Since 2020, remote work has become the new normal for many people. Some even decided to move to other countries as a benefit of clocking in online. We are seeing more and more individuals work for US companies while living abroad, and many are choosing a European country as their base. Here’s why:
An individual can work remotely for a US company and live in Europe for at least 90 days with only a tourist visa. If they stay longer than 90 days however, one will need a residence permit and work permit for the corresponding country. After residing in one place for over 183 days, a person will become a tax resident.
And it’s not just workers turning to a remote office. Companies also started to hire more remote staff to reduce their costs and to allow more flexibility. As a remote staffing company, we at Support Adventure aren’t complaining! We’ve had tremendous growth since the start of the pandemic. People finally realized that they can have a remote job in a US company and live in Prague or Mexico.
There are however many things to watch out for when working remotely and residing in another country. Read this article further to learn more about how to work remotely in Europe trouble-free.
Can you work a US job remotely in Europe?
Generally speaking, yes, you can work remotely for the US and live on another side of the world. However, a worker will need to pay attention to tax and residence regulations.
If you are working for a US company, but living permanently in a European country, you are theoretically working in that European country. Therefore your local residency must also allow you to work in that country which means obtaining a work permit.
Don’t forget about Uncle Sam either. When residing in one country longer than 6 months, you will be paying the US income tax if your salary qualifies, as well as the local taxes. Ultimately, we always need to think of the caveats when working remotely and living abroad.
Keep in mind that if you are working remotely for a non-US company in Europe, you will be dealing with work permits, visas and banking nuances.
Find a remote job
The first step to work remotely for a US company while living abroad is of course to find a job in the US, or some other viable country you are considering. It doesn’t have to be the US. Your options would be to work remotely for a company as an employee or a contractor. Becoming self-employed can eventually also make sense if you begin freelancing or start your own business.
A simple Google search will help you find desirable remote positions as many people work online nowadays.
You can also check out our own job openings as we hire remote workers for mostly help desk support. If you have experience or interest in IT, we are always looking for low to senior level engineers and dispatchers. The main benefit of working for us is that you can work from any part of the world! So feel free to apply.
Do you need a visa?
As a US citizen, you don’t need a visa to visit Europe unless you decide to stay longer than three months. In general, you can stay in any EU country for 90 days in a 180 day window. The same applies for non-EU countries, whether they are just Schengen Zone members, or don’t belong to either of them, like Serbia for example.
What are your visa options?
Some European countries have freelancer visas or long stay visas for people with foreign income. Visa options and rules differ significantly by country, so do your research before moving to a particular country.
Ultimately, you need to know if your country of choice has an option for you to work remotely and reside there for a longer period of time.
The process of applying for a residence permit in Europe can be long and involve a lot of paperwork. In most cases, the government will require the following documents as a minimum:
- proof of required income amount from abroad
- proof of health insurance coverage
- proof of long term accommodations (lease)
- a letter of intent or motivation
The regulations for each country will also differ. For example, the required income in some countries will be higher than in others. In general though, the rules tend to be the same in most European countries.
Are you a US citizen?
US citizens have it easier in most of Europe than other foreigners because the US is on a list of priority countries. Americans can apply for most of the documents and residency options within a European country without going to an embassy.
If you have citizenship from a non-EU country however, it might be harder to obtain those long-term visas in European countries. In many cases, you will need to apply with the corresponding embassy in your home country instead of just doing it right there at the destination.
Many factors depend on your nationality, so always check the regulations for the country where you intend to work remotely.
Do you need to get a working visa?
Yes, you will need to get some sort of freelancer, self-employed or working visa in the EU country if you are staying more than 3 months.
Getting paid while working remotely
The other question that probably comes to your mind, “How will I get paid?” Since banking transfers overseas can get pretty expensive, we would recommend avoiding them at all costs.
You can still receive your income with an American banking card, but transfers to European cards and withdrawals can be pricey as well. You might want to set up a different structure with your employer using some online payment tools like PayPal, Stripe, or Wise. In our opinions, Wise is by far the best solution and what we use with our staff. It sends money from one banking account to another at a minimal cost and with the best currency conversion rates.
It also has a built-in currency exchange if your employer sends money to your account. Their rates are the best, especially when compared to the normal bank. It’s also fast and you can receive money on the same day.
Generally speaking, US citizens are subject to US tax laws regardless of where they reside and for how long. However, after staying in one European country for more than 183 days, you will be considered as a resident there. Your income then becomes liable for income tax in that country plus the US.
But you shouldn’t worry too much as most countries have implemented some rules in order to avoid double taxation.
When you become liable for taxes in some EU countries, you will be paying taxes there first after you get a US tax credit based on the European taxes you have paid. Just keep in mind that taxpayers will generally have to file returns in both countries.
For some people, working for themself as a freelancer or business owner is the best solution. You can get a self-employed residence permit in various European countries. This also allows you to find work as a contractor for a US company.
Where’s the best place to work remotely in Europe?
There are so many countries in Europe, and they all all have something to offer for remote workers. If you are dead set on remote working in Europe, but don’t want to worry about all the tax regulations, we always recommend basing yourself in Serbia.
Many of our staff work remotely from Serbia and love it. As a result of it’s a low cost of living and exclusion from the EU, foreigners can enjoy a great lifestyle and avoid tough restrictions.
Serbia also lets you stay as a digital nomad for as long as you want and enjoy this European country for the fraction of the cost you would pay in the EU.
Serbia visa options
As a US citizen, you can stay in Serbia for 90 days without a visa. Afterwards, you can apply for a temporary residency visa or become a resident by registering as a sole proprietor. Both options aren’t nearly as expensive as they are in other countries.
Both are also available to you without leaving the country or investing much time and money. The first option is valid for up three months, while the latter two other options are valid for up to a year. Both can be renewed.
In the coming years, Serbia will also introduce a new remote worker residency where everyone with a remote job and monthly income over 3,000 EUR can stay and enjoy the country without any problem.
But actually, many remote workers and digital nomads don’t even make an effort to get residency and simply do a border run. That allows them to renew these 90 days by just crossing the border and coming back. But despite this, we would recommend getting one of these visas when staying in Serbia for a longer period.
Serbia is turning into a remote work hub and has become a hugely popular destination for:
- WordPress site builders
- Self-employed workers and entrepreneurs
Wherever you decide to base yourself, we are happy for you as you embark on your new journey working remotely for a US company while living somewhere in Europe.
Don’t forget to apply for one of our open positions here and let’s start an adventure together!