I’ve always loved the visa run. It’s exciting, and gives you the opportunity to explore another country for a few days. The first time I visited Vietnam was to do a visa run, and I had one of the most memorable weeks of my life in Hanoi.
With that said, visas are constant considerations for digital nomads. Sometimes, time can get tight and you can risk overstaying your visa (which can have bad consequences). And with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, journeying across borders has become trickier and riskier.
So, you may be asking yourself: Is there a way to work remotely in a country for a year or longer—without having to exit and re-enter?
After all, now’s a good time for digital nomads to enjoy one place for a little longer. For instance, a continuous year in one of the best digital nomad cities would be awesome, if you could arrange a residency permit.
Here’s the good news: More places are offering long term visas for digital nomads.
That’s right—you don’t need a traditional work visa or business visa to live and work abroad. Some countries, in an effort to attract talents from around the world, have begun offering residency to international freelance workers.
No longer do you have to rush to exit then re-enter and exit a country.
In this article, we’ll cover what countries offer digital nomad visas, the requirements for these long-term visas, and tips to successfully work from anywhere in the world.
What is a Digital Nomad Visa?
A digital nomad visa is a visa for foreign freelancers, self-employed individuals, and owners of location-independent businesses. A digital nomad visa allows remote workers to live and work in another country. While residing in that country, they may work for their own company, their employer, or as a self-employed freelancer or contractor.
Many countries have begun offering digital nomad visas to address the ambiguity remote workers and freelancers abroad face with visas. This simplifies taxes for digital nomads, as they’ll have a country of residency. It also takes away worry surrounding the legality of working remotely while on a travel visa in another country.
What Countries Offer Digital Nomad Visas?
Travel during COVID-19 has changed dramatically, making international travelers more likely to stay in one place for a long period of time. To adapt to the changing landscape, more countries have begun offering long-term visas for freelancers and location-independent workers and entrepreneurs.
Our list below highlights the current countries offering digital nomad visas (or a variation of it). Hopefully, this sort of visa will catch on and more countries will offer it. Check back regularly for updates.
Estonia: Digital Nomad Visa
How does a year in Estonia sound? Enjoy expansive countryside and forests, the captivating capital of Tallinn, the Baltic Sea, and more.
To build the country into a true e-state, the government has created the Estonia digital nomad visa. The visa offers working travelers peace of mind, enabling them to work remotely and legally in Estonia for a year (and pay taxes, of course).
Who can Apply for Estonia’s Digital Nomad Visa?
To get a digital nomad visa to Estonia, you must meet the following requirements:
- You can work independently of location.
- You can use telecommunication tools to work remotely.
- You’re employed with a company outside Estonia, own a business registered abroad, or do freelance work for mostly non-Estonian clients.
Begin your Estonia digital nomad visa application here.
Germany: Freelance Visa (Freiberufler Visa)
Oh, the German Freelance Visa! It’s your ticket to work from anywhere in Germany. From the art and nightlife scenes in Berlin to the gorgeous national parks, you’ll have plenty to do.
Germany’s freelance visa has been around for years, and is highly coveted by digital nomads in Europe. If you qualify, you must pay taxes to the German government.
Who can Apply for Germany’s Freelance Visa?
To get a freelance visa to Germany, you must:
- Have a liberal freelance profession if you’re a freelancer, such as an artist, language teacher, translator, doctor, architect, or engineer (generally, these positions must have a positive cultural impact)
- Be the founder or sole proprietor of a location-independent company if self-employed, or a managing director or legal representative of a partnership or corporation
- Do an in-person visit or interview
- Meet certain financial requirements, such as having a pension plan if you’re over 45
Note: The Germany freelance visa is initially granted for three months, but you can obtain a residency permit once there and extend your visa for up to three years! Also, Germany’s freelance visa for artists (the artist visa) is only applicable in Berlin.
Begin your Germany freelance visa application here.
Czech Republic: Long-Term Business Visa
Spend the year in the Czech Republic, a country known for its beautiful landscape and historic capital city, Prague. Here, folklore and tradition meet modernity, and you’ll love every minute of your stay.
The digital nomad visa for the Czech Republic is actually a one-year business visa. The function is mostly the same. The name and some requirements are just different. But you should qualify nonetheless.
Who can Apply for the Czech Republic Business Visa?
To qualify for a digital nomad business visa to the Czech Republic, you must:
- Show proof you have sufficient financial resources, including purchasing of health insurance
- Arrange housing accommodation
- Present documents showing proof of stay (available for self-employment purposes)
To apply for a long-term visa to the Czech Republic, click here.
Spain: Self-Employment Visa
From the stunning architecture of Barcelona to the buzzing streets of Madrid, Spain delights. The tasty tapas, delicious wine, majestic mountains, and cozy beaches will pull you in, and you’ll never want to leave.
The digital nomad visa is technically called a self-employment visa. It’s essentially the same thing.
Who can Apply for Spain’s Self-Employment Visa?
Spain’s digital nomad visa offers up to one year of stay and has the following requirements:
- Proof of funds
- Pass a background check
- Submit application in person
- Show purpose of stay (plan of activities)
- Fill out documentation to ensure you pay taxes
Begin your Spain self-employment visa application here.
Georgia: Digital Nomad Visa
Georgia has been emerging as a digital nomad hotspot thanks to an affordable cost of living, the gorgeous Caucasus Mountain range, happening beaches, and the wonderful city of Tbilisi. Look no further if you’re looking to live and work abroad for a year in one country.
What’s great is that Georgia’s digital nomad visa isn’t that hard to get. Even Lonely Planet has reported on Georgia’s enticing digital nomad visa scheme. It may just be too good to pass up.
Who can Apply for Georgia’s Digital Nomad Visa?
