Author Topic: Post-FIRE Options for Living outside the US during a global pandemic?  (Read 2283 times)

agusus

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I've been FI/RE for about 2 years and the pandemic has revealed a major flaw with our life model - we live in different countries throughout the year (not exactly geo-arbitrage, more of a snow-bird model). But with borders shut we can be locked out of the country that we normally live in / want to live in.

We normally live in Canada this time of year, but since we're US citizens without a qualifying reason to cross the border, we're stuck in the US (which isn't our home country anymore). The US isn't our home, but neither is any other country (legally speaking) since we don't have dual citizenship or permanent residency. Pre-pandemic this didn't really matter but everything has changed now.

I've looked into getting permanent residency / citizenship in Canada but most of the programs require getting a full-time permanent job. I don't really want to do that because I'm having too much fun not working. I'm willing to work part-time / seasonally in freelance or contract based gigs, but that doesn't seem to be something they want. 

So the types of work a post-FIRE person might want to do - freelancing, part-time gigs, small-scale entrepreneurship, etc - are the types of work that most countries don't accept for immigration programs. How have others dealt with this? Is there a list of countries that are more open to allowing part-time work? Or a ranking of countries that are being less discriminatory towards US citizens during the pandemic? 

Obviously if you have dual citizenship that's a great asset, but how do you get that if you don't have a direct relative connection and want to stay FIRE'd (not work full-time)? 

jim555

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Tourist visas don't permit work, period.  Some countries have retirement visas, but you usually need some income and or resources with a minimum age requirement.

Hula Hoop

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If you have a sufficient passive income (pension, rental income etc.) Then Italy has a retirement income without an age limit.  It's called the elective residency visa so Google it

Only problem is that Americans are currently blocked from entering Europe.  But this could be an idea for the future.

former player

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Lots of places have investment visas, which might be what you are looking for.

spartana

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I'm curious how this works with non-married SOs (or even married SO) if one has dual citizenship or the ability to legally get residency via work or investment income but the other doesn't. So if I, who has dual citizenship with the UK, can live there can a non-UK citizen/ non-spouse join me?  Can a non-UK citizen spouse join me?

In any case PTF as this is a topic I'm l alo interested in but doubt Ill be going overseas anytime soon sadly.

As for the OP is there any reason you don't want to hole up in the US for a few months or so until borders re-open?
« Last Edit: July 18, 2020, 09:45:32 AM by spartana »

jim555

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I'm curious how this works with non-married SOs (or even married SO) if one has dual citizenship or the ability to legally get residency via work or investment income but the other doesn't. So if I, who has dual citizenship with the UK, can live there can a non-UK citizen/ non-spouse join me?  Can a non-UK citizen spouse join me?

In any case PTF as this is a topic I'm l alo interested in but doubt Ill be going overseas anytime soon sadly.

As for the OP is there any reason you don't want to hole up in the US for a few months or so until borders re-open?
The UK has a spouse visa. 

"What youíll need to prove

You must be able to prove one of the following:

    youíre in a civil partnership or marriage thatís recognised in the UK
    youíve been living together in a relationship for at least 2 years when you apply
    you are a fiancť, fiancťe or proposed civil partner and will marry or enter into a civil partnership in the UK within 6 months of arriving

You also need to prove you:

    have a good knowledge of English
    can financially support yourself and your dependants"

spartana

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I'm curious how this works with non-married SOs (or even married SO) if one has dual citizenship or the ability to legally get residency via work or investment income but the other doesn't. So if I, who has dual citizenship with the UK, can live there can a non-UK citizen/ non-spouse join me?  Can a non-UK citizen spouse join me?

In any case PTF as this is a topic I'm l alo interested in but doubt Ill be going overseas anytime soon sadly.

As for the OP is there any reason you don't want to hole up in the US for a few months or so until borders re-open?
The UK has a spouse visa. 

