Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Xaltotun

An American freelancing abroad, do any of you have experience?

Recommended Posts

I've been seriously looking into freelancing abroad, but the logistics are pretty complicated and many countries seem to handle it differently.

 

Do any of you have experience travelling and freelancing as you go? I've been specifically looking into East Asia, and the advice I've had there has usually been to try to get a full time teaching job for the visa and then use that as a jumping off point for freelance or mograph work. Another option is to maybe try to get in with an ad agency stateside that has foreign branches in a country I'd like to go to.

 

Perhaps Australia or New Zealand might be more practical? Singapore seems like an easier route too since they speak English and have established studios there. I've looked into Canada but that's surprisingly difficult. It really seems you have to be sponsored by a company for a full time position.

 

I do remember Crabbey's old blog where he travelled across Europe, which sounded awesome:

http://mograph.net/board/index.php?showtopic=14184

 

I don't know if anybody has the same urge but I'd just like to pick up and live the nomad life for a while while I have the freedom. I already sold most of my stuff and hop around the US, so if it's possible to do that abroad that'd be living the dream.

Edited by Xaltotun

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sounds like an awesome adventure, no matter where you find yourself!

 

Sorry, I don't have any worthwhile advice to give but wish you the best of luck.

 

Vozz will probably be the best person here for advice in this arena.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@Xaltotun



Good for you to shed your debts and obligations, aka material things.



Please keep us posted in your findings about the conditions compared to US.



In addition to Vozz, I think Mylenium would know as well. I believe he's from Germany and seems to be a travelled veteran.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I recommend Germany as your first stop.

 

Its the easiest place i know of to get a 2 year self employment visa, and that opens you up to the entire shengen area.

 

this blog pretty much covers it: http://4dayvisa.tumblr.com/

 

except you will need at least 2 letters from german companies/employers that say they are interested in working with you ( no binding contract, just an expression of interest).

 

and the health insurance will set you back about 2200 euro/year. But it covers you across europe.

 

[edit]: the people who give you the visa are old white german ladies, generally seem sweet, but i'd suggest coming there clean, conservative and presentable. I've heard about them being terribly unfriendly and unhelpful. I'm guessing it could've been more because of the person applying for the visa. ( i saw some people in the line who where definitly not going to get a visa).

 

----

 

Then once you get into the expat crowd it'll be a lot easier to travel. It's just the first jump that's difficult. You'll be in the loop on what countries are offering good visa's, where companies are hiring and so forth.

 

Also drinking is kinda an important part of being a nomad... opens up a lot of doors to places to crash, people to tell you where you should and shouldn't go.

 

----

 

wish i found this place earlier: http://www.reddit.com/r/IWantOut/

 

lots of useful info there.

 

---

 

[edit2]: check out working holiday visa's they have them in quite a few countries too

 

[edit3]: most countries give americans 3 month visa free through waiver program, great to get a feel for the country.

Edited by vozzz

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I recommend Germany as your first stop.

 

Its the easiest place i know of to get a 2 year self employment visa, and that opens you up to the entire shengen area.

 

this blog pretty much covers it: http://4dayvisa.tumblr.com/

 

Thanks a lot vozzz, that's great info! I looked that site over and it does seem like Germany has some of the most reasonable Visa requirements I've seen so far. That's great that they have an "artist visa". I've been to Berlin before and I'm actually planning on making a trip to Germany in a couple months so I think that might be the way to go. I didn't realize that would open up the shengen area with a visa for only one country. There's also the major bonus that Germans all seem to speak perfect English.

 

Do you happen to know if the self employment visa allows freelance through the shengen area or even freelance at all? It usually seems reasonably straightforward to get a visa if you have a full time job offer but the freelance situation is much more complicated.

 

Then once you get into the expat crowd it'll be a lot easier to travel. It's just the first jump that's difficult. You'll be in the loop on what countries are offering good visa's, where companies are hiring and so forth.

 

Also drinking is kinda an important part of being a nomad... opens up a lot of doors to places to crash, people to tell you where you should and shouldn't go.

