Best way for American to Live in Italy

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Best way for American to Live in Italy


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Old 18th June 2010, 10:04 PM
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Default Best way for American to Live in Italy

Hi, I ami nterested in spending may 4 or 5 months in Italia to experience the life there. I am hoping to study a variety of languages and I want to excel in Italian. Italian culture and lifestyle is very interesting to me, but I understand it has a tricky bureaucracy to overcome, especially if you are a non-EU citizen.

Besides teaching English, which I hear is not even a feasible way to gain residency for an American, what would be a good way to stay in Italy longer than the typical 3 months allowance. Also, I would like to spend a year travelling around the EU, how can this be done without being expelled because I overstay my 90 day allowance, which is utterly ridiculous in my opinion, considering how big Europe is. How can an American spend a year travelling through Europe?

I have so many questions, this is one of my first posts here on the board, but I am eager to hear the stories of others in my situation who have succeeded in gaining residency.

As far as my job, I am a software developer and I am seekign to start a web software business. I do not have a college degree, but rather left school to work for family software business. However, I do have 10+ years of experience in the field. I guess my skills are not exactly marketable and I am seeking a way to make money online and not have to be at the mercy of local employers. However, I need to think of a way that I can stay in the country without being thrown out. Also, I don't want to do anything illegal or at least that is not acceptable by those countries . E.g, when I was in africa, bribes are always expected, so I am not against doing anything that is safe to do, especially if the government operates that way. But, I want to stay as abiding to the laws, customs or whatever that I can be on good legal terms. I do not want a sham marriage or fake passport or anything of that nature.

Thanks for advice people can give me.

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Old 19th June 2010, 06:58 AM
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Can't help you too much with Italy, as I have yet to visit there, but for traveling around Europe in general, the main requirement is that you have a "base residence" and that you are a "contributing" member of society. (Contributing, that is, to the local social insurances.) In the case of retirees, you have to be able to prove your financial means - preferably a pension or annuity of some variety - sufficient to keep you off the local benefits system.

The 90 day limit is designed for tourists or the odd business trip - and I guess it's assumed that past that point you have to have some means of earning a living. To the extent that you are working in a place, you are subject to the local labor laws (unless clearly on a "business trip" from your home base) - including making the necessary contributions toward the health and retirement systems, as well as taxes.

The one big issue you're up against is the nature of your employment. To get a visa, you generally have to have an employer to sponsor your application. It's possible to set up a self-employment business once you're resident somewhere, but normally the intention to do so isn't enough to satisfy the authorities to issue you a visa.
Cheers,
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Old 19th June 2010, 07:34 AM
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Short of finding an employer willing to help with a visa I can't think of any other way to work. Unemployment is around 8% but can be much higher for younger workers. Or much lower if your skills are in demand.

90 days is just for the visa zone. The UK isn't in the zone. I don't know how they treat Americans but in general I think they allow six months. Other parts of Europe are outside the zone. So you can travel to those countries without cutting into your 90 day limit.

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Old 19th June 2010, 07:10 PM
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Thanks for the replies.. I really don't actually need a job in Europe. I am a software developer and I will be trying to start my own web business and I am currently employed in a business where I telecommute from home. All I really need is a high speed internet connection and I am set. Also, I was told some people make extra money in some European countries by teaching English on the side. Well, don't realy know if it is a feasible income or if it would work to supplement me a bit. Of course, I am not a teacher, so it would be all under the table. However, I am thinking my current work as a software developer will help support me while I travel around Europe. The only problem now, is not being able to make money, but rather convince the governments in each country to let me stay; that is not to deport me, because of expired visa, etc.

If anyone can expand on what they mean by the zone, I would appreciate it. I have no plans on visiting the UK, so I don't think any laws of the UK would help me. This is just an example. Lets say I want to start my travel in Italy, then go to Bulgaria, Romania, Switzerland, France, Poland. Can all this be done over a period of 6 months to a year. Lets say I have the means to support myself, but I want to spend maybe 2 months in each of these Eu countries. Would the time I spent in one country not count for the times I spent in another country? If anyone can explain to me about the rules for this situation I would appreciate it. The entire EU laws are very confusing to me.

I was looking into EU citizenship through a UK ancestry visa, as my grandfather was born in England. However, because I am not a commonwealth citizen, I think it would be impossible to get based on that.

