If you’ve been paying attention to international news for the last year or so, you’ve most likely seen stories about countries introducing digital nomad visas. If may have you wondering, “What is a digital nomad visa?”
As the pandemic forced millions of people to work remotely, nations saw this as an opportunity to welcome those remote workers and digital nomads to come and live in their country. Currently, there are over 20 different digital nomad visas you can apply to.
These became known as digital nomad visas, but some have other names as well.
Now, even if you’re an experienced digital nomad or new to the lifestyle, then you may still be harping on the question of what is a digital nomad visa and how do I get one?
In this article, we’ll explain exactly what a digital nomad visa is, the basic requirements, and how you can easily apply for one and start a new chapter in a foreign country.
Who is Considered a Digital Nomad?
Before we answer what is a digital nomad visa, we must first define what a digital nomad is in the eyes of the nations offering the visas.
A digital nomad is someone who works remotely and earns their income from their computer. This can either be an employee of a company, a business owner, or a freelancer. However, a digital nomad must not be associated, employed, or have clients in the country where they hold their digital nomad visa.
For example, if you are a freelance graphic designer with clients based in the United States, then you can apply for Croatia’s digital nomad visa. However, you cannot then be hired by a Croatian company or take on a Croatian client during your visa term.
What is a Digital Nomad Visa?
Now that we’ve defined what a digital nomad is, it’s finally time to answer the question you’ve been wondering about for days or maybe even weeks now.
A digital nomad visa is a temporary residence permit for those who earn an income working remotely.
Typically, these visas last from one to two years but can be extended for a longer period of time.
This visa allows you to legally reside in a foreign country without changing your employment or job. You can do exactly what you were doing in your home country, working remotely, but now you’re somewhere (probably) more enjoyable and exciting!
Types of Digital Nomad Visas
There are different types of digital nomads visas available worldwide. Since each country has set different requirements, it’s important to find one suitable for your situation.
It’s also important to note that some of the visas that digital nomads are eligible for may not be referred to as digital nomad visas. For example, Portugal’s D7 Visa is perfect for digital nomads, but it is not necessarily a digital nomad visa.
Below are some different types of digital nomad visas you can expect to find.
Simple Residence Permit
A simple residence permit is the ideal digital nomad visa as the only thing that changes in your life is your location. This type of visa allows you to simply reside in a foreign country.
You are not required to integrate into the country’s system. This means you don’t have to open local bank accounts or sign up for their healthcare. You also don’t have to pay local taxes while living on this type of digital nomad visa.
This is the simplest and easiest digital nomad visa to have as they don’t come with many complications.
Croatia’s digital nomad visa is an excellent example of a simple residence permit type of visa.
Tax Resident Status
There are some digital nomad visas that will consider you as a tax resident if you reside in the country for more than 183 days out of the year.
So, while you are allowed to live in the country for an extended period of time, you will have to pay local taxes on your income. Of course, this is a broad statement and each country has its own tax rules and regulations.
Depending on where you are coming from, though, this could be a great advantage for your finances if the country with the digital nomad visa has a lower tax rate.
Cyprus’s digital nomad visa is an example of one that considers holders to be tax residents.
Freelancer with Local Clients
Even though you must have local ties with clients to obtain this type of visa, we still consider it an excellent option for digital nomads.
This type of digital nomad visa does require more time and commitment to move to the country. However, with these visas, you can often stay longer, usually two years initially.
There are some visas available out there for digital nomads if they have a passive stream of income that supports their lifestyle. However, with these visas, you are not necessarily allowed to work.
So, if you’re someone who has income from rental properties or earns royalties from something you created, then this could be a great type of digital nomad visa for you.
There are often income requirements you must meet. You must also show proof that you earn this income passively.
Spain offers a non-lucrative visa that falls into this category.
What is NOT a Digital Nomad Visa?
I just shared some different types of digital nomad visas, even if they were not specifically for digital nomads, they could be beneficial to them.
When you follow our definition of what is a digital nomad visa, you’ll find that the next types of visas definitely do not meet the requirements.
You’re probably familiar with the study abroad programs that colleges and universities offer. Students from the United States often spend a semester or two studying in Europe.
To come and study for this time, these students need a student visa. They often go to physical classrooms to earn their credits at a local university.
So, student visas are not digital nomad visas. This is because applicants do not focus on working remotely, but instead, learn at a local institution.
A work visa simply is not a digital nomad visa. Even if you get the opportunity to work from home some days, this does not fall into our category.
When you are hired as an employee by a company in a foreign country and they need to move there, then you are required to have a work visa. Typically, a company will sponsor your visa and assist you with the application process.
