I'm a freelance internet worker, working and traveling at the same time. I have a US Passport.

I wanted to legally spend 9 months in Europe - Czech Republic, Germany, Spain, and/or Budapest. While I'm there, I'll work on my business in the US, rent an apartment, and do tourist stuff.

What's the smartest way to spend 6-9 months like this in Europe? I typically spend 2-3 months in the same place before traveling on. The Schengen 90/180 day rule doesn't seem that complicated, but I don't want to leave for 3 months in the middle.

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    This is a very subjective question, and likely to get closed. In particular, be more precise in your question. What tips do you expect? It is hard to understand if you are looking for what to visit as a tourist for 9 months, or if you want tips to legally spend 9 months in Europe. If this is the second, you will have to tell your citizenship. Depending on your citizenship, the 90/180 rule may apply for your stays in the Schengen area, and we have a question on the topic that I encourage you to read. – Vince Jan 1 '15 at 17:10
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    I don't understand the context of your remark 'Shenzhen makes that harder'. – MastaBaba Jan 1 '15 at 17:48
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    You are unlikely to get caught or one would hardly care, but strictly speaking, working over the Internet violates a tourist visa. I know because I am a freelancer myself and had the same question. – Ayesh K Jan 1 '15 at 18:55
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    Your question, though now edited, is still very general. If your only concern is Schengen rules, add a few destinations that are not Schengen. Why not Rabat or Casablanca? Why not Lvov or Istanbul? – MastaBaba Jan 1 '15 at 20:33
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    I don't think you will get caught at all, or even feel guilty for freelancing. It's not that you are working in a company, taking away jobs of locals. There are many people who do this (bloggers for example). – Ayesh K Jan 1 '15 at 20:46

All the places you mentioned are in the Schengen area and the 90/180 rule applies to the area as a whole. So leaving for three months in the middle is not a small thing you could circumvent by being smart, it's a major condition of visa-free visits designed precisely to preclude what you want to do.

Staying and working for a full 9 months in the Schengen area without a proper long-stay visa is not only illegal, it's also much more difficult to get away with it like many people reportedly do in South America or South-East Asia.

Furthermore, even if you would go out of the Schengen area (say to the UK, Croatia, or even further to Turkey, Georgia, etc.) to avoid falling foul of the rule, you would still not be allowed to work, even remotely. If your clients and your bank accounts are all in the US, you could probably get away with that aspect of your plan but it's still unambiguously illegal.

  • Could you provide a reference for the OP not being allowed to telecommute for a non-EU-company while travelling under a tourist visa/visa free in the EU, provided that payment and taxation is done "within that other non-EU country"? That would be interesting to see. – DCTLib Jan 2 '15 at 9:18
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    @DCTLib, if the work is being PERFORMED in the EU, then it could be done by an EU national, regardless of the payment venue. Also just like any EU national, tax and reporting requirements apply. – Gayot Fow Jan 2 '15 at 9:24
  • @GayotFow - A source would be nice. Work being performed in the EU is probably not sufficient to be subject to taxation. Otherwise, e.g., foreign businessmen negotiating contract for their home companies would not be allowed to do so in person in the EU if they are paid for these services by their home companies. – DCTLib Jan 2 '15 at 9:29
  • @DCTLib, no, contract negotiations are explicitly allowed in the rules, please see Annex II. – Gayot Fow Jan 2 '15 at 11:30
  • @GayotFow Annex II of which Directive? – DCTLib Jan 2 '15 at 11:36

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