There’s something beautiful about how the world has evolved to allow traveling enthusiasts the opportunities to work on the road. The terms ‘digital nomad’ and ‘remote worker’ are synonymous with the dream of working and traveling to idyllic destinations. This is the dream, but you need a ticket to get there. Getting a digital nomad visa is one of the first steps in the process.
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Many people think that you can hop onto a plane with your laptop and set yourself up in any country that you please. For us, this means a reliable swell for surfing. While you can get away with this in some places, living off of a tourist visa in other countries is illegal.
Before booking a trip anywhere, it’s important to do your research on the requirements to live and work in the country that you’re visiting, especially if you’re going to be living off of the country for a long period of time. In many instances, your tourist visa may be very limiting.
A lot of destinations with digital nomad potential are a bit behind the times. They haven’t adapted to the unique lifestyle of travel and work, and their visa options are for fleeting tourists. However, as the working landscape has shifted, the value of a digital nomad visa (or a visa for remote workers) has been put on the radar.
We’ll explore 10 countries that are perfect for working remotely, and they have a digital nomad visa to seal the deal.
Digital Nomad Meaning
The term ‘digital nomad’ and ‘remote worker’ are often used interchangeably. Both groups of workers are growing exponentially, with infrastructure following closely behind. A quick search online will bring up digital nomad forums, such as Nomad List, and suggestions on where to go.
In essence, digital nomads work in a location-independent manner and are able to do so thanks to a technology-enabled lifestyle. They make magic with a strong internet connection and a fully-charged laptop – regardless of where they are in the world.
Remote workers are similar in the sense that don’t have to go into the office. However, they may be more limited in travel and flexibility of hours.
What Is a Digital Nomad Visa?
Living as a digital nomad means that you often escape certain rules. However, countries are catching on to the trend and drafting paperwork that removes any doubt about whether you can work and live in a country.
A digital nomad visa fills a legal void that previously allowed travelers to work and live in a country with visa-free perks. These visas outline the rules and requirements for living and working in a country.
Why Get a Digital Nomad Visa?
Apart from the obvious reason of being able to operate legally within a country, a digital nomad visa has other values. The documentation was designed to encourage slow travel and really enjoy the culture of a country.
The visa for remote workers gives travelers the chance to legally spend time in a country and earn money at the same time. This is a small way to give back to a country and enjoy the perks of living there without paying taxes like the locals. It’s a small step to take in order to do things properly and show your appreciation for the destination that you are visiting.
What Countries Have Digital Nomad Visas?
Digital nomad visas manifest in different ways. Some outline that you’re allowed to stay in the country long-term, others have strict limitations.
Portugal was the destination that we chose to do our digital nomad trial run. It’s a digital nomad hotspot for several reasons. These include a rich culture, beautiful landscape and, we have to admit, it’s one of the best places to surf practically all-year-around.
The country is known for port wine and pastel de nata offers two options. One is a temporary resident visa and the other is a residence permit for independent workers. This is valid for one year and if you enjoy your lifestyle, then you can extend it for up to five years.
After which, you can apply for permanent residency. With this visa, you’ll be given an official ID for your stay in Portugal, called Título de Residência.
If you want to get a digital nomad visa, Portugal has certain requirements. You have to earn a minimum of €600 per month, with proof of income, business ownership or financial means. In addition, you’ll have to provide proof of health (or travel insurance) and submit a criminal background check.
How to Apply
Once again, you’ll need to make an appointment at a Portuguese Consulate near you. Take along all of the required documents (including the application form that has been printed out and filled in).
The usual visa fee will cost €83 and the resident permit fee will cost €72. Not a bad price of an amazing destination!
The Baltic country may be old in history and heritage, but it’s progressive in tourism. Not only was Estonia the first country to draft a legal solution for foreign entrepreneurs to run an online business in the European Union, but they also introduced a year-long digital nomad visa. Estonia offers a surreal beauty that is void of crowds.
The well-preserved medieval architecture and ancient atmosphere are just the cherries on the top of the country being one of the world’s most advanced digital societies.
