Ever since COVID-19 was officially declared a pandemic in March 2020, employers all over the world have rushed to introduce remote work policies in order to facilitate working outside the office. Confined to their homes with no prospect of a nice holiday any time soon, many workers have thus found themselves dreaming about working remotely from a distant country.
And while they may have their employers permission to do so (or, if they are freelancers or entrepreneurs, just fancy a change of scenery), dealing with the legal framework for a remote work stay is a whole different story. Tourist visas may be fairly easy to get but their duration is usually limited to between 30 and 90 days and the holder is technically speaking not even allowed to work during the stay. Luckily, there are many countries all over the world now offering visas which are suitable for digital nomads and remote employees.
Curious to know where to head for your next remote workation? We have compiled a detailed list of countries welcoming remote workers including visa programs dating from before the pandemic as well as those which have been introduced in response to it. For each country, we will look at the specific visa requirements, the fees, the maximum length of stay and the application process. And of course, we will tell you which digital nomad visa programs to look out for in the future.
A quick word on terminology: As we have also included countries which offer temporary visas which can be used by remote workers but are not specifically designed for them, not all of the visa options listed below are officially labelled “digital nomad visa” or “remote work program”. They are, however, all valid options for remote workers.
Countries with remote work visas in the Americas
There aren’t many countries in the Americas yet that offer digital nomad visas but the ones that do are definitely worth checking out if you’re after sunny beaches, mountains and active volcanoes.
Remote workers and freelancers looking for a country with stunning mountains, nice beaches and lush rainforest will find Colombia is the best place to go. Colombia’s M-Type Freelancer visa enables international workers who fulfill the necessary requirements to stay in the country for a duration of up to 3 years. Applications are submitted to and processed by Colombia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
- valid passport
- passport-style photo
- application letter
- 3 educational and professional certificates
- bank statements from the previous 6 months
Although the visa is commonly called “Colombian freelance visa”, the work permit only allows independent contractors to work for clients based in Colombia. The visa fee is USD 282. In addition, Colombia’s Government is currently working on a proper digital nomad visa.
2. Costa Rica
A relaxed lifestyle, amazing surfing conditions and, of course, stunning beaches are just some of the reasons why Costa Rica is high up on the list of destinations, digital nomads and remote workers want to work from. And although an official digital nomad visa for Costa Rica is still underway – the Costa Rica Assembly recently approved a new “Law to attract remote workers and providers of international remote services” – remote workers have the option to apply for a so-called “rentista” (i.e. person of independent means) visa which allows you to stay in the country for as long as 2 years.
- monthly income is at least USD 2,500
- or: deposit the total amount of USD 60,000 with a local bank
Please note that this visa option is only available for business owners or freelancers but not for remote employees.
The application for the Costa Rica remote work visa needs to be submitted on the website of Costa Rica’s immigration office. All the necessary documentation needs to be translated into Spanish by a recognized translator. The visa fee is USD 250.
Mexico’s temporary resident visa is initially issued with a duration of 1 year – an extension of up to 3 years is possible.
- prove your monthly income has reached at least USD 1,620 over the last 6 months
- or: overall bank account balance over USD 27,000 over the past year
- run your own location-independent business
- or: be a remote employee working for a company not based in Mexico
The application is made online on the Mexican Foreign Affairs Ministry’s website where you can also find a list of documents required in the process. The visa fee for foreign passport holders is USD 44.
Countries with digital nomad visas in Africa and Asia
Compared to Europe and the Caribbean, countries in Asia and Africa are still a bit hesitant when it comes to offering remote work visas. However, there already are some countries with digital nomad visas and even more are in the process of changing their visa laws.
4. Cabo Verde
For digital nomads and remote workers looking for a place with 350 days of sunshine per year, Cape Verde is the place to be. With the Cabo Verde Remote Working Program, it’s possible to stay on and work from the island state for a period of 6 months – renewable for another 6 months.
- proof of income: at least EUR 1,500 monthly income over the past six months
- health insurance
- criminal certificate record
The fee for this visa is EUR 20. Applications can be made online.