 

It seems like this is super important from all the expats I've talked to. I'm used to the constant networking for freelance work, but it seems even more important in a foreign country. I think thalf the fun of being in another country is checking out the bar scene, so I'm definitely down for that.

 

 

 

wish i found this place earlier: http://www.reddit.com/r/IWantOut/

 

 

I've never seen that subreddit, I'll definitely check it out. I've actually been asking specific country subreddits about their visa and work situation and that's been really helpful. The problem I've run into a lot is that some countries don't seem to want foreign freelancers (understandably, I suppose) so you have to have a concrete job offer to get a visa.

 

 

[edit2]: check out working holiday visa's they have them in quite a few countries too

 

[edit3]: most countries give americans 3 month visa free through waiver program, great to get a feel for the country.

 

I'll definitely check these out. I've heard of Europeans and Australians utilizing working holiday visas to work abroad but I've never talked to an American that has used one, I don't know if it's because they're not available to Americans or just not commonly known about?

Edited by Xaltotun

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Good for you to shed your debts and obligations, aka material things.

Please keep us posted in your findings about the conditions compared to US.

In addition to Vozz, I think Mylenium would know as well. I believe he's from Germany and seems to be a travelled veteran.

 

 

Thanks man! Yeah I'm really curious, I've been doing a lot of research about Asia especially. In Japan mograph seems to be seen as much more of a trade and less of an art form so the pay and prestige is considerably lower, but I definitely wouldn't be doing it for the money. The Phillipines has a surprisingly vibrant scene, I run into Fillipino freelancers online all the time and they're pretty good. My goal is to get into one region of the world and see if it's possible to work throughout the region and explore. I'd definitely have to keep a blog or something because I'm really curious about the working conditions in a lot of countries so I'm sure others aret too.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Lots of work in London and people generally speak English ;)

I don't think it's too hard to get visas and what not.

Summer is definitely the time to come

 

I think London is a little further down the list for me just because I've been there quite a few times and it's always kind of lumped in with NYC and LA anyway, so I'm curious about the less commonly tread areas. I do love London though!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I decided to do this in January and headed down to Buenos Aires without any real plans. I had enough freelance work that I can do from my laptop though so wasn't really counting on working at any companies here, since I don't have any sort of work visa. But I randomly met someone and have been here for 3 months now working at a studio, not quite in the most legal route though, haha.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I decided to do this in January and headed down to Buenos Aires without any real plans. I had enough freelance work that I can do from my laptop though so wasn't really counting on working at any companies here, since I don't have any sort of work visa. But I randomly met someone and have been here for 3 months now working at a studio, not quite in the most legal route though, haha.

 

That's awesome! That's what I'm thinking I might have to do; try to focus on freelance clients in the US that can do it remotely and then just get by on that work at first. I would prefer to keep things legal though; I... I'm just not adventurous enough to explore exotic prisons.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

I think London is a little further down the list for me just because I've been there quite a few times and it's always kind of lumped in with NYC and LA anyway, so I'm curious about the less commonly tread areas. I do love London though!

 

It'd be good if London was a bit more like LA

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't have any experience, but I wish you the best of luck. I'd love to read a blog like this, a mix of travel and mograph work at different studios.That would be an awesome read.

 

I've turned down jobs in London, Shanghai and Denmark, so maybe I can live vicariously through you instead, haha.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

german self employment visa allows only freelance work and only in Germany. But if you have a full time job offer anywhere, you can just use that offer to apply for full time work visa. ( they are easier to get, so if you got the self employment, you will get the full time work one). \

 

re: working freelance in other countries. Just before you leave the states, set up like a sole trader company or whatever the US equivilant is. Than you can invoice the studios from you're US company. It's like imagine if you want to buy a service provided by a company in another country. So you don't bill them hourly, you provide a product that they buy. ( talk to your accountant).

