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I am brand new to this forum, and I joined to explore the possibilities of moving myself and 3 daughters (ages 7, 14 and 15) to a different country for a year or so. My husband died 2 years ago and as a result I have a passive income of about $50k a year (social security and pension survivor benefits) and I have nothing tying me down to a certain place. I would love to give us this experience, but I am not quite sure where to start or if that income would be sufficient considering the exchange rate. I am open to any and all suggestions, thank you in advance!
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
1 thing I did not mention is we are not fluent in any language but English, but I am in the beginning planning stages so we have a few months to a year to learn at least some working knowledge of a language.
 

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The main issue with moving to Europe is going to be getting visas for you and your daughters. The usual route for this is either to first find a job in your target country and then let the employer handle the visa process or to use family ties as a qualifying route. It's also possible to go as a student, if you're enrolled in a university or other training program.

Some countries have retirement or "inactive" visas, for those not working but who have a sufficient income from sources like pensions and/or investments. But some of the countries that grant "retirement" visas are wary of issuing them to those of "working age" based on the idea that they may be tempted to try to work under the table to supplement their income.

You should check the websites for the consulates of countries you'd be interested in moving to. They normally have a visa section that outlines the types of visas available and the requirements for such visas.

You may also want to take a look at the EU website EUROPA - European Union website, the official EU website where you can find information about living in the various countries in Europe. It's written for EU nationals looking to move between countries (and so doesn't mention visas and such), but there is quite a bit of information that may be useful to you. Big example is the Education section, where you can get reports summarizing the various school systems - usually in English.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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I think it depends if you are prepared to work or not, or otherwise I guess you could make it an extended holiday. I think unless you know a place already, you won't know if you really want to stay there for a long period of time.

I recommend you look to places that have a labour shortage but I am not sure where that applies right now. Also countries that are fairly friendly to Americans. The Netherlands might be worth checking out, maybe Sweden.

Why not try an extended holiday to get a better feeling for the places you like, and the places you don't? Say, apply for a few visas of three or so months, and really explore Europe, rather than fixing on one destination before you know it well.
 

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I couldn't agree more with Nadeem. Europe is a wonderful place, but every country and many regions within countries are very different. You won't be able to find the right place for your family without first visiting a few areas to figure out the right fit for you.
 

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A year is a slam dunk anywhere. *shrug* And with the right attitude, there are good things about everywhere.

Bev gave some good advice going the student route and it would be much easier than getting a work permit. Do you work now? What do you do? Is there any area that you would like further qualifications in?

The teenagers would have a hard time being tossed into a local school environment if it isn't English so consider tuition fees at an international school (which run the gamut of cheap to very spendy). The 7 year old is young enough that she/he would be fluent in the language probably within 6 months or so.

Health insurance is a huge deal for you and you will need to purchase insurance that works abroad. The good news is that it is cheaper than coverage in the US. :)

If you tell us something about your family and what your interests are, I am sure that posters could make some recommendations. Also, if you have any heritage from a euro country that can make a difference on visas. Many countries love 'returnees'.

I have lived in Slovenia (which might be an option for you due to low cost international schools, high level of English and decent cost of living), Prague, the Algarve in Portugal (again an option due to low cost of schools, inexpensive cost of living), Budapest, Luzern, and Riga, Latvia. So, am happy to make suggestions. :)
 
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