How do you become a digital nomad? In this article, we will take a look at the best remote worker visa programs for digital nomads.
What Is a Digital Nomad?
What does it mean to be a digital nomad? Japanese technologist Tsugio Makimoto predicted that remote working would force nations “to compete for citizens”.
Digital nomads are an example of such “citizens”. They seek nomadic lifestyles, enabled by modern technology.
What is one example of a digital nomad? The office, is now a coffee shop, hotel lobby, co-working space or library.
Examples of digital nomad jobs include copywriting, translation services, or affiliate marketing.
All they need is WiFi, a laptop or a smartphone, to make this all possible.
On the world stage, countries compete for talent, especially in science and technology.
Thanks to Covid-19, Makimoto’s prophecy appears to be coming true. Many countries have now launched remote worker visa programs. With programs aimed at both attracting and retaining remote workers.
What Is The Digital Nomad Lifestyle?
Is being a digital nomad worth it? The digital nomad community is not just about travelling. It is about the ability to live and work under your own terms, and not be tied to any geographic location.
A balanced lifestyle is a priority for many digital nomads and remote workers. The internet has been the enabler for the creation of location independent jobs.
What Is A Typical Digital Nomad Salary?
There is no definitive list of ‘typical’ salaries, but this will depend on whether you are a beginner or an experienced digital nomad.
With that in mind, here is a list of jobs and their average salaries*:
- Web Developer: £120K GBP / €130K EUR / $150K USD / $180K AUD
- Social Media Manager: £40K GBP / €43K EUR / $50K USD / $70K AUD
- Product Manager £60K GBP / €64K EUR / $76K USD / £200K AUD
- Graphic Designer: £35K GBP / €37K EUR / $44K USD $80K AUD
- Digital Marketer: £30K GBP / €32K EUR / $30K USD / $60K AUD
- Content Writer: £35K GBP / €37K EUR / $44K USD / $70K AUD
Europe’s Best Destinations With Remote Worker Visa Programs
Here is a list of countries and destinations with visa options for remote workers, and digital nomads.
The first steps have been taken by the Croatian government, to include remote workers in the Foreigners Act. The first reading was due to take place on 18 September 2020, in the Croatian Parliament. This is expected to be debated and adopted by the end of the 2020 and come into force at the beginning of 2021.
- Income to prove: €2,232 per month or €26,790 for a 12 month stay. An additional 10% is required per partner/family member.
- Length: Maximum 1 year, can be reapplied for after 6 months away
How To Apply
Cost of program: Between €80 to €130
The Czech Republic offers a special business visa (zivno visa or zivnostenské opravneni) that remote workers can benefit from. It can be requested in person at a Czech consulate or embassy and the processing times are between 90 to 120 days.
- You will need to apply for a trade license, details of which can be found on the Ministry of Trade & Industry website:
- Zivnostenské Opravneni (Zivno) for EU citizens: EU citizens have the same rights as Czech citizens when it comes to the zivno, even without holding a Temporary Residence Certificate.
- Zivnostenské Opravneni (Zivno) for Non-EU citizens: Non-EU citizens will need to ensure that they already hold a long-term visa or long-term residence permit.
- Notarized Proof of accommodation for at least 12 months (minimum 6 months required for long-term visas)
- Proof of at least USD$6,000 in your bank account
How To Apply
Details of how to apply for your visa can be found on the official Ministry of the Interior of The Czech Republic website.
Submit all the required documentation and pay the visa fee of USD$127 (or €100).
As of August 1, 2020, eligible remote/independent workers can apply to live and work in Estonia for up to a year. The Digital Nomad Visa allows remote worker to work for either their employer or their own foreign registered company.
- Are able to work independent of location.
- Can work remotely using telecommunications technology.
- Have an active employment contract with a company registered outside of Estonia.
- Conduct business through your own company registered abroad.
- Work as a freelancer for clients primarily outside of Estonia.
- Provide evidence (during the six months preceding the application) that your monthly income is €3504 (gross of tax) and above.
How To Apply
Fill out the online application form, and make an appointment at your nearest Estonian Embassy/Consulate to submit your application.
Thee fees are based on the duration of your expected stay: Type C (short stay) costs €80, and Type D (long stay) costs €100.