 

yeah, Germany is the only country that i have found with self-employment visa's. Lets hope the rest of the world will catch up soon. =)

 

re: illegal stuff: you're not going to go to any jails for it. Most countries just ban you from their country for a certain period of time. As long as you're not smuggling drugs or weapons or people, worst case is a fine and entry ban. ( in civil countries anyway)

 

 

re: Singapore: That place is crazy expensive and they have insane taxes, and chewing gum is a criminal offense apparently.

 

re: holiday working visa's: did a quick google: http://www.anyworkanywhere.com/whvuscit.html seems like you dont have that many countries.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Unfortunately for the states, I think it's maybe the reciprocity idea, since so many people generally want to move to the states, the restrictions are quite high. So if the states doesn't offer other countries any opportunities, then the same vice versa. You should look into the NAFTA agreement if you have some sort of recognized University Art degree. I know that's how my a couple of my canadian friends were able to move to the states after having job offers, because they had some sort of degree that falls under a highly skilled professional or some shit.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

german self employment visa allows only freelance work and only in Germany. But if you have a full time job offer anywhere, you can just use that offer to apply for full time work visa. ( they are easier to get, so if you got the self employment, you will get the full time work one). \

 

re: working freelance in other countries. Just before you leave the states, set up like a sole trader company or whatever the US equivilant is. Than you can invoice the studios from you're US company. It's like imagine if you want to buy a service provided by a company in another country. So you don't bill them hourly, you provide a product that they buy. ( talk to your accountant).

 

yeah, Germany is the only country that i have found with self-employment visa's. Lets hope the rest of the world will catch up soon. =)

 

re: illegal stuff: you're not going to go to any jails for it. Most countries just ban you from their country for a certain period of time. As long as you're not smuggling drugs or weapons or people, worst case is a fine and entry ban. ( in civil countries anyway)

 

 

re: Singapore: That place is crazy expensive and they have insane taxes, and chewing gum is a criminal offense apparently.

 

re: holiday working visa's: did a quick google: http://www.anyworkanywhere.com/whvuscit.html seems like you dont have that many countries.

 

 

Germany sounds like a definite possibility. I've visited Germany briefly and I thought it was great. They seem to have very progressive policies for foreign workers, especially since they allow creative freelancers.

 

I think your idea to start a company first might be the best way to go at this point. I've been talking to another animator and we're seriously considering forming one. That seems like the best way to be able to work in a variety of countries as most have a visa that allows you to be there as a working representative of a foreign company but won't allow you to be an employee of a local company. Plus it would be a great way to keep the work coming if I was having trouble finding some wherever I was, since my partner would still be in the US.

 

Man, you aren't joking about the holiday Visas. It looks like there are 4 options for a nonstudent American:

Australia, South Korea, New Zealand, and Singapore. And these are only offered to workers 18-30 years old (I've got a year, so I better leave soon!)

 

Right now I'm thinking my most likely "base of operations" would be either Germany, South Korea, or Japan, Germany or South Korea being the most inviting and Japan having an easy route to a visa through English teaching at first. You were right about Singapore, it looks very expensive.

Edited by Xaltotun

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Unfortunately for the states, I think it's maybe the reciprocity idea, since so many people generally want to move to the states, the restrictions are quite high. So if the states doesn't offer other countries any opportunities, then the same vice versa. You should look into the NAFTA agreement if you have some sort of recognized University Art degree. I know that's how my a couple of my canadian friends were able to move to the states after having job offers, because they had some sort of degree that falls under a highly skilled professional or some shit.

 

Yeah I've seen how hard it is for foreigners to get visas in the US, so I guess what goes around comes around. I haven't heard of the NAFTA agreement pertaining to highly skilled professionals, I should look into that. I've tried to get into Quebec to work, but freelancing seems out of the question and getting sponsored by a company is no small task either.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't have any experience, but I wish you the best of luck. I'd love to read a blog like this, a mix of travel and mograph work at different studios.That would be an awesome read.

 

I've turned down jobs in London, Shanghai and Denmark, so maybe I can live vicariously through you instead, haha.

