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Gap-Year in Europe -- Help on VISAS / travelling / working

Travel Forums Europe Gap-Year in Europe -- Help on VISAS / travelling / working

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1. Posted by GapBridge (Budding Member 5 posts) 7y

I'm a graduating high school senior. I am enrolled in a university but have requested deferment for one year, a "gap-year", to live/work/travel in Europe. I know that with my US citizenship, I can stay in the Schengen territory for up to 90 days, and in the UK for up to six months, as a general visitor (i.e. I can be their strictly as a tourist, no working).
This is not what I want to do, though. What I need is a visa that allows me to work in a European country (I want to stay in one of the Schengen countries or the UK) and stay there for a period of one year. I would greatly appreciate ANY suggestions/advice/help!!!!

I've spent hours looking at foreign embassy sites, and it seems that for the conventional "work-visa", I need to have an employer in that country offer me a job and prove that there's no citizen in that country capable of that job... for me that seems a bit unrealistic.
I've heard of visas called temporary-residence visas and extended-stay or long-term-stay visas... If there are any visas like these or a visa that would simply allow me to stay in one of those countries for a year, then I could find "friendly" domestic jobs or farm-work and such for a cash payment. Names/requirements of this type of visa or advice on other routes of getting in would be really appreciated!
Thanks all in advance!!!

2. Posted by bentivogli (Travel Guru 2398 posts) 7y

What you are looking for does not exist at the level of Schengen. You may look into work&travel-like programmes of individual member states, but

  • these would not allow you to travel around; you would still need a schengen C-type visa, which have a validity of not more than 90 days in a 180 days period
  • most work&travel programmes that used to exist, don't any longer. I remember a recent thread on this that may be helpful. In any case, the Netherlands do not offer such programmes
3. Posted by GapBridge (Budding Member 5 posts) 7y

Thanks for the reply. I've been getting responses from another forum that I posted the same question on. I recently found out about a working-holiday type visa that has recently been created b/w US and Ireland.
Here is the site for information on that visa:
What do you think of this?

4. Posted by bentivogli (Travel Guru 2398 posts) 7y

The information on the page is rather limited. It looks like you can work/reside in Ireland for up to 12 months then. Still, you won't be allowed to travel across Europe with this.

5. Posted by GapBridge (Budding Member 5 posts) 7y

Quoting bentivogli

Still, you won't be allowed to travel across Europe with this.

I'm an American citizen, though, so won't I be able to travel in the Schengen area for 90 days out of 180?

6. Posted by ofthesea (Full Member 46 posts) 7y

What you're looking for is a WHV, or a Working Holiday Visa. I've done one of them to Ireland, for 7 and a half months, and it was a fantastic experience!

I think what Bentivogli means is that you won't be able to extend your stay in the schengen zone with your visa, you will still be limited to 90 days in a 180 day period, outside of the country you are living in, especially since Ireland is not a Schengen state. If you get a WHV for a schengen country, you can travel in and out of the country into the other schengen states (technically I don't think it is monitored, as there is no border) and I know, with the German WHV at least, as long as you are not away from your host country for more than 6 months your visa still works. Until your visa expires, that is, then you're just a regular ol' US citizen again. :P

When I had my WHV, I travelled for 2 months through Europe after my job ended. You could do the same. And you may be able to travel longer if it is within the duration of your visa (i.e. You have a german WHV for a year, you work for 6 months, then travel for 6 months until your visa expires). Until your visa expires (or you've been away from your host country for 6 months or more) you are a resident of Europe, and I am pretty sure thus get free movement throughout the EU.

T_maia is an excellent resource of information about this if you have any questions.

Also, is an organization that can hook US citizens up with various WHV, if you'd like.

7. Posted by ofthesea (Full Member 46 posts) 7y

I should clarify: T_maia knows about schengen visa rules and German WHVs, I'm not sure whether she knows about where Americans can get WHVs and such.

8. Posted by bentivogli (Travel Guru 2398 posts) 7y

Yeah, that's exactly what I meant.

Long-stay visa (such as WHV programmes) are issued nationally. In order to travel outside the issuing country, the normal regime applies. Which, in your case, means that you can travel through the Schengen countries at most 90 days in a 180 day period. As you're a US citizen, you're exempt from getting the short-stay visa, but the same rules apply.

9. Posted by t_maia (Travel Guru 3289 posts) 7y

You got 2 options:

1) Become an exchange student and enroll in a European university for a year. A number of universities in Europe are tuition-free and attendance is not always mandatory, so it would be easy to skip lessons and travel around. (Although it would be smarter to attend.) A student visa is relatively easy to get and in some countries it allows you to work part-time. Downside is that quite a lot of paperwork is involved to get the student visa compared with option 2) and that you need proof that you can support yourself on your savings or on money from your parents. (Think around 500 EUR per month.)

2) Use the visa-free stays and hop around doing volunteer work. I am thinking about WWOOF or something similar. You work in exchange for food and a roof over your head, no money involved. Some hostels let you stay for free if you do cleaning work. You stay for 90 days inside the Schengen area, then leave for 91 days (going to Turkey, Ukraine, Morocco, UK or Ireland) and return for 90 days after that.

10. Posted by GapBridge (Budding Member 5 posts) 7y

t_maia, thank you for the reply. Do you know of any German schools that are tuition-free or relatively cheap? I would be looking for one that offers a beginner's German language course. Also, does it matter which school I attend in order to qualify for a student visa? Does it have to be at one of a select few schools?

I also wanted to ask about Temporary Residence Visas. My friend is doing a study abroad in Germany next year, and will be staying for about two months after the study abroad program is over. He told me that during these two months, he is in no way affiliated with the university that he did the study abroad program with - nor any other university - and that he will be staying via a Temporary Residence Visa. He didn't know the details, because a lady had agreed to help with the application of the visa, and he left it all up to her...:( Do you know anything about this?