Top 5 Countries with Digital Nomad Visas You Can Get Right Now
Working abroad always comes with some level of uncertainty, but these 5 countries make it easy to live the digital nomad life.
If you’ve been thinking about taking your work on the road, but you weren’t sure how to get started, a digital nomad visa may be the perfect solution for you. These visas are designed specifically for people who want to travel and work remotely. For a set period of time, they give you all the benefits of living in a foreign country while still keeping your home base (though some might argue that traveling indefinitely is its own kind of home base!).
The pandemic brought about the permanent work-from-home life. So why work from any home with a long-stay visa.
All visas have a minimum income requirement either monthly income or annual income as well as proof of accommodation, health insurance, visa fees (usually just one-time), and a formal visa application form.
Portugal is a popular tourist spot, so it’s no surprise that this country has a visa specifically for digital nomads. The “Digital Nomad Visa” was created in January 2020 and was the first visa of its kind to be released in Europe. There are certain requirements you have to meet, including having a valid passport from an approved country, being able to prove financial independence, and not having any criminal record.
Portugal is the perfect countries for those nomads that like the warmth without feeling like you’re stranded on a tropical island. You can easily get to just about any other European country from here—and live in some, too! Who’s stopping you from making a few short stays in Greece or Germany now that you have a free pass through the Schengen Area?
Many European countries offer a version of the digital nomad visa, but Portugal is by far one of the easiest, representing our pick for the romantic, colorful lifestyle of western European.
Plus, if you extend your work stay in Lisbon for five years and learn Portuguese, you can turn that visa into a full-fledge digital nomad residence permit for permanent residency in the Portugal.
Spain and Malta also offer a similar remote work visa, and you can sort of get one in Italy if you’re itching for the true Mediterranean life. Or maybe the island life in Cabo Verde suits you best?
Little ol’ Estonia. Most of you have probably never even heard of it (unless you watch Eurovision). Estonia was the first country to issue a digital nomad visa, and it is starting to pay off.
While it might not be the first place that comes to mind when you think about living abroad, Estonia is one of the best places to live as a digital nomad. Not only does it have a low cost of living and plenty of great places to work, but it also offers e-residency, which means you can set up an Estonian company without ever having to visit in person.
With its digital nomad visa, you can live and work in the country for up to one year. You won’t be allowed to work for local companies, but you can set up your own company and use that to make money from clients around the world.
Estonia brings out the warmth in what we also picture as cold eastern Europe. Have you seen how colorful its capital is? There are other eastern European countries that offer a similar visa like Croatia, the Czech Republic, and Romania, just in case you need some alternatives.
And if you’re really just looking for something cold, head on over to Iceland or Norway. Neutral countries. Cold. Interesting people. What’s not to like?
If you love sunshine, beaches and tacos, Mexico might be the place for you.
Mexico has recently become one of the best places to live as a digital nomad. The country has a dedicated visa for remote workers, with an affordable cost of living and a range of beautiful places to set up your laptop.
Who doesn’t love Mexico? Why wouldn’t you want to park yourself on some beachfront property and work into the sunset? Plus, it’s not too far away for those of you itching to fly back home often. Or vice versa—getting the fam out to you won’t be pulling teeth since flights would be (generally) short and cheap.
If you want to hop off the mainland and test out island life, check out the Caribbean Islands and the surrounding area. Work from Bermuda. The Bahamas. Anguilla, the Cayman Islands, Montserrat, and Antigua & Barbuda all have something to offer, too. Or go a bit further south to Costa Rica. Central America is your oyster, whatever mainland or island nation you choose.
If you’re a digital nomad, there’s no way around the expensive cost of living in Dubai. Renting shared accommodation is the most cost-effective option, with rooms starting at around $300 USD per month. As a digital nomad, you’ll need to be on top of your finances. In order to open a bank account, you’ll likely need an employment or property lease contract – which can be difficult as a digital nomad without one or the other. There are also some banks that will allow you to open an account without either but this is limited to those that have branches in your home country (most commonly HSBC).
In terms of visas, depending on where you sit from a tax perspective, it may make more financial sense for you to stay in Dubai for 90 days and then leave for 30 days if you need to extend your time there – this is what I did as I’m taxed on worldwide income in my home country so was able to save myself $11k in tax by moving out of Dubai after 3 months.
Dubai not your thing? Fine. Check out Georgia. They’ve got a digital nomad visa program.
Thailand is one of the top destinations for digital nomads — and it’s easy to see why: it has all the necessary factors for a happy, healthy work-from-anywhere lifestyle. Thailand is known as one of the cheapest places to live in the world, meaning you can stretch your dollar further here than in most countries. And if you are looking for a beach life, you can’t do much better than Thailand’s beautiful white sand beaches.
Plus, many Thais speak English as a second language, so there’s no language barrier to worry about.
You can live here on Thailand’s version of a digital nomad visa for one year, then it can be renewed. Now’s your chance to explore Asia and be part of a culture far from your own. Maybe you’ll start a TikTok about work in nature (…when there’s wifi)! Isn’t that kinda the point of being a digital nomad?
If Thailand isn’t your thing but you want to check out Asia, take a look at Indonesia and Cambodia.
Live and Work Remotely (Almost) Anywhere in the World
With a digital nomad visa, you can live and work in your location of choice almost anywhere in the world. You’ll have many of the benefits of being an expat, such as living a more relaxed lifestyle and experiencing new cultures. In addition to all this, it can also make financial sense to be a digital nomad.
A digital nomad visa is available from certain countries that want to help boost their economy by attracting remote workers from around the world. Some countries offer visas specifically for freelance freelancers like developers or designers, while others are open to anyone who wants to work remotely from their country.
As a self-employed entrepreneur, these freelance visas are perfect for the non-EU travel worker looking for a change. We’d say, you can confidently stay in any one of these places for two years without worry. After that, move on or start making your move for permanent residency.
Some other requirements you may need to become more aware of include the visa application fee, proof of employment (even self-employed), proof of income, medical insurance, bank statements, and a background check. You might want to snag yourself some travel insurance while you’re at it.
Also, very important, know that you might need to pay local income tax. Not every country requires it, but it depends on your visa type, like if you have a long-term visa or a temporary resident visa (aka, an extended tourist visa).
And no matter what country you choose, there’s bound to be shared working spaces where you can meet other digital nomads and have a dedicated place to…you know, work.
Taking Your Freelance Startup Business Abroad? Make Sure You’re Set for Success!
As much as we’d love to believe we can pick up and go in today’s world without question, there’s still some limitations. Yeah, the visa will help you get to the country of your dreams, but you’ve still got clients in the homeland, right? And we’re willing to bet you want those clients to continue paying for your work, no?
Exactly. Offshore merchant accounts are your real ticket to living the digital nomad life. Open yours up and start exploring the world like a real travel-worker.