobs, freelancing, working with artists and organizing events and other projects, I’m coasting here. I’m not putting my full energy into making something big happen.

But when I allow myself to think about Italy, to think about moving back, I get excited. Of course there are the million soul-destroying and frustrating things about living there from finding work, to disrespecting women, to the bureaucracy, the politics, the tax system, the macho culture etc.

It’s not an easy place to live, but what can I do? If I’ve had this desire and drive since I was a little kid to live in Italy, then I have to go there. I keep thinking that if I finally move to where I want to be, then being, living and doing will all come together. It’s not enough to love it from afar.

The idea of moving back makes me excited and happy and full of energy. Like I can see something possible in the future.

The pianura of the Veneto Region
The pianura of the Veneto Region