On August 27 2020, Georgia was the latest country to offer a remote worker visa called ‘Remotely from Georgia’. The scheme is designed for freelancers, full-time employees and/or business owners who intend to stay in the country for a minimum of at least 180 days. If you’re a remote worker, why not wait out the pandemic and work from a country known for its low-cost of living, and epic mountain landscapes?
- You own a location independent business (and/or).
- You work remotely for a company based outside of Georgia.
- Can show evidence of an income of at least $2000 per month.
- Undergo mandatory quarantine (at your own expense).
- Obtain travel insurance (valid for the duration of your time in Georgia).
How To Apply
Complete the ‘Remotely from Georgia’ application form via the official Georgia Government website.
Note: At the time of writing this article the ‘Remotely from Georgia’ visa scheme is currently available to 95 countries.
Germany has a special visa called the Aufenthaltserlaubnis für selbständige Tätigkeit. It’s a residence permit that allows foreign freelancers and self-employed people to live and work in Germany.
- Evidence of your main residence in Germany.
- Valid proof of health insurance.
- How you will financially support yourself during your time in Germany.
- Proof of how your work/services will contribute to the local German economy.
How To Apply
Complete and print out your visa application form.
Book a visa appointment at your closest German consulate/embassy office.
Pay the visa fee of €80
Norway is already home to a number of remote/location independent workers through the Independent Contractor Visa scheme. The scheme allows for a visa to be granted for up to two years at a time on the basis that you meet the visa conditions.
- Hold one of the following qualifications: vocational training certification, a university/college degree, or special work qualifications.
- You must be self-employed or have a work contract for a business in Norway.
- Proof of accommodation in Norway
- Show an income of at least €36,000 per year (pre-tax)
How To Apply
Gather the required documents listed on Norway’s Directorate of Immigration website.
Fill out the application, and gather the required documents outlined on Norway’s Directorate of Immigration website.
Book an appointment at your nearest Norwegian Embassy.
Pay the visa application fee of NOK6,300 (or about €600).
Portugal offers two visa types for remote/location independent workers and entrepreneurs.
A Temporary Stay visa (Less than 1 year stay) or a Residency visa (up to 5 years), with the ability to renew and can eventually lead to permanent residency.
Regardless of the path you decide to follow, as a foreign visa holder you will be provided with a residence card (Título de Residência). This is your official Portuguese ID.
- Proof of income and/or proof of financial means.
- Provide a signed statement of responsibility.
- Proof of private travel/health insurance.
- Submit to a criminal background check.
How To Apply
Gather the required documents, print out and complete the application form which can be found on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs website.
Book an appointment at your nearest Portuguese consulate.
Pay the €84 EUR visa fee and €72 EUR resident permit fee.
Iceland has a long term visa for remote workers. It is only valid for 6-months and if you apply whilst staying in the Schengen area it is only valid for 90-days. This is a country of stunning landscapes and you will never get bored here no matter what time of the year. It is one of the most expensive places when it comes to the cost of living though and you have to show a very healthy monthly income to apply. So this is not for everyone though.
- Cost of program: 7800 ISK (€50, $61)
- Length: 6 months
- Income to prove: 1,000,000 ISK (€6,460 or $7,777) for a single applicant or 1,500,000 ISK (€9,690 or $11,667) for a couple.
Spain currently has the Non-Lucrative Visa which is a visa where you are technically not allowed to work, it is more for people that are self-sufficient or retired. However, who notices remote work.
Besides this Spain is working on a Digital Nomad Visas a draft bill has been introduced called the Startups Law. Under the proposed law, remote workers can get a visa that allows them to stay and work for 12 months. This can be extended for another 24 months. We keep you up to date with the developments. There would be a 24% tax for the first €600,000 earned.
Spain’s low cost, beaches, mountains and vibrant cities like Barcelona, Madrid and Valencia make it a favourite for location independent people. The tech scene in Barcelona is growing rapidly.
- Costs Visa: $140 (Non-Lucrative Visa )
- Length: 1 year and can be renewed (Non-Lucrative Visa )
- Income to prove: €2151 per month (Non-Lucrative Visa )
The tiny European island nation of Malta has a digital nomad visa called the Nomad Residency Permit. This program is targeted at NON-EU remote workers and has a length of 1 year which can be renewed. Malta boast a nationwide 5G network and English as one of the official languages, it also has over 300 days of sunshine a year.