To qualify for a one-year digital nomad visa to Georgia, you must:
- Cover the cost of a 14-day quarantine upon arrival (while the pandemic is ongoing)
- Show proof of employment
- Have travel insurance
Begin your Georgia digital nomad visa application here.
Mexico: Temporary Resident Visa
With Mexico City, world-class vacation spots, vast jungle, and welcoming people, it’s easy to see why Mexico attracts so many freelancers. The country delivers in every sense of the way, especially when you sit down for a meal.
The digital nomad visa for Mexico is actually a temporary residence permit. The permit allows you to stay for anywhere from 180 days to four years. It’s quite flexible!
Who can Apply for Mexico’s Temporary Resident Visa?
To qualify for a temporary resident visa to Mexico, you must:
- Have a monthly income of at least $2,072 (or bank account balance exceeding $103,616)
Begin your Mexico temporary resident visa application here.
Costa Rica: Rentista Visa
Journey into bat-filled caves, wander through pristine rainforests, find your balance on a surfboard or yoga mat, and ascend misty volcanic peaks. Yes, Costa Rica is a place to live a pure life (pura vida). And it’s a place where you can find peace and happiness.
Costa Rica is also great for remote work. You can get reliable WiFi on both the Pacific and Carribean coasts! That’s why digital nomads should jump for joy when learning about the Rentista Visa, Costa Rica’s long-stay visa program for freelancers and those who work remotely.
Who can Apply for Costa Rica’s Digital Nomad Visa?
To obtain the Rentista Visa, you must:
- Have stable, consistent income exceeding $2,500 per month (making a deposit of $60,000 into a Costa Rican bank can meet this requirement, and you can withdraw from that bank over the course of 24 months)
- Have your birth certificate and criminal records certificate translated to Spanish and authenticated in your home country
- Provide a reason for applying for the Rentista Visa
- Pay the visa fees ($250 as of 2020)
Barbados: Digital Nomad Visa
When Barbados unveiled their digital nomad visa in June 2020, news about it spread quickly. The 12-Month Barbados Welcome Stamp means the chance to live and work abroad in a tropical paradise.
With budget-friendly beachfront apartments, lots of outdoor activities, and a friendly atmosphere, Barbados makes for the perfect destination to park yourself for a year.
Who can Apply for Barbados’ Digital Nomad Visa?
To get a digital nomad visa to Barbados, you must:
- Have an annual income of at least $50,000
- Pay a $2,000 fee ($3,000 for family)
- Earn all income from abroad
Begin your Barbados digital nomad visa application here.
Bermuda: Digital Nomad Visa
Would you like to work remotely from Bermuda? With pink-sand beaches, underground caves, maritime history, and a blend of cultures, Bermuda is a fascinating destination.
Bermuda launched their digital nomad visa in 2020 to much publicity. After all, who isn’t looking to lay low on a beautiful island during the Coronavirus pandemic?
Who can Apply for Bermuda’s Digital Nomad Visa?
To qualify for a digital nomad visa to Bermuda, you must:
- Have valid health insurance
- Demonstrate you have consistent income
- Demonstrate employment in a remote capacity (self-employment, work for an employer, etc)
To begin your digital nomad visa application for Bermuda, head to the government website.
Antigua and Barbuda: Nomad Digital Residence Visa Programme
Surrounded by enamel-blue waters, Antigua and Barbuda features a distinct English accent while being quintessentially Caribbean. With a mellow atmosphere, candy-colored villages, breathtaking nature, and sound infrastructure, Antigua and Barbuda is a digital nomad’s dream.
Recently, Antigua and Barbuda announced their nomad digital residence program, a long-stay visa for those who work remotely. If eligible, you’ll be granted special-resident authorization that’s valid for up to two years!
Who can Apply for Antigua and Barbuda’s Digital Nomad Visa?
To qualify for a digital nomad visa to Antigua and Barbuda, you must:
- Provide evidence of employment (work with an employer, self-employment, etc)
- Have medical coverage for the duration of your stay
- Pay non-refundable long-stay visa fees for a single applicant ($1,500), couple ($2,000), or family of three and over ($3,000)
- Give proof of expected income of no less than $50,000 USD per year during your stay, as well as demonstrate that you have the means to support yourself.
Thailand: New Long-Term Stay Tourist Visa
Friendly, historic, naturally beautiful, and full of culture and great cuisine, Thailand has it all. Whether you’re roaming around the streets of Bangkok or relaxing on the beaches of Phuket, this country brings you into the present, and calls you to enjoy the moment.
Thailand hasn’t had the typical freelancer visa. However, Covid-19 has led the government to create a new special tourist visa. The visa is good for 90 days and can be renewed twice, allowing for a nine-month stay. That’s quite long, making the country a good place to settle down and work as a digital nomad.
Who can Apply for Thailand’s Special Tourist Visa?
To qualify for Thailand’s new tourist visa, you must:
- Agree to a 14-day quarantine upon arrival during the pandemic
- Show evidence of accommodation after your quarantine
- Pay the roughly $65 fee for the application and each visa renewal
Note: Thailand also has a privilege visa for a long stay called the Elite Easy Access. For a one-time fee of 500,000 THB (~$16,000 USD), you get a multi-entry five-year visa that can be renewed.
The Digital Nomad Visa: Your Path to Living and Working Abroad Successfully
From the Costa Rica Rentista Visa to the Malaysia My Second Home program, countries have long had visa schemes to enable foreign nationals to live in the country for a long period of time. Given the rise of the digital nomad lifestyle, more countries have begun to offer visas for freelancers, self-employed individuals, sole proprietors, and business owners.
We hope this list will grow over time. Check regularly for updates. And get started on your digital nomad visa application to one of the countries above today!