Want to live and work from a historic European city, Caribbean island or Asian Jungle? Then you will be interested in digital nomad visas for remote workers!
The Internet has literally changed all of our lives, including mine. I remember when I first got a computer, a big boxxy thing that I connected to the Internet. In those days it was ‘dial up’. I’d sit there looking at the screen waiting patiently while the connection was made. And I sat there even longer while trying to download websites. Now? The Internet is much faster and reachable from anywhere in the world. It is how I travel the world using the Internet to make a living – who would of thought!. It does not surprise me how countries are cottoning on to this way of life and are giving individuals the opportunity to stay in their country longer through digital nomad visas for remote workers. What’s that you ask? Well read on.
What is a Digital Nomad and a Remote Worker?
A remote worker is essentially a person who works online remotely, usually from home. A digital nomad on the other hand is a person who works online and makes a living from their online work while they travel the world. This is what I have been doing. Firstly as a travel writer and now travel blogger. I love being able to make money from my online job so I can live and travel abroad. And you can too.
What are Digital Nomad Visas for Remote Workers?
For a number years now people have chosen to work and travel abroad in different countries. Most travel on a woking holiday visa or work permit that allows them to work. Others travel on a tourist visa allowing a stay of up to 90 days. If they want to stay longer they will do a ‘visa run’ to another country then return to gain another 90 days in that country. Already people worked online from home but with covid forcing people to work from home, countries have realised that people who work online can help their country’s economy. Remote workers stay long-term and rent accommodation, buy food, go out to restaurants and use the infrastructure like Wifi and electricity. Thus remote workers are being enticed to stay longer in a country with remote worker friendly visas – the digital nomad visas.
Which Countries have a Digital Nomad Visa?
At last count there were 23 countries with a digital nomad visa and the list is growing. A few things to note about this visas first:
- You DO NOT NEED a digital nomad visa to work remotely in another country. As I mentioned before, many travel to a country on a tourist visa while they do their online work. If they want to stay longer in that country, they will do a ‘visa run’. The luxury of a digital nomad visa is that they are usually issued for up to one year, thus giving you a longer stay in the country to live, work and play.
- A digital nomad visa is different to a Work Permit which is issued when you will be working for a specific company in a different country. Such as if you get a job Teaching English in an English Language School – you will need a Work Permit.
- If you are under 30 (sometimes 35) you may qualify for a Working Holiday Visa. This is a totally different visa to the digital nomad visa. People who get this visa usually do typical backpacker jobs to make money for their travels. Check out the countries with a working holiday visa here.
- If you are from a European Union (EU) country you can live and work in other EU countries. So if you want to be a digital nomad in a European Union country, visit www.europa.eu for more details.
Digital Nomad Visas for Remote Workers – Country Listing
Please Note: Each country has their own application process for digital nomad visas for remote workers. It usually entails providing your current passport, proof of income and medical insurance.
Also Note: Coronavirus has interrupted travel on a global scale. Should you decide to visit anywhere during the pandemic, you should check local restrictions of the country or countries you plan to visit. Also be prepared for testing before you can arrive, quarantine procedures on entering the country and any covid restrictions which could make travel challenging.
Final Note: My country list is in alphabetical order.
Enjoy Caribbean island life when you choose Anguilla on a digital nomad visa. This visa was only recently launched but if you would like to enjoy the beach life on this sunny island, this place may just be for you. There is quite a hefty fee associated with applying for the visa USD2,000 for individuals. And if you want to bring your family it is $3,000 per family to apply.
Antigua and Barbuda
The Caribbean Island nation of Antigua and Barbuda has announced a digital nomad visa called the Nomad Digital Residence (NDR). Aimed at remote workers who can show means to support themselves and any family members joining them. This visa is good to live work play in Antigua and Barbuda for up to 2 years. With 365 different beaches here to enjoy, that means one to visit each day! If spending your time working and travelling in Antigua and Barbuda sounds good, get the details and apply here.
