English Posts

What visa do I need to Move to Europe

Although the Europen Union has a Schengen visa, you can also apply for a visa in a specific country. For example if you do not plan on traveling the so called Schengen area and want to stay beyond 90 days that come with the Schengen visa. Besides all that, not all countries are part of Schengen. 

it is wise to read the visa policies for the country you want to enter on the websites from the local government and not trust hearsay or answers on platforms like Quora, Tripadvisor or Reddit, to name a few. Immigration laws are changing nearly every year and so do application procedures. Here on Floating Coconut we work hard to keep all the information provided up to date but even we miss out sometimes.

European Countries with easy immigration policies

Although every country in Europe has its own immigration policy, some countries are easier to move to than others. Countries like

  • Portugal,
  • Spain,
  • Estonia,
  • Georgia,
  • Croatia,

make very good second homes for expats and remote workers, because of  their relatively open immigration policies. Portugal and Spain offer the easiest options and fastest procedures for residency. Every country in this list is know for their lower cost of living, beautiful architecture and vibrant cultures.

If you are a freelancer or own a business, the Netherlands and Germany might be excellent options. Especially when you are form the USA.  The Netherlands and the U.S. have a special treaty allowing the influx of American entrepreneurs and freelancers to gain Dutch permanent residency for 2 years by building their business there. Maybe your country has a similar treaty. You can read all about this Dutch invite to settle down with your business in the Netherlands here (click) 

digital nomad jbs

The multiple visa options to make your move to Europe easy and flexible

If you wish to live in Europe, you need a long-stay visa and/or residency permit. Your 90 days (within a period of 180 days) short stay visa will not provide you with the freedom you need to build a life in Europe.

You can choose any of the long-stay visa options that apply to your situation, including

  • the work visa,
  • retirement visa,
  • investment visa,
  • student visa,
  • business/entrepreneur visa,
  • digital nomad visa,
  • start-up visa,
  • talent visa,
  • self-employment visa,
  • citizenship by descent, spousal/partner visa.

You see, there is a visa for almost everyone and depending your nationality you can apply for any one of those as long as you meet the requirement. Keep in mind that some of these visas may not lead to permanent residency or citizenship. Always make sure a specific visa is right for your long-term goals before applying. it is nu use applying for a student permit if your intentions are to work and start a (self employed) business in Europe.

Work Visas

Work visas are the most common type of visa, but they can be tricky because most European countries prioritize local talents over accommodating foreigners. You can only apply for this visa if you have an in-demand skill that is valuable to your European destination.

Self-Employment Visas

As a current or aspiring business owner, visa applications have gotten easier. Tons of countries like Portugal, Germany, and Iceland now offer both the regular self-employment visa to entrepreneurs, and freelancers. This allows you to live in that country for one or two years, with opportunities to extend your stay for up to 5 years. After the fifth year, you may also become eligible for permanent residency or even citizenship in these countries. So, whether you are an artist or a freelance writer, self-employed visas are an excellent bet.

Digital Nomad Visas

The number of expats transitioning to a Digital Nomad lifestyle is growing each year, thanks to a growing list of countries that offer specific Digital Nomad visas. In Europe the coutries that offer digital nomad visas are

  • Croatia,
  • Estonia,
  • Georgia,
  • Iceland,

Digital Nomad visas are typically valid for up to 1 year, so they aren’t the best route for achieving permanent residency or citizenship.

Talent Visa

Countries like France offer talent visas for accomplished technical and cultural professionals. If you are early in your career and have exceptional talent in fields such as arts and culture, digital technology, and academia and culture, this visa is your gateway to permanent residency in France. Be prepared to attend an intensive interview and to give a presentation to prove your talent.

Start-Up Visa

  • Portugal,
  • Estonia,
  • France

offer start-up visa programs, allowing would-be entrepreneurs to move and launch their businesses. Unlike traditional business visas, you don’t have to have a lot of money in the bank.  If building a new business in Europe is your dream you may want to consider applying for a start-up visa.

Student Visa

If you opt for a student visa, realize that it may not necessarily entitle you to work in Europe. It kind of depends in the country you want to attend college or university if you are allowed to work, so this might differ and you need to read up about this before applying. Usually the information is available int he visa topic of the immigration department of the country you want to visit. Some student visas may allow you to take advantage of paid and volunteer programs usually organized through private organizations, for gaining employment in summer and seasonal jobs.

Some highly specialized skills may also provide access to a special EU Blue Card, which allows you to work while studying as well as easier opportunities to move to a different EU country. But again you can only apply for the Blue card if your skills are proven to be highly specialized. Read about the blue card and the countries that work with this Blue Card here (click)

climate in Spain, living in Spain

What website to consult about visas for Europe?

Schengen Visa is the official website that you can consult for the visa options for Europe. The site offers an explanation of what Schengen is, who can apply and what paperwork is needed to start the procedure. The cost, the duration of your stay and how to use it traveling among Schengen countries.

The website also offers official information about different type of visas for different countries. And explains all about the new ETIAS, the European Travel Information and Authorisation System.