There are a few conditions to qualify for the Estonia digital nomad visa. These include the ownership of a location independent business and/or you work for a company that is based outside of Estonia. In addition, you need to earn at least €3504 per month (for the last six months).
How to Apply
There are two types of digital nomad visas. The one is Type C for short stays which will cost €80. Another option is Type D for longer stays which cost €100.
There is an online application form that needs to be filled out and signed. Once complete, it needs to be submitted in person after making an appointment at your nearest Estonian Embassy.
The Meditteranean country is so vibrant and full of life, it’s no wonder that it attracts so many travelers from around the world. Including digital nomads. Realizing that remote workers enjoy immersing themselves in the Spanish culture while earning money from an external source, the country introduced the Non-Lucrative visa.
Take note that this is not the same as a typical digital nomad visa. Spain allows people who are self-sufficient or retired to settle down in the country which technically disallows the act of working.
With this in mind, the conditions for the visa are quite strict and include proof of self-sufficiency which involves investments or retirement income of a minimum of €2151. Alternatively, you should hold a total of €25,816 in savings.
In addition, you’ll need to provide proof of private Spanish health insurance, give permission to a criminal background check and offer a Medical Certificate of good health.
How to Apply
The application for a freelance visa in Spain needs to be done in person, at a Spanish Consulate or Embassy. All required documents need to be translated into Spanish and validated in your home country. You’ll also need $140 USD to pay for the visa.
And here’s the catch, you need to sign a sworn statement before a Notary that you agree not to work during your stay in Spain.
Mauritius may be known for its lush, tropical mood that is perfectly suited for honeymooners, but it is fast becoming a hotspot for digital nomads too. If you’re wondering how to define dream digital nomad life – then the luscious island vibe of Mauritius may come close.
The small island has recently released its own visa specifically for remote workers. It allows for visitors to stay for one year – on certain conditions.
To take advantage of the free, premium visa, you need to own a location independent business or be employed by a company that is located outside of Mauritius. You’ll need to provide proof of plans for a long-term stay (with the potential of being asked for motivation. In addition, proof of travel or health insurance during your stay is required.
How to Apply
If all of the above lines up, then the visa is really easy to get. You just need to complete an application form.
Are you wondering how you can get a freelance visa in Germany? So that you can sip on German beer once the clock strikes at the end of the workday? Or so that you can be surrounded by beautiful castles and marvelous architecture?
Freelance visas are available in their own, unique form. Filed under the name Aufenthaltserlaubnis für selbständige Tätigkeit, the digital nomad visa in Germany operates like a resident permit for foreign freelancers and self-employed individuals who want to stay in the country for a long period between 6 months and three years.
Make sure that you plan in advance for this visa, as it can take up to four months to get approved. To get the visa, you’ll need to show some commitment. This includes an address in German, proof of health insurance and proof that you are sustainable in a financial sense. In addition, you’ll need to show that you have clients based in German, as this is a great way to contribute to the local economy.
How to Apply
In order to provide proof of an address in Germany, you’ll need to secure a residence in Germany. Then, you’ll need to gather all of the necessary documents and book a visa appointment at the nearest immigration office. The visa fee will cost €100 – but it’s a good investment!
6. Cayman Islands
Living the tropical, island dream is at the top of the bucket list for many digital nomads. The government understands the appeal that the paradise Caribbean destination holds with travelers and recently launched a special visa called the Global Citizen Certificate (GCC).
Living as a digital nomad can now be as dreamy as the media makes it look! The GCC allows individuals to call the island home for up to two years, but there are several requirements that are needed.
The first barrier to entry is that you need to provide an annual salary of $100,000 per person, or a decreased annual income of $150,000 for couples. This money must be paid by an entity outside of the Cayman Islands. In addition, a notarized bank reference letter is needed, as well as proof of health insurance and consent to a background check.
How to Apply
The requirements are quite steep, and a lot of aspiring island dwellers are sifted out from the beginning. There is an online application that needs to be submitted, along with an application fee of $1,469. Needless to say, you need to be invested in the idea.