I first heard of Aruba, in the Caribbean when I visited it on a cruise liner taking me from Southampton, England to Sydney, Australia. It was just one of the stops during my 42 days at sea. Aruba is a little island with lots of beaches. The island is tiny and you can drive around it, very easily I might add, in the one day. Aruba is currently offering a 90 day visa called One Happy Workation. You will need to buy their state-run travel health insurance which costs around $275. More details about this visa can be found here.
For a long time now the beautiful island of Bali, Indonesia has been a popular location for remote workers to base themselves. Many who live and work in Bali on a tourist visa and do a ‘visa run’ to extend their stay. Good news, there are no formal details just yet, but Bali has announced they are looking to introduce a digital nomad visa, sometime in 2022. This is fabulous and big news as Bali is an extremely popular digital nomad destination! I will make sure to post any updates when they become available. In the meantime, read my post Bali Digital Nomad Guide.
Fancy living by the ocean on a sunny Caribbean island? Then the island of Barbados may be for you. Barbados believes it is a great place to live, work and play and it now offers the Barbados Welcome Stamp. Having this allows you to stay in Barbados for up to 12 months. To qualify you need to have documents showing you have an annual income of at least $50,000 or have the means to support yourself while in Barbados. The application process takes place online with a fee of $2,000 for an individual and $3,000 for a family. Read more about The Barbados Wellcome Stamp including how to apply here.
When I hear the name Bermuda, I always think of the Bermuda Triangle. But Bermuda is more than this. Bermuda is a small British island territory known for its pink-sand beaches such as at Horseshoe Bay. Just saying those words conjures up beautiful images of sunny shores. If this is enticing you too, you will be pleased to know that Bermuda has created a One Year Residential Certification program allowing foreign remote workers to live and work on the island. The government believes it will promote economic activity for the island while not displacing any locals out of work. There is an application fee of $263. Plus you will need to show you are employed with a legitimate firm and can work remotely. Or demonstrate you have sufficient means of supporting yourself without needing to be employed in Bermuda. Read more about The Bermuda One Year Residential Certification and how to apply here.
The Cayman Islands has launched a digital nomad visa called the GlobalCitizen Certificate (GCC). It allows a stay in the islands for up to 2 years. Individuals must provide proof of an annual salary of at least $100,000 or $150,000 for couples. This is a place to consider if you are earning this much. More details on the GlobalCitizen Certificate and how to apply can be found here. Note there is an application fee of $1,469.
Enjoy the beaches, waterfalls, volcanoes and vibrant cities of Costa Rica on the long stay visa available. Costa Rica is also a great base in South America for you to launch your travels around the continent. Even better news is the long visa available, the freelancer visa, called the Rentista. It allows individuals a stay of up to two years with the possibility of extending it for another two years. With great Wifi and a cheap cost of living Costa Rica is a good digital nomad destination. The only downside is you must have income from your online work of at least $2500 per month. Otherwise you will need to make a $60,000 deposit into a Costa Rican bank account. Get more details at the Migracian Website.
While updating this post, Costa Rica has announced a one year digital nomad visa. Details haven’t been finalised yet. When they are I will update.
As of January 2021, Croatia has been issuing digital nomad visas. It is available for different lengths of time, with a maximum of 12 months. You will need to provide proof of self-employment, pass a criminal background check from your home country, provide proof of an accommodation agreement and earn a minimum of €2500 Euro per month. If Croatia is on your radar for an extended stay you can get more details on the Croatian Digital Nomad Visa here.
The Czech Republic digital nomad visa is called Zivnostenske opravneni or Zivno for short. It is actually a long-term business visa for freelancers and valid for a year but there is the option to extend the visa. While working online your could explore many quaint villages, hike in the mountains or enjoy the capital city, Prague. With low cost living and fast wifi, the Czech Republic may be the destination for you. Read more on the requirements to get the Zivno and how to apply by contacting your nearest embassy or consulate of Czech Republic working in your home country.
Overseas professionals can now apply for a one-year remote working visa to live and work in Dubai. The programme introduced October 2020 promises those who are granted the visa will have access to all required services. They include telecoms, utilities, and schooling options. If you are interested to live, work and travel in a warm climate where you have the beach at your doorstep then Dubai might be for you. The visa costs US$287 (Dhs1,054) plus medical insurance with valid UAE coverage and processing fee per person. Applicants must earn a monthly salary of US$5,000 (Dhs18,365) per month, and prove this with last month’s payslip and three months’ bank statements. It should be noted that Dubai does not levy income tax on individuals so this could be appealing. Contact your nearest Dubai Consulate to apply.
