Volunteering....

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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 16th October 2015, 04:16 AM
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I am a retired american. I volunteer for the Red Cross....would volunteering for the Red Cross help me to get a visa to live in Italy? If I were to volunteer for the Red Cross in Italy?

If so, does anyone know what kind of papers (legal) would I need?

Thank you
1Kathy

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Old 16th October 2015, 06:32 AM
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If you were to go over to Italy as a Red Cross volunteer, I would think that the Red Cross would arrange for your visa. However, I've been told that the American Red Cross is not necessarily part of the same Red Cross that operates in Europe. (Not sure of the details there - just one of those odd factoids that has always stuck in my brain.)
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Bev

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Old 16th October 2015, 09:25 AM
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Yes, it's a good point. What organization? The American Red Cross doesn't appear to have an office in Italy (not surprising). Neither the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) nor the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies appear to have offices in Italy either. (Switzerland, yes.) The Italian Red Cross has offices in Italy, of course, so they'd have to be the ones sponsoring a visa.

The next problem is that I'm not aware of any work visa specifically for volunteering. Though there is no minimum wage in Italy, work visas still require the employer to pay at least a minimum sustaining wage.

However, since you're a volunteer and presumably have some amount of wealth (i.e. don't need the employment income to live), you could look into Italy's Elective Residence visa. There are some other threads on that topic but, briefly, to get Elective Residence you would apply directly with the Italian consulate serving the place where you currently live. (So, for example, if you live in Chicago there's an Italian consulate there.) You fill out an application and supply evidence of income and/or wealth, your intention to stay in Italy for 366 days or more (a provisional apartment lease for example), at least Schengen minimum private medical insurance that covers care in Italy (U.S. Medicare does not, for example; but after you arrive in Italy you can pay to enroll in the Italian public medical system), and a clean (or clean enough) criminal record. In terms of income or wealth you need to demonstrate at least 3,000 euro per month in assured, legal, passive income (or the wealth equivalent), though the consulate has the discretion to require more and typically does. Such income could be Social Security, a pension, guaranteed royalties, an annuity, dividends, rents from properties, lottery payments, etc.

If you're approved for an ER visa you can move to Italy and obtain a residence permit which you must periodically renew. You are not permitted to take employment in Italy, but volunteering for the Italian Red Cross is fine. (Of course it's up to them to accept you as a volunteer.)

Note that residence in Italy means you are also a tax resident of Italy, and you'll likely need to make estimated tax payments, file an annual tax return, and file Form RW. Italy has income and wealth taxes, and as a resident you'll pay on your worldwide income, though you are permitted to take a foreign tax credit to account for income taxes paid abroad (e.g. to the U.S.), and Italy and the U.S. have a tax treaty that provides some help on occasion. If you are a U.S. person you will continue to have your U.S. tax and financial reporting obligations including Form 1040 and FinCEN Form 114 as notable, common examples.

After 5 years of continuous legal residence in Italy you should be able to obtain an EC Long-Term Residence Permit, though there are a few additional requirements to get one. With that permit in hand you are then able to work -- for example, accept compensation from the Italian Red Cross -- and enroll in the Italian public medical system without paying a fee. That permit still does not give you the right to stay in Italy if you're destitute -- you still have minimum income requirements to meet -- but it does allow you to move to other countries in the EU (with 3 exceptions: Ireland, the U.K., and Denmark) if you wish.


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Old 16th October 2015, 09:55 AM
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You're over thinking her question.

She's asking if it would give her extra credit . Not if she could get a red cross linked visa.

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Old 16th October 2015, 12:33 PM
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OK, the answer to that question is "No." I suppose I could have posted that one word reply, but that wouldn't have been polite or helpful.

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Old 19th October 2015, 03:41 AM
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Thank you so much for your in depth reply. No, I am not rich, I live on 1300.00 dollars a month. I love Europe, and I have nothing to live in the USA for. You know, there could be one alternative.... I have an apartment in Rome, I could stay in Rome 89 days, go to a country that is not part of the Schengen, take up residence for 90 days... then return. Hmmm, (I got this information from another site). Now all I'd have to do, is... find another who wants to live like this......and exchange apartments!!!!!
Anyone out there willing to exchange, or get an apartment, say, like in Ireland....and exchange apartments?????

1KATHY

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Old 19th October 2015, 04:25 AM
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I have an apartment in Rome, I could stay in Rome 89 days, go to a country that is not part of the Schengen, take up residence for 90 days... then return.
That's not assured, though. That's called "visa running," and it's something immigration authorities consider when they decide whether or not to let foreigners in.

How about a student visa? Last I checked the minimum monthly income to qualify is about 351 euro (above any tuition cost), though again the consulate is allowed to require more. You'll still need at least Schengen minimum medical insurance. Unlike the ER visa you'll need proof of adequate funds to return home (or a return ticket), and of course you'll need proof of acceptance into a degree-granting course of study at a valid educational institution. Cooking classes, Italian language courses, etc. -- "hobby" sort of stuff -- used to be good enough, but that doesn't work any more. But pick a Ph.D. program and you could conceivably spend years in Italy. With student status you're also allowed to work part-time up to 20 hours per week in a closely academically related pursuit and get paid, assuming you can find such employment with the university, for example.

Unfortunately time spent in Italy as a student doesn't qualify toward the EC Long-Term Residence Permit or toward citizenship. It's not considered continuous legal residence for those purposes. However, if you pick the right university and are well positioned to pursue a genuine scientific pursuit in high demand then there is a fairly reliable path to full-time work permission and longer term residence.

There is no age limit for student visas, but this has to be serious to retain status. Serious means you're actually progressing satisfactorily toward a degree.

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Old 19th October 2015, 05:28 AM
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Thank you so much for your in depth reply. No, I am not rich, I live on 1300.00 dollars a month.
The exchange rate today is okay but at some point it'll likely turn. When it does a budget based on $1300 US is going to be hit hard.

To give you something to think about many Italian seniors with a similar income are leaving the country.

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Old 19th October 2015, 06:35 AM
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Be careful with that 89 day Schengen visa stuff. The stamp in the passport tourist thing is a Schengen visa - and at the end of your 90 days anywhere in the Schengen area, you have to leave the Schengen zone, not just Italy. You're also not considered "resident" so you wouldn't be eligible for health coverage or any of the other benefits of residence.

Normally, it should be possible for a retired person with a pension to get a non-working visa - sometimes referred to as a "visitor" visa - as long as they can show that they have a steady income plus the necessary health coverage. You can check the website for the Italian Consulate for more information, but just as a general rule of thumb $1300 a month could be considered perhaps a bit light for residence visa purposes unless you have savings or investments that add to that.
Cheers,
Bev

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Old 19th October 2015, 09:29 AM
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You can check the website for the Italian Consulate for more information, but just as a general rule of thumb $1300 a month could be considered perhaps a bit light for residence visa purposes unless you have savings or investments that add to that.
It is, I'm afraid. The Italian consulates need to see evidence of at least 3000 euro per month (household size one) in passive income (interest, dividends, royalties, pensions, social security, etc.) and/or the wealth equivalent to begin to entertain approving an Elective Residence visa. They have discretion to require more, but they don't have discretion to require less.

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