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Work and Travel Visa in Europe for US citizen?

Travel Forums Europe Work and Travel Visa in Europe for US citizen?

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1. Posted by Dinaflo16 (Budding Member 6 posts) 7y Star this if you like it!

Hey everyone,

A friend of mine, who is a US citizen, would like to come to Europe for a gab year. he wants to experience Europe and travel, but needs to work to support himself. Ive looked around a bit and it seems like there are work and travel visas for many countries in Europe, but not for Americans. Has anyone experience in how to be able to do work and travel in Europe as Us citizen? Are there any chances of getting a work visa? It doesnt seem too difficult to get a residence permit for a while, would it be an idea for him to come over here and then look for a job and with that apply for a work permit?



2. Posted by lil_lil (Travel Guru 462 posts) 7y Star this if you like it!

To work legally while on the move is not going to be easy, since work permit is usually secured country by country basis, with a lot of paperworks etc that it's not going to be worth the while for anything short term. Besides, as an American, without any secured long-term visa, he can only stay in the Schengen zone for 3 months and will have to leave for 3 months before another entry is allowed.

I'm not sure about other EU countries but as far as I am aware, Ireland and US has an agreement on a one-year working holiday visa that your friend could apply. Bonus - working in Ireland requires only the use of English! ;)

With cheap flights from Ryanair to just about everywhere in Europe, your friend can look into the WHV in Ireland and work in accordance to what's allowed by the visa's conditions, and travel from Ireland to other countries during holidays or long weekends etc.

Unless, if your friend has immediate family member (i.e. parents, grandparents) who is/are European and that country allows application of nationality by descent and dual-citizenship, then your friend should definitely look into applying for the European citizenship. Once that is secured, travel around Europe will be visa free, and work permit is also not required for work around the EU countries.

3. Posted by Dinaflo16 (Budding Member 6 posts) 7y Star this if you like it!

thanks for your reply! the idea about Ireland is def. worth checking out, especially as he only speaks finding jobs will be even more difficult. especially as he wants to experience europe but he does not necessarily want to have only short term jobs... traveling on weekends and holidays will be good enough.

but applying for EU citizenship only for a gab year? its not that easy isnt it?
Im a german national, so I found out that I can invite people from america and they can apply for a longer residence permit (more than 3 months) ... the big problem of course is always getting work and a work permit.

im open for anyone who has experience in working and traveling through europe and can tell me about it (especially people from america)


4. Posted by lil_lil (Travel Guru 462 posts) 7y Star this if you like it!

The citizenship will not be only for the gap year. It's for all time to come in the future too, if he meets the right criteria for such application. It means at all time in future, it's possible for him to live and work in Europe, which in this increasingly mobile world, is an invaluable asset. Sure, there may be some paperworks etc involved, but surely the benefits outweigh the process at the end of the day, won't you agree? Afterall, US allows dual-citizenship, so if the other country allows that too, there's no need for your friend to give up his current citizenship in any case.

How easy is it, or if it's even possible, for your friend to apply for one, I can't say. If he is a direct descendent of someone with European nationality, and he's eligible, then it should be possible without too much hassles. Otherwise, it's a lot tougher, since immigration law from country to country varies and often there's a requirement for long term residency in that country for over certain number of years before such application is even considered.

5. Posted by Dinaflo16 (Budding Member 6 posts) 7y Star this if you like it!

I searched around the internet, but it doesnt seem like Ireland has an agreement for working holidays with America. every country I looked at always states these nationalities: Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, Japan and New Zealand.

Im beginning to think it might be quite impossible for him to do his gab year in Europe while working legally... Im still hoping there is some way!!!!

I thought it would be really easy for Americans...but it seems like times have changed....

6. Posted by lil_lil (Travel Guru 462 posts) 7y Star this if you like it!

Here's a link showing the announcement re the agreement for WHV for Americans to Ireland:

And here's a link to more information re the application process:

I hope the above are useful.

7. Posted by Dinaflo16 (Budding Member 6 posts) 7y Star this if you like it!

thanks a lot! thats really seems like the only way to get a work visa...

8. Posted by bentivogli (Travel Guru 2398 posts) 7y Star this if you like it!

I wasn't aware of the Irish-US programme, but afaik it's the only one. A simple matter of reciprocity: as long as the US has no WHV programme for other countries, other countries will not open their programmes to US citizens. For all other Schengen countries, US citizens who want to work can only do so if they have a regular long-term visa.

Btw, I don´t mean to be sound overly suspicious, but why isn´t your friend here to make inquiries by himself?

[ Edit: Edited on 28-Dec-2009, at 04:49 by bentivogli ]

9. Posted by t_maia (Travel Guru 3290 posts) 7y Star this if you like it!

One way to realise the gap-year plan of your friend would be to go about it piece-meal:

3 months inside Schengen, 3 months outside the Schengen area, 3 months inside.

Say he volunteers with WWOOF in France and Spain for 3 months, then goes to the UK and Ireland or to the Middle East for 3 months and then goes for another round with WWOOF in Italy and Austria at the end. HelpX would be another way to work in exchange for food and a bed to sleep in.

10. Posted by Dinaflo16 (Budding Member 6 posts) 7y Star this if you like it!

yeah volunteer work is possible, but it doesnt bring much money (if any at all) and to live in europe for a year has to be financed somehow, hence me asking about work permissions etc. But thanks a lot for the suggestions. the irish work and travel visa seems to be a good option.

@ bentlivogli: Im was just looking around for options and found this forum... my friend is doing inquiries himself as well...nothing wrong with being helpful isnt it? :) and im also interested in this topic myself, cause I would like to work in america after my studies for a while... which seems to be not really possible unless I convince an american employer to hire me and to get me a visa... :)