- Costs Visa: €300 includes family
- For Non-EU remote workers
- Length: 1 year and can be renewed
- Income to prove: €2700 per month plus rental contract or property purchase.
Greece has it all, from culture to food, to sun-kissed beaches and plenty of islands. It also has decent internet speeds and in Europe enjoys a low cost of living. Greece has two programs in place to attract digital nomads. The first program is an income tax reduction of 50% for a period of 7 years to certain nationalities moving or returning to Greece and committing to staying a minimum period of 2 years.
The 2nd program, which became official at the start of October 2021 is the Greece digital nomad visa for non-EU/EEA citizens. This allows you to stay and do remote work in Greece for a foreign employer or your own foreign registered company. The period is initially for 1 year but can be extended twice to 3 years in total.
- Cost of Visa: €75
- Length: 1 year can be extended to a maximum of 3 years
- Income to prove: €3,500 per month plus 20% for spouse/partner and 15% for each child
Romania approved its digital nomad visa on the 21st of December 2021. This will be a 12-month visa that can be renewed for another 12 months. Initially, it was thought this Visa would have low-income requirements of €1,100 per month, this now seems to have been multiplied to 3 times this amount at €3,300 per month. Romana will have a harder time attracting Digital Nomads with Croatia a popular destination having monthly income requirements of only €2,232.
- Cost of Visa: Unknown
- Length: 1 year can be extended for one extra year
- Income to prove: €3,300 per month
The Hungary Digital Nomad Visa called White Card was launched in November 2021. It is one of the easier Digital Nomad visas with an income requirement of only €2,000 per month. This is an individual residency permit and it does not allow for couples or families to be joined. The primary target for this visa is “singles under 40.”
You can now enjoy and work remotely in beautiful Budapest in a country that has one of the fastest internet speeds in Europe.
- Cost of Visa: €110 per applicant
- Length: one year and it can be extended for one additional year
- Income to prove: €2,000 per month – you need proof of last 6 months
The Caribbean’s Best Destinations With Remote Worker Visa Programs
On June 30 2020, the Barbados Government launched the the 12-month ‘Barbados Welcome Stamp’ visa. This new work visa allows people to work remotely in Barbados for a maximum of 12 months, whilst not being liable to pay Barbados Income Tax. The visa is available to anyone who meets the visa requirements, whose work is location independent, and applies to both individuals and/or families.
- Own a location independent business (and/or).
- Work remotely for a company based and operating outside of Barbados.
- Expect to earn at least USD$50,000 or more over the 12 month visa period.
How To Apply
Fill out the online Barbados Welcome Stamp application form.
Submit all required paperwork and pay the visa fee of USD$ 2000 for individuals or USD$ 3000 for a family.
Antigua & Barbuda
The island nation of Antigua & Barbuda has called its digital nomad visa the Antigua Nomad Digital Residence. The islands have a total of 365 different beaches allowing you to enjoy them all for 2 days each.
Cost of program: $1,500 individual, $2,000 a couple $3,000 for a family of 3 or more.
Length: 2 years
Income to prove: $50,000 per year
Bermuda has named its program the Work From Bermuda visa. The cost of applying is cheap and there is no requirement to prove a certain wage. However, this is the most expensive country on earth when it comes to the cost of living. Like the Cayman Islands, this is more of a destination for the well-heeled, although not promoted that way, the cost of living makes it that way.
Cost of program: $263
Length: 1 year
Income to prove: enough to support yourself, which is a lot in Bermuda
The Cayman Islands
The name already implies it with the Cayman Islands Global Citizen Concierge Program, only wealthy remote workers are welcome. And yes you can see this already in the income that you have to prove to apply for the program. This program is clearly aimed to attract high-level executives that can work remotely. The program is the longest with a maximum of 2 years and allows you to travel in and out as much as you like.
Cost of program: $1,469
Length: 2 years
Income to prove: $100,000 per year for a single, $150,000 per year for a couple, $180,000 per year for a family
The Commonwealth of Dominica, which is located in the Caribbean between the French Islands of Guadeloupe and Martinique, has announced a Digital Nomad visa program called WIN Work In Nature. This program allows people to stay on this lush tropical volcanic island famous for its hot springs for up to 18 months. It also offers an income tax break and families can put their children through private and state-owned schools.
