By: Nick Callos
I’ve always loved the visa run. It’s exciting, and allows you 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 while it appears the worst of the global COVID-19 pandemic is behind us, journeying across borders remains complicated.
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?
As we emerge from the pandemic and international travel returns, many hope to live abroad again. And being able to stay and enjoy one place for a little longer would be convenient. For instance, a continuous year in one of the best digital nomad cities would be awesome, if you could arrange a residency permit.
Well, here’s the good news: The coronavirus pandemic catalyzed a rise in digital nomad visa schemes, as governments sought to attract travelers to live and work in their country while waiting out COVID-19. Now, it appears this digital nomad visa trend will become permanent. In 2021, even more places began implementing long-term visa programs for digital nomads (it’s a ‘new normal for global travel!).
So, no longer do you need a traditional work visa or business visa to live and work abroad. International freelancers and remote workers should rejoice!
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?
COVID-19 changed travel dramatically, making international travelers more likely to stay in one place for a long period of time. To adapt to that changing landscape, more countries began offering long-term visas for freelancers and location-independent workers and entrepreneurs. As global travel begins a ‘new normal’, it appears governments will continue offering these sorts of visas. The benefits for countries and travelers are too great (it’s a true win-win).
Our list below highlights the current countries offering digital nomad visas (or a variation of it). Hopefully, even more countries will hop on this trend soon. 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?
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 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.
Croatia: Temporary Stay Visa
Fancy an extended stay in the Mediterranean? Then consider Croatia, a country with an island-speckled coastline, rich cultural legacy, and captivating countryside. From ancient walled towns to family-run taverns, Croatia charms like no other.
In early 2021, Croatia began offering temporary stays to digital nomads. Croatia’s temporary stay is granted for up to 12 months.
Who can Apply for Croatia’s Digital Nomad Visa?
To get approved for the one-year temporary stay visa to Croatia, you must:
- Provide proof of employment (remote work with employer, self-employment, etc).
- Show proof you haven’t been convicted of criminal offenses (get a background check in your home country).
- Show proof of accommodation, such as a rental agreement.
- Prove you can support yourself (pay stubs, bank statements, etc). Approval requires savings or income of at least ~$32,800 USD per year.
- Provide proof of travel/health insurance for the duration of your stay.
- Pay the application fees (~$95 USD)
Begin your Croatia digital nomad visa application here.
United Arab Emirates (Dubai): Virtual Working Programme
With profound traditions, a futuristic skyline, and endless entertainment, Dubai is a desert oasis mega-city. Plus, it’s by the beach. Dubai has all the ingredients to be a digital nomad favorite.
Through Dubai’s Virtual Working Programme, you can live and work for one year in one of the world’s most exciting cities.
Who can Apply for Dubai’s Digital Nomad Visa?
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has the following requirements for Dubai’s Virtual Working Programme:
- Provide proof of employment with a 1+ year contract; if you run your own company, you must provide proof of ownership.
- Have at least $5,000 USD in monthly income (must show bank statements from the last 3 months).
- Have health insurance that’s valid in the UAE.
- Pay the fees (~$287 USD) plus medical insurance premiums.
To begin your Dubai digital nomad visa application, click here.
Iceland: Long-Term Visa for Remote Work
With cinematic landscapes, clean air, amazing skiing spots, and phenomenal hot springs, it’s easy to see why Iceland tops bucket lists. You can also have a ton of fun in Reykjavik, Iceland’s welcoming capital city.
Iceland recently came out with good news for those interested in long-term travel: a remote work visa.
Who can Apply for Iceland’s Remote Work Visa?
You must meet the following requirements to get a remote work visa to Iceland for six months:
- Work remotely for a foreign company, own a location-independent business, or be self-employed.
- Have a monthly income of 1,000,000 ISK (~$8,200 USD) or 1,300,000 ISK for couples.
- Have health/travel insurance for the duration of your stay.
- Pay the processing fee (~$65 USD).
To begin your Iceland remote work visa application, click here.
Mauritius: Premium Travel Visa
An Indian Ocean island nation, Mauritius not only boasts some of the best beaches and nature in Africa, but also has incredible cuisine, diverse cultures, and lots of history. The country is a gem of East Africa.
If you’d like to spend a year in a tropical paradise, look no further. Mauritius’ One-Year Premium Travel Visa gives you that chance (with no fees and the option to renew!).
Who can Apply for Mauritius’ Premium Travel Visa?
You must meet the following requirements:
- Get income from outside the country (location-independent business, self-employment, remote work, etc).
- Show the purpose of your visit, proof of accommodation, and other itinerary info.
- Not enter the local job market.
- Meet other basic immigration requirements.
Begin the application here.
Norway: Independent Contractor Visa
With stirring landscapes, vibrant cultural life, and high quality of life, Norway is simply one of the best places on earth. For outdoor enthusiasts, there’s so much to do too, from whitewater rafting and cycling in the summer to snowsports and watching the Northern Lights in the winter.
Norway recently unveiled the Independent Contractor Visa, which enables you to stay in the Scandinavian country for up to 2 years.
Who can Apply for Norway’s Independent Contractor Visa?
Norway’s digital nomad visa has location-specific requirements when it comes to work. Make sure you qualify before applying. These are the requirements:
- Prove you’re self-employed with an established business abroad.
- Have a contract with a Norwegian client to work on a project.
- Show a gross annual income of €35,719 (~$43,000 USD).
- Prove you’re qualified to work in your profession (show your CV, degrees, etc)
- Prove you have accommodation in Norway.
- Bring the application to the nearest Norwegian embassy and pay the fee (€600, or ~$725 USD)
Anguilla: Digital Nomad Visa
Want to work from paradise? Then consider a journey to Anguilla, a Caribbean nation and UK territory with pristine beaches, great nightlife, and plenty of nature activities. Here, you can find the perfect balance between work and play.
Anguilla is now offering digital nomads the chance to work from there through a visa scheme. The stay period is from 91 days to 12 months.
Who can Apply for Anguilla’s Digital Nomad Visa?
To qualify, you must:
- Provide proof of employment or show you own a business.
- Show police records (get a background check).
- Pay the visa fee, which is $2,000 USD per individual and $3,000 per family.
To apply for Anguilla’s digital nomad visa, click here.
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!
About the Author
Nick Callos has always had a passion for reading, writing, and discovering the new and unknown. Originally from Cincinnati, Ohio, Nick holds a Bachelor’s Degree in English from Boston College. He currently splits his time between his hometown, Chengdu, China, and the open road. A full-time travel writer, Nick hopes his work can inspire others to explore the world more deeply and enjoy the digital nomad lifestyle.