"What you’ll need to prove

You must be able to prove one of the following:

    you’re in a civil partnership or marriage that’s recognised in the UK
    you’ve been living together in a relationship for at least 2 years when you apply
    you are a fiancť, fiancťe or proposed civil partner and will marry or enter into a civil partnership in the UK within 6 months of arriving

You also need to prove you:

    have a good knowledge of English
    can financially support yourself and your dependants"
That leaves the BF out (no plans to marry or be in a domestic partnership) but I suppose we could say we were engaged and then when we didn't marry by the allotted time the UK would give us the boot 6 months later. Nice to know spouses can come along easily.

What about non-dependent family members - parents or siblings? I would imagine they wouldn't be allowed to stay in the country (or any EU country) unless a dependent.
« Last Edit: July 18, 2020, 10:21:32 AM by spartana »

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That leaves the BF out (no plans to marry or be in a domestic partnership) but I suppose we could say we were engaged and then when we didn't marry by the allotted time the UK would give us the boot 6 months later.
Please don't flout any country's immigration laws. If you go somewhere as a guest, you obey their rules, it's that simple. And from a practical standpoint, misrepresenting your family ties to consular or border officers is just about the stupidest thing you can do.

Spouses can't always come easily when normal processing isn't happening.

Real example: I'm a French citizen, my wife is not (yet, working on it). By law I can return to France whenever I want,  and I can bring my foreign spouse with me, it's my birthright, blablabla. Except she needs to apply for a spousal visa within the US beforehand. The nearest consulate that can process her in-person application is 2,500 miles away, and that's if we can even get an appointment because everything is at reduced capacity right now. Earlier this year it was not processing any paperwork, at all. That's a lot of hurdles and expenses for something she is entitled to.

So in practice, we're both stuck in the US.


JoJo

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Sad to say no one wants us and it will be this way for quite awhile.  I'm in the same boat... was planning on extensive travel abroad post retirement but stuck. 

There are a few countries you can "buy" a visa, like St. Kitts and Nevis, but if enough Americans try escaping that way, I wouldn't be surprised if those countries will end up on the no travel list.  Also, getting stuck in another country isn't great either... for example, some Americans and others stayed in Morocco but they're getting kicked out in a couple weeks.  Other countries didn't extend their tourist visa so if you overstay you can pay fines or not be allowed back. 

deborah

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The initial request comes across as rather entitled to me. Let me summarise it...

We have decided that we donít like living in the nation where we have citizenship, but have done nothing about becoming citizens in the nations where we do want to live. We want to enjoy the ammenities, but havenít been willing to become a citizen and undertake the duties of a citizen. Because one of the countries we like to live in has been having a lot of problems with aliens from our nation bringing the plague into their nation, they have barred us from entering.

So we now want to become citizens of some other country that will let us in.  But we donít want to act like reasonable citizens. We want to be able to go back and forth at will, during a pandemic, potentially spreading the plague to our new country. What countries are stupid enough to allow this? Every country that doesnít is obviously discriminating against us.
« Last Edit: July 18, 2020, 01:05:53 PM by deborah »

jim555

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Re: Post-FIRE Options for Living outside the US during a global pandemic?
« Reply #10 on: July 18, 2020, 01:18:49 PM »
The initial request comes across as rather entitled to me. Let me summarise it...

We have decided that we donít like living in the nation where we have citizenship, but have done nothing about becoming citizens in the nations where we do want to live. We want to enjoy the ammenities, but havenít been willing to become a citizen and undertake the duties of a citizen. Because one of the countries we like to live in has been having a lot of problems with aliens from our nation bringing the plague into their nation, they have barred us from entering.

So we now want to become citizens of some other country that will let us in.  But we donít want to act like reasonable citizens. We want to be able to go back and forth at will, during a pandemic, potentially spreading the plague to our new country. What countries are stupid enough to allow this? Every country that doesnít is obviously discriminating against us.
I don't think anyone here is thinking that.  No one is say break the laws because we want to travel.  In Britain being a citizen doesn't stop you from a mandatory quarantine if you come in from a "hot" country, nationality doesn't matter.

agusus

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Re: Post-FIRE Options for Living outside the US during a global pandemic?
« Reply #11 on: July 18, 2020, 10:11:20 PM »
As for the OP is there any reason you don't want to hole up in the US for a few months or so until borders re-open?

