Have you thought about working remotely from a different location every year? Luckily, this is entirely possible as the way people work and live today is rapidly changing. All you need is a digital nomad visa and a thirst to explore new cultures and horizons.
We investigated the matter in detail and outlined the specifics of countries with the best offers for digital nomads. Read on and find out what each state requires to qualify as a digital nomad. Fingers crossed about passing more laws that enrich and ease the life of location-independent workers.
What Visa Choices Do You Have For Work Remotely While Traveling?
Most countries have strict immigration laws and won’t allow foreign citizens to stay for more extended periods. Though every country has its specifics, it’s best to be aware of the generalizations. In short, as a digital nomad, you’re most likely to have the following visa options at disposal:
- Tourist visas get tailored for short-term stays of 90 days or shorter. As a tourist, you’re generally not allowed to work, but many freelancers use the time to generate income while traveling.
- Long-stay visas allow holders to reside and work at a particular place for longer periods. Such permits are ideal for people who’re tired of changing location frequently and applying for visas all over again. Long-term travel documents vary depending on the home country and the scope of work and income.
- Working holiday visas are perfect for people between the age of 18 and 30 willing to accept seasonal, regional, or hourly-paid jobs. The average duration of such possibilities to live, travel, and work at a particular destination is usually a year. You would be amazed to know that nearly 60 countries offer this kind of youth mobility programs.
- Passive income visas get granted to foreigners who can provide proof of reasonable income to support themselves while staying abroad. Passive income might come from renting properties, investments, annuities, or retirement. Right now, countries like Spain, Thailand, Indonesia, Costa Rica, Aruba, and Malta offer this opportunity. Anyways, you must check the eligibility criteria to make sure you qualify.
What Is The Difference Between Freelancer And A Digital Nomad?
First and foremost, a small percentage of freelancers work as digital nomads. The opposite is also true, as not all digital nomads are inherently freelancers. Freelancers are their own bosses, and sometimes an agency can represent them. They are also referred to as independent contractors and may work for several clients.
Digital nomads, on the other hand, work from different places with the use of technology only. They can work from a hotel, a camper, or a beach bar provided there’s a stable internet connection. Digital nomads can either work for one company or have a long-term client.
Whatever you decide to name yourself, it’s a widely accepted fact that the freelancer system allows for a nomad digital life. If you’re self-employed, you can treat yourself by working from somewhere far away and changing locations frequently. Regardless of what kind of a remote worker you are, there are visas for every occasion.
Remote Working On A Tourist Visa?
Working on a tourist visa forces you to leave the country once it expires. Coming back shortly after is what most freelancers do, though often illegal, to continue working from abroad. In Asia, all you have to do is a border run for a new visa, but in Europe, the process gets strictly regulated.
What Is The Schengen Visa?
The EU Schengen is the largest free travel area that involves 26 European countries. To be able to reside or travel within this zone, one must hold a valid Schengen Visa. Such a visa allows people beyond the area to stay within the zone up to consecutive or spread 90 days. Once this period expires, non-EU residents must leave the zone for 90 days before returning to the region once again.
Indeed, this makes it difficult for digital nomads to plan long-term stays in any of the Schengen countries. In case you want to live in an EU country for a more extended period, think about specific long-term visas. Digital nomad favorites include Spain, Portugal, and Germany. Luckily, long-term visas entail legal methods that circumvent strict Schengen Area travel restrictions.
What Is A Digital Nomad Visa?
Professionals that specialize in a specific field and can work remotely often get caught in a legal grey area. Meaning, they can’t apply for a regular work visa as they have no contract with local entities nor an invitation letter. What is worse, traditional travel visas don’t allow digital nomads to stay longer and work from that country. Only now do digital nomad visas come handy.
Such travel permits are worth gold as they legalize the status of traveling workers and allow longer stays. On top of that, the approval procedure is straightforward and doesn’t require complicated paperwork and work contracts. Unlike traditional travel visas, the digital nomad ones state specifically that the holder can work independently and remotely.
15 Freelance And Digital Nomad Visas By Country
As the popularity of travel programs for digital nomads increases, more countries are eager to introduce them. Below are some of the most convenient visas that allow freelancers to work and reside abroad legally.
1. Estonia Digital Nomad Visa
Estonia takes pride in one of the best-tailored visas aimed at location-independent professionals. Before anything, you must show proof that you have generated a monthly income of €3,500 (before taxation) over the last six months.
To qualify, applicants must have a valid employment contract beyond Estonia, run a foreign registered company, or freelance for clients outside Estonia. Type C permit costs €80, while the long-stay type D visa costs a total of €100. Applicants must attend an interview at an Estonian Embassy and wait for the outcome for 30 days.
For more information on the Estonian Digital Nomad Visa visit the official site.
2. German Freelance Visa (“Freiberufler”)
The German freelancer visa is your ticket to work remotely from anywhere within the country. Indeed, this is a highly coveted permit that binds holders to pay taxes to the German government. The initial visa lasts three months with the possibility to extend it for up to three years.
