Frequently Asked Questions: How Americans Can Move To Europe – Part 2

Small Town Life in Europe - How Americans Can Move To Europe by Expat Empire

This is Part 2 of our guide on how Americans can move to Europe. The first part can be found by following this link.

The Quickest Route: Invest Your Money Into Real Estate

As long as you have the money to make investments (especially in real estate) or can create jobs through the business you set up, most countries are willing to give you a visa and permanent residency in relatively no time. For instance, countries like Greece, Portugal, Cyprus, and Malta will give you permanent residence, or citizenship, in some cases, in five years if you can make real estate investments:

  • Greece now offers a residence permit for purchases of real estate of €250,000 and above. This purchase opens the route to acquiring a permanent residence in five years, and you are allowed to rent out the real estate. 
  • Portugal also offers a residence permit to purchase real estate of €280,000 and above, provided the asset was built over 30 years ago and up for renovation in sparsely populated regions. If you opt for newer properties, you need to commit €500,000 and above. As of 2022, properties in Lisbon, Porto, and the Algarve are not eligible for this program.
  • Cyprus also issues permanent residence for investments in real estate of €300,999 and above. You won’t be able to invest in resale property, but you can purchase up to two residential properties. Commercial real estate like hotels, shops, or offices is also up for purchase to accelerate your path to Cypriot citizenship.
  • Malta equally issues permanent residence for the purchase of real estate of €220,000 or rent for five years with a minimum rental price of €10,000. If you choose the investment route, you must also make a state contribution and an administrative fee. You must also confirm that you have over €500,000 in savings.
Lively Urban Centers in Europe - How Americans Can Move To Europe by Expat Empire

Immerse Yourself in the Local Rules and Workforce Culture 

How Americans can move to Europe – Besides visa and travel constraints, learning about the local regulations and culture matters in helping you settle in the new country. Regarding regulations, some countries require special licenses for certain fields like the medical, legal, and engineering professions. For instance, lawyers and accountants moving to the EU must work with a licensed practitioner in their new country or take their host country’s licensing exam

Besides a professional license, you must also realize that your driver’s license won’t be recognized everywhere. European countries like Spain and Germany often require a valid international driving license before you can lease a vehicle in their respective countries. France may accept your driving license but only from select states. 

Produce Markets in Europe - How Americans Can Move To Europe by Expat Empire

Learn the Local Language to Make Your Transition EasierHow Americans can move to Europe

Cultural disconnects are also a concern, especially if you have to learn a new language. Even when your dream location is English-friendly, it’s always a great idea to learn more about the local language, which allows you to immerse yourself in the culture. This helps you navigate the local systems, especially when you realize that their culture will influence how they go about their professional and personal lives as well as healthcare, banking, transportation, and other systems. 

Many popular European countries have well-established expat communities which can offer great help and much-needed support to make your transition easier. It’s also a great idea to start reading about your new home before the relocation, immersing yourself in its culture through videos, articles, politics, and history books. When you get there, be prepared to make friends with the locals as that is always the best way to experience your move to Europe. Ready to learn the local lingo? Take advantage of easy-to-use platforms like Babbel to build a robust foundation in any language through short and practical courses.

Outdoor Activities in Europe

More Tips to Make Your Move to Europe Less Stressful

Do Your Homework 

Beyond picking the European country you wish to move to, consider the actual cities or regions you would love to live in. What’s the weather like in that location? What are the people like? How about transportation? Can you get good schools for your children? How difficult would it be to learn the language? What is the actual cost of living there? Can you afford to retire or get a job there? And most importantly, consider what skills these areas are looking for and how you would bring value to the area.

Consider a Trial Run

Immersing yourself in that location is always a great way to see if it’s right for you. If you can afford it, prioritize visiting using the 90-day visa-free period to at least three locations you wish to move to before making the final decision. Visiting is one of the best ways to familiarize yourself with public transport.

Find a Home Even Before the Lease

Some countries have complications around leasing an apartment. For instance, you must ensure you have the right to stay in a country for longer than three months before signing a lease. Still, some consulates may require that you have proof of where you are going to stay before visa approval. A good way around it is to start house hunting as soon as you decide on the country you wish to move to in Europe.

Don’t Forget the Potential Obstacles

Many countries have income and work requirements for obtaining visas and residency. Check out the website for the local consulate of the country you wish to move to and discover what those requirements are. 

Define your career goals: what kind of career do you wish to build abroad? This can help you filter opportunities, especially when taking the freelancing or remote work route.

Save Up for Your Trip

Whether you work remotely or will be covered by a work visa, you should have a little nest egg to make your transition less stressful. A good rule of thumb is to put away money that covers your visa costs, moving costs (including income and custom duty), hotel stays, childcare, transportation, feeding, and any impromptu details for the first three to six months. Try to pay off any debt and boost your income before moving. 

Don’t Skimp on Health and Property Insurance

As you move across continents, safeguarding your health is a top priority. Europe has some of the best healthcare. But your visa option may or may not qualify you for access to public healthcare. Private healthcare is still incredibly affordable, with rates as low as €45 a month. Research the appropriate covers while considering your dream location, age, and other personal information to choose what’s best for you. 

Exploring Nature in Europe

Start Working on Your Move to Europe

Making the move to Europe is exciting and possible. You need to consider how your income, age, skills, career goals, language needs, family situation, finances, and tolerance can blend into the best European country for you. This is why you need the right guidance to navigate the hurdles specific to your situation.

At Expat Empire, we work with hundreds of expats moving to Europe and the rest of the world by helping them discover the most intricate details about moving. We offer several in-depth consulting services suitable for your most crucial needs so you can make informed decisions. Our Destination Comparison service allows you to filter data from multiple cities or countries to discover the best countries to meet your desired lifestyle. Our Timeline Planning service will help you cut through the lengthy process of preparing to move during the move and actual transition to your new resident country. 
We will also connect you with our robust partner network in countries all over Europe and beyond to get you the hands-on immigration, relocation, home search, tax help, and more services that you may need for your move abroad. Are you still worried about the best approach? Sign up for our Free Consulting Call to better understand how we can help you move to Europe.

As the founder of Expat Empire, David McNeill is focused on inspiring people to move abroad and showing them how to do it. David started Expat Empire because he has a genuine passion for living abroad. He left the United States in 2014 and has since lived in Tokyo, Berlin, and Porto.