If you come from the US, you have probably romanticized Europe (and maybe about the European Union) both as a travel and a living destination. And why not? Europe comes with a promise of rich art and culture, good food, great wine, good healthcare system and more paid holidays and parental leave than the US. But as an American, it might not be as easy to move to Europe (and settle down in the European Union) as you may think. That is why we have gathered here some advice and useful information on how you can travel and work legally in Europe for a shorter or longer period of time. In case you’re also planning to do some side hustle while there, we’ve got a few ideas as well.
Moving to Europe? It’s gonna be an adventure, for sure!
What is the EU?
First things first… Let’s just clarify that the European Union (EU) does not include the whole of Europe geographically. The European Union is a political and economic union comprised of 28 European countries as of July 2019. Each country has its own language, culture, mentality, laws, rules and regulations. So, when you think about moving to Europe, it will be best if you pinpoint the countries you would be happy to move to, and explore your possibility to move there specifically. Take into account the language barrier when figuring this out. There are some countries where you can perfectly get by with English, like Sweden, the UK or the Netherlands, but some others, like France and Germany, will give you a hard time, if you don’t speak the local language at all.
In this post, we’ll focus on the countries mentioned above, which, as of July 2019, are part of the European Union. (Read up on Brexit.) Some of them are, in fact, listed on the best countries for expats.
Many countries have English-speaking sites, so you’ll be able to read the news relevant to the EU member state you’re in.
Do I need a visa to get a job in Europe as an American?
The general answer is yes. The Schengen Visa covers 26 of the 28 EU countries (except the UK and Ireland), and allows you to travel between the Schengen countries for 90 days. However, this type of Visa does not automatically give you the right to work in the EU. To be able to work, you will have to apply for the European Blue Card, which is equivalent to the USA’s Green Card. If you can’t get the latter, you should read about the specific requirements and rules applied in the country you’re headed to. Each EU member state has its own bureaucratic system and you to provide official proof of education and certificates (sometimes translated in the local language), proof of previous professional experience, passport, travel health insurance or specific photos.
What to know about the UK, Sweden, France, Germany and the Netherlands?
How to get a job in Europe as an American in the UK?
If you’re offered a job in the UK, you can apply for a Tier 2 (General) visa. You must be sponsored by your employer, and offered an appropriate salary (at least £30,000 ~$37,500 per year) for your job among others. (You have to prove the latter.) If you decide to get a 3-year visa, you have to pay £464 (~$580). If you take some family members with you, you should multiply this sum by the number of them. With this type of visa, you’ll be allowed to do a second job if that job is on the shortage occupation list. You can think of jobs in the field of healthcare, IT, entertainment, design, media, the arts, etc. (You can also apply for this visa if you plan to stay in the UK shorter than six months.)
The other requirements:
• You have to have personal savings (£945 ~$1,200) so you can support yourself when you arrive in the UK.
• You have to show you can travel and your travel history over the last five years.
• You have to provide a criminal record certificate from any country you’ve lived in for 12 months or more in the last 10 years, if you’ll be working with vulnerable people.
How to get a job in Europe as an American in Sweden?
To enter Sweden for work, you must be offered a job. You can only get a work permit if someone has hired you and will pay you at least SEK 13,000 (~$1,300) per month before taxes. The terms of the offered employment must be approximately equal to those set by the Swedish collective agreements or be customary within a particular occupation or industry. Your actual salary should also reflect the standards set by Swedish collective agreements or within your occupation/industry. Your employer should provide insurance (e.g. health, life, employment, pension). If you decide to do some side hustle as well, you may not have to speak Swedish. Yet if you’re planning to stay longer and explore other jobs, you should start learning asap.
Once you’ve settled down in Sweden, you should find out whether you’re eligible to start a part-time or side job in Stockholm, Gothenburg, and Malmö. Would love to do some babysitting, home cooking, freelancing maybe?
How to get a job in Europe as an American in France?
In France, any employer or company must request authorization to hire you—with a fixed-term or permanent contract. If their request is approved, you can start the process of applying for either a short-stay (up to 90 days) or long-stay visa, which is equivalent to a 12-month residence permit. You have to provide supporting documentation, for example the permit your company received, or the hiring form duly signed and completed by your individual employer. If you have a seasonal contract lasting more than three months, you are eligible for a residence permit for three years. During these years, you can work and live in France a maximum of six months a year.
In some cases, you will probably be able to get a job in France without speaking French, but French will undoubtedly help you get by in your everyday life. To do some babysitting, freelancing, pet sitting in your spare time, speaking French won’t be a requirement. Check out your opportunities in Lyon, Paris, Marseille, Toulouse, or Montpellier.
How to get a job in Europe as an American in Germany?
If you stay more than 90 days in Germany because of work, you need a residence visa. Two pages must be empty in your passport that has been issued within the last ten years. When applying for a residence permit, you also have to complete the application form, send in two recent passport photographs, provide proof of health insurance, evidence of financial support (from your employer, for example), employer contract, and police registration form. Generally speaking, you should learn German if you want to live there for a longer period of time. However, there are some ways to find side jobs if you need one, without speaking the language.
How to get a job in Europe as an American in the Netherlands?
As a US citizen wanting to work more than 90 days in the Netherlands, you need a Single Permit (GVVA), which is a combination of a residence permit and work permit (TWV). In case you don’t want to extend your stay and leave after 90 days, a work permit is enough. You may not know but Dutch is very similar to English, so you may get by without learning those guttural speech sounds, but locals will appreciate if you at least try to use them.
What jobs can American do in Europe/the EU?
As an American, you can move and work in any EU country either as a high skilled professional or a short-term seasonal worker. Here comes some information without any specific focus on the country of destination. You may want to move to Italy, Greece or Spain because of the weather…
Jobs for skilled professionals
To be accepted and get the relevant work permit as a highly skilled professional, you will need a job offer and a sponsorship by an employer. The employer needs to prove that the specific position cannot be filled by an EU citizen and your employment contract needs to be approved by the relevant Labor Department. It sounds difficult, but it is feasible, because there are shortages in certain countries and occupation fields, such as engineering, information technology, healthcare, and teaching. Moreover, if you are an entrepreneur or a high-skilled self-employed professional who wants to move, invest and start an innovative business in the EU, it will be easier for you to obtain a legal work permit.
Seasonal or short-term jobs in Europe for Americans
If you don’t fall under the category above, then your other option is to get a work permit for seasonal jobs. They will not be as highly paid, earning slightly more than the minimum wage, but it will be fairly easy to get a work permit in some EU countries for jobs that are, for example, related to agriculture, construction, hospitality and tourism. A great alternative for you as an American could be to teach English as a foreign language. You just need a TEFL certification. Other ideas include working at a summer camp, as an au pair, a tour guide, or at a hostel or bar.
Save yourself the stress: be proactive and make sure you have everything figured out before you travel to Europe!
CONNECT & READ MORE
On AppJobs.com, you can easily find a flexible, part-time opportunity. No matter if you have a full-time or seasonal job, AppJobs can always be an option for you. Select your city and check the available options for you—from freelance, delivery, driving, cleaning, handyman, pet sitting, babysitting to teaching. The recruitment process is simple, and most of the jobs does not require you to be a citizen.
Of course, we completely understand if you want to ask more specific questions about how to get a job in Europe as an American. Therefore, we suggest that you connect with other Americans who live in the EU and do some side hustle.
And if you liked this blog post, we’d like to encourage you to READ ON!