Whether you’re applying as an architect, web programmer, engineer, or teacher, you’re all covered. Sole proprietors are also accepted, but they all must undergo an in-person interview. Note that the German artist visa is valid only for Berlin. Finally, you must present evidence that you’re able to support yourself financially while in Germany.
Visit the Residence Permit For Freelancers in Berlin site for more information.
3. Georgia Remote Working Visa
Georgia is among the easiest countries to get a work visa. Having valid proof of employment and travel insurance will enable you to work and live in the country for a year. The single downside is that you must pay for the 14-day quarantine while the Covid-19 pandemic is ongoing.
Undoubtedly, Georgia offers an enticing scheme for digital nomads, followed by the affordable cost of living and gorgeous scenery.
4. The Czech Republic Long Term Visa
Czechia is another lovely country for remote workers if you’ve been hunting down a decent work visa in Europe. The long-term access will allow you to stay in the country for a year if you work freelance or run your business.
To qualify, you must arrange housing accommodation and present sufficient financial resources. In short, you must show proof of approximately $5,000. Note that the approval process can take up to 120 days. If one takes into account the low cost of living, Prague may be the best city for digital nomads.
Government information from the Czech Republic about its Long Term Visa (over 90 days).
5. Croatian Visa Projections
Croatian authorities have announced the introduction of digital nomad visas in late August 2020. Though this Act might not be in effect yet, freelancers looking for natural beauties can start packing their bags.
The idea is labeled as revolutionary and encouraging by many foreign citizens staying in this Balkan country. The visa should fix the issue with three-month restrictions for US citizens and allow long-stay work and travel periods.
Click here to find visa requirements for Croatia, including long term.
6. Spain’s Self Employment Visa
If you were looking for a work visa Spain, the Non-Lucrative pass is the best option at disposal. Having stayed in the country for a year, freelancers in Spain can receive income from outside the country. This option is suitable for digital nomads because they can’t work and do professional activities to generate revenue in Spain.
After the first year, the residency can get extended to another two years. The first criterion to become eligible is to provide proof of annual income from outside of Spain of no less than €26,000. Also, bear in mind that you must possess health insurance and undergo relevant police and medical checks. We suggest you hire a local immigration or nomads agency as the entire process must get completed in the country.
Click here for more information on the self-employment visa in Spain.
7. Norway Digital Nomad Visa
One of the best work visas Europe is that granted for Svalbard in Norway. It’s known for having 24 hours of darkness from November to February. As this destination has harsh winters and blizzards, it won’t appeal to everyone.
To get considered, you must have a job or enough money to support yourself and a place to live. If a Norwegian company employs you, expect to receive healthcare and welfare, too. Once you receive the visa, you can stay in Svalbard for an unlimited time. Indeed, Norway is a unique challenge for adventurous and snow-loving digital nomads.
Read all visa requirements for Svalbard, Norway on its official site.
8. Portugal’s Passive Income Visa
If you wish to enjoy the sunniest country in Europe, consider applying for the passive income D7 visa in Portugal. The permit gets granted for a year and then for two years. After the fifth year and a passed basic Portuguese test, you can apply for permanent citizenship.
To be eligible, you have to provide proof of sufficient income without working and a reliable source. There is no minimum figure prescribed, but an annual income of €20,000 should suffice to cover living expenses. Plan to stay in Portugal for at least eight months each year to qualify for the permit.
Click here to get complete information on Portugal’s D7 visa.
9. Mexico Temporary Resident Visa
As with other instances, you can receive a working visa Mexico provided you can show evidence that you can support yourself. Such economic solvency involves documents showing a monthly tax-free income of at least 1,569.00 Canadian dollars over the past six months. Additionally, applicants must have an average savings balance of 27,654.00 Canadian dollars over the previous year.
Once all this gets set, prospective applicants can get approved for a residency in Mexico to four years. Afterward, digital nomads can apply for a permanent residence.
Get the rundown on how to get a temporary resident visa in Mexico here.
10. Costa Rica Rentista Visa
Can you prove a steady income of at least $2,500 per month for at least two years? One of the best visa countries is precisely that of Costa Rica, provided you present a history of earnings or contracts with clients. Also, if you generate income from another source such as real estate, investments, or pension, you may qualify for a travel permit.
Temporary residence permits allow foreigners to stay in the country for three years and then apply for a permanent stay. Under the Rentista program, holders cannot work as employees but must establish a business or work independently.
For more details on how to get temporary residency in Costa Rica, see the official site.
11. Barbados Digital Nomad Visa
Barbados is a beach paradise that offers travel permits to working individuals and families. Barbados Welcome Stamp lasts for 12 months and allows people to work on the island for a year. Before you apply, we advise you to carefully compare the cost of living in Barbados and make sure haven will suit your needs.
To become eligible, you must sign a declaration that you expect to earn at least $50,000.00 over the next year. You must also declare that you’ll be able to support yourself and your family during that period. Finally, you have to pay an application fee of $2,000 for an individual or $3,000 for a family upfront.
