We are a retired couple who want to travel in Europe singing at choral festivals. We are US Citizens with US Passports. We have no relatives in Europe. Planning a trip to Europe mostly (but not all) in Schengen countries for six months. Due to our schedule of performances, we'll start in the Ukraine from 6/12 to 6/23/20. Then we'd like to rent an apartment in Amsterdam from 6/24 to 7/26/20. Then we'll cruise the Rhine to Basel. Then we'll journey to Barcelona and be in Spain from 8/4 to 9/6/20. Then we go to Rome from 9/8 till 9/22/20. Then we thought we'd go to Switzerland from 9/23 till 10/14/20. Then we leave the Schengen area and go to Romania 10/14 till 10/25/20. Then will fly back to the US. What type of Visa will I need and how do I get it?
If you're not going over there as a student, you might have difficulties getting a Visa. Some countries are harder to get them from than others--bit still difficult to deal with.
They want to keep Americans out--and not let us buy up their property and raising prices (that are too high already.) They also don't want new residents overwhelming their health care systems.
Unfortunately, most travelers are limited to being in The Zone 90 days out of 180 days--including the day of entry and the day of exit.
Do you have any direct relations (relatives) that hold/held a European Passport? Mother, father, grandparents, great grandparents? If you do, you might be eligible for their home country passport. Worth checking into if you have not already.
The easiest solution is to switch more of your time to non-Schengen countries, like the UK, Ireland, or others.
You have to apply for a visa with a specific country and the terms vary a bit. For example, we applied in Italy for an Elective Residency visa but I have looked at France and it is a bit different, maybe easier.
Most, if not all, countries require proof of long-term lodging, i.e., a year’s lease for an apartment. And one applies for a visa with the country you will spend the most time in, i.e., where you have that lease. Also, a visa is a permission to enter, but to stay you need a residency permit, which is a step to be taken within a few days of arriving in country. In our case, in Italy, we had 8 days to apply, required an in-person interview and finger-printing, and it took about 60 days to be issued after that. Other countries may be faster but know a visa is not simply permission to travel in Europe.
You could look at each country’s embassy website for particulars. Is there a cultural exchange visa, for example, in some country? I have no idea, but your trip sounds entwined in things of a cultural nature.
As Laura said, it would be simpler to change your itinerary and leave the Schengen zone mid-trip.
If your primary purpose is to perform instead of to be a tourist that may well involve a performer visa.
What does the organisation organizing the trip have to say about the visa?
We're performing for a variety of organizations. Not sure if they would sponsor us.
I don't think it rises to the definition of work. We are not getting paid. We are not employed. We paid to sing at these choral festivals.
Just clearing up choral festivals - these are often tourist affairs that people pay to attend, just as they pay to tour a museum or take a food tour and eat the food. It’s big business from the U.S. to many places in Europe for all ages. Not remotely considered work - not even volunteer work. Ralph will just need to plan his trip to not exceed the maximum 90 days out of 180 in Schengen countries.
As long as the immigration officer agrees
In the case of the UK there is a list of "permit free festivals" where people can participate in a regular visitor visa of entry.
Never been a problem. Thousands do it. Like doing a walking tour, or a bike tour, or adventure touring.
Thanks for that list. Have a link.