Estonia is a Northern European country bordered by Latvia in the south and Russia to the East. And there is plenty of north and western coastline that borders the Baltic Sea. It may not be the Caribbean but there is plenty of ocean to enjoy. There are also many towns including the Baroque inspired capital Tallinn. One of the most popular digital nomad hotspots after Bali. Since 2014 Estonia has been running an e-residency program to attract entrepreneurs. From 1 August 2020 Estonia launched a digital nomad visa that allows a stay to live and work for up to 12 months. It is aimed at freelancers and other self-employed foreigners who work remotely for a company or work online for themselves. If you are looking for a base in Europe that offers cheap living, then Estonia may be the place for you. Read more about The Republic of Estonia Digital Nomad Visa here.
Georgia is a small country between Europe and Asia. It was formerly part of the Soviet Republic. If you look at a map it has a coastline that borders the Black Sea and borders with Turkey, Armenia and Azerbaijan. Georgia is also home to the Caucasus Mountains and its capital, Tbilisi, is known for its maze-like, cobblestone streets. Like Estonia, Georgia has introduced a digital nomad visa to attract remote workers. Therefore, if you are interested in Georgia’s coastal charms or living in a village with snow-capped mountains then setting up in Georgia may be for you. Added to the 6 months or more living in Georgia the visa lets you enjoy up to 90 days of travel throughout Europe’s Schengen Area. Read more and register your interest for the Digital Nomad Visa here.
Germany, located in central Europe is a great place to set up to work remotely. The freelance visa, ‘Freiberufler’, only lasts for three months, but you may be able to convert that into a residency permit. There are many cities or typical German towns like Berlin and Munich you can find accommodation and immerse yourself in the local culture. Beer and pretzels anyone! And Germany is a great base for future travels throughout Europe. To find out the eligibility criteria get The German Freelancers ‘freiberufler’ Visa details here.
Digital Nomads have long been visiting Hungary and enjoying everything the capital city of Budapest has to offer. And now Hungary are introducing a long-term stay visa, known at the moment as the ‘White Card’ for those digital nomads from non-EU countries. If you are from an EU country you will be able to live and work in Hungary, get more details at www.europea.eu. As of February 2022, details haven’t been released yet by the government for the White Card. As soon as they do, I will update this as many digital nomads would be interested to work and travel in Hungary.
Iceland is a hot destination right now. Many people are visiting to see the Northern Lights and to swim between the North American and European tectonic plates. But Iceland has plenty more to offer, particularly now with its own long-term visa for remote workers and digital nomads. It is one of the shortest digital nomad visas, up to 6 months, available. You must earn at least $85,000 per year to qualify for the visa. If this one is of interest, find out more about the application process here.
Malta has recently launched its own Digital Nomad Residence Permit targeting remote workers from outside the EU. Malta is an island in the Mediterranean and has long attracted digital nomads due to its Mediterranean island lifestyle. Other attractions are the internet infrastructure, it’s ease to visit other European countries and English is widely spoken. There are some catches to qualify for the visa. Applicants must have gross monthly income of €2,700 Euro, proof of travel/health insurance, background verification check and a valid property rental agreement in Malta. Once all this is met, you can live, work and play in Malta for up to one year. Worth the effort I say!
Mauritius is another island nation offering crystal clear water, epic mountains to climb, jungles to explore and did I mention the crystal clear water? The island has launched its own special visa for remote online workers. This is fantastic news for those who would love to spend one year living and working in paradise! Unlike some countries that want you to jump through hoops to qualify for the digital nomad visa, you only need to have a remote online business or work remotely for a company located outside of Mauritius. Plus provide proof of plans of your visit and have travel/health insurance to cover you for the length of your stay in Mauritius. So if you want to live, work and play in paradise, get the details and apply here.