As I stated before, a digital nomad visa does not allow you to partake in economic activities, such as becoming an employee of a local company.
A handful of countries offer Golden Visas, which is basically purchasing a visa through real estate or investment. Countries such as Portugal, Greece, Cyprus, and Spain have Golden Visa schemes.
While digital nomads may be eligible for this type of visa, it isn’t directed toward this group of people. Instead, these visas target retirees or those who are looking to invest a large sum of money.
It’s still a great opportunity for digital nomads, don’t get me wrong! However, these are not considered digital nomad visas when we look at the bigger picture.
Standard Requirements of a Digital Nomad Visa
Every digital nomad visa has a different set of requirements to be eligible to apply for it. However, there are some standard requirements associated with most, if not all, digital nomad visas available.
Minimum Income Earned
Most digital nomad visas require applicants to make a certain amount of money each month or year remotely.
The income requirements vary drastically. Portugal requires you to make at least 600€ a month while Greece requires 3,500€ per month. These requirements can actually help you narrow down which visa is best for you.
When applying for a digital nomad visa, you’ll have to show proof of income through bank statements, invoices, and payslips – so don’t try to slide by on this requirement.
Proof of Remote Work
You’re probably sick of hearing it by now, but to be eligible for a digital nomad visa you must work remotely. Therefore, you must be able to prove that you work remotely.
This can be through an employment contract, documents proving you owned a business, or contracts with clients located outside of the country where you’re applying for a digital nomad visa.
Passport, Health Insurance, and Clean Criminal Record
To be eligible for a digital nomad visa – every single one – you must have a valid passport at the time of applying. Some visas require your passport to be valid for a certain amount of time after the visa term. Others simply need it to be valid during the application process.
Many countries also ask that you have health insurance coverage, sometimes with a minimum amount, in the country during your visa term.
Lastly, you may have to submit a certified criminal background check to prove you have a clean record. Not all visas require this, but a majority of them do.
Which Countries Offer Digital Nomad Visas?
Right now there are over 25 countries that offer digital nomad visas to remote workers. Below are some of our favorites that you can apply for easily today.
Imagine living on a Greek island for two years, soaking in the rich history, enjoying delicious seafood, and catching some of the most beautiful sunsets. With Greece’s digital nomad visa, you can!
If you make 3,500€ per month remotely and have a one-year lease signed in Greece, then you can apply for the digital nomad permit!
As one of the smallest countries in Europe, Malta has so much to offer digital nomads. With impeccable wifi, plenty of coworking spaces and cafes, and of course, gorgeous beaches with crystal clear water, digital nomads can thrive on this beautiful island.
If you make at least 2,700€ per month working remotely and have a lease agreement in Malta, then you can live in Malta for one year with their digital nomad visa.
Another gorgeous European country, Croatia is an up-and-coming digital nomad hotspot thanks to its digital nomad visa. With tons of coworking spaces, amazing beaches, ideal weather, national parks, and an affordable cost of living, it’s no wonder so many remote workers flock to this country.
If you make at least $2,658 per month remotely and have accommodations in Croatia, then you can live in the country for one year. Plus, you don’t have to pay local income tax during your stay!
Also referred to as the White Card, digital nomads can live in Hungary for one year with their new digital nomad visa. Budapest has long been a digital nomad hotspot thanks to its coworking offices, awesome cafes, and affordable cost of living.
If you earn at least 2,000€ per month and have accommodations in Hungary, then you can live in the country for one year.
Brazil is the first country in South America to offer a digital nomad visa. With some of the most beautiful beaches in the world and exotic rainforests, you can meet a large community of digital nomads and experience a whole new world.
If you earn at least $1,500 per month or have $18,000 in your bank account at the time of applying, then you can live in Brazil for one year.
How does waking up on a Caribbean island for the next year sound? With Barbados’s 12-Month Welcome Stamp you can! This is perfect for those digital nomads working remotely for companies based in North America as your time zone will be more or less the same in Barbados.
If you earn at least $50,000 per year and are willing to spend $2,000 in application fees, then you can call Barbados home for the next year. Plus, the entire application process is done online in just 15 minutes.
Get Help Applying to Digital Nomad Visas
With so many digital nomad visas out there, it can be difficult to choose the right one for you. If you’re struggling, make sure to read our blog How to Choose a Digital Nomad Visa: 9 Things to Consider.
We know just how difficult applying for a visa in a foreign country can be. With so many different rules, regulations, and processes, it can feel completely overwhelming.
That’s why Nomads Embassy is partnering with hand-selected visa and immigration lawyers to help you apply for the digital nomad visa you want. You’ll notice a form in our individual blogs about each visa. When you submit this, a lawyer will get in touch with you to assist you with your application.
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