 

That's a good idea! I would really need to keep a blog of some sort if I'm doing anything remotely interesting. I for one would love to know what the mograph community is like in a lot of other countries, so surely other people would find it interesting.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hey, sorry, I'm a bit late to the party, just getting caught up after a spell of vacation.

 

I'm a U.S. citizen, living and working in Spain. My wife teaches at the University of Salamanca, and so my visa is basically attached to hers. The town I live in has effectively no creative industry to speak of, so my difficulties have been in finding work. I have my arsenal of clients from the U.S. before I moved, but it's been tough replacing clients as Creative Directors that I work with leave agencies and such. Since I basically have to work via the internet, it's difficult to email agencies and studios that don't know me and convince them to send me work. Not impossible, but rather tough.

 

I'm still trying to figure out the right ingredients or methodology to crack open this whole "acquiring remote clients" thing, so if anyone has any ideas there... you know...

 

As far as living and working abroad, I can't recommend it enough. There will be plenty of headaches and obstacles along the way, but man, does it ever enrich your life. It's been worth every sleepless night.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That whole gubbins of landing remote clients isn't easy! Even in my case, I do a lot of work remotely for companies based in the same city, meeting up with them every now and again to start off a project, hand over files, etc. goes a long, long way.

 

 

Thanks a lot vozzz, that's great info! I looked that site over and it does seem like Germany has some of the most reasonable Visa requirements I've seen so far. That's great that they have an "artist visa". I've been to Berlin before and I'm actually planning on making a trip to Germany in a couple months so I think that might be the way to go. I didn't realize that would open up the shengen area with a visa for only one country. There's also the major bonus that Germans all seem to speak perfect English.

 

Not quite - in my experience, though many Germans do speak good English, not all are fluent. Netherlands, Norway & Sweden would have all have a higher overall standard of English. If you're still planing on staying in Germany for any extended period of time, most potential employers and clients would expect you to speak German.

 

The forums on http://www.toytowngermany.com have a wealth of info about moving over there, job expectations, the hoops you've got to jump through to get a flat, etc.

 

In general, wherever you land, try sort yourself out with some desk space or a place hot desking somewhere as you'll make more contacts, get to know more people that way and jobs often get passed along throughout an office which is obviously a good thing.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

i dunno, the bus drivers in berlin speak english. That i think says a lot about the level of english competence there.

 

as far as getting a flat. I just found something on the toytowngermany.com forum ( it was a shared flat). zero problems.

 

signed a contract, went to the abelwamernaght. or whatever its called. that's the biggest problem with germany i think. Its the unpronouncability of their government bodies.

 

Then again. Im quite a pleasant young white/jewish looking guy. so maybe its easier for me...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

auslanderbehorde, Vozz.

 

Yeah I was in berlin for almost 4 years, fuck-all work except events, which means usually doing basic crap at ridiculous resolutions projection-mapped onto landmarks. yawn

 

The dream is to get remote clients and a decent enough laptop (like the ones Workstation Solutions build) to be able to do a 6k cloth sim in Maya within two days...

Buenos Aires is a personal dream, but I know from experience you can barely research anything beforehand. You have to sell up, ship out, and turn up. livin the dream....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

thanks =)

 

Buenos Aires sounds cool. Its pretty cheap, but there internet is pretty terrible from what i hear. And argentina have some crazy laws about money transfers and recieving packages. All packages have to go to the post office and be opened and then when you pick em up you have to pay their ridiculous taxes. Same thing for money coming into and out of the country. mass taxes.

 

as far as remote clients. 100% of my clients are remote, but i don't know how i found em. I used to apply for lots of jobs on boards when i started out, but they rarely got me work. The clients i do have just kinda found me. And sometimes i get contacted by new clients.

 

Right now its an issue for me. As i want US visa, but unless i manage to qualify for the 0-1 artist of extra ordinary ability visa, my only other option is the investor visa. And that thing is a 500k investment... so i need to start looking for more clients... :)))

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...