It’s a new year, and with it comes renewed vision for what you’d like to achieve. If one of your goals in 2021 is to take your job on the road or around the globe, you’ll need to know your options when it comes to working remotely in another country for an extended period of time.
Fortunately, we’ve done the research for you, so you all have to do is find your favorite destination on our list, and get started planning for whatever adventure awaits!
The 2020 pandemic & the rise of “nomad visas”
The ongoing global pandemic has brought about countless changes to our society, economically, socially, and everywhere in between. But how we see it, one of the bright spots to this situation has been witnessing the rise of remote work and the heightened interest in the digital nomad lifestyle.
And along with this curiosity about location independence, there’s also been greater enthusiasm around nomad visas. Here’s the thing: if you want to live in a country for more than the 60 or 90 days you’re typically permitted, you’re going to need a long-term visa. This way, you can legally remain in said country for a much greater length of time than your passport alone will allow.
Different countries have different rules and regulations for how to apply for a visa, as well as what you need to do to qualify for one. Since securing a long-term stay can be a bit challenging, we’ve rounded up the 14 best countries with visas for digital nomads, so you can cut right to the chase and start filling out your paperwork in no time!
14 best countries with visas for digital nomads
1. Anguilla (British Territory)
Anguilla recently announced a special visa for digital nomads who would like to work from this stunning Caribbean island. With just three confirmed cases of the coronavirus (and no fatalities to report), Anguilla was designated COVID-19 free by the World Health Organization (WHO) in June of 2020. A safe place to work in the middle of a swoon-worthy tropical setting? Sign us up!
- Conditions: You need to pay a fee of $2,000 per individual (or $3,000 per family), which covers two COVID tests per person, plus costs associated with the increased public health presence, extended immigration time/entry, and a digital work permit.
- How to apply: Visit this link to apply for a year-long stay.
In response to last year’s remote work boom, Barbados launched a 12-month working holiday visa, allowing international visitors to work remotely from the island. If you’re looking to get away and spend some extended time in a gorgeous location, the ‘Barbados Welcome Stamp’ is a special year-long visa targeted toward remote workers. Living next to the beach for an entire lap around the sun sounds like a pretty sweet setup, don’t you think?
- Conditions: You own a location independent business and/or you’re able to work remotely for a company that’s based outside of Barbados. The visa costs $2,000 for individuals ($3,000 for families), and you must earn at least $50,000 per year. Additionally, upon arrival, you must undergo a mandatory COVID-19 test and 48-hour quarantine.
- How to apply: Fill out all the necessary forms for the Barbados Welcome Stamp here.
Similar to Barbados, Bermuda just released a 12-month remote work visa, which permits visitors to remain in the country for up to a year while working online. Aptly titled, ‘Work From Bermuda,’ this visa is actually an expansion of an older residency program, but is now aimed at professionals who’ve been working from home. The hope is this updated version will attract long-term travelers who want to create a home base from an island destination.
- Conditions: You own a location independent business and/or you’re able to work remotely for a company that’s based outside of Bermuda. You must undergo a mandatory COVID-19 test and provide proof of travel insurance, but there’s no minimum income requirement on this one!
- How to apply: Submit all required paperwork through this form, and pay the $263 visa fee.
4. Cayman Islands
The Cayman Islands recently developed their Global Citizen Concierge Program (GCCP), allowing non-citizens to live and work there for up to two years. This is certainly an enticing offer for nomads who want to stay somewhere warm for a while, but do note the income requirements are significantly steeper than the other countries on our list — individuals must have an annual salary of at least $100,000, or $150,000 for couples.
- Conditions: You must have employment with a company outside of the Cayman Islands, and present a notarized bank reference letter (confirming you earn the required income). Applicants are also subject to background checks, and need to prove valid health insurance coverage.
- How to apply: Read up on the GCCP, submit your forms, and then pay the fee of $1,469.