We have already been holed up in the US for four months longer than intended. And I fully expect COVID to be around for at least 2 more years. So this isn't just a short-term thing, I'm trying to figure out our new reality for the next few years. Even if the world figures out COVID, there's solid scientific evidence to believe that additional future pandemics will emerge.

agusus

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Re: Post-FIRE Options for Living outside the US during a global pandemic?
« Reply #12 on: July 18, 2020, 10:23:37 PM »
The initial request comes across as rather entitled to me. Let me summarise it...

We have decided that we donít like living in the nation where we have citizenship, but have done nothing about becoming citizens in the nations where we do want to live. We want to enjoy the ammenities, but havenít been willing to become a citizen and undertake the duties of a citizen. Because one of the countries we like to live in has been having a lot of problems with aliens from our nation bringing the plague into their nation, they have barred us from entering.

So we now want to become citizens of some other country that will let us in.  But we donít want to act like reasonable citizens. We want to be able to go back and forth at will, during a pandemic, potentially spreading the plague to our new country. What countries are stupid enough to allow this? Every country that doesnít is obviously discriminating against us.

I understand that thinking, but I hope you'll see that's not what is happening here at all. We have not "done nothing about becoming citizens in the nations where we want to live" - this all is a rather new development, and previously it was not necessary to have dual citizenship. You could say that means some nations were entitled because their citizens enjoyed freer travel than others, which would be a fair criticism, but that's a philosophical debate for another venue.

Some people think the FIRE community itself is entitled for thinking they don't need to work till they're 65. I hope that thinking isn't prevalent here.

We don't want the amenities of others countries, just the ability to live there, independently supporting ourselves the same as we do anywhere. Our isolation in a foreign country would be just as thorough as our current isolation. I understand that doesn't fit the mold of your typical tourist, which is what travelers/expats often get lumped in as. I've long felt that we're global citizens, but I know that's idealistic and not recognized legally in any sense. Getting citizenship or permanent residency in another country is not so simple.

agusus

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Re: Post-FIRE Options for Living outside the US during a global pandemic?
« Reply #13 on: July 18, 2020, 10:27:51 PM »
Lots of places have investment visas, which might be what you are looking for.

Canada has "entrepreneurship" visas / permanent residency (PR), and I've heard Portugal has good options in this regard. But, it's pretty complicated, at least from what I've looked into so far with Canada. It requires an actual sizable business, approval and review of that business, a lengthy process, and relatively few people get PR that way. If anyone has pursued this path and has a story to tell I'd be interested in hearing it.

former player

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Re: Post-FIRE Options for Living outside the US during a global pandemic?
« Reply #14 on: July 19, 2020, 02:23:31 AM »
Lots of places have investment visas, which might be what you are looking for.

Canada has "entrepreneurship" visas / permanent residency (PR), and I've heard Portugal has good options in this regard. But, it's pretty complicated, at least from what I've looked into so far with Canada. It requires an actual sizable business, approval and review of that business, a lengthy process, and relatively few people get PR that way. If anyone has pursued this path and has a story to tell I'd be interested in hearing it.
If you are interested in Europe there are lots of options, Malta and Greece are two more.

havregryn

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Re: Post-FIRE Options for Living outside the US during a global pandemic?
« Reply #15 on: July 19, 2020, 05:29:28 AM »
Lots of places have investment visas, which might be what you are looking for.

Canada has "entrepreneurship" visas / permanent residency (PR), and I've heard Portugal has good options in this regard. But, it's pretty complicated, at least from what I've looked into so far with Canada. It requires an actual sizable business, approval and review of that business, a lengthy process, and relatively few people get PR that way. If anyone has pursued this path and has a story to tell I'd be interested in hearing it.

This is in no way directly relevant to the OP, but I recently saw someone talk about this and thought how many Mustachians thinking about moving to Europe should know about this.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DAFT

Apparently, if you're American and want to move to the Netherlands, it is really easy to get a self-employment visa under this treaty.

