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Passport to freedom: top countries offering digital nomad visas

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Not thinking about things like meetings and deadlines is part of the appeal of travelling, but for many the dream is being able to move about the world and explore different cultures and landscapes while still earning. Countries with digital nomad visas make the dream of living and working in a new nation a reality, and if you’ve got the sort of job that means you can spend six months in Southeast Asia and another half a year in Latin America, then you might be wondering how best to take advantage of these kinds of schemes.

Luckily, there are many countries where you can gain temporary residence with nothing but a valid passport, proof of employment, and a paid application fee. If you’re bored of your home country and want to work remotely in a brand new location, and don’t want to just use a tourist visa, then read ahead for our guide to the best digital nomad visas!

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What is a digital nomad?

A digital nomad is somebody who can work remotely thanks to their work being totally online. This is slightly different to home workers, the number of whom we have seen rise massively since the COVID-19 pandemic, as their jobs are still tied to a geographical location. It is also different to working holiday visas, which allow people to live and work in a country (again, usually in a set geographical location) under very specific rules. 

Digital nomads don’t have an office, instead working from accommodation, coffee shops, co-working spaces, and other similar locations. While many people associate digital nomads with IT and coding related jobs, you can be a digital nomad in a number of industries, including marketing, consulting, and writing. Many digital nomads choose this lifestyle so they can work in countries with a lower cost of living, thus maximising their saving potential.

travellers photographing Uluru in Australia

Image source:Contiki

What is a digital nomad visa?

The exact definition varies from country to country, but generally speaking a digital nomad visa is a special kind of visa that allows remote workers to live and work in a foreign country. These workers become tax residents of the country they are in, and in many cases a digital nomad visa can be the first step on the pathway to permanent residence. Usually their main source of income must come from an employer outside of the country in question.

Some countries with digital nomad visas only require workers to pay income tax, whereas other nations expect digital nomads to contribute more. Visas can vary in length, but many of the most popular are for 6 or 12 months and need to be renewed after this period.

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Digital Nomad Visa Requirements

The requirements for a digital nomad visa will vary from country to country, and sometimes it can feel like it’s a complicated process to get one. Certain countries allow everything to be done via the internet and can be as simple as uploading scans of important documents and filling out an online application form, whereas others will need you to go to the closest embassy or consulate to complete your application.

As mentioned above, there are some things that will remain the same no matter which country you want to live and work in. Important documents like passports (and copies) and proof of your ability to earn remotely are needed for every nation, but some will also require proof of accommodation, as well as bank statements. There is also the chance that you may need to be interviewed before securing your visa. Finally, some countries with digital nomad visas also only allow a certain number of entries and exits from the nation during the length of your visa, so make sure to check out if there are restrictions if you want to use one country as a base to explore others.

How many countries currently offer digital nomad visas?

Although we’ve only listed our favourite digital nomad visas below, there are over 50 different nations currently offering remote work visas, with plenty more on the way.

What countries are looking to offer digital nomad visas in the future?

A large number of countries look set to offer visas for digital workers in the near future, including Italy, South Africa, and Sri Lanka – so watch this space!

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Which countries offer the best digital nomad visas?

Belize

Belize is becoming increasingly popular as a destination for digital nomads thanks to its stunning beaches, relatively low cost of living, and the fact that English is the main language spoken in the nation. However, it does require a relatively high income to apply for the visa, as you’ll see below. With that said, this particular digital nomad visa has some seriously good benefits, as well as the ability to extend for an additional six months.

Visa application fee cost

Around USD 250, depending on the exchange rate at the time.

Visa length

6 months, although there is an option to extend.

Income Requirements

USD 75,000 per year, or a joint income of USD 100,000 per year if you are coming as a couple.

Citizens that qualify

Anyone and everyone! There are no restrictions on who can apply.

Remote application?

Yes, you can apply for this visa totally online.

Pros of this visa

It’s easy to bring your family along as the same legal protections afforded to you will extend to them. If you have kids, they can be enrolled in local schools. There are also some other fringe benefits, like the special offers on certain accommodation. The pace of life is a bit slower in Belize too, so if you’re looking for work-life balance (with a side of the beach), then this is a great option.