5. Dubai (UAE)
For remote workers and digital nomads who earn enough money to sustain themselves in a city where everything is pricier than in many other parts of the world, Dubai is just perfect. With Dubai’s remote work visa – officially called “virtual working program” – you are allowed to live and work from the sandy beaches of the internationally known desert metropolis for up to 1 year. And good news: You can bring your family, too.
- monthly earnings of at least USD 5,000 (payslip and/or bank statements for the last three months as proof)
- employment contract valid for at least another year or proof that you run your own company
- medical insurance valid in the United Arab Emirates
- passport valid for at least another six months
The visa costs USD 611. More information is available under visitdubai.com.
With the so-called “premium visa”, Mauritius allows international remote workers to stay on the stunning island for up to 12 months.
- prove that you intend to stay long-term (rental agreement or other)
- show that you earn income working for companies and clients based outside of Mauritius (either as an employee, freelancer or location-independent business owner)
- have sufficient travel and health insurance for their stay
And the best part of it: Mauritius’ remote work visa is completely free and the application process is 100% online. Check out the website of Mauritius’ Economic Development Board for further information.
Since the launch of the new Seychelles workcation program, remote employees and digital nomads can live and work from the African island group for up to 1 year.
- proof of being an employee/business owner/freelancer
- proof of income or wealth
- valid health insurance
When applying, remote workers have to pay a one-time fee of EUR 45.
Digital nomad visa countries in the Caribbean
Untouched white sand beaches, turquoise waves gently lapping against the shore and sunny weather year-round. The Caribbean definitely is on top of the list when it comes to remote work destinations. Who doesn’t dream of working on the beach, shaded by palm trees while enjoying some amazing freshly made tropical juice?
8. Anguilla (UK)
Officially known as the British Overseas Territory Anguilla, the small island is welcoming remote workers from all over the world to come and enjoy the pleasures of living in the Caribbean. With the introduction of its new digital nomad visa, remote workers can make Anguilla their home for a 12-month period.
- proof of self-employment or employment with a company based outside of Anguilla
- medical record for year preceding the visa application
- health insurance
- proof of accommodation
Unfortunately, Anguilla’s remote work visa isn’t among the cheapest options for those wishing to fulfill their dream of working under the Caribbean sun. The visa cost is around USD 2,000. But at least the application can be done hassle-free online.
9. Antigua & Barbuda
Antigua & Barbuda has also launched a special visa program for digital nomads, the so-called Nomad Digital Residence (NDR). After having been granted the NDR, remote workers are permitted to stay on the Caribbean island nation for 2 years.
- earn at least USD 50,000 per year
- work for an employer / clients based outside of Antigua & Barbuda
- have sufficient health insurance
The visa fee is USD 1,500 for a single person, USD 2,000 for a couple and USD 3,000 for a family.
10. Aruba (Netherlands)
In contrast to the rest of the Caribbean, the smallest of the ABC islands shows an arid, almost desert-like landscape which you can explore during your “One Happy Workation” stay. With a maximum length of stay of 90 days, Aruba’s remote work visa isn’t the longest you’ll find in the Caribbean but at least the application process is easy and straightforward. Just check whether you fulfill the following requirements.
- U.S. nationals
- self-employed or working for a company not based in Aruba
There is no special visa fee but you have to purchase a package including accommodation, transfer etc. As the visa is part of the deal, there is no need to go through an application process.
12 months in Barbados sound just about right? Then the “Barbados Welcome Stamp” program might just be the perfect spot for your one-year workation on the island.
- have a yearly income of at least USD 50,000
- be a remote employee at a company not based in Barbados or run your own location-independent business
Then you just have to submit the online application for your Barbados remote work visa, pay the USD 2,000 visa fee – USD 3,000 for families – and you’re good to go.
In July last year, the Government of Bermuda announced the introduction of a special digital nomad visa. With the “Work From Bermuda” permit, remote workers can enjoy a year-long workation on the island. While there is no minimum income requirement, applicants still need to meet some criteria.