After some years (5 I think) it should be possible to move anywhere in the EU.

spartana

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Re: Post-FIRE Options for Living outside the US during a global pandemic?
« Reply #16 on: July 19, 2020, 09:54:25 AM »
That leaves the BF out (no plans to marry or be in a domestic partnership) but I suppose we could say we were engaged and then when we didn't marry by the allotted time the UK would give us the boot 6 months later.
Please don't flout any country's immigration laws. If you go somewhere as a guest, you obey their rules, it's that simple. And from a practical standpoint, misrepresenting your family ties to consular or border officers is just about the stupidest thing you can do.

Spouses can't always come easily when normal processing isn't happening.

Real example: I'm a French citizen, my wife is not (yet, working on it). By law I can return to France whenever I want,  and I can bring my foreign spouse with me, it's my birthright, blablabla. Except she needs to apply for a spousal visa within the US beforehand. The nearest consulate that can process her in-person application is 2,500 miles away, and that's if we can even get an appointment because everything is at reduced capacity right now. Earlier this year it was not processing any paperwork, at all. That's a lot of hurdles and expenses for something she is entitled to.

So in practice, we're both stuck in the US.
I was just joking (forgot my smiley winky face ;-)) as I would never do that. But wondered what options there were.

jim555

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Re: Post-FIRE Options for Living outside the US during a global pandemic?
« Reply #17 on: July 19, 2020, 10:19:37 AM »
Lots of places have investment visas, which might be what you are looking for.

Canada has "entrepreneurship" visas / permanent residency (PR), and I've heard Portugal has good options in this regard. But, it's pretty complicated, at least from what I've looked into so far with Canada. It requires an actual sizable business, approval and review of that business, a lengthy process, and relatively few people get PR that way. If anyone has pursued this path and has a story to tell I'd be interested in hearing it.

This is in no way directly relevant to the OP, but I recently saw someone talk about this and thought how many Mustachians thinking about moving to Europe should know about this.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DAFT

Apparently, if you're American and want to move to the Netherlands, it is really easy to get a self-employment visa under this treaty.

After some years (5 I think) it should be possible to move anywhere in the EU.
The Dutch wealth tax is a deal breaker for most who have any kind of stache.

Paul der Krake

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Re: Post-FIRE Options for Living outside the US during a global pandemic?
« Reply #18 on: July 19, 2020, 10:22:29 AM »
That leaves the BF out (no plans to marry or be in a domestic partnership) but I suppose we could say we were engaged and then when we didn't marry by the allotted time the UK would give us the boot 6 months later.
Please don't flout any country's immigration laws. If you go somewhere as a guest, you obey their rules, it's that simple. And from a practical standpoint, misrepresenting your family ties to consular or border officers is just about the stupidest thing you can do.

Spouses can't always come easily when normal processing isn't happening.

Real example: I'm a French citizen, my wife is not (yet, working on it). By law I can return to France whenever I want,  and I can bring my foreign spouse with me, it's my birthright, blablabla. Except she needs to apply for a spousal visa within the US beforehand. The nearest consulate that can process her in-person application is 2,500 miles away, and that's if we can even get an appointment because everything is at reduced capacity right now. Earlier this year it was not processing any paperwork, at all. That's a lot of hurdles and expenses for something she is entitled to.

So in practice, we're both stuck in the US.
I was just joking (forgot my smiley winky face ;-)) as I would never do that. But wondered what options there were.
Gotcha, sorry if I misread the tone. I've met too many Americans who take a very cavalier approach to overstaying their welcome in Europe and see nothing wrong with that.

It really grinds my gears.

jim555

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Re: Post-FIRE Options for Living outside the US during a global pandemic?
« Reply #19 on: July 19, 2020, 02:19:59 PM »

Live and work in the European Union!

The EU Blue Card is Europe's answer to the US Green Card.

The EU Blue Card is a work- and residence permit for non-EU/EEA nationals. The European Blue Card provides comprehensive socio-economic rights and a path towards permanent residence and EU citizenship.

https://www.apply.eu/

agusus

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Re: Post-FIRE Options for Living outside the US during a global pandemic?
« Reply #20 on: July 19, 2020, 03:01:57 PM »
Interesting, I hadn't heard of the EU Blue Card. However it appears that requires a full-time job offer for a minimum of one year. I had to do some digging because the site doesn't explain that well but I found it in the EU council directives doc.

