Yes, Being a Digital Nomad is Legal – Here’s Why You May Not Think So

Last Updated on 20 May 2024 by Jack

Is being a digital nomad legal? 

Itโ€™s a valid question. 

Living a lifestyle with the freedom to travel the world working digital nomad jobs right from your laptop seems too good to be true. Your first impression is that there is something suspicious behind it. 

Iโ€™m here to tell you otherwise. Being a digital nomad is completely legal! 

Before we dive into why being a digital nomad is legal and bust those myths youโ€™ve heard about them, letโ€™s define what a digital nomad is. 

A digital nomad is someone who works remotely and travels the world. Usually, they carry their belongings with them from place to place experiencing new cultures, landscapes, and more while making a liveable income right from their laptops. 

Now, how is it legal to be a digital nomad? 

How are digital nomads working in foreign countries?

How are digital nomads living in different countries without getting visas?

How are digital nomads paying their taxes? 

By the end of this article, youโ€™ll have the answers to all of these questions. Plus, how you can easily start your digital nomad lifestyle.

Working Abroad as a Digital Nomad without a Work Visa

When you first think about someone working in a foreign country, you automatically think about a work visa. So, how are digital nomads working from foreign countries without applying for a work visa?

Well, since digital nomads are either employed by or working with clients from their home country or have their own digital business, they do not require a work visa while in another country. 

A work visa is only required when a company hires a foreigner as an employee. This allows that employee, now considered an expat, to pay taxes to that country. 

(More on digital nomads and taxes later though!)

How Digital Nomads Live in Foreign Countries

The point of being a digital nomad is to consistently move around to different places, hence the word โ€œnomad.โ€ 

So, how are digital nomads living in foreign countries without registering an address and applying for a visa legally? 

They use tourist visas! 

For holders of United States, UK, and European Union passports, they can enter a number of countries on a simple tourist visa. So, digital nomads visit and then when their tourist visa is about to expire, they go to another country. 

However, some countries have introduced Digital Nomad Visas, which allow remote workers to live in a foreign country for at least a year if they meet the requirements. 

Now, if digital nomads are constantly moving and donโ€™t have a home base, what do they do about their address? Some nomads rent a P.O. box in their home country to receive any mail and have an address. Others (like myself) are registered at their parentsโ€™ or family membersโ€™ house. 

This allows them to still receive mail and have a โ€œresidenceโ€ when asked. 

Do Digital Nomads Still Pay Taxes?

Yes! Digital nomads do still pay taxes. Even though they are working from different countries on their computers, they still owe taxes on their income. 

Now, this can get a little tricky and a lot of it depends on your situation. We wrote a whole guide to digital nomads and taxes which you can find here.

But the blanket answer we like to give about digital nomads and taxes is that they will pay income tax to the country of which they are a citizen. 

However, there are some exceptions. There are some countries that will require you to pay some taxes if you are there for a certain amount of time. For example, Czech Republicโ€™s digital nomad visa requires you to pay about $80 per month in taxes. Bali requires you to pay taxes after spending more than 183 days in the country. So and so forth. 

Paying taxes as a digital nomad may be one of the biggest legal issues you can face. This is due to the novelty of the lifestyle and situation. 

I recommend working with an experienced tax accountant that specializes in digital nomads or expat taxes. This ensures youโ€™ll stay legal as a digital nomad.

The Rise of Digital Nomadism

The digital nomad lifestyle is increasing in popularity. Right now, there are over 4.8 million self-identified digital nomads just from the US alone! 

With more remote work opportunities becoming available people are embarking on a lifestyle of full-time travel. Plus, with so many entrepreneurship ventures available, people are deciding to design a lifestyle they want to live. 

You can start your journey with our online course How to Become a Digital Nomad in 2021 and learn more about the digital nomad lifestyle.

Become a Digital Nomad with Nomads Embassy

So, now that you know being a digital nomad is legal, are you more curious about how to become one? 

Itโ€™s intimidating and confusing at first when you decide you want to explore a digital nomad lifestyle. Luckily, you donโ€™t have to do it alone. 

Nomads Embassy makes it easier than ever to begin a digital nomad lifestyle. With an interactive platform, innovative and easy-to-follow step-by-step process, and one-on-one assistance from a personal ambassador, youโ€™ll have everything you need to become a successful digital nomad. 

Jack
Content created by
Jack
At Nomads Embassy, we independently test and review digital nomad services and provide detailed insights on digital nomad visa applications and requirements using a detailed, multi-step methodology. When you use our affiliate links to make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more about our editorial process and read our full disclosure.
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