How to live in two countries and travel?

Green Card, Sambo and Citizenship

As you might know by now we are a couple from USA and Sweden, we met while traveling in Brazil about 6 years ago and have since then been living in Stockholm, Sweden. About a year ago we decided to live in two places! Why? Well, several reasons, for one we realised it’s actually possible to have dual citizenship in both our countries but also that it’s possible to have a job that allow us two live in two places.

That was not the main reason though, we wanted to be close to both our families and we were not happy with only staying in one place. Also, since we met while traveling and both love it, we wanted to have more time to do what we love.

We know that everyone can’t live in two places due to the rules of the country you were born in, so we realized that we are lucky to come from two countries that allow this and therefore saw the opportunity in actually making it happen.

Our situation right now is that we both have full time jobs in Stockholm but because of the advantageous work system in Sweden, we have a lot of vacation time to use for traveling back and forth to the states. This works for now but we plan to create jobs or business for ourselves to allow us to move more freely between the two countries. To be able to achieve our dream we had to look into some rules for our countries and create some steps for us to follow.

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  1. Sambo Visa, Residency, Citizenship and Green Card

Sambo Visa? No thats not a dance “samba” visa! A Sambo visa in Sweden is simply a relationship visa. Sweden and a few other countries offer these, Australia for example, and they are great for allowing a couple to live together before they agree to get married. We dated for a year apart before we decided to get a sambo visa and live in Stockholm. The sambo visa last for two years and afterwards you can apply for residency in Sweden.

This was a big pain for Jake since it took 10 months and they had to have his passport the whole time. Then after we were married last summer we applied for Citizenship for Jake and a Green Card for myself. Citzenship in Sweden took, astonishingly, only a week for Jake, I think they punished him enough before and the Green Card process for myself is still ongoing.

It might sound simple enough but there are a lot of papers to fill out, lots of application fees, interviews and most of the time you will be wondering if you did it correctly since they are so vague with everything. If you have any questions about the process, feel free to ask. My advice would be read up as much as possible and if you have any questions they embassies are a great asset. The Swedish Embassy in San Francisco really helped us out in the beginning and so far the USA embassy here in Sweden has been really helpful too. Use them as resources.

 

  1. Plan for a job that you can work from two countries

If you have a full time job, are a freelancer, or have your own company; there are ways to work around being located in only one locale. The world is becoming smaller in smaller as we become more connected, it comes down to how bad do you want it. If you are employed at a big company, look into opportunities to either work from home or transfer to another location for a while. (Read The 4 Hour Work Week for more inspiration) There is always ways to work around situations.

If you are a freelancer look into what opportunities there are around the world, maybe you don’t need to work with only one market or maybe you have connections somewhere else. It’s all about getting out there and building relationships. If you are self-employed, well congratulations you can shape your own future!

 

  1. How to LIVE in two countries?

Well it might sound easier than it is to actually be able to live in two countries, we usually get the question: are you going to own two homes? Well yes, that would be amazing but unfortunately we don’t have that budget right now, because of traveling, but there are so many ways this could be solved.

Today we own an apartment in the city of Stockholm and are in love with Airbnb, so wherever we go we just rent it out. San Francisco California is more of a renters market so we aren’t sure we would ever buy there but we would like to own something near there eventually. But by renting out our own flat in Stockholm when we are abroad, we never feel like we are paying for two places to live. Eventually when we have been living in US for a while we might be able to buy a home but for now this works pretty good.

 

If you have any other questions please let us now in the comments below! =)

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