The Ins and Outs of
the Digital Nomad Visa
This page will educate you on everything you need to know about digital nomad visas
What is a digital nomad visa?
Digital nomad visas evolved when remote work became the norm during the pandemic. With the loss of much-needed tourism and the inherent flexibility within remote work, many countries tapped into the growing market of nomadic workers by offering digital nomad visas. As most countries require one to have a visa in order to work there legally, living abroad used to be a very involved, expensive process with a lot of unpredictable variables. Digital nomad visas changed that equation.
Every country calls it something different: Norway offers an Independent Contractor Visa, Barbados a Welcome Stamp, and Taiwan the Taiwan Employment Gold Card to name a few. No matter the title, the digital nomad visa is quite brilliant on a number of levels as it not only serves the country offering it, but it provides remote workers the opportunity to take advantage of their remote work situation by living abroad, something heretofore was quite rare. Every country’s terms are slightly different in its offerings; the length of the stay, the cost, and the requirements all vary. Many countries allow for dependents and extensions, if so desired, while others require a minimum salary amount. But all nomad visas offer remote workers the chance to legally work in a different country for a reasonable amount of money and anywhere from three months to three years.
What Type of Work Can I Do With a Digital Nomad Visa?
Remote work! Whether that is freelance work, the usual 9-5, self-employment, or entrepreneurial work, the only requirement is that the work has to be remote (using digital technology) with clients or an employer who is foreign to the country where the application is being submitted.
What are the typical requirements?
While exact terms vary according to the specific countries, there are some general requirements that apply across the board.
- complete the application
- have a clean criminal record
- have a valid passport
- have work that is based outside of the nation to which they are applying (local work is
not an option)
- meet the minimum salary requirements and provide proof of income
- have proof of health insurance
What Is the Income Tax Situation with Digital Nomad Visas?
As one might expect, the tax situation varies greatly from country to country. Most countries, including America, require digital nomads to file in their country of origin if they make over the minimum amount– even when they do not live there. Whether or not digital nomads are required to file in their host country depends entirely on their length of stay, the amount of money they make, and the country itself.
For instance, Barbados requires no local income tax, Portugal requires income tax after 183 days, and Australia requires local income tax for the entire stay. Because taxes can be complicated and requirements vary so significantly from country to country, it is highly advisable to do the necessary homework on the tax situation of the desired country before applying for a remote work visa.
Browse the best Digital Nomads Visas By Country
The Digital Nomad Visa Application Process
On average, the turnaround time for the digital nomad visa application is remarkably quick. Once the application and required documents are submitted, most countries process and approve within 5-30 days. There are a few outliers, like the Czech Republic whose process takes from 90-120 days, but that is not the norm.
Digital Nomad Visa Documents Required
Like most government applications, digital nomad visa applications require some basic documents. While different countries often require different specifics, most required documents will fall within these three categories:
Proof of financial income:
- Bank records and/or source of income
Evidence of remote work:
- Work contract, proof of ownership, work license, or client information
- Copy of a birth certificate
- Copy of a valid passport
- Passport photos
- Proof of health insurance
- Proof of marriage certificate (if applicable)
- Criminal background check
Digital Nomad Visa vs. e-Residency - What’s the difference
The key difference between the digital nomad visa and e-Residency is pretty simple: the digital nomad visa allows the remote worker physical residency in the country for a set amount of time while e-Residency allows the remote worker an online presence in that country.
E-Residency, also known as a virtual identity or digital identity, is mainly for online businesses. While it is a great option for businesses seeking to enlarge their online presence, only the digital nomad visa allows the remote worker a physical presence in that country.
3 countries to highlight
For Families: Anguilla
As one of the safest islands in the Caribbean with dazzling white sand surrounded by turquoise water, Anguilla is everybody’s favorite beach. Not only is the culture relaxed and the climate idyllic, but Anguilla has quite a few perks specific to the digital nomadic family. There is no minimum monthly income, all dependents are welcome without having to apply separately, and it offers super high-speed internet. Perhaps the most difficult aspect of life in Anguilla will be remembering to work.
For Adventurers: Brazil
From the Amazon Rainforest to the famous Rio Carnival, there are many reasons why Brazil is a top destination for digital nomads. Its digital nomad visa’s minimum required income is reasonable, all nations are eligible to apply, and both Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo have many options when it comes to coworking spaces and nomad communities. It is a country of friendly natives with a healthy expat community who whole-heartedly embrace the adventurous nomad.
For Overall Best Experience: Portugal
Portugal is often overlooked by nomads, in comparison to its neighbor country; Spain. But the attractive visa offers you find in Portugal and the rich culture and history of the country make it a true gem for Digital Nomads who want to experience Europe.
Portugal has a lot to offer in terms of; sports, healthcare, infrastructure, culture, food, a good climate year-round, etc. Around Lisbon and Porto, you will find a lot of nomad communities, fun initiatives, and offers like co-living, coworking, or meetup groups.
Portugal offers a relatively low cost of living, compared to other countries in Europe.