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Long Term Car Rental or ?

Hello, I'm looking for recommendations for either renting, purchasing or leasing a vehicle for 1 year. I'm looking to keep costs low. Which way is least expensive? Thanks in advance.

Posted by
17099 posts

Is this for travel around Europe? Are you aware of the 90-days-within-180 limit on stays within the Schengen Zone for US/Canadian citizens?

Posted by
9 posts

No, I am not. The plan was to bounce around perhaps spending 1 month in each location. Can you brief me on this? Thanks for bringing this to my attention. Our planning is just getting started.

Posted by
17725 posts

In any 180 day period, you are only allowed to be in the Schengen zone, which includes most of western Europe (except UK and Ireland) for a total of just 90 days.

And that doesn't mean that you can be in the zone for 90 days, then leave the zone for 10 days and it resets to 90. In that case, the new "180 day" period will start 10 days after your original entry, and your time in the zone will be 82 days, so when you re-enter you will have another 10 days before you have to leave again. It is a "rolling" 180 day period.

Of course, a few countries are not in Schengen, so you don't have to spend all your time in the zone, but effectively you will have to spend half of your year in those countries, outside the zone.

Now that only applies to a "Schengen Visa". If you get an actual one year visa for one of the Schengen countries, you can probably stay there all year.

Posted by
9 posts

Again, thank you very much. It prompts two questions:

  1. If we (my wife and I) were to step outside the zone and then return back in does the 180 period start at 0 again?
  2. If I have Luxembourg citizenship (which I do) can my wife and myself travel within the zone unrestricted by this 180 rule?
Posted by
23890 posts

number one - see Lee's previous answer. It does NOT reset.

number two - if both you and your wife have EU citizenship you both can remain anywhere in the EU, as long as you comply with EU and Letzeburgesch laws. If you have EU citizenship and she does not you can stay and she will have to leave before 90 days in any 180.

Posted by
17725 posts

If we (my wife and I) were to step outside the zone and then return
back in does the 180 period start at 0 again?

As I said, NO. I was probably still adding to my post when he asked that question.

If I have Luxembourg citizenship (which I do) can my wife and myself
travel within the zone unrestricted by this 180 rule?

You can; your wife can't. But your having Luxembourg citizenship might make it easier for her to get a one year Luxembourg visa.

Posted by
8889 posts

1) If we (my wife and I) were to step outside the zone and then return back in does the 180 period start at 0 again?

NO, that is the point of "in any 180 days". You must not, at any time, have more than 90 days in the Schengen Area in the last 180 days. Exiting just stops the "clock", when you re-enter it continues from where it stopped. And entry and exit days count as full days.

2) If I have Luxembourg citizenship (which I do) can my wife and myself travel within the zone unrestricted by this 180 rule?

No and yes, in that order.
Too many people here assume all posters are US citizens, I like to ask. If you are a Luxembourg citizen, you are also an EU citizen, which means you can travel, live and work in any EU country for as long as you like. Make sure you enter the Schengen Area with your Luxembourg passport, and they won't even stamp it.
If your wife is not an EU citizen, the"90 days in any 180" limit still applies to here. If you wanted to live in an EU country, you would have to apply for a spouse's visa for her.

Posted by
9 posts

This forum is unbelievably helpful. Amazing! Thanks to both of you. I have composed a note to a contact I have at the Washington Lux Embassy to explore VISA options/needs.

Posted by
23890 posts

Note that a Luxembourg 1 year visa for your wife would normally be limited to Luxembourg. Travel outside Luxembourg would still be 90/180 for her. Difficult to enforce with few border checks but likely the case. Your contact should be able to give you all the detail...

Probably buying a really cheap old (maybe 20 years) second (or third, fourth, fifth) hand car is cheapest if you have EU citizenship, and either sell on or scrap at the end.

Posted by
23890 posts

only problem with buying a banger - as we call them in the UK - is that it probably wouldn't qualify for the various environmental zones around Europe. Just stay outside the zones (really big camera controlled fines otherwise).

Posted by
20718 posts

....If we (my wife and I) were to step outside the zone and then return back in does the 180 period start at 0 again?....

NO !! It is a look back situation. There is no reset. Sometimes it is easier to comprehend if you look at it this way. On July 1, 2020, you look back 180 days to Jan 3. 2020. If you have been in the Schengen zone for a total of 90 days -- any 90 days of the previous 180, you are done. On July 2, your look back to Jan 4 -- and so forth. It is 90 days out of any block of 180 days and a new block starts everyday. It is very simply but people with turn themselves inside out trying to find a loophole that works.

