If you're ready to take your remote job on the road, the next step is finding the best visas and countries for digital nomads. Finding a long term visa can be difficult, but we've rounded up the best visa options currently available for digital nomads.
Updated: Sept 10th 2021
If you want to stay in a country longer than a typical 60 or 90 day stay (depending on the country), most of the time you will either need a long term visa, or you will need to leave the country after the allotted time period. With some countries’ visas, rules are slightly more lax. If you reach your max amount of days, you can exit the country, get an exit stamp on your passport, head to another country for a day or so, and then return problem free. The time limit will reset itself. In the digital nomad community, this is commonly referred to as a visa run. However, there are regions where this isn’t an option.
What is the Schengen visa?
If you’ve been a digital nomad in Europe before, you’ve probably heard about the strict Schengen visa. According to the Schengen area’s website, “You cannot stay within the Schengen Area for more than 90 days in a 180-day period of time.” This means that after 90 days in the region, you’ll have to leave for 90 days before returning. This can make long term stays in Europe tricky if you want to be a digital nomad in Schengen Area countries, which include some digital nomad favorites like Germany, Spain, Portugal and The Czech Republic. There are 26 total countries in the Schengen Area. You can see all of the participating countries here.
How long can you travel in Europe with the Schengen visa?
90 days, either consecutive or spread throughout a 180 day time frame.
If you want to stay in a certain country for longer than the typically allowed time, you will have to apply for specific long term visas. Sure, plenty of digital nomads hop around from place to place pretty quickly, but there are definitely benefits to staying in one place for longer time periods, especially if you really fall in love with a place! That’s where long term visas come in, and there are some visas that bypass the Schengen Area visa restrictions, too.
Here are a few examples of long term visas that can work for digital nomads and remote workers.
1. German Freelance “Freiberufler” Visa
This visa specifically for freelancers, is perfect for digital nomads. The German Freelance “Freiberufler” Visa can be extended for up to 3 years. In order to qualify for this one, the local tax office must deem your freelance job “liberal” versus a commercial profession, and this will determine whether you qualify. If you do end up qualifying, note that you will have to pay taxes to the German government.
A subset of the freelancer visa is the artist visa, which is only applicable in Berlin and of course, for artists, which can range from painters, musicians, writers ... ultimately, it will be up to your case manager if you qualify as an artist ... and then you’ll get to make art in one of the coolest cities in Europe, which also happens to be a digital nomad favorite!
2. Dubai Remote Work Nomad Visa
In 2020, Dubai launched their remote work and travel visa. For a fee of $650 you'll be able to access housing, telecoms and utilities - making it easy to start living in the UAE capital. You'll also need medical insurance with UAE validity, at least 6 months on your passport, and proof of employment from your employer.
Dubai is one of the safest places in the world to travel, and has brilliant digital infrastructure.
3. Czech Republic Long Term Visa
If you’d like to stay long term in Prague, one of the best cities for digital nomads, check out the Czech Republic’s Long Term Visa with the purpose of business. With this long term visa, you can stay for a year. You will have to have a plan for housing sorted out prior, as you will have to prove you have set accommodation in order to qualify. With low cost of living and fast wifi, the Czech Republic in general is a great option for digital nomads.
4. Mauritius Long Term Stay Visa
Mauritius is attempting to attract some of the new remote work segment post-COVID with their 'premium travel visa'. Designed to attract tourists, professionals, and retirees, this visa encourages long term travel, and will allow non citizens to stay for up to 1 year. Applicants must show that they have the funds to support their stay as well as medical and travel insurance.
5. Spain’s Self Employment Visa
The Self Employment Visa that Spain offers is a great choice for digital nomads who are self employed – and it is pretty common for digital nomads to be self employed freelancers! Like the previously mentioned visas, this one will grant you up to a year’s stay. When applying, you will need to prove you have sufficient funds to “establish and maintain employment indefinitely” and you’ll have to pass a background check. Then, you can join in on the digital nomad scenes in Barcelona or Madrid!
6. Mexico Temporary Resident Visa
Is a hot climate calling you? A Mexico temporary resident visa allows you to stay in the country for a year on average, and after that, you can renew it annually for another 3 years! You will need to provide documents proving that you had a monthly income of over $1,620 USD over the last 6 months or a bank account balance of over $27,000. The digital nomad scene in Mexico is growing, with Mexico City being the biggest hotspot.
7. Cayman Islands Global Citizen
The Cayman Islands issue Global Citizen Concierge Certificates, allowing non-citizens to live and work remotely in the Caymans for up to 2 years. It costs $1,500 for 2 people, and $500 per dependent. Find all details here.
8. Barbados Digital Nomad Visa
Following the remote work boom, Barbados has announced a 12-month working holiday visa which allows visitors to work remotely from the island. The visa costs $2,000 for individuals, and $3,000 for families.
9. Bermuda Digital Nomad Visa
Similarly to Barbados, Bermuda has released a 12-month remote work visa, which allows visitors to stay in the country for up to a year while working online. The visa currently costs $263.
10. Georgia - Remotely from Georgia Remote Work Program
Georgia has a remote work visa designed for is designed for freelancers, full-time employees or business owners planning on staying in Georgia for more than 180 days. Check if your country is on the list of approved passports.
