Whether you’re wishing to move to London or Lubljana; Marbella or St Petersburg, this ‘how to move to Europe’ guide will outline some of the potential barriers you may face in your quest for a new place to call home, how you can potentially overcome them, alongside various other tips to help you in your transit to becoming European.
Whilst we cannot guarantee you will granted a new life on the continent best known for being both the cornerstone of democracy and a hub of diversity; producing world class wines and spirits, cheeses and meats, not to mention countless other taste sensations; as well as offering natural and man made wonders, we can certainly assist you in achieving your dream.
This is the most important research you will do! If you try to enter a country - especially to live and work - without the correct visa, you will at the very least be forced to pay for a return flight to your home country.
There are many countries in Europe, all of which require different visa completion and acceptance from those looking to enter, either simply for a backpacking holiday or to stay long-term.
If you are looking to stay in a country within the European Union, The European Commission has outlined the rights you may have, depending on your own national status.
There are also a number of ways to discover specific visa requirements for your nationality in certain European countries. Luckily, with the internet, you should be able to find an overview of how to obtain a visa by visiting a nation’s official migration and visa information page, for example, the United Kingdom’s Gov.uk.
If, for any reason, you can’t find the information you’re looking for online, you can visit the country’s nearest embassy; or as with any civil issues, your local municipal hall where the information you need, or at least a helping hand towards it, should be available.
Again, this depends entirely on the country you’re looking to visit.
As with finding out information about potential visas, you can usually find out how to apply for a visa by visiting a country’s migration and visa information page, and with many countries – particularly in Europe – you should be able to apply, or at least partially apply online.
Again, if you can’t find the information with which to apply online, either visit your nearest embassy for your destination country and you can apply there.
Okay, so you’ve got yourself a visa to live and work in the European destination of your choice – now what?
You probably need some form of employment! At the very least you should be researching typical salaries and availabilities of jobs matching both your skills and your visa allowances before you arrive.
The embassy of your destination country should be able to help you out with finding work, as will their official websites, but there are also other methods.
If you’re a professional, the social network Linkedin is the ultimate go to for job seeking. Basically an online CV, Linkedin also offers users the chance to one-click apply for positions, meaning no tedious tailoring of CVs, etc., the employer is simply alerted to your application, will check your profile, and get in touch with you if they are interested in hiring you.
There are numerous websites specifically created for job seeking, one in particular is Indeed. With thousands of open positions created daily on the site, you’ll be sure to find a number of options to suit your needs - from hospitality and cleaning; to banking and accounting.
What do I need? A computer, tablet or smartphone and Skype or similar. You will more than likely be contacted for an interview, and as you won’t be in the employers country, a Skype interview is the usual method for an alternative.
Another sound option for securing a job is to contact local or regional employment agencies, whether you’re looking for part-time or full-time work, a recruitment consultant will be assigned to you and will endeavour to get you interviews for jobs within the sphere you have instructed.
What do I need? A computer and a telephone (preferably a smart phone), to contact the agency and receive further correspondence.
Now that you’ve got a job and you know what you will be earning, you can start to look for accommodation. As with the other sections, your destination country’s embassy will definitely be able to help out with options for house hunting.
It will also depend on your visa what your rights are in terms of renting or buying, etc, so confirm all of this before signing any contracts.
The internet may once again come to your rescue in this department. Big cities will have specific networks and sites purely for renting or buying a property.
An online example in the U.K. for renting and flatsharing is Spareroom. With this site, you can tailor your search to types of property, number of rooms, monthly cost, etc. depending on your needs.
Facebook, Twitter and Gumtree are also strong tools in your search for the right place to live – however, be wary as there is little to no legal protection when agreeing terms with other users on them.
What do I need? As with finding work, ideally a personal computer, tablet or smartphone to search for and contact landlords or agents.
Real estate agencies are still the top dog when it comes to finding accommodation, particularly in smaller and more traditional cities, towns and regions.
Similarly to employment agencies, you will be assigned an agent who will do the leg work for you. You may pay slightly more due to agency fees, but the convenience of someone else finding you a property can outweigh the cost.
What do I need? To contact the agency you will need a tablet, smartphone or computer for email; or a telephone to call (remember this may be expensive from overseas).
The final piece of the puzzle of moving to Europe is to integrate – be part of the community. Now, of course this can be difficult before you’ve even arrived, but there are steps you can take to make that transition easier.
If you turn up to your new home and have no idea what there is to do, what the people are like, what local traditions may be, etc, you’ll immediately feel out of place.
One approach to give you a sense of purpose for when you get there is make a list of the top ten you’d like to see or do in your first month; visit the local beauty spot, chat with the local bar tender, join a local sports team or book club, for example.
You don’t need to be fluent in a language when you move somewhere, but make it easier on yourself by learning the basics; greetings, how to ask for items or the price of something, numbers... you’ll soon find the rest of the language builds around these foundations and you’ll be fluent in no time if you throw yourself in. The locals will also respect your efforts.
We’ve created this ‘how to’ in order to make the process of moving to Europe that little bit less daunting. So, with all of this information what’s stopping you?
If you have recently moved to Europe and have any tips, or can suggest ways in which we can improve this article, make sure you leave a comment.