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Cayman Islands

Known as the Global Citizen Concierge Program (GCCP), the Cayman Islands digital nomad visa is notable for its length, and the fact you have unlimited entries and exits during your time in the country. If you’re looking for sun, sea, and security, and have the money to pay the fees, then this could be a great destination. If you want to check out the country before applying, you can stay for 30 days without a visa.

Visa application fee cost

USD 1,469 per year, with an additional USD 500 per dependent.

Visa length

2 years, with the option to extend.

Income requirements

USD 100,000 per annum, or USD 150,000 if you’re a couple. The requirement then goes up to USD 180,000 if you have one or more children.

Citizens that qualify

As long as you have the money, you can apply!

Remote application?

Yes, everything can be done online.

Pros of this visa

Substantial benefits for dependents and a minimal tax burden, as well as unlimited entries and exits from the country.

Colombia

Although it’s only been around since October 2022, the Colombian long term visa for remote workers, or Type V visa as it’s known, is already proving popular thanks to the country’s blend of gorgeous nature, thriving cities, and diverse culture. Plus, a nomad residence permit is relatively easy to attain and has an incredibly low income requirement, which explains why in terms of countries with a digital nomad visa, it’s one of the more popular. 

Visa application fee cost

USD 250.

Visa length

2 years.

Income requirements

USD 800 per month.

Citizens that qualify

All applicants are welcome.

Remote application?

Yes, and it’s one of the easiest to submit.

Pros of this visa

Partners and children are welcome to come with you, and the low income requirement means your chances of success are relatively high.

Costa Rica

If you want to spend a sun-soaked year working in one of the most beautiful countries on earth, the Costa Rica digital nomad visa is something you should look into. The visa is one of the most accessible, and comes with a wealth of benefits – not least being able to indulge in a slower pace of life and be surrounded by some truly idyllic scenery.

Visa application fee cost

USD 190.

Visa length

1 year, but can be extended during your first year.

Income requirements

USD 3,000 per month as a solo visa holder, but USD 4,000 if you’re bringing your family.

Citizens that qualify

Anyone!

Remote application?

Yes, although if you prefer to do these things in person you can apply at your local Costa Rican embassy.

Pros of this visa

A very low level of tax on your income compared to other countries with a digital nomad visa, as well as the chance to live in an affordable and stunning nation with a growing economy. 

Czech Republic

If you’re keen on ancient architecture, unbelievable food, and a brilliant work-life balance (as well as the chance to live in the Schengen area), then you can apply for the Zivno in the Czech Republic. This is technically a freelance visa rather than a digital nomad visa, but effectively it means the same thing. The application isn’t too expensive, but can be quite complicated depending on where you’re applying from, and what you do. However, once you have it, it’s worth its weight in gold.

Visa application fee cost

Around USD 160.

Visa length

1 year with the possibility of an extension.

Income requirements

A minimum of USD 5,200 saved.

Citizens that qualify

Every nation outside of the EU.

Remote application?

You need to visit an embassy or consulate, and there is a lot of paperwork involved, but you can do it all in your home country.

Pros of this visa

Modern comforts blend with a low cost of living and truly stunning cities to make the Czech Republic one of the best countries with a digital nomad visa. Plus, it’s very easy to bring along spouses and children.

City of Prague at night

Image source:Contiki

United Arab Emirates (Dubai)

The Dubai digital nomad visa is officially known as the Remote Working Visa Scheme, and it confers a huge number of benefits to those who want to live and work in the desert kingdom. Dubai has everything you could want and more, as well as a huge expat community to dive into, and when you add in the low tax burden, it’s easy to see why it’s an ideal destination for many.

Visa application fee cost

Between USD 81 and 271.

Visa length

1 year.

Income requirements

USD 5,000 per month.

Citizens that qualify

Applications from any country are welcome.

Remote application?

Everything can be done online.

Pros of this visa

You get almost all of the same rights as citizens of the U.A.E with this visa, including access to brilliant public services funded by the country’s rich deposits of oil and natural gas.