So that adds further proof to my point - that most PR programs are attached to employment, which a post-FIRE person might not want to do. In fact, having the freedom to not work is the whole point of FIRE.

In retrospect, if I had known this earlier, it would've been smart to pursue PR/citizenship in another country during one's working career.

MrThatsDifferent

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Re: Post-FIRE Options for Living outside the US during a global pandemic?
« Reply #21 on: July 19, 2020, 03:26:55 PM »
Ok, thereís a couple ways to look at this:
1. Itís a year or two that you canít execute your snowbird plan. Thatís it, youíll manage. Travel around the US. Go to Alaska. Or upstate NY. Plenty of the places in the US you can get your cold on or whatever thrills you about Canada.
2. If you really want to live in other countries, Central and South America have lots of programs. Easy to find on google.
3. Portugal is the easiest and best country to get into and stay in Europe. I think Spain would be second.
4. Itís a global pandemic, now isnít the time really to be traveling. So until the US gets it shit together, see option #1.

ItsALongStory

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Re: Post-FIRE Options for Living outside the US during a global pandemic?
« Reply #22 on: July 19, 2020, 03:28:25 PM »
That leaves the BF out (no plans to marry or be in a domestic partnership) but I suppose we could say we were engaged and then when we didn't marry by the allotted time the UK would give us the boot 6 months later.
Please don't flout any country's immigration laws. If you go somewhere as a guest, you obey their rules, it's that simple. And from a practical standpoint, misrepresenting your family ties to consular or border officers is just about the stupidest thing you can do.

Spouses can't always come easily when normal processing isn't happening.

Real example: I'm a French citizen, my wife is not (yet, working on it). By law I can return to France whenever I want,  and I can bring my foreign spouse with me, it's my birthright, blablabla. Except she needs to apply for a spousal visa within the US beforehand. The nearest consulate that can process her in-person application is 2,500 miles away, and that's if we can even get an appointment because everything is at reduced capacity right now. Earlier this year it was not processing any paperwork, at all. That's a lot of hurdles and expenses for something she is entitled to.

So in practice, we're both stuck in the US.

My wife and I are in exactly the same boat, we are pursuing the same spousal visa option referenced earlier (been married for a number of years so not a problem for us). The consulate for my country is expecting to start issuing long stay visas again but when I went to submit a visa application through our web page it only offered short stay as an option so must not be imminent. The main hurdle for me will be that I don't have gainful employment lined up which is a requirement as a citizen of my home country. Without that we will need to prove to my government that finding that kind of employment will be possible and that we can sustain ourselves in the meantime. We should be able to easily convince them of the latter, the first part may be more of a struggle depending on their strictness.

MonkeyJenga

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Re: Post-FIRE Options for Living outside the US during a global pandemic?
« Reply #23 on: July 19, 2020, 04:38:09 PM »
Ok, thereís a couple ways to look at this:
1. Itís a year or two that you canít execute your snowbird plan. Thatís it, youíll manage. Travel around the US. Go to Alaska. Or upstate NY. Plenty of the places in the US you can get your cold on or whatever thrills you about Canada.
2. If you really want to live in other countries, Central and South America have lots of programs. Easy to find on google.
3. Portugal is the easiest and best country to get into and stay in Europe. I think Spain would be second.
4. Itís a global pandemic, now isnít the time really to be traveling. So until the US gets it shit together, see option #1.

Uh, except change option 1 to be: stay in one place. Don't travel around the US.

agusus

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Re: Post-FIRE Options for Living outside the US during a global pandemic?
« Reply #24 on: July 19, 2020, 06:37:13 PM »
Ok, thereís a couple ways to look at this:
1. Itís a year or two that you canít execute your snowbird plan. Thatís it, youíll manage. Travel around the US. Go to Alaska. Or upstate NY. Plenty of the places in the US you can get your cold on or whatever thrills you about Canada.