Click here to learn how to get the 12-month Barbados Welcome Stamp.
12. Bermuda Digital Nomad Visa
The so-called “Work From Bermuda” certificate is perfect for digital nomads who want to break free from the mundane working routine. So, if you’ve been stuck in the office for very long or live in an overpopulated city, wait no more. The program allows you to live and work on the island for a year and costs only $263 per applicant.
The best thing is that the travel certificate can get renewed, and there is no specified income threshold. So, if you possess a clean criminal record and travel health insurance, consider applying to work in a relaxed surrounding. Last, take note that the standard of living in Barbados is exceptionally pricey.
Apply for the Work From Bermuda for digital nomads visa here.
13. Thailand Education Visa And Self-Defense Visa
Thai Education Visa is ideal for any foreigner over the age of 12, who plans to attend a full-time educational course. The first time you’ll get access for 90 days with the possibility to extend this period to a year. This 90-day reporting is mandatory for any non-Thai resident. The only drawback of the education visa is that holders cannot have paid jobs.
The Self-Defense Visa gets granted for a year, and you must sign up with a school that costs about $1,000. Classes are in English and highly flexible. Martial arts are taught by qualified military instructors and last a year. This program allows you to be a full-time digital nomad while enjoying the breathtaking views of Thailand.
Get the rundown on the education visa for Thailand here.
14. Australian Working Holiday Visa
The working holiday programs in Australia for young people aged 18 to 30 are a real hit. The initial approval gets granted for 12 months, but if you work in an approved area, you can extend your stay. Approved activities entail fishing, pearling, tree farming, tourism, and hospitality in Northern Australia only. Plant and animal cultivation in specified regions can also grant you a working permit.
In case you don’t want to meet the eligibility criteria for a subsequent visa, you can engage in other working activities. Remember that you can only work six months for a particular employer. The application fee is $485 per applicant, and no dependent children get accepted.
Apply here for the working holiday visa in Australia.
15. South Africa Tourist Visa
If you’ve been looking for the best work-life balance, Cape Town in South Africa might appeal to your senses. With the low cost of living and abundant adventures and activities around, you’ll undoubtedly wish to obtain a tourist visa. Extendable to up to 180 days, this permit urges holders to leave the country after that period and return later again.
Some of the best areas for digital nomads in Cape Town include Greenpoint, Sea Point, and the CBD. The city is safe, and the Internet is reliable. All in all, this is the most pleasing way to spend your digital working hours for half a year. Don’t miss these African cities for digital nomads.
Click here for more information on visas for South Africa.
Some Basic Visa Quick Tips
Living without worries under a digital nomad visa is the best gift you can bestow yourself. Following these quick hacks will enable you to enjoy your long-term stay wherever you intend to.
- Look for detailed visa requirements on the US Department of State website. Regardless of the country you visit, you can also find a vast source of quick info at VisaHQ.com.
- Plan in due time and don’t procrastinate applications until the last minute. Gather all relevant documents and proof well ahead. Expect that applications can take a long time to process, sometimes up to two months.
- Research the visa requirements thoroughly to make sure this is the right fit for you. Have everything in order before you send in the application. If you are unsure about some aspects of the process, consult a nomad agency to assist you.
- Fill any application meticulously and with utmost care. You don’t want to get automatically rejected just for inserting incomplete data. Also, be aware of the language the application needs to get filled out.
- Always abide by the immigration laws of target countries. You wouldn’t want to get fined, detained, or banned from entering the country ever again.
The realm of traveling and living with a digital nomad visa is here to stay forever. A vast number of people opt to work remotely and change locations frequently. Our ultimate guide will equip you with information about the best travel permits granted by some of the most appealing countries worldwide.
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Do digital nomads need work visas?
This mainly depends on your country of origin and your final destination. Generally, short-time holiday stays don’t require a work visa, and you’re all set. Yet, extended periods urge you to look for a working holiday visa that allows you to perform paid activities during your stay. Travel permits are usually subject to reciprocal country agreements and involve age and income restrictions.
What is a digital nomad visa?
It’s a document that allows foreign freelancers and self-employed individuals to live and work in another country. While residing, they must work remotely for an employer, contractor, or their own company. Such travel permits get offered to ease the ambiguity of digital nomads who wish to do their job from different locations. This way, the temporary stay is legal, and the tax procedure is simplified.
How long can you travel in Europe with the Schengen visa?
The general rule stipulates that any foreigner can stay within the Schengen zone for a maximum of 90 days. Those 90 days can either be consecutive or spread over 180 days. Remember that travel permits can get labeled as single-entry, double-entry, or multiple-entry. Multiple-entry visas last up to five years and grant holders an unlimited number of entries provided they don’t violate the 90/180 rule.
How can you legally work and travel as a freelancer or digital nomad?
First of all, you must find a legal way to both stay and work in the contemplated country beyond traditional tourist permits. Meaning, consider applying for digital nomad visas that enable you to reside in the country for a predefined period and work remotely. Be aware that you must meet specific criteria that involve age and revenue restrictions.