7. Costa Rica
For many people, like ourselves, Costa Rica is a haven for digital nomads. It’s one of the best surfing spots in the world and offers a lifestyle bursting with beauty and culture. To allow for more digital nomads, Costa Rica has released a specific freelancer visa called Rentista.
This allows foreign freelancers to work in the tropical sanctuary for up to two years. If you really love it, then you have the option to extend it further.
To qualify for the Rentista, you need to be a freelancer or entrepreneur. However, you can’t be employed by another company. In addition, you need to show an income history of earning $2,500 per month for two years. Alternatively, you can make a $60,000 deposit into a Costa Rican bank.
How to Apply
There are options to apply for the Costa Rica digital nomad visa. The solo version involves applying through the Migracion Website, however, it is far better to go with the second option and hire an immigration lawyer.
All documents need to be translated into Spanish and validated in your home country. Finally, you’ll need to pay the visa fee of $250.
8. The Czech Republic
The Czech Republic is one of the most underrated countries to visit. Having met incredible people from the country, we can only assume that the rest of the population is as friendly and beautiful in nature. The city’s buildings are waiting to be explored when you put down your computer for the day, and the diverse landscape is a magnet for adventure.
And we haven’t even got to the fast internet! Considering what a great spot Czech Republic is for digital nomads, it’s a little bit more complex to get a visa to work there. The digital nomad visa in the Czech Republic is called the Zivno, and it makes you prove that you want to stay by going through the right processes.
The Zivno allows travelers to live and work in the Czech Republic for one year, with the option to have it extended. A trade license for a specified trade is required, as well as proof of accommodation for a minimum of one year.
To show that you can sustain yourself in the country, you need to have proof of at least €5,587 (per person) in your bank account. In addition, you need to pay the equivalent of $80 USD per month in local taxes.
How to Apply
If you’re able to provide all of the above information, then you’re set. To help the process, you can hire an agency to assist you. Gather all of the necessary documents, secure €100 for the visa fee, and make an appointment at a Czech embassy.
Mexico is one of my favorite countries in the world. Between the wonderful beaches, fascinating history, and lively culture, what’s not to love? For a digital nomad, Mexico is a great option. They offer a six-month-long tourist visa, as well as the Temporary Resident Visa which is valid for one year (and the chance to extend for another three years).
Mexico offers this temporary residency to remote workers from around the world, as long as they are financially self-sufficient.
The visa is available for those that own a location independent business or work remotely for a company that is based outside of Mexico. You’ll need to prove that you have a monthly income of at least $1,620 USD in the previous six months, or have a bank balance of $27,000.
How to Apply
Much like the other visas on this list, you need to gather required documents, complete an application form and make an appointment with the Mexican consulate.
10. Antigua and Barbuda
Who wouldn’t want to wake up to the beaming sun and tranquil life on a Caribbean Island every day? Antigua and Barbuda is another island nation that has realized the potential for its visitors to stay long-term.
In response, they’ve launched the Nomad Digital Residence (NDR) that is available for digital nomads that can prove their ability to support themselves financially. The visa allows you to live on the island for two years.
Much like many other destinations, you’ll need to own a location-independent business or work for a company that is based outside Antigua and Barbuda. Financially, you’ll need to earn at least $50,000 a year and prove that you have your own travel and health insurance plan.
How to Apply
To live the dream in Antigua and Barbuda, you need to fill out an online application form and provide proof of employment. You’ll also be asked for a police background check and be required to pay the visa fee. The visa costs $1,500 for one person, $2,000 for a couple, and $3,000 for a family of three (or more).
There Are More Places To Explore
These are just 10 of the many progressive countries that are adapting their entry requirements to allow remote workers the opportunity to dive deep into the culture of the country.
We have always found it far more rewarding to stay for a month or more in each place that we visit, and these countries allow for that opportunity.
Have you visited any countries that have welcomed you with welcome arms (and a small visa fee)? We’d love to hear about them – and maybe even add them to our travel bucket list!