I hope you're right but I'm trying to plan for worst case scenario. If a vaccine is developed in a year, covid isn't going to just disappear. What if the pandemic lasts 5 years, 10 years? There's also a good chance future pandemics of a new virus will close borders again.

Being locked out of the country you usually live in, where you have friends and favorite places, isn't fun. But I fully realize others have it worse - like all the cross-border couples who have been separated for 5 months (because they're not married, and other reasons - family exemption didn't cover bf/gf or people who work a job where they can't quarantine for 2 wks). A lot of sad stories on FB / news.

Covid is remapping the rules around the world's borders and I'm trying to plan for 5-10 years of various levels of border restriction. I'd bet long term conservative planning is a common trait amongst mustachians (a good example being planning for a 3-4% withdrawal rate rather than 5% and just hoping everything goes perfectly).

Portugal/Spain I've heard a lot of good things about. Haven't been there yet though so not sure whether it'd be a long term home.

MrThatsDifferent

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Re: Post-FIRE Options for Living outside the US during a global pandemic?
« Reply #25 on: July 20, 2020, 02:53:50 AM »
I can relate to what youíre doing. What Iím doing, staying out for 1.5-2 years until I see where things are going and then make plans. Useless to do that now with all the uncertainty. Although, in the meantime, you can do lots of research and connect with people in the potential countries and have all your info straight.

Missy B

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Re: Post-FIRE Options for Living outside the US during a global pandemic?
« Reply #26 on: July 23, 2020, 09:19:44 PM »
I've been FI/RE for about 2 years and the pandemic has revealed a major flaw with our life model - we live in different countries throughout the year (not exactly geo-arbitrage, more of a snow-bird model). But with borders shut we can be locked out of the country that we normally live in / want to live in.

We normally live in Canada this time of year, but since we're US citizens without a qualifying reason to cross the border, we're stuck in the US (which isn't our home country anymore). The US isn't our home, but neither is any other country (legally speaking) since we don't have dual citizenship or permanent residency. Pre-pandemic this didn't really matter but everything has changed now.

 Is there a list of countries that are more open to allowing part-time work? Or a ranking of countries that are being less discriminatory towards US citizens during the pandemic?


Um, wow. 'less discriminatory towards US citizens'?
Canada is not discriminating against US citizens. They are being treated like citizens of every other country in terms of access. After enjoying mutual border-crossing privileges that allowed Americans greater ease of access to Canada than any other country in the world, I suppose having them removed might feel like you are being unfairly treated, but you are not.

I do sympathize, and think it would be good for Canada to allow provably financially independent American citizens to move here if they intend to stay.

pmac

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Re: Post-FIRE Options for Living outside the US during a global pandemic?
« Reply #27 on: July 24, 2020, 05:04:57 PM »
Quote
I've met too many Americans who take a very cavalier approach to overstaying their welcome in Europe and see nothing wrong with that.

It really grinds my gears.

I've met too many Mexicans who take a very cavalier approach to overstaying their welcome in the United States and see nothing wrong with that.

It really grinds my gears.

expatartist

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Re: Post-FIRE Options for Living outside the US during a global pandemic?
« Reply #28 on: July 24, 2020, 09:34:32 PM »
Quote
I've met too many Americans who take a very cavalier approach to overstaying their welcome in Europe and see nothing wrong with that.

It really grinds my gears.

I've met too many Mexicans who take a very cavalier approach to overstaying their welcome in the United States and see nothing wrong with that.

It really grinds my gears.

A US uni classmate, when he heard I was doing an internship in the UK and might look to stay, bragged on how he'd overstayed his visa by a year, then was kicked out *eyeroll*. Entitled N Americans of European extraction ftw.

OP, have you looked at Germany? They've a nationwide freelance visa (an 'artists visa' in Berlin) with I believe no age limit. They haven't got a wealth tax at the moment IIRC. I'm going for the Greece golden visa, however there may have been an issue with their new rules since I transferred from a US brokerage (not bank acct owned by me) for one of the purchases so....If considering Greece or anywhere tbh, be sure to have a brilliant lawyer like mine who can show you the ins and outs.