5. Costa Rica
Costa Rica is known for its relaxed lifestyle, phenomenal surfing, and diverse landscape. Digital nomads have been flocking here for some time, but now, with the ‘Rentista’ freelancer visa, foreigners can stay for up to two years (with the ability to extend). Note: this visa allows those who are self-employed or entrepreneurs to work in Costa Rica, but unfortunately, you won’t be eligible if you’re an employee of another company.
- Conditions: You must show proof of income of $2,500 per month for two years, or make a deposit of $60,000 into a Costa Rican bank.
- How to apply: While it’s possible to apply for the Rentista on your own, it might be easier to seek help from an immigration lawyer. All of your documents must be translated into Spanish and authenticated in your home country, and you must also pay the visa fee of $250.
6. Czech Republic
If you’d like to live in Prague long-term — and let’s be honest, who wouldn’t? — then you should definitely look into the Czech Republic’s long-term freelancer visa, the Zivno. With this visa, you can stay in the country for up to a year; with that said, your housing plans need to be arranged in advance, as you’re required to share your accommodation in order to qualify.
But with its low cost of living, reliable WiFi, and beautiful historical towns, the Czech Republic is a forever favorite among digital nomads from all over the world.
- Conditions: It might be a bit more complicated to secure a Zivno as compared to other visas, but it is doable. You’ll need to have a trade license in one of the fields listed here, and provide your lodging plans for at least a year. You must also have a minimum of $6,888 in your bank account, and pay around $80 a month in local taxes.
- How to apply: If possible, it’s a good idea to have an international agency help you with this application. Once you’ve gathered the required documents, you’ll need to make an appointment at a Czech Embassy for the long-stay visa, and pay the fee of ~$123 USD.
Estonia has created a one-of-a-kind visa, geared specifically toward digital nomads — how cool is that! And even better, Estonia is actually one of the most digitally-advanced places on the planet. Not only were they the first to launch an e-residency program where international entrepreneurs can license their own EU-based online business, but now they’ve developed this new visa that lets foreigners live in their country while working remotely. It’s safe to say Estonia is one of the most welcoming nations in the world for the nomad community.
- Conditions: You own a location independent business and/or you’re able to work remotely for a company that’s based outside of Estonia. You also need to have earned roughly $4,323 (per month) for the last six months.
- How to apply: Check out the Digital Nomad Visa, fill out the online form, and then make an appointment with the nearest Estonian Embassy/Consulate to submit everything in person. Also note, there are two versions of the nomad visa: the short stay (Type C) costs $98, while the long stay (Type D) will set you back about $123.
After experiencing a decline in tourism last year, the country of Georgia made a fantastic pivot by introducing a digital nomad visa to help invigorate their economy. The ‘Remotely from Georgia’ visa is an awesome option if you’re already working remotely, but would like a change of pace in a nation known for its affordable living costs, dynamic cityscapes, and gorgeous mountain ranges.
- Conditions: You own a location independent business and/or you’re able to work remotely for a company that’s based outside of Georgia. You must earn at least $2,000/month, and prove sufficient financial means to pay local taxes. In addition, you must obtain travel insurance (valid for at least six months), and undergo a mandatory two-week quarantine upon arrival.
- How to apply: Check if your country is on the list of approved passports, and then fill out the required application form.
Germany’s ‘Freiberufler’ visa is a great match for digital nomads. This permit allows foreign freelancers and self-employed persons to live and work in Germany for six months (to up to three years). But since this particular visa can sometimes take three to four months to be approved, it’s best to plan with this timeframe in mind. Maybe you can brush up on some of your German phrases while you wait!
- Conditions: The German tax office must deem your freelance job ‘liberal’ versus a commercial profession. If you qualify, note that you will have to pay taxes to the German government during your stay. You’ll also need to have an address in Germany, proof of health insurance coverage, and proof of your personal financial stability.
- How to apply: Access all relevant info here, secure a residence in Germany, book an appointment with the immigration office, and pay the fee of ~$73 USD.