Posted by
2793 posts

Since the spouse can get a residence card, the Schengen stuff doesn't apply.

Posted by
17725 posts

Rhett, please keep us advised as to what you find out about traveling in the rest of Schengen with just a Luxembourgian visa.

Posted by
2793 posts

just a Luxembourgian visa.

The most likely scenario for Europe will be that the spouse enters like any visitor and gets a normal Schengen entry stamp. Then later applies for a residence card at the police or other government office and changes status. Not a visa system like used in US/Canada/Australia where a person has to enter the country with the status they will be using for their whole stay. At least that’s how students (who don’t need a visa for a short stay) are treated, residence card no visa.

Posted by
8889 posts

Since the spouse can get a residence card, the Schengen stuff doesn't apply.

Yes and no.
As a Luxembourg citizen you are also an EU citizen, so you have the right to live in any EU country, and bring your dependents (your wife) with you. And the authorities of that EU country (may or may not be Luxembourg, your choice) have to give her a residence card.
She will still be limited to 90 days in any 180 for all other Schengen countries.

This is the EU's own website page on non-EU family members: https://europa.eu/youreurope/citizens/travel/entry-exit/non-eu-family/index_en.htm

That said, since there are no border checks between Schengen countries, there is no way of checking how long your wife spends in other countries.

We have drifted a long way from your original question about car rental. I hope this is useful info.

Posted by
6921 posts

Can she get Luxembourgoise citizenship as your spouse? It certainly simplifies things. I’m assuming you’re a dual.

Posted by
2793 posts

She will still be limited to 90 days in any 180 for all other Schengen countries.

Right but spouse is eligible for a new residence permit in a new EU country if staying over 90 days. Spouse getting citizenship makes it a lot easier.

Posted by
9 posts

Regarding the over 90 day stay requirements I am reaching out for a definitive answer from EU and will post a succinct statement when that is fully confirmed.

*Regarding the options for having a car for 1 year in Europe does anyone have a suggestion or opinion about a best, low-cost approach?* Any experiences that strongly relate? Thanks again to all (this is my first time using this forum and it has been helpful).

Posted by
468 posts

If buying a used car and then selling it on, you’d likely need to have a permanent or registered address in the country where you’d be buying, registering and insuring the car plus you would have to perform some form of regular inspection (likely to be annual with an older vehicle) at state-licensed centres within that country, meaning you would have to return to that country to perform the inspection.

You could look into the Renault Eurodrive and Car2Europe programs, but those are limited to 180 days and only available to non-residents.

Another issue to look into besides the immigration/visa issues is tax since you’d be staying longer than 6 months and your wife might have to become a resident in an EU country. Look into rules on foreign driving licences, too. Things can become much more complicated once you want to legally stay beyond the 90/180 days intended for tourist travel.

Posted by
23890 posts

My post 10 posts back is about car use.

Posted by
23890 posts

Regarding the comment about taxes - If you are a US citizen (I'm assuming you are dual with something and Luxembourg) unless you renounce your US citizenship you will continue to owe Uncle Sam's boys at the IRS taxes on your worldwide earnings no matter where in the world you live and regardless of your dual nationality. You will also owe what is due in Luxembourg. There may be a tax treaty (don't know) like here in the UK but you'd want to look.

Posted by
6921 posts

People we know who buy a used car and resell at the end of their one-year stay have had one address and are based in one country. This is the most economical option, as long as there are no major repairs.
Leasing includes full insurance and repairs.
We’ve also rented via AutoEurope for 30 days, the max allowed, and re-rented for months on end; I estimated the cost to be similar to leasing. This was handy as we could change the size of the car to fit our needs.

Posted by
9 posts

I had promised to post the official reply from the EDCC. I have pasted it in here. It's similar to a recommendation I received on this forum. I'm a little disappointed there wasn't more insight provided.

Dear Mr. Rhett,
Thank you for contacting the Europe Direct Contact Centre.
As a US citizen, your wife will benefit of the visa waiver, allowing her to stay in the Schengen Area for 90 days in any 180 days. The Schengen countries include: Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.
Should you wish to stay in a Schengen country for a period exceeding 90 days in 180 days, you will have to enquire about a long-term visa. Please note that visas are issued under national conditions, and for further information we advise you to contact the Embassy/Consulate of the country of your interest (for instance the one where you wish to spend the longest time) for further information: https://europa.eu/youreurope/citizens/national-contact-points/embassies/index_en.htm
For general information about travelling in the European Union, please see: https://europa.eu/youreurope/citizens/travel/entry-exit/non-eu-family/index_en.htm
We hope you find this information useful. Please contact us again if you have other questions about the European Union, its activities or institutions.