Mexico, south of the USA and north of many South American countries offers the digital nomad or remote worker a great base. It offers cheap accommodation, great wifi and who doesn’t love Mexican food? You can stay in Mexico for up to six months on a tourist visa but the Mexico temporary resident visa is the way to go if you want to stay for a full year in the country. And it can be extended up to three times. Mexico is a popular digital nomad destination with Play de Carmen a hotspot because of its infrastructure and large number of digital nomads living there already. Read more about the Mexico Temporary Resident Visa here.
Norway has a couple of visa options for digital nomads. If you are happy to relocate to the Svalard area you don’t need a visa at all! It is the only place in the world that doesn’t require a visa. Svalbard is an archipelago between the North Pole and mainland Norway. A very expensive place to live and work so you will need to be a high-earning digital nomad and able to support yourself for your stay. Norway also has a digital nomad visa known as the Independent Contractor Visa. It is designed for anyone who is self-employed and working on a Norwegian business project. Obtain details on the Norwegian visas here.
Portugal is known for its beautiful beaches and football players. Oh, and it has a visa program that offers temporary residence for independent workers. One problem though, applications must demonstrate that their skills are needed in the country. You also have to register as a freelancer and the application process is lengthier than some of the others but a lot say the lifestyle of living and working in Portugal is well worth the effort. Read more about the Portugal Freelance Visa here. Helpful information about being a digital nomad in Portugal can be found on the BePortugal website.
If Spain is on your agenda, then the self-employment work visa will allow you to live and work in Spain for up to a year. A year will allow you to continue working online and enjoy all what Spain has to offer. From beaches, the beautiful architecture to tapas and Sangria, there is so much to enjoy. Maybe learn the Flamenco! Whatever if attracting you to Spain at least you know Spain has the Self-employment Work Visa. Read more about the Spain Self-employment Work Visa here.
Thailand has long been a popular digital nomad destination. Mainly due to its cheap cost of living, fast wifi and infrastructure set up for remote workers. Thailand doesn’t have a specific visa for digital nomads, but they have a new long-term stay tourist visa. This special tourist visa allows you to stay in the country for 90 days and can be renewed twice. So basically, you can stay for 9 months. And many do and enjoy the vibrant capital of Bangkok, the beaches, the temples and the jungle living around Chiang Mai, a very popular digital nomad stronghold. You will need to show evidence of your accommodation and pay the $65 application fee each time you apply. More details and to apply can be found online or at your nearest Thai Embassy. Thailand is a popular digital nomad destination, read what it’s like to be an expat in Thailand here.
What Does A Digital Nomad Need?
Digital nomads only need a few tools to work remotely. The biggest are a laptop or smartphone and access to the Internet via Wifi, data or a phone hot-spot. Then add things like a quiet space to work that has ergonomically friendly furniture. And don’t forget a place to get a decent cup of coffee! Though the last one is just my personal preference. Having a view over a beach or lush rainforest can be inspiring. And a hindrance as you can stare at the view for far too long! As long as you are comfortable in your work area, albeit a van, rented accommodation, co-living and co-working space or coffee shop, it doesn’t matter where you work from. That, after all, is the point of being a digital nomad, being able to work online wherever you are in the world.
Digital Nomad Gear
Having the right gear goes a long way to helping you be a digital nomad.
To work online remotely or as a digital nomad you will need a laptop or computer. I don’t go anywhere without my Apple MacBook.
Electronic organisers are fabulous. As you work and travel abroad as a digital nomad these are great to keep all your electronic cables and other bits and bobs conveniently in the one place.
Powerbank / Charger
Never run out of power when you can charge your devices on a power bank. This powerful one even charges laptops.
Work from anywhere – table, couch or bed – with one of these laptop stands. So versatile.
Final words on Digital Nomad Visas for Remote Workers
Finally, working remotely and being a digital nomad is gaining momentum, particularly after covid-19 as countries open up again. What some people have been doing for years others can now join them, particularly with countries creating a specific digital nomad visa to attract remote workers. You won’t need to worry about doing a visa run to get a new tourist visa to extend your stay with these. The digital nomad visa is a great way to spend more time in a particular country to immerse yourself in the local culture while continuing to make money online. Let’s hope the 23 countries with a digital nomad visa will inspire other countries to introduce one.