If a warmer climate is calling your name, a Mexican visa may be exactly what you need. While Mexico has a six-month tourist visa available, they also offer a Temporary Resident Visa that’s good for 12-months (with the option to renew annually for the following three years). The remote workforce in Mexico has been growing significantly over the last few years, with the vibrant and diverse Mexico City ranking as the top spot for digital nomads to land.
- Conditions: You own a location independent business and/or you’re able to work remotely for a company that’s based outside of Mexico. You need a monthly income of more than $1,620 for the last six months, or a bank account balance of over $27,000.
- How to apply: To apply for the Temporary Resident Visa, gather all of your documentation and complete this form. Once that’s done, you’ll need to make an appointment at the nearest Mexican Consulate to finalize the process.
Norway is somewhat of a Scandinavian paradise, thanks in part to its inherent beauty and progressive population. Plenty of digital nomads would likely jump at the chance to spend extended time in this country, and luckily, that possibility has now become reality. With an Independent Contractor visa, nomads can live in Norway for up to two years, and enjoy as much of the fjords, waterfalls, and impressive terrain as they can in that time.
- Conditions: You must be self-employed, with a contract to work on a project for a business in Norway, and provide proof of income for ~$43,825 per year (before tax). Lastly, you’ll need to have proof of your local accommodation, as well.
- How to apply: Visit the website for Norway’s Directorate of Immigration, complete the forms, bring them to the nearest Norwegian Embassy, and pay the application fee of $736.
Portugal continues to be somewhat of a hidden gem, though it has been growing in popularity among the nomad community. There are actually two options for remote workers looking to spend some time in Portugal — a temporary resident visa, and a yearlong residence permit for entrepreneurs and independent workers, with the ability to renew for as many as five years. And if you do live there for the full five years, at that point, you’re eligible to apply for permanent residency in Portugal; that’s a very tempting offer, if you ask us!
- Conditions: You need to have proof of income from either business ownership, financial means, or property holdings of some kind. Applicants must earn at least $736 each month, provide proof of travel or health insurance, and submit to a criminal background check.
- How to apply: Complete the required form, make an appointment with the nearest Portuguese Consulate, and pay around $100 (for the visa fee) plus $88 (for the resident permit fee).
Spain’s Self-Employment Work Visa is an awesome choice for nomads who fall into the category of self-employed. This visa, like many others on our list, allows you to stay in Spain for at least a year, with the ability to renew. Whether you’re drawn to the fantastic food scene, impressive architecture, or the low cost of living and relaxed lifestyle, Spain has something for nearly anyone who’s looking to strike out on a bold, new adventure.
- Conditions: You need to prove you have sufficient funds to ‘establish and maintain employment indefinitely,’ give proof of Spanish health insurance, get a medical certificate reflecting good health, and pass a background check before you go.
- How to apply: All the information you need can be found here. (Note that your documents need to be translated into Spanish, and authenticated by your home country.) Make an appointment to apply in person at the nearest Spanish Consulate or Embassy, and pay the appropriate fees.
14. United Arab Emirates
Just last year, Dubai (UAE) launched their own yearlong virtual working program, which allows digital nomads to reside in this incredible city known for its luxury shopping, ultramodern architecture, and lively nightlife scene. With this new visa, you can explore Dubai and work remotely, while remaining employed in your home country — kind of amazing, right?
Did we mention Dubai doesn’t levy income tax on individuals, and you have access to all required services (like telecoms and utilities)? Be right back, checking flights!
- Conditions: Proof of employment from your current employer (with a one-year contract), or proof of ownership for your personal company. In addition, you have to earn a minimum of $5,000/month salary, provide documentation of medical insurance (with UAE validity), and have at least six months left on your passport.
- How to apply: Fill out the application and pay the $287 visa fee.
Are you dreaming of a far off destination yet? Hopefully our list has inspired you to travel slowly and enjoy a foreign escape for a longer period of time. If you’re ready to experience the nomad lifestyle for yourself and start going places this year, we’re here to support you all the way!