Can Americans Work In Europe?

Written by
Amber Hobert
Published on
November 3, 2022
Table of Contents

In recent years the world has transformed into a global village; people now migrate daily from one part of the world to another for different reasons. Generally, people migrate in search of a better standard of living, lower taxes, better infrastructure, more job opportunities, and others.

Americans, like everyone else, have joined the craze. There has been a constant increase in the number of Americans working abroad. In this article, we will explore moving to Europe to work as an American and all you need to know about the process.

Is It Possible To Work In Europe As An American?


Many Americans have moved to countries that have been part of the European Union for a long time. This is partly because of Europe's culture, history, and beautiful landscapes but also because the continent has a relatively better quality of life.

Approximately 1.6 million Americans live in Europe. This figure includes educators, interns, digital nomads, and corporate executives of financial companies. The allure of the "Old World" remains strong for many North Americans.

However, strict labor laws imposed by the EU since its establishment and enlargement have made it more difficult for Americans to obtain work in Europe. Due to recent political events, other European countries have joined the movement to protect their industries.

However, there are still opportunities for Americans in various sectors and occupations, though those looking for work must be far more determined, do research, and network than those in developing countries.

How To Find A Job In Europe As An American

There is no simple formula for securing employment in Europe, just as there is no precise formula for finding work anywhere else on the globe. It depends on who you are as a person, what you enjoy doing and are skilled at, and where you want to go.

However, carefully observing the following might increase your chances of landing your dream job.

Step One: Decide where you want to go

As previously stated, one formula does not fit all when selecting a new European destination. Europe has everything, from the busy internationalism of London or Berlin to the peace of northern Scandinavia or the Greek islands.

Start with the big cities if you want to improve your chances of finding work but don't have a plan. As in the United States, this is where you'll find the most career opportunities and dynamic expat communities.

Try to get a feel for the different personalities of a few European cities before making your choice.

Step Two: Know what you are going to do

Employment in Europe, like jobs in the US, might be low-paying or high-paying, skilled or unskilled, permanent or temporary, and so on. You may discover that you are qualified for occupations similar to those in the United States.

There are, however, two key differences. The first of these is language. You'll have fewer work opportunities if you can't speak the language of your new home nation. The second is the right to labor.

You will not have the same employment opportunities as a native or a foreign citizen. So, before you pack your belongings, you should carefully consider what you are and are not authorized to do.

Step Three: Update your resume to reflect European standards

Typical European CVs are only two sides of paper long. They often include a brief personal statement about your professional goals or the type of job you seek, as well as your qualifications and work history in reverse chronological order. If your interests or hobbies have nothing to do with your job, you don't need to list them.

Different European countries have different rules about how much personal information you can put on your CV, so check the rules wherever you go. CVs in the United Kingdom, for example, include a photo or information about your age.

On the other hand, CVs in Southern European nations like Portugal, Spain, and Greece typically have a picture. They also feature personal information such as nationality, age, and postal address.

Step Four: Start looking for work

Whether you're a digital nomad or a would-be cocktail server, the internet is the first place to look for work. But how do you go about getting a job? The internet is your best friend if you aren't yet in Europe. For freelance jobs, look for positions in your field on networks such as LinkedIn, Eurojobs, JobsInNetwork, or UpWork.

You should also look into industry-specific job boards, like TEFL, for English teachers, especially if you're willing to move. If you're confident in your industry, this strategy could be your best bet for finding the perfect job.

If you already have a company in mind, check their websites for current openings; some even let you set up a job alert. If you are already in the EU, you can hunt for a job center or visit local language schools, bars, and hotels to inquire about available positions.

Must-Dos For American Workers Migrating To Europe

Research countries that meet your needs

Before obtaining all the documentation required for international travel, you should choose a country that matches your expectations as your future home. Although many European countries have a thriving labor market, not all will fit you well.

So, to find work as an American, you must first know where to look. Research the most popular tourist sites among Americans and learn what makes each one appealing. Americans like to travel to Spain, the Netherlands, Germany, Portugal, and France, among other places.

Even if these countries have outstanding work opportunities, that doesn't guarantee that you'll find what you're looking for in any of them. Look for the best country for your qualifications. To narrow down your choices, you should only study more in countries where you can get steady work and achieve your career goals.

Know the visa requirements of your target country

The first step in migrating to the Schengen area is to secure a Schengen visa, which covers 22 of the 27 EU nations. However, this is insufficient to qualify for work. To do so, you must first secure the European Blue Card. Because separate employment regulations govern each country's employment system, you need to know the requirements of the country you are moving to in the EU.

You should learn all you can know about all the details well in advance if you want to apply for a work visa. For example, US citizens who wish to live and work in Germany for more than 90 days must get a residence visa. However, you can visit the country without one and apply for one there. In Sweden, you must first receive a job offer to move there.

Aside from these specific requirements, keep in mind that it's always a good idea to learn the spoken language there. This will increase your chances of getting a job and help you fit in and make friends.

Use the internet for your search

If you're going to Sweden, for example, and you need to think about work before you can think about international relocation, you'll need to look for your dream job online. This is an excellent strategy for anyone, regardless of their job, because you can combine several job boards to find one that suits you.