- own a location-independent business or be a remote employee at a company outside of Bermuda
- have travel insurance
What’s special about the Bermuda remote work visa is that its holders can also use it to study remotely. The cost for the visa amounts to USD 263 and the application process is online.
13. Cayman Islands
Although it’s not officially called a digital nomad or remote work visa, the aim of the Cayman Islands “Global Citizen Concierge Certificate” is pretty much the same: It allows remote workers, online business owners and freelancers to make the island group their home and workplace for a two-year period.
- annual income of no less than USD 100,000 (USD 150,000 for couples) – bank letter required
- employment relationship with a company not based within the Cayman Islands
- sufficient health insurance
- background checks
Similar to the income requirement, the Cayman Islands’ remote work visa isn’t among the low-priced ones either. The visa fee is currently set at USD 1,469. The application form is to be submitted online.
With Curaçao, there is yet another one of the ABC islands which offers sun seeking digital nomads a chance to swap their COVID-dictated routine back home for a pleasant stay on a dream island. The “@Home in Curaçao” program allows digital nomads to work remotely from the island for a duration of up to 6 months.
- be a remote employee working for a foreign employer or conduct business activity for a foreign company in the role of a shareholder/partner or be a freelancer offering service to clients based in countries other than Curaçao
- have valid international travel insurance
- be able to work location-independently
Applications are submitted electronically. The cost for the program is around USD 294.
In Dominica, remote employees and digital nomads can ‘win’ in two different ways as the island’s new “Work in Nature” scheme (WIN for short) enables remote work stays of up to 18 months.
- no criminal record
- proof of income
- ability to work remotely
- willingness to make the required financial contribution
- expected income of USD 50,000 during the next 12 months or equivalent amount in savings
The application process takes place online and costs USD 100 – plus an additional visa fee amounting to USD 800 for individuals.
As the holder of a U.S. passport, you enjoy the exclusive right to ask for an extended stay in Jamaica in order to work remotely from one of the many beaches. The country doesn’t offer a remote work visa as such but when you fulfill all the necessary requirements, you can have a six-months remote work experience in Jamaica. Interested remote workers from the U.S. can get in touch with the Jamaican embassy to request an extended stay permit which costs between USD 60 and USD 140 (depending on the length of stay).
17. Montserrat (UK)
For those who have trouble placing Montserrat on the map: The British Overseas Territory is part of the Lesser Antilles and lies in the West Indies. The country has recently launched a remote work visa program similar to Barbados. With the “Montserrat Remote Work Stamp”, freelancers and remote employees can stay in the country for 12 months.
- employed by a company outside of Montserrat or serving clients based in foreign countries
- annual income of no less than USD 70,000
- valid health insurance
After gathering the necessary documentation (proof of employment, income proof etc.), you can launch your application for the Montserrat remote work visa online and pay the fee of USD 500 (USD 750 for families).
Countries with remote work visas in Europe
Europe has an unequaled cultural variety and heritage. Good news is: There are quite a lot of European countries offering remote work visas. From sunny Spain all the way up to fascinating Iceland, there are several digital nomad visa opportunities waiting for you.
Together with other European destinations such as Estonia or Portugal, Croatia is very popular with digital nomads. In January this year, the country also started to offer special remote work visas which enable the holder to live and work in Croatia for up to 12 months.
- prove the purpose of their stay, i.e. that they are intending to conduct remote work from Croatia
- provide a Government-issued background check from their home country
- have health insurance for the entire duration of their stay
- prove they have sufficient financial funds (currently annual sum of HRK 202,809)
- have a Croatian address for the duration of their stay
Please note that documents and paperwork should be provided either in English or Croatian. For more information, you can check the Croatian Ministry of the Interior’s website. Also, you already need to be within the borders of Croatia to apply. The costs vary, depending on whether you apply at the embassy or at a police station.
