What Is A Digital Nomad Visa? Do You Need One?

If you’re planning on living the nomad lifestyle, you might have heard of nomad visas. But what is a digital nomad visa, and which countries have them? Read on to find out.

Even before Covid-19 made remote working a common workplace culture, some professionals maintained a work lifestyle outside the traditional office. These digital workers often travel abroad while supplying a demand for their services or client bases, which requires a digital nomad visa.

what is a digital nomad visa

Looking for more information on the digital nomad lifestyle? Browse all of our articles, or start here:

What Is a Digital Nomad Visa, and Is It the Same as a Tourist Visa?

Digital nomads move from one country to another at will, a fast-paced lifestyle that’s attractive for its potential to explore the world while working.

But what is a digital nomad visa? A digital nomad visa fills the gap where regular tourist visas are insufficient for paid employment or prolonged stay in another country. The country-specific travel permit makes it legal for digital nomads to work, also referred to as freelance visas. The digital nomad visa allows you to stay on for a more extended period in a country and have access to gainful employment without worrying that you will be fined or deported.

While they’re location-dependent, digital nomad visas last for specific periods, usually a year but sometimes longer. You won’t hear the name ‘digital nomad’ when looking for this travel/work permit, as governments give it unique program names.

what is a digital nomad visa

With a digital nomad visa, you aren’t classified as a tourist and, as such, are subject to a country’s tax laws. There’s no need to apply for immigration, residency, or citizenship as a long-term guest, a concept to boost the host country’s economy.

One limitation of digital nomad visas is that you can only work remotely and independently, so you won’t become an employee for any local employer. However, since many visa holders are entrepreneurs and freelancers, you can be a remote worker for a company not based in that country. Several countries also provide favorable tax reductions that aren’t available for traditional work permit holders.

Do I Need a Visa as a Digital Nomad?

Many countries won’t allow you to work while visiting there on a regular tourist visa, policies that aim to protect locals from unfair job competition. That’s based on the traditional sense of work, where jobs were performed in physical locations like factories, offices, and stores.

But seeing that digital nomads are essential as remote workers, there’s no technical competition for local jobs. If you’re not planning to stay in a particular country for long, you can use a tourist visa instead of one designed for digital nomads.

Remote work is still a new concept in many places, and governments with outdated laws haven’t adjusted to this trend. As a result, countries turn a blind eye to tourists who often work and earn on their laptops while traveling.

But as digital nomadism and the trend for remote freelancers grow, many nations recognize their economy-boosting potential. As a result, more and more countries encourage this group of workers to stay longer with digital nomad visas to capture potential tax revenues.

digital nomad visa

How Can I Get a Digital Nomad Visa, and The Requirements

There are low barriers in the entry requirement for digital nomads in many countries that offer competitive pay and remote work flexibility. Digital nomad visa requirements often only need to show the capacity to earn remotely to stay in a country for up to a year.

The process for getting a digital nomad visa differs from country to country in terms of costs and requirements. However, you’ll typically apply with your valid passport, paying an initial $1,200 and $2,000.

In some countries, you’ll be asked to comply with visa requirements like proof of employment or address and follow standard procedures for immigration. Others want to ascertain that you’ll earn or conduct business during your visit, which results in your paying or reporting taxes.

You might have to apply with the country’s local tax office and submit a resume, cover letter, and other work-related documents. These must sufficiently show that your intention while visiting that country is to work and contribute to boosting their economy.

what is a digital nomad visa

Which Are the Digital Nomad Visa Countries in 2022?

If you’re wondering what countries have digital nomad visas currently, read on.

There are over 25 countries worldwide that offer digital nomad visas, each with its regulations and policies. While you can apply to some online, others require submitting an application in person at their consulate or embassy.

The general rule is to submit your valid passport and meet that nation’s requirements and proof of regular income when abroad. Some of the countries that offer digital nomad visas for 2022 include:

Costa Rica Digital Nomad Visa

The digital nomad visa for Costa Rica requires proof of $2,500 income for a two-year work arrangement or $60,000 deposited into a local bank. But with an environment of sandy beaches, perfect climate, and inexpensive housing, the country is a digital nomad’s paradise.

This has yet to become a digital nomad visa that you can apply for right now, but it passed approval through the goverment in 2021, so keep checking back with the Costa Rica government website – it shouldn’t be long now!

Digital nomad visa for Costa Rica is coming soon!

Germany Freelance Visa

You’ll need proof of work documents to apply for a freelance visa for Germany, a country within the European Union. It is expensive living here, but the energetic culture, rich history, and delicious beer are upsides that attract digital nomads.

Live and work in Germany with their digital nomad visa

Estonia Nomad Visa

Another EU country offering digital nomad visas is Estonia. It was one of the first to attract entrepreneurs and nomads with a specific visa.

Here, you must have health insurance, pass a background check, and make at least $3,000 a month. Estonia has a high cost of living, but with the elegant old-world architecture and the slow pace of life, rest assured to enjoy the utmost while in this town.  

Talinn, Estonia is a digital nomad hotspot

Portugal Digital Nomad Visa

All you need to get a digital nomad visa is proof of work, identification, and qualifications, but the permit fees are lower than in most countries.

Moreover, the splendid EU country is steeped in natural beauty, rich culture, and incredible architecture, a magnet for remote workers. And if you love being there – Portugal is one of the easiest places to apply for permanent residency, and comes with many tax breaks and benefits.

digital nomad visa portugal
Portugal is one of the easiest places to live and work long term

Spain Digital Nomad Visa

If you’re seeking adventures in culture, nature, new cuisine, and nightlife, Spain offers benefits to digital nomads similar to other countries in the EU. Their recent introduction of digital nomad visas isn’t burdened with stringent requirements either. This visa should be available by the end of 2022.

Live and work in Barcelona with their upcoming nomad visa

The Czech Republic: Digital Nomad Visa

A digital nomad can benefit from a unique business visa for the Czech Republic, a country in the EU, but you have to apply in person at their embassy or consulate. You may experience a longer processing time of between 90 and 120 days, which is more than for a tourist visa.

Live in the Czech Republic with their digital nomad visa

Norway Digital Nomad Visa

The Norwegian government offers a single visa for digital nomads wishing to settle and work in the country, valid for a traveler’s lifetime. They also offer an Independent Contractor visa for self-employed individuals but working on projects for local employers.

Want to live and work remotely in stunning Lofoten? You can!

Mexico Temporary Resident Visa

Targeting mainly American and Canadian workers, Mexico’s Temporary Resident Visa doesn’t restrict other digital nomads from working in the country from 180 days to a year.

You need to prove a monthly income of around $2,000 or have an average bank balance of over $30,000 for the previous 12 months. A Family Unity Application will allow your kin to join them in Mexico, with its economic solvency and documentation requirements.

Mexico City has a thriving digital nomad scene

Conclusion – What Is A Digital Nomad Visa?

The list of digital nomad friendly countries where remote workers and entrepreneurs get special permit consideration continues to grow.

After learning what a digital nomad visa is, your options for 2022 can include countries like South Africa, United Arab Emirates, Mauritius, and Iceland. You’ll also find that regions like the EU Schengen and individual cities like Berlin have separate schemes.

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