I am thinking maybe one day if my web business takes off, I can try to hire some programmers in Eastern Europe, since the wages are lower there and they are high skilled. I am not sure if that would help influence a government's decision on giving me residency. I understand many countries want like $250,000 in their bank for a business residency permit. However, all this is far in the future, as I just have enough right now to support myself. I was considering though maybe working with some foreign programmers on an affiliate program type of basis which would be more feasible for the near future.

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Old 19th June 2010, 08:44 PM
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The zone people talk about is the Schengen area. (Read about it here: Schengen Agreement - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia) Basically, as a US citizen, you are entitled to stay for a period of up to 90 days within the Schengen area on admission to any of the Schengen countries. It works more or less like the Visa Waiver program for foreigners coming to the US - just the entry stamp in your passport authorizes your stay.

To stay in Europe for longer than 90 days requires you to obtain a long-stay visa in one of the European (or Schengen area) countries. The UK (not being a Schengen country) will admit US citizens for up to 6 months on a "tourist" entry - but like in the US, being admitted for the full 6 month period depends on your convincing the immigration official that you're not planning on overstaying, nor on working in the UK, nor in setting up a more permanent form of residence.

For details about terms and conditions for a "long stay visa" (i.e. anything over 90 days in most European countries), check the individual country's consulate website in the US.
Cheers,
Bev

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Old 20th June 2010, 04:09 AM
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Sounds like the Schengen visa is a real pain. I guess I will have to investigate what I can do to convince a consulate that I want to stay for 6 months. I know i can financially support myself throughout the trip. If I tell themI am working for an American company through telecommunication via Internet and VOIP, would that satisfy them that I am self-sufficient? Or, would this qualify as foreign employment and would they get mad that I am generating income in the country, even though the source is from USA? I know this is the type of red tape that gets to me.

I guess my final answer is to hopefully fall in love within 90 days and get marriage visa Sorry, I am being sarcastic.. ANyhow, I think I have to think of something. Where there is a will there is a way; I know I can make this work somehow.

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Old 20th June 2010, 05:57 AM
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Originally Posted by JonMystic View Post
If I tell themI am working for an American company through telecommunication via Internet and VOIP, would that satisfy them that I am self-sufficient? Or, would this qualify as foreign employment and would they get mad that I am generating income in the country, even though the source is from USA? I know this is the type of red tape that gets to me.
If you are going to be working while physically in the country - and especially if you're going to be staying for 183 days or more - you are considered "tax resident" there and expected to register for and pay the various social insurances.

Talk to the Italian consulate and see what they tell you - but non-working visas are generally limited to "tourists." It may be possible to get a student visa if you're attending a language school, and that allows for limited work while studying (though generally you are expected to pay into the local insurance system).
Cheers,
Bev

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Old 20th June 2010, 08:05 AM
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The extended visa requires you to manage in a worst case. If you need to work then even by telecomputing what happens if you lose your job? You need to be able to support yourself without working.

Pension,savings etc.

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Old 20th June 2010, 10:19 AM
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Originally Posted by JonMystic View Post
Hi, I ami nterested in spending may 4 or 5 months in Italia to experience the life there. I am hoping to study a variety of languages and I want to excel in Italian. Italian culture and lifestyle is very interesting to me, but I understand it has a tricky bureaucracy to overcome, especially if you are a non-EU citizen.

Besides teaching English, which I hear is not even a feasible way to gain residency for an American, what would be a good way to stay in Italy longer than the typical 3 months allowance. Also, I would like to spend a year travelling around the EU, how can this be done without being expelled because I overstay my 90 day allowance, which is utterly ridiculous in my opinion, considering how big Europe is. How can an American spend a year travelling through Europe?

I have so many questions, this is one of my first posts here on the board, but I am eager to hear the stories of others in my situation who have succeeded in gaining residency.

As far as my job, I am a software developer and I am seekign to start a web software business. I do not have a college degree, but rather left school to work for family software business. However, I do have 10+ years of experience in the field. I guess my skills are not exactly marketable and I am seeking a way to make money online and not have to be at the mercy of local employers. However, I need to think of a way that I can stay in the country without being thrown out. Also, I don't want to do anything illegal or at least that is not acceptable by those countries . E.g, when I was in africa, bribes are always expected, so I am not against doing anything that is safe to do, especially if the government operates that way. But, I want to stay as abiding to the laws, customs or whatever that I can be on good legal terms. I do not want a sham marriage or fake passport or anything of that nature.