19. Czech Republic
In contrast to many other remote work programs, the Czech digital nomad visa is not exactly what you might call new. In fact, the country has been issuing what is called a “Zivno” (i.e. business) visa for quite some years now.
- notarized proof of accommodation
- health insurance
- clean criminal record
- personal savings of at least CZK 124,500
- trade license for your professional activity
To apply, you need to book an appointment with the Czech embassy. The fee for this visa is EUR 100. The Czech Republic’s Ministry of Interior provides more detailed information on its website
Among digital nomads and location-independent entrepreneurs, Estonia is primarily known for their unique e-residency program which enables business owners to set up their online business in the country without residency or an official office. In August 2020, the country also launched a new digital nomad visa which allows remote workers to live and work in Estonia for a period of up to 12 months.
- be working remotely
- be employed by a company registered outside of Estonia or run their own business or be a freelancer with clients based mostly outside of Estonia
- be able to prove an annual income of EUR 42,632 and have savings equivalent to EUR 3,504 to cover the first month
As part of the application process, you need to make an appointment with the Estonian embassy. The visa fee depends on whether you decide on a short (Type C) or long stay (Type D) and amounts to either EUR 80 or EUR 100.
Looking for a way to set up your online-business within the borders of the European Union? For detailed insights into the opportunities Estonian e-Residency offers to location-independent entrepreneurs, check out the episode of Lano’s State of Work Podcast where our host Maddie talks to Alex Wellman who currently leads the global marketing and communications efforts for Estonia’s e-Residency program.
Nestled on the border between Asia and Europe, Georgia attracts international visitors thanks to its fantastic mountain landscapes and nice beaches. In response to the global COVID-19 pandemic, the country has introduced the so-called “Remotely From Georgia” scheme which is basically a digital nomad visa that allows the holder to stay in the country for up to 12 months. You can start your application here.
- you are a location-independent business owner, freelancer or remote employee of a company based outside of Georgia
- your income exceeds USD 2,000 per month
- you have appropriate health insurance for your stay
- you are able to pay tax during your stay
There is no fee for Georgia’s remote work visa.
In addition to being known for its amazing beer, its rich history and the Oktoberfest, Germany also offers a remote work visa. Freelancers, digital nomads and remote employees are eligible to apply for a long-stay visa.
- can provide an address in Germany
- have appropriate health insurance
- can prove their financial self-sustainability
- provide services which benefit the local community (i.e. have clients based in Germany)
Once you’ve got all the documents together, you can go to the immigration office and finalize your application. The costs for this digital nomad visa amounts to EUR 100. You can find more information on Germany’s residence permit for the purpose of self-employment here.
As the latest addition to the “Work in Iceland” program, the Icelandic Government has decided to also include location-independent workers in its long-term visa scheme. In order to qualify for Iceland’s remote work visa which allows stays of up to 6 months, applicants have to:
- be nationals of a country from outside the EU/EEA/EFTA
- be able to travel to Iceland without requiring a visa
- have the intention to work remotely for a company not based in Iceland
- prove their monthly income exceeds ISK 1,000,000 (ISK 1,300,000 for couples)
- have a proper health insurance
The visa fee amounts to ISK 12,200.
It may not be the Caribbean but Malta is still a pretty awesome place to be – just look at the growing digital nomad community enjoying life on this beautiful island located in the Mediterranean Sea. WIth the aim of offering remote workers a legal way to stay on the island long-term (i.e. up to 1 year) while continuing their foreign employment relationship or business activity, Malta has introduced the so-called “Nomad Residence Permit”.
- be either a remote employee (of a foreign company), a freelancer or an entrepreneur (business must be registered abroad)
- be able to prove their gross monthly income is higher than EUR 2,700
- have proper health insurance
- have a rental agreement for the duration of their stay
- pass a background verification check
The visa costs EUR 300. The application process is online.
If you’re after a destination with an excellent work-life balance, a high level of social security and some of the finest landscapes Europe has to offer, then Norway should definitely be on your radar. Good news: Thanks to Norway’s Independent Contractor visa, you may be closer to living your Norwegian remote work dream than you might think.