Estonia

Estonia is something of a pioneer in the digital nomad community, having been the first country to launch a visa aimed specifically at remote digital workers back in 2020. There are two kinds of visa: the short-stay C-visa, and the long-stay D-visa. However, this only gives you the right to live and work in Estonia, and not across the Schengen area. If you plan to use the country as a base to explore Europe, make sure you check with your local embassy if you need an additional visa.

Visa application fee cost

USD 85/USD 105.

Visa length

3 months/1 year.

Income requirements

USD 37,000 per year.

Citizens that qualify

All countries.

Remote application?

Yes, everything is online.

Pros of this visa

The chance to live in the fairytale-like capital city of Tallinn, and enjoy some of the fastest internet speeds in the world.

Greece

Fascinating ancient ruins, stunning weather and nature, and some of the best food on the planet: Greece is rightly a dream destination for many, and when you add in the fact their visa is among the easiest in the world to obtain, it’s a wonder people head anywhere else. As far as countries with digital nomad visas go, there are few more ideal than Greece.

Visa application fee cost

USD 79.

Visa length

1 year, with the opportunity to extend to two.

Income requirements

USD 3,690 per month.

Citizens that qualify

Non EU citizens.

Remote application?

You don’t need to go to the country, but you do need to apply at your local embassy/consulate.

Pros of this visa

A relatively easy process combined with the fact you can travel freely in the Schengen area with this visa makes it one of the best in the world for digital nomads. And that’s not even mentioning the incredible benefits of Greece as a country.

girl photographing a temple in Athens, Greece

Image source:Contiki

Malaysia

Malaysia recently launched the DE Rantau Nomad Pass, which allows digital nomads to stay in the country for up to twelve months. With its unique blend of cultures, perfect mix of modern cities and untouched countryside, and unbelievable food scene, Malaysia has something for everyone.

Visa application fee cost

USD 229 to USD 469, with a higher price meaning faster processing.

Visa length

1 year, with the option for an additional 12 months.

Income requirements

USD 24,000 per year.

Citizens that qualify

Anyone from anywhere outside of Malaysia.

Remote application?

Everything can be done online.

Pros of this visa

Aside from access to the fantastic world of Malaysian street food, this visa also has some practical benefits, like allowing you discounts on things like co-working spaces in major cities – not something that most countries with digital nomad visas will offer. Direct family members can be included on the visa too, although there is an additional fee.

Namibia

Safaris, sand dunes, and vibrant cities are just three reasons to apply for this Western African nation’s digital nomad visa. With one of the most diverse wildlife populations in the world, as well as an incredibly low cost of living, Namibia is perfect for the digital nomad who wants a blend of affordable, up-and-coming cities and a taste of something totally new and unique. 

Visa application fee cost

USD 124.

Visa length

6 months.

Income requirements

USD 2,000 per month, plus an additional USD 1,000 if you bring a spouse, and USD 500 per dependent.

Citizens that qualify

Everyone is welcome.

Remote application?

It’s entirely online.

Pros of this visa

Compared to many other countries in the region, Namibia has a stable government, is well connected from a digital perspective, and still maintains a wildlife population like no other, as well as being home to vast, awe-inspiring landscapes.

Portugal

Portugal launched the Portugal Temporary-Stay Visa recently, and it has turned the country into even more of a hub for remote workers. Add in a low cost of living and plenty of historical and cultural gems (as well as a lip smacking culinary culture), and you can see why this is one of the most popular countries with a digital nomad visa.

Visa application fee cost

Around USD 190.

Visa length

One year, but can be extended up to 4.

Income requirements

USD 3,000 per month.

Citizens that qualify

Anybody who isn’t in the EU or EEA can apply.

Remote application?

You need to visit a Portuguese embassy in your country, but you can do it all from abroad.

Pros of this visa

A ridiculously low tax burden and the chance for a very long stay combines with a rock bottom cost of living to make being a digital nomad in Portugal a dream for many. Add in the fact you’ll be able to explore the rest of the EU visa free, and it’s a surprise that there is any space left in the country at all!

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