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How to Move to Europe as an American 

Are you thinking about making the leap and moving across the pond? Well moving to Europe as an American isn’t always easy, but it’s 100% worth the hassle.

However, it can be tricky to figure out how to make this dream a reality. Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered with the guide to how to move to Europe as an American.

Let’s dive in and find out more!

Choosing Your Country

Not all European countries are fair and equal! Picking the country that’s right for you is critical. Maybe you’re looking for an affordable nation like Hungary or Portugal, or perhaps you’re after sunshine and islands in Spain or Italy. 

Each country has its pros and cons with some being more expensive than others, some having more social services, some having a more active job scene, and some being just the destinations of dreams. 

map of Europe

There’s a lot that goes into picking individual destinations, but I’d strongly recommend at least visiting your new home country, city, or town before committing to a big move. I’d also recommend trying to experience the place as a local while you visit, so get an Airbnb in the residential areas, shop at the local markets, and see what it’s actually like, rather than just staying in the tourist hotspots. 

Picking Your Visa

Once you’ve selected a country that you want to move to, you can start looking at visas. It’s probably one of the most tedious and annoying pieces of paperwork you’ll have to do but it’s absolutely necessary.

Without a semi-permanent visa, you can’t move to your new country. You’ll need to hit the eligibility criteria which is stricter in some countries than in others. Normally, you need a job with a visa sponsorship, a family connection to your new home country, or a relationship with an existing citizen. There are a few other different visa options in different European countries, but these are the main options.  

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Getting a Job

Most visas, whether they’re sponsored work visas or not, require you to prove that you can financially support yourself while you’re living in a new country. Obviously, the most traditional way is to get a job.

Depending on which country you’re moving to, you should be able to find online job boards like Indeed or LinkedIn which can help you find a gig before you arrive in the country. 

a man holding a gadget

Of course, it always helps to get a job that comes with visa sponsorship, but not every company offers this. That’s because it can cost around $1000 a year to be registered with the government as a visa-sponsoring company. Make sure you ask early on in the application process if the company is willing to sponsor you, or if you can negotiate the $1000 coming out of your salary to cover the costs on their behalf.

Searching for visa-sponsoring companies in your new country is always a good place to start. There are plenty of options!

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Finding Accommodation

While you might not want to blindly lease or buy a place in your new country while you’re still in the States, you will need somewhere to stay when you land. You also might need to detail where you’re staying on your visa application forms and landing forms on the flight over. 

One of the most common approaches is to book an Airbnb in a residential area for when you initially arrive and then check out local rentals once you can physically visit them. You can also check into a hostel on a long-term rental if you’re on more of a budget.

Pack Your Gear 

Once you have all of these essentials sorted out, all that’s left is to pack up your gear, ship any big ticket items, and jump on a flight to your new home! It’s going to be a huge adventure, so do your research, and take the leap!

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