- be self-employed (including qualifications to work in that profession)
- have a contract with a Norwegian-based company
- have accomodation in Norway
- make at least EUR 35,719 per year
Norway’s Directorate of Immigration has a list of the necessary documents you need to hand it at your nearest embassy along with the application form. The cost for this visa is NOK 6,003. Once it’s granted, the visa allows you to live and work remotely in Norway for 2 years.
Portugal has recently generated quite some publicity by launching Europe’s first digital nomad village on the beautiful island of Madeira. When it comes to the legal framework, digital nomads have two different visa options for working remotely from Portugal: the so-called Portugal D7 visa (per se a retirement visa but also widely called the Portugal digital nomad visa – although it isn’t a remote work visa as such) and the D2 Migrant Entrepreneur / Independent Worker Visa. While the D7 allows remote workers to stay for periods of up to 1 year at a time (under the condition that you make at least EUR 665 per month or have savings amounting to EUR 15,960), the latter is suitable for long-term stays of up to 5 years as it includes residency.
- proof of monthly income of at least EUR 600
- non-EU nationality
- business plan
- sufficient travel and/or health insurance
- criminal background check
- registered address in Portugal
The application is to be handed in at your nearest embassy or consulate. There is a EUR 83 fee for the visa itself and an additional EUR 72 need to be paid for the resident permit which will be your official ID in Portugal.
Beaches, mountains, buzzing cities and an amazing cultural heritage – Spain simply has it all. No wonder so many digital nomads dream of making the constitutional monarchy their temporary work base. While Spain hasn’t implemented a proper remote work visa yet, digital nomads and other remote workers generally apply for the Spanish non-lucrative residency visa – basically ignoring that, technically speaking, they’re not allowed to work under this visa.
- prove you earn at least EUR 2,151 per month or have savings worth EUR 25,816
- have sufficient health insurance
- not be an EU-citizen
- have relevant professional qualification
- undergo a criminal background check
- provide a medical certificate (related to COVID-19)
Applications can only be submitted in person by making an appointment at your closest consulate or embassy and bringing all the necessary documentation. The visa fee is around USD 140.
Other visa options for digital nomads in Spain include: a self-employment work permit or a Residence permit for Entrepreneurs and Business Investors.
Digital nomad and remote work visas which are soon to come
Unfortunately, not all destinations which are popular with digital nomads currently offer remote work visas. Though the good news is that this might be about to change. The countries which have announced their intention to introduce digital nomad visas in the near future include:
- Bali (Indonesia): digital nomads could be given the opportunity to apply for a five-year visa – no taxation
- Belize: plany for long-stay visitor program “Work Where You Vacation” are in full swing
- Colombia: an easy-to-obtain digital nomad visa requiring less paperwork than the current one is on the horizon
- Costa Rica: the local government has taken a first step towards the introduction of a special remote work visa by adopting the new “Law to attract remote workers and providers of international remote services”
- Greece: a special one-year digital nomad visa is currently being established
- North Macedonia: the Government of North Macedonia is discussing a law on digital nomads along with a special visa permit
- Romania: Romania’s Government plans a remote work visa based on a monthly income proof of around EUR 1,100
- Sri Lanka: a one-year visa for remote workers might be implemented in the near future
- Thailand: so-called Smart Visas could soon also be open to digital nomads
Countries that offer remote work visas – key takeaways
- There already are quite a lot of countries offering digital nomad visas and even more are in the process of passing new laws to make them possible.
- While some countries have introduced special visas tailored for digital nomads – and which are, thus, properly called digital nomad visas – others allow remote workers to stay and work from within their boundaries by using already existing resident visas for independent workers.
- Many Caribbean islands rely on a “welcome stamp”-system which allows digital nomads to enjoy a nice “workation” for a duration of up to 1 year.
- In many countries, one of the prerequisites for obtaining a digital nomad or remote work visa is to be working for foreign clients/employers, thus not interfering in the local market.
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