Thanks for advice people can give me.
My first question would be, did they stamp your passport when you entered the zone? I've flown in and out of Italy several times during the last four months and my passport was not stamped so that begs the question: How does anyone in the zone know when you arrived and when your 90 days has lapsed?

If they stamped it, can't you simply leave within 90 days and return whereupon you begin the 90 day cycle again?

My advice would be to seek an immigration lawyer's advice. For a few bucks you can have an answer you can bank on.

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Old 20th June 2010, 10:43 AM
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Originally Posted by JonMystic View Post
Hi, I ami nterested in spending may 4 or 5 months in Italia to experience the life there. I am hoping to study a variety of languages and I want to excel in Italian. Italian culture and lifestyle is very interesting to me, but I understand it has a tricky bureaucracy to overcome, especially if you are a non-EU citizen.

Besides teaching English, which I hear is not even a feasible way to gain residency for an American, what would be a good way to stay in Italy longer than the typical 3 months allowance. Also, I would like to spend a year travelling around the EU, how can this be done without being expelled because I overstay my 90 day allowance, which is utterly ridiculous in my opinion, considering how big Europe is. How can an American spend a year travelling through Europe?

I have so many questions, this is one of my first posts here on the board, but I am eager to hear the stories of others in my situation who have succeeded in gaining residency.

As far as my job, I am a software developer and I am seekign to start a web software business. I do not have a college degree, but rather left school to work for family software business. However, I do have 10+ years of experience in the field. I guess my skills are not exactly marketable and I am seeking a way to make money online and not have to be at the mercy of local employers. However, I need to think of a way that I can stay in the country without being thrown out. Also, I don't want to do anything illegal or at least that is not acceptable by those countries . E.g, when I was in africa, bribes are always expected, so I am not against doing anything that is safe to do, especially if the government operates that way. But, I want to stay as abiding to the laws, customs or whatever that I can be on good legal terms. I do not want a sham marriage or fake passport or anything of that nature.

Thanks for advice people can give me.
Also, I have owned and operated several large web based businesses in the U.S. and when I came to Italy I was surprised to see the "state" of their web offerings both on the storefront and informational side.

Compared to the U.S. the number and quality of web based merchandising sites in Italy is really lacking.

And on the information side businesses here are poorly represented on the web. When I look at the sites businesses have here it reminds me of 1997 web - a lot of poorly designed sites (graphic, navigation and content). A lot of the sites for local business are especially bad. Unbelievable actually. It looks like these sites were put up by the owner's nephew who took a computer course in high school.

Perhaps the first faulty assumption would be, "Wow! What an opportunity!"

But maybe Italians don't care so much about that?

The buying habits of a culture can vary widely from the American experience. However, based on my experience, people everywhere want information and they are increasingly seeking the web as "the source" for information. So it stands to reason that the titans of commerce would take this trend into account and be duly represented on the web. Not so here in Italy. Sure there are plenty of great sites here. But as a percentage overall? No. I know because I've looked online to find merchants locally here in Rome: Cars, apartments, motorcycles, lamps, furniture, etc., etc., ad nauseum.

Italy is experiencing the same kind of evolution we saw in the U.S. with respect to the web. First, travel agents disappeared back home. Then local newspaper classifieds died. Then newspapers. And the inexorable march towards the web is all but over back home.

Here in Italy apartments, real estate and even motor vehicles are also marketed by word-of-mouth. The extent of this varies from location to location in Italy.

But I know some Italians that are in the real estate business and they are getting great results on the web with what I would describe as primitive web sites - no real time data (no data driven sites - period), poor user tools and even worse site design. Oddly enough, those in the real estate business have been particularly successful on the web marketing to other Europeans that speak English (Germans, Dutch, English, etc.).

I went to one particularly good long term rental site called Halldis. This site is actually a programming and design masterpiece. When I tried to tell my Italian friend who has over 100 apartment rentals under his belt that he could really benefit from creating a site like this, he had no interest. He was mostly interested in talking about the women in Piazza Farnese. LOL! Enough said.

Hey, I'm here only four months and there is still a lot I do not know about it. I see opportunity here but the barriers to entry are formidable. In the end there exists a need and the tools (solutions) are available and the businesses here would certainly benefit from the investment. So someone needs to make the sale. It would be difficult, but not impossible. Anyone can have a good idea but it stills needs to be sold.

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