Where in the world can Americans work?

Travel Forums Europe Where in the world can Americans work?

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1. Posted by starrjones (Budding Member 17 posts) 12y Star this if you like it!

So I am SO jealous of all the threads that I read where someone writes about this or that other country that they worked in or are living in. I have also run into many Europeans who work in America for a season or whatever. Are there any countries where Americans can work some crap job to hold them (or me) over while traveling? I don't want to sound rude, I'm just jealous! :)

2. Posted by mikeyBoab (Travel Guru 5077 posts) 12y Star this if you like it!

US citizens can apply for a working holiday visa to Australia or New Zealand. Unfortunately, that's about it - sorry!

Part of the reason is that it must work both ways. The US government is very hesitant to allow people from other countries in to work temporarily, so US citizens are generally restricted from working overseas.

Hope this helps.


3. Posted by t_maia (Travel Guru 3290 posts) 12y Star this if you like it!

I 've been told that it is kinda easy for a foreigner to find a job in Turkey. After you have a job, your employer will help you with the legal stuf of getting a work and residence permit. This should apply for US-citizens too.

In a lot of countries US-citizens work there illegally, meaning they don't bother with the paperwork. In undeveloped countries the authorities have bigger worries than an US-American working in the tourist business without proper permits. In places like Western Europe or Canada, a white guy or a white girl who speak English can easily pass themselves off as tourist or exchange students. They are not likely to attract attention by the police, who are more concerned with Russians, Turks, Kurds, people from the Balkan area and immigrants from Africa who deal with drugs, run prostitute-rings, go thieving instead of shopping, etc. (Not all immigrants are that way, but all the drug dealers you see on the streets here are non-white.)

As I wrote in another post, it is also quite easy to work and live in the Schengen states (ie Germany, France, Spain, Italy, Greece etc.) if you are there on a student visa. A student visa allows yo to work a certain number of hours to supplement your income.

Another option is to do volunteer work. One private strictly-for-profit organisation with decent credits is


but there are others.

[ Edit: Edited at Sep 14, 2006 8:07 AM by t_maia ]

4. Posted by I-Travel (Budding Member 48 posts) 12y Star this if you like it!


From what I understand...

There is an age limit for working holiday visas. One must be under thirty years.

If you have a skill New Zealand is in dire need of it would be a different kind of visa. There is a list of such employment opportunities on the New Zealand Gov page.

The other option you have is work exchange programs. There will not be any money involved but you get to learn about/live with and eat with the locals.

Once upon a time I ran across a site that listed what citizens could work where with what visas ..sadly I have mis-placed the link. I will attempt to find it again. From what I remember Americans over 30 can’t legally work in any other country. I am one such person. Big Phooey!

5. Posted by GregW (Travel Guru 2635 posts) 12y Star this if you like it!

Presumably the original poster was looking for temporary work to fund their travels.

You might want to look to see if you can get a visa from whereever your grandparents came from (assuming they were born somewhere else). In some places, you can get citizenship, or at the very least an ancestory visa. This will give you the ability to work in that country. It could be a good mid-point in your travels to find a job and hang out for a while.

6. Posted by Eurotravel (Budding Member 22 posts) 12y Star this if you like it!

When I lived in Amsterdam, I knew American who lived there for a year while her permit was under review. She had just graduated from university and wanted to travel. As she had a friend in Amsterdam, she ended up there. As soon as she got there she went through the official route of applying for a residency permit with the Dutch INS (immigration department), even though, it seemed to me that she had absolutely no valid grounds to receive one, as everyone here is correctly telling you. The dutch residency permit review system is sooooo slow that she was under review for more than a year. While there, she took a bunch of crap jobs (babysitting, cleaning flats, etc) which supported her. She had no trouble finding these jobs, by putting up announcments on bulletin boards for expats. Honestly, I do not know all of the ins and outs of doing what she did and I was amazed that it worked for her. I also dont know if the situation has changed, as this was about 2-3 years ago. As a US citizen, you can stay anywhere in Europe for up to 3 months at a time. Crap jobs like babysitting and house cleaning are relatively easy to come by.

7. Posted by t_maia (Travel Guru 3290 posts) 12y Star this if you like it!

Eurotravel, did your friend graduate from a Dutch or a US university? When you graduate from a European university, you usually have one year to find a job suiting the qualifications you gained at uni in the country where you graduated before you are asked to leave. If you have the right permit, you can work odd jobs to support yurself during this time.

If she didn't graduate from a Dutch university, she was there most likely illegal and working without contract and proper social security. This is not advíseable, as most health insurance for travel doesn't cover accidents during such work.

8. Posted by Eurotravel (Budding Member 22 posts) 12y Star this if you like it!

My US friend graduated from a US university and looked at all of this as an opportunity to travel. As she explained she was there very legally. Since she had applied for a residency permit and it was pending, she told me, her passport had a stamp in it that made her stay there very legal.

I did not say that she was working legally. Whether or not it is advisable is up to the person. I did not advise doing this and I am certain it has risks, whatever they are. Starrjones asked "Are there any countries where Americans can work some crap job to hold them (or me) over while traveling?" I think that most people would consider babysitting and house cleaning a crap job. I am sure she was not covered by social security for babysitting. Insurance is yet another issue.

[ Edit: Edited at Sep 16, 2006 11:14 AM by Eurotravel ]

9. Posted by Eurotravel (Budding Member 22 posts) 12y Star this if you like it!

Micheal is wrong with this statement "The US government is very hesitant to allow people from other countries in to work temporarily".

I have a German friend that worked two years in the US, again very legally, as an Au Pair. There are Au Pair programs that help Europeans to get jobs in the USA. I am pretty certain that the same thing works in the other direction. This is another approach that Star Jones can consider.

Finally, Star Jones, if you have any special skills that are in demand, you can pretty easily get a job in Europe. I am a US citizen and have been living and working very legally in Europe for most of the past 15 years. I know many US citizens living and working in Europe in the IT, financial, pharmaceutical and other industries. More recently I have sent up my own company, which is yet another way for a US citizen to get a permit to live in Europe.

10. Posted by t_maia (Travel Guru 3290 posts) 12y Star this if you like it!

Going through some of my materials from my training for the German office for foreigners affairs, I found something:

As a US-citizen you can enter Germany without visa for 90 days. Within those 90 days you can apply at the local "Ausländerbehörde" for an "Arbeitserlaubnis" (work permit). Usually you should have an employer willing to give you a job when you apply. Easiest would be some freelance work like teaching English at a language school, professional art work or opening your own business. With good references you might get a work permit and subsequently a residence permit.

Bar work, babysitting, house-cleaning etc is out of the question. You need to prove that no German, no EU-national and no resident foreigner with a work permit is capable or willing to do the job.

Au-Pair visa is another thing. It is true that Au-Pair visa's are handed out. But these are usually given to 19-year-old Ukrainians. They might look in askance at an American in her late 20's coming to Europe. But hey, it might be worth a try if you like kids!

Considered serious addresses by the German government are:

Also contact the German embassy in the US, if you are interested to work for a year as an Au-pair girl. IIRC, you must sign the application form for an Au-pair visa before your 25th birthday and start working as an Au-Pair six months later at the latest.

[ Edit: Edited at Sep 17, 2006 2:47 PM by t_maia ]