Most digital nomads work remotely under a tourist visa— which is illegal. So, to provide foreigners with a legal base for working while traveling, many countries issue digital nomad visas. These visas are usually short-term and do not offer a pathway to citizenship but are an excellent opportunity for nomads and freelancers who want to travel and work remotely.
What Is a Digital Nomad Visa?
Digital nomad visas are permits that allow you to work remotely in a foreign country. You usually have to work for an employer or company outside of your host country or have a business you can manage from anywhere in the world to qualify for this visa.
Eligibility Criteria For a Digital Nomad Visa
Here are some eligibility criteria you have to meet for the digital nomad visa:
- You must be over 18 years of age.
- You must have a specific monthly income (the amount varies from country to country).
- You must have a job you can do from anywhere in the world.
Where Can I Get a Digital Nomad Visa?
Here is a list of the countries that currently offer a digital nomad visa:
|Antigua and Barbuda||Germany|
|Dubai||The Czech Republic|
Best Countries to Get a Visa as a Digital Nomad
- Germany. Those wishing to work in Germany as digital nomads can apply for a German freelance visa. The freelance visa for Germany is very popular as it enables its holder to work with different startups, businesses or individuals on a need-basis and part-time contracts.
- Estonia. The Estonian authorities have established a special visa only for digital nomads. The visa is literally called Digital Nomad Visa, and was launched by the end of 2019.
- Costa Rica. The Rentista visa for Costa Rica permits its holder to remain in the country up to two years, with the possibility to extend it. It is designed for small investors who want to offer their services in Costa Rica. Though you will need to prove you have an amount of $2,500 per month as a proof of steady income, the visa is not very difficult to obtain.
- Norway. Norway offers visas for digital nomads wishing to live and work in Svalbard, one of the most expensive places in the world. The validity of a visa is for a lifetime. You only need to prove you have enough money to support your stay there. Living in Svalbard could be quite challenging due to very low temperatures and 24 hours of darkness for three months a year, November to February, but after all the life of a nomad is all about the challenges.
- Mexico. If you wish to live in Mexico while working there as a digital nomad, the Mexico temporary resident visa is the way. You can stay in Mexico for a full year and then extend the visa for another up to three times. However, you cannot remain there longer than 4 years with this visa.
- Portugal. Those wishing to live in Portugal as digital nomads can apply for a D7 Passive Income visa, which resembles a lot to the Costa Rican Rentista visa. The main requirement is that you must show proof of sufficient income, and where that money comes from. You can stay in Portugal for a year with this visa, and then extend it two years at a time. After five years in Portugal with a D7 Passive Income visa, you can apply for a residence permit, under the condition of passing an exam on Portuguese language knowledge.
- The Czech Republic. Czech Republic offers a Freelance Visa for those wishing to work in the country as their own bosses. It is a perfect opportunity as this visa is valid for one year, and after that you can extend it for another two years. While the visa costs $217, you will need to prove you have an income of $5,600 in order to get the visa.
Digital Nomad Visa Application Process
You can apply for a digital nomad visa by following the instructions below:
- Fill out the application form.
- Make an appointment with an embassy or consulate.
- Prepare your documents.
- Submit your application.
Fill Out The Application Form
You need to fill out the digital nomad visa application form as per the instructions. Some countries require you to fill out the application online and then print it out and sign it, while others require you to fill out the form at the embassy or consulate physically. Please note that you have to provide all accurate information with your up-to-date details.
Set an Appointment With an Embassy or Consulate
You also have to locate a visa office which can be either an embassy or consulate— keep in mind that an embassy and consulate are not the same institutions. Depending on your country of residence, you may be required to apply at a neighboring embassy. Nevertheless, once you locate your visa office, you have to schedule an appointment to submit your application and attend the visa interview.
Prepare Your Documents
After you fill out your application, you have to prepare the rest of your required documents. You may have to translate some of your documents or certify them with an apostille stamp.
Submit Your Application
When you get your documents ready, submit them with your filled-out visa application to the embassy. You also have to attend the visa interview and pay the visa fee— some countries require you to pay the fee beforehand and submit the receipt as a part of the application documents.
Digital Nomad Visa Documents Required
You need the following documents for your digital visa application:
- Digital nomad visa application form.
- Your passport.
- Identity pictures.
- Travel health insurance.
- Proof of financial income (its source, the amount, etc.).
- Evidence of remote work (clients, work contract, business license).
- Civil documents (birth certificate, CV, qualifications, etc.)
The documents required for your digital nomad visa must follow the guidelines listed below:
- Your passport must be valid for at least six months at the time of application.
- You must take your identification pictures with a plain, white background, neutral facial expression, and no editing.
- Your civil documents must be translated (if required) and certified with an apostille stamp.
How Long Does It Take to Get a Digital Nomad Visa?
It usually takes around one month to process your digital nomad visa. But, you have to keep in mind that the processing time for a visa application changes from country to country.
Digital Nomad Visa Validity
A digital nomad visa is valid for one to two years. Some countries may allow you to extend your digital nomad visa up to five years if you meet the qualifying criteria.
How Much Does a Digital Nomad Visa Cost?
A digital nomad visa can cost from $200 up to $2,000. Some Caribbean countries like Barbados, Antigua and Barbuda have the highest application fees for digital nomad visas, up to $3,000 for family applications.
However, some countries, like Georgia, offer digital nomad visas free of charge to attract more applicants.
Applying With Family Members For a Digital Nomad Visa
You can apply with family members for a digital nomad visa. Still, some countries may only allow you to bring your spouse/registered partner and your children— no extended family members.
Digital Nomad Visa Denial
Some of the reasons your digital nomad visa can be denied include:
- You were convicted of a serious crime.
- You do not have a job you can do remotely.
- You filled out the application form with false information.
- You do not meet the annual income requirement.
Digital Nomad Visa VS Tourist Visa
Here are some key differences between a digital nomad visa and a tourist visa:
|Digital Nomad Visa||Tourist Visa|
|Takes months to get processed||Takes a couple of weeks|
|It’s issued for longer than 90 days||It’s usually valid for 30 days|
|It allows you to travel and work||It allows you only to travel|
|You have to be employed to get this visa||You don’t have to be employed|
Do I Have To Pay Taxes Under a Digital Nomad Visa?
You usually have to file a tax return in your country of residence while on a digital nomad visa. However, this changes depending on which country you are working in. For example, if you have a digital nomad visa in Estonia and stay for more than 183 days, you are considered a taxable resident.
On the other hand, some countries have a one-year tax exemption for digital nomads— you have to check beforehand with your host country.
What Type of Work Can I Do With a Digital Nomad Visa?
Usually, you can do any type of work under a digital nomad visa, provided that you can do that job remotely over the internet. However, the most popular job types for digital nomads include
- Content creators.
- Website developer.
- Social media marketer.
- Digital entrepreneur.