Industry-specific online forums can make your search easier and quicker. That way, you may eliminate all jobs that don't interest you and accelerate the process. For example, you can go through Go Abroad or Eurojobs and search by country.

Prepare for culture shock

When you finally get to a screening, you should show your potential employer that you know how working in the United States is different from working on the Old Continent. That shows that you are interested in the organization and willing to work around their schedule and not let changes slow you down.

Take into account that the European work ethic may differ significantly from yours. This will be an improvement, especially regarding work-life balance, because Europeans do not often work as long hours as Americans do.

If considering visiting the Mediterranean, be prepared for lengthy lunch breaks. Of course, you should not assume they are not working hard; it is simply a matter of efficiency.

Typical European Jobs For Native English Speakers

The job market in Europe is diverse, so if you only know English but are determined to move there, you may have better success in some fields. Here are some possible better-for-you occupations.

Foreign English language instructor (TEFL)

TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) is a classic job for English speakers who want to travel and use their language skills. Get your TEFL certification and consider where you want to teach, as this profession is more accessible in developing nations than in economically stable ones.

Competition amongst English-language educators is high in major Western European metropolises. But there aren't enough native speakers to meet the needs of smaller cities and less developed countries.


Another way to turn a language problem into an asset is to look for work in the tourism or hospitality industries, where English is the de facto international language. A resort or bar could be an excellent place to look for work. Can you ski well? The Alps could be a fantastic place to look for work. However, many of these positions may be temporary or seasonal.

Digital nomadism

With high-speed internet access, remote workers can now do more work. The internet has allowed some people to keep full-time careers in their home nations and live abroad.

You might also try freelancing in a field where it is common to work remotely, such as journalism or computer programming. A digital nomad can live anywhere globally without tying themselves to any physical location.


There are also several well-known chemical companies in the Netherlands, such as the industry giant Royal Dutch Shell. Finding a job in Ireland or Malta has a lot going for it, including the fact that you won't have to worry about a language barrier.

So, if you haven't chosen a country yet, this may be worth thinking about. If you plan on making your new home overseas a permanent one, you should try to learn the language spoken there. Begin your formal education as soon as possible.

If you work hard enough, doors to better-paying jobs can open quickly once you reach a certain level of competence. It will do even more for you by enhancing your general happiness.

Places In Europe That Are In High Demand For Jobs

It all depends on personal preferences, interests, career goals, etc. To get you started, here are a handful of the European countries that are home to the largest American expat community.


Germany is home to a sizeable American expat community, and it's easy to see why: the country is home to a genuinely global city in Berlin, as well as several other beautiful places to live, like Munich, Hamburg, and Cologne.

It's possible that finding a job here will be more challenging than in other European countries because of the country's high standard of living. And so, you shouldn't let that discourage you; there are still many openings.


Even though the Netherlands is known for wild parties in Amsterdam and quiet walks through tulip fields, there are many great job opportunities. Some of the country's most important industries are oil and gas extraction, farming and food export, and construction.

There are also several well-known chemical companies in the Netherlands, such as the industry giant Royal Dutch Shell. In addition, the English language is widely spoken there, so even if you don't know Dutch, you might still be able to get work in a multinational or American company.


Even though they are very different, Madrid and Barcelona are two of the most popular places to visit in Spain. However, other Spanish cities, such as Seville and Valencia, are also beautiful. Barcelona and other coastal cities could be worth exploring if you want to tap into the tourism industry. Madrid is calling your name for different work opportunities.


Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, and Iceland are all part of the Nordic countries, which are also sometimes called Scandinavia. For all the praise they receive for their high quality of life, beer consumers soon learn that it doesn't come cheap. Even the more isolated portions of the region are beautiful, and the locals speak perfect English.


Italy is another beautiful and unique country perfect for people who like to have long lunches in the sun. Well, Rome is not the only city worth visiting. Even though it's definitely worth a trip, you could also go to Milan, the fashion capital of Italy, or Naples, the southernmost city in the country.


Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania make up the Baltic states. They share close physical proximity but vastly different cultural and linguistic backgrounds. Tallinn, Riga, and Vilnius are the most likely places to get employment.

There are many more lovely cities and towns in the area to consider if you're seeking a more offbeat experience. The Baltic states have been exporting goods since at least the Middle Ages.

This comes from the region's old industries, such as woodworking and textile. In recent years, however, the area has become known for its many high-tech and new businesses.


Learning French is a must if you plan on relocating to France; you can't assume you'll get by with just English. It may be challenging to adjust to life in such a culturally rich nation, but it is well worth it. If you're looking for work, Paris is your best choice, but if you want to teach English, you may try your luck in a smaller city.

Consult A Trusted Company To Manage Your Assets

A lot of Americans are moving abroad, including to Europe. In 2019, over five million Americans moved to the 'old continent'. Different people have their reasons for moving to Europe to work, but one obvious thing is that it is a great place to live and work.

You might be planning to move to Europe and are confused about how to set up your mail forwarding. You may also not know how to set up a trust to manage your assets back home.

If this is the case, don't worry. Some companies offer these services and can help you manage these things so that you can migrate without worries.

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