Are you location independent now, or do you plan on it sometime in the future? I’m betting there’s a good chance.. 🙂 On that note, if you’ve even remotely considered (pun intended, hehe) to stay in Europe for more than 90 days at a time, here’s some insider info on how to make it happen.
Take it from me — I’ve spent the last 9+ years bouncing around Europe. Germany has been my home base for a good amount of the time, but I’ve been to a bunch of different countries (don’t worry, I’m not going to brag about them all here!). Some of them have been just a few days at a time, others (like Spain), I’ve “lived” in for short chunks of time, like a month…then I was Switzerland for 3 months, Croatia for 2 months…(yeah, my now-fiancee was there so I had a good reason). You get the idea.
Planning is Key
My point is, if you do your homework and plan it right, there’s no reason you *ever* have to leave Europe.
As an non-EU citizen, the *easiest* way to manage this is keeping track of your Schengen visa stays. As a US citizen — and a citizen of some other countries, though obviously I’m the most familiar with US citizen related laws — you have 90 days within a 180 period to remain in the “Schengen area”.
What is Schengen? It includes the Scandinavian countries and most of western Europe, with Ireland and the UK being exceptions. It also extends pretty far, but once you hit the Balkans, Romania, Bulgaria, etc. it pretty much stops. See the image below if you’re curious.
Here are 2 ways you can get around the Schengen-stupidness and live in Europe foreverrrr (cue maniacal laughter bwahahahaa!).
#1 – One of the obvious tricks (pretty much the story of my life!) is make sure you stay not more than 90 days in a 180 time period in the Schengen countries, and in between visit non-Schengen ones.
Otherwise, stepping a bit outside Europe and visiting nearby places like Turkey or Northern Africa are also fun, affordable options.
Pro tip: Most non-schengen countries are way more affordable than Schengen (with several notable exceptions). Just FYI, some of the cheapest Schengen countries include Portugal, Poland, Slovenia, and Hungary.
#2 –Apply for a Schengen visa. Definitely takes planning, but well worth it if you seriously plan on staying in Europe for a while. Especially if you’d like to stay in one place more than 90 days.
If you want to learn more about various visa options, this blog post by one of the original “budget travel” bloggers, Nomadic Matt, is a great place to start. He describes some of the easiest Schengen visas you can get. Not only that, but Matt also goes into detail on how to maximize your visits in Europe/Schengen.
Hope you find that helpful!
My Personal Secret Sauce
Oh, and if you’re curious, I can give you my personal secret sauce to obtaining Schengen visas in Germany. It’s my personal specialty 😉
You might be shocked to hear I’ve pulled this off without having an actual German “job” … to be honest, it’s really not that difficult, just takes some time & planning like anything else.
If getting German based Schengen visas (without needing a j-o-b) is something you’d want to hear more about, just shoot an email and let me know.
Keep on remote rocking!
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