Dominica has probably the cheapest option to stay on a Digital Nomad visa in the Caribbean in terms of the cost of living.
Cost of program: $100 application fee (non-refundable), $800 single person, $1200 for a family.
Length: up to 18 months
Income to prove: $70,000 per year
The 16 tax-free islands of The Bahamas have launched the Bahamas Extended Access Travel Stay (BEATS) programme. You can stay for 12 months but this is extendable to 3 years. Now is your chance to do some island hopping and swim with the famous pigs. It is an expensive place to live but has easy access to Miami and the rest to the USA.
Cost of program: $25 application fee. $1000 for the first applicant and $500 for each dependent.
Length: 12 months and can be renewed on a case by case basis to 36 months.
Income to prove: a letter from your current employer or proof of self-employment and income
Out of the hurricane zone in the Caribbean, and part of the Leeward Antilles, Curaçao offers something different. You can enjoy the Dutch colonial town of Willemstad as well as the beautiful beaches on offer. The @HOME in Curaçao program allows for an initial 6 months stay with the possibility of an extension for another six months.
Cost of program: $294 per person.
Length: 6 months with another 6 months extension
Income to prove: proof of solvency
Saint Lucia is the latest Caribbean island to see the benefits of long-staying digital nomads for its economy. It has adjusted its Non-Immigrant Visa so you can stay for 12-months on a multiple entry visa and work remotely, it is called Saint Lucia Live It. The cost of the visa is cheap and there are no minimum income requirements.
Cost of program: EC$190 (USD75) per person
Length: 12 months multiple entry visa
Income to prove: none
Central America’s Best Destinations With Remote Worker Visa Programs Costa Rica
Costa Rica is famous for its relaxed lifestyle, great surfing, gorgeous beaches and an amazing landscape of jungle, volcanoes and waterfalls. The visa which was already in place before the Covid-19 pandemic is called Rentista, which allows foreigners to stay for a 2 year period. This can be extended. This visa is for self-employed people or entrepreneurs, you are not allowed to work for another company.
Besides the Rentista visa, Costa Rica is also working on a digital nomad visa which will be for 1 year up to 2 years maximum. We keep you updated when this goes live.
Cost of program: $250
Length: 2 years
Income to prove: $2,500 per month over the last 2 years or make a deposit of $60,000 in a bank in Costa Rica.
Digital Nomad Visa
Cost of program: unknown yet
Length: 1 year can be extended for another year
Income to prove: $3000 per month or $5000 for a couple or family
With its beaches, Mayan culture, Colonial culture, diverse landscapes, the capital Mexico City, and great cuisine, Mexico is a favourite with travellers and digital nomads. Part of the reason is its 6-month long tourist visa and the low cost of living. There is also the Temporary Resident Visa which allows you to stay one year and can be renewed after that for another 3 years.
Costs Visa: Not known
Length: 1 year, max 4 years.
Income to prove: $1,620 a month or bank balance of $27,000
Panama is the most developed nation in Central America with a high standard of living, a warm climate, great nature, beaches and vibrant cities. With high-speed internet and a low cost of living this country is excellent for digital nomads. In May 2021 Panama created what it called the Short Stay Visa for Remote Workers. It is a 9-month visa that can be extended for another 9 months and allows you to work remotely
Costs Visa: $300
Length: 9 months, max 18 months.
Income to prove: $36,000 a year
South America’s Best Destinations With Remote Worker Visa Programs
As the first South American Country Brazil has joined the list of countries with a digital nomad visa. Officially published on the 24th of January 2022 we now have some specific details regarding the temporary visa. It will be a one year visa that can be renewed for an additional year. The minimum monthly income requirement is US$1,500. The process has to be done at a Brazilian embassy.
Costs Visa: unknown
Length: 1 year, can be renewed for an additional year
Income to prove: $1,500 per month
The Middle East’s Best Destinations With Remote Worker Visa Programs
United Arab Emirates (UAE)
The city of Dubai launched its one-year virtual working program for remote workers and digital nomads. You can work now for one year in this megacity on the coast and benefit from the zero income tax for individuals.
Costs Visa: $287
Length: 1 year
Income to prove: €5,000 per month (over the last 3 months) plus proof of employment or proof of company ownership.