11. Estonia's Digital Nomad Visa
This visa was the first of its kind – a visa specifically geared towards digital nomads! Estonia's digital nomad visa was launched in August of 2020, allowing digital nomads to stay for a year in this progressive country. Estonia is actually one of the world's most digitally developed countries. They already have a very unique e-residency program which allows people to create and run a EU based business online from anywhere in the world! For this very digital country, a digital nomad visa makes sense as a next step.
12. Iceland Remote Work Visa
Iceland offer a long term visa for those earning over a significant amount - those earning more than $85,000 USD per annum, to be exact. Here's how to apply.
13. Australian Working Holiday Visa
An Australian Working Holiday Visa is a great long term visa allows you to stay for a year. However, you must be between 18 and 35 years old to qualify for this visa. This visa can be extended to a “Second Working Holiday Visa” for a second year if you complete 3 months of specified work in the country, typically some kind of farm work in rural Australia. The line is blurry here if digital nomads can simply get by with a e600 Visitor Visa - a long stay visa that can let you stay for up to 12 months, as well. There are plenty of places to cowork and meet fellow digital nomads in Melbourne and Sydney.
14. Portugal's Temporary Resident Visa and Resident Visa
Portugal attracts many digital nomads, partly due to the ease of obtaining either a temporary resident visa (also known as a D7 passive income visa) or a residence permit for independent workers and entrepreneurs. This will allow you to legally stay for one year, but you'll have the option to renew for up to 5 years. After that, you'll be eligible for permanent residency.
The stunning island of Madeira in particular is a very popular among remote workers and even have a dedicated Digital Nomads Village.
15. Anguilla's Work From Anguilla Program
Anguilla offers a year long visa for remote workers. It's $2,000 per person, or $3,000 per family. Named COVID-19 free early on in the pandemic by the WHO, the country is particularly strict about covid testing and requirements, and applicants must be coming from location with low covid positive rates.
16. Malta's Digital Nomad Residence Permit
WIth its island climate, strong internet infrastructure, and close proximity to mainland Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East, Malta is a great destination for remote workers. Their Digital Nomad Residence Permit is aimed toward remote workers from outside the EU. To be eligible, applicants must prove they can work remotely via the internet.
17. Norway's Independent Contractor Visa
For a stay of up to 2 years in this beautiful and progressive country, digital nomads wanting to work from Norway can apply for an Independent Contractor visa. An income of at least $42,239 per year is required.
18. Croatia's Digital Nomad Visa
Croatia recently started offering digital nomad visas available for various lengths of time, with a maximum of 1 year. To apply, you'll need to provide proof of self employment or ability to work remotely, and earn 2,956 per month or show proof of savings.
19. Costa Rica's Rentista Visa
This idyllic destination has started issuing Rentista visas, available to foreign nationals with their own businesses that can demonstrate a monthly income of at least $2,500. This visa maintains validity for two years, with the possibility of extension.
20. Antigua & Barbuda's Nomad Digital Residence
Valid for 2 years, this Caribbean island nation will grant Nomad Digital Residence for remote workers who can prove they have the finances to support themselves and any family members accompanying them. Like many other visa programs, applicants must have health insurance during their stay.
21. Italy's Self Employment Visa
Though a digital nomad specific visa is not yet available for Italy, non-EU nationals are able to apply for a self employment visa which would grant stays for up to 2 years with the possibility for extension.
22. Curaçao's @HOME in Curaçao
Few places are as beautiful to work from, and with Curaçao's @HOME in Curaçao program, you can apply to do so for a stay of up to 6 months with the possibility of another 6 month extension.
23. Cape Verde's Remote Working Cabo Verde Program
In an effort to revive tourism post Covid, this program was designed to attract remote workers from Europe, North America, the Community of Portuguese Speaking Countries, and the Economic Community of West African States. Like Curaçao's program, this visa lasts up to 6 months with the option of renewal for another 6 months.
24. Seychelles' Workcation Program
Dreaming about working from this African Island archipelago? Seychelles Workcation Program makes it pretty easy with requirements consisting of having a valid passport, showing proof of work and income or wealth. This program grants up to a year long stay.
25. Taiwan's Gold Card Program
While Taiwain doesn't have a visa specifically geared towards Digital Nomads, it does offer the Gold Card, an open ended work permit. It costs $100 to $310 depending on nationality and duration. You'll be required to demonstrate a monthly income of at least $5700, or hold high level skills/accomplishments in one of their eight selected industries.
Some Basic Visa Quick Tips
- If you aren’t sure about visa requirements coming from your country entering another country, VisaHQ.com is a really great resource for quick info. You can also find country specific information on the US Department of State website, which will inform you of visa requirements as well as travel and safety advisories.
- Never leave visa applications until the last minute. A lot of these will require some time to be processed and for you to get accepted (possibly up to 2 months in some cases) so you’ll definitely need to plan ahead. You’ll also need to make sure you have all of your things together that need to go along with the visa application. Depending on the country and application, you might have to provide extra materials like proof of a place to stay, health records, or criminal background checks.
- Be sure to do your research on the visa to make sure that this is the right fit for you and ensure that you have everything in order to send in your application. If you need additional help, there are some agencies or travel agents out there who can assist you throughout the application and help streamline the process.
- Read applications and fill them out very carefully. If you miss some spaces on applications or fill things out incorrectly, you might get automatically rejected. Additionally, be sure to take note of whether the application information needs to be filled out in the country’s language.
- Always be sure to abide by countries’ visa laws. You don’t want to get into trouble while you’re traveling – you could get fined or detained.