Asia’s Best Destinations With Remote Worker Visa Programs
Taiwan has not got a program that specifically targets Digital Nomads, however, it has a program called the Gold Card. The Gold Card is an open-end work permit for Taiwan, and it is a Visa to attract talent. However, even if you do not have the skills but can show you make a monthly income of 160k TWD (USD 5700) you can apply. If you don’t have the earnings you need some pretty high skills to apply, like being a lawyer, or holding a PhD degree etc.
Costs Visa: $100 to $310 depending on nationality and duration.
Income to prove: $5,700 per month, but you can also enter on skills
Sri Lanka has not announced a specific Digital Nomad Visa but has made the process of getting extensions (up to 270 days) to a Visa a lot easier. Depending on the country and how long you intend to stay there are different fees, you can find these here.
30-90 day extension can be done online for the following countries: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Netherlands, Poland, Italy, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Spain, Greece, Sweden, Hungary, United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, USA, Canada, Japan, Switzerland, Norway, Portugal, Slovenia, Estonia, Mauritius, Iceland, and Cuba.
90-180 day extension costs $150 and is free for USA.
180-270 day extension is $200.
Overstayers are fined $500.
Sri Lanka offers a great mix of beaches, national parks, great food and plenty of historical sites, a great environment for the Digital Nomad.
Cost Visa: $150 for 90-180 day extension, $200 for 180-270 day extension.
Africa’s Best Destinations With Remote Worker Visa Programs
The Premium Visa program for Mauritius is one I like as there is no fee and no proof of income. This opens this visa up to a whole range of digital nomads. Who does not want to experience its stunning beaches, jungles and mountains? Plus you get to try great Indian curry dishes.
Costs Visa: Free
Length: 1 year
Income to prove: own your location independent business or work remotely for a company outside Mauritius.
Cape Verde (Cabo Verde)
The Cape Verde archipelago, a former Portuguese colony, of 10 islands lies 570 kilometres west of the African continent in the Atlantic Ocean. It is blessed with year-round sun and on some islands, there is hardly any rainfall, which results in 350 days of sunshine.
Its Remote Working Cabo Verde program is not advertised well. It is eligible for anyone from Europe, North America, the Community of Portuguese Speaking Countries (CPLP) and the Economic Community of West African States (CEDEAO).
Costs Visa: €20 Visa fee, €34 Airport fee
Length: 6 Months, can be renewed for an extra 6 months.
Income to prove: €1,500 per month Individual, €2,700 per month family
The beautiful African Island archipelago of Seychelles has joined the list with its Seychelles Workcation Program. The requirements seem very easy, you need to have a valid passport, provide documents of proof of being an employee or business owner and provide proof of income or wealth. Like almost all other programs you will need health and travel insurance.
Costs Visa: €45 per person
Length: 12 months.
Income to prove: unknown
Upcoming Remote Worker Visa Programs
With Malta and Greece having a digital nomad visa it was expected that Cyprus would follow quickly. It gives UK citizens, as well as other non-EU citizens, the right to stay and work remotely on the island for 12 months. This is what we know so far about the up and coming Cyprus Digital Nomad Visa.
Valid for 1 year and can be renewed for another 2 years to give a maximum stay of 3 years
Monthly income requirements €3,500 for main applicant + 20% for spouse and 15% for each minor
Medical insurance needed
Police clearance certificate from country of residence
Limited to 100 applications
The Caribbean island of Grenada, also known as the spice island, is working on a digital nomad visa. It will be valid for one year and can be renewed for an additional year. The program should have been live in October 2021 but had been delayed, Nomad Girl will keep you updated with the latest developments.
Costs Visa: $1,500 per person, $2000 for a family with 3 dependents, $200 for each additional dependent.
Length: 12 months, renewable for another 12 months
Income to prove: $37,000 annually
Latvia has decided to follow the footsteps of its northern Neighbour Estonia, by creating the Latvia Digital Nomad Visa. At the moment it is draft legislation and it is still waiting for final approval by the Latvian government.
Costs Visa: Unknown
Length: 12 months, renewable for another 12 months
Income to prove: 3 times average Latvia annual wage.
As you can see, every country has its own set of conditions got remote worker visa programs.
Specifically when it comes to financial means, visa conditions, health insurance, and application requirements.
Always confirm details for your individual situation, since there will always be new rules or limitations.