Digital Nomad Visas: What They Are and Where You Can Get One

Amidst the rise of remote work, countries offer digital nomad visas to attract new workers.
Anya Kartashova
By Anya Kartashova 

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Remote work has become more common over the years, and its popularity has spread rapidly since the pandemic forced many workers out of the office. In turn, many countries have developed a solution for remote workers who wish to live abroad by offering special digital nomad visas that allow extended stays.

If you’re interested in working remotely in another country, here’s what you should know when applying for a digital nomad visa, as well as which countries are accepting remote workers.

What is a digital nomad visa?

Remote employees who work from more than one location are often called digital nomads — they have no fixed office and can earn an income from wherever they want. While some only travel within their home country, others work from abroad.

However, many countries limit travelers without a visa to a short visit — typically one to three months. Additionally, working in any country without a visa, or with a tourist visa, may be illegal, depending on your citizenship and the country’s immigration and employment regulations.

So, how do you get around this potential issue? The answer is a digital nomad visa, which is a temporary residency permit for remote workers who are employed and paid by foreign companies.

In other words, you’re allowed to stay and work legally in the country that issued you a digital nomad visa.

Depending on the country, the visa may allow you to stay for as long as a year or longer, and there may be an option to extend if you still meet the requirements.

🤓Nerdy Tip

Because of U.S. and foreign tax laws, a digital nomad visa might be a little easier to obtain for independent contractors or freelancers rather than full-time W-2 employees. In either case, you’ll need to talk with your boss or HR representative and ask if it’s possible to not only work outside the office, but work in another country.

Digital nomad visa countries

More than 50 countries offer visas for digital nomads.

  • Albania.

  • Andorra.

  • Anguilla.

  • Antigua and Barbuda.

  • Argentina.

  • Armenia.

  • Barbados.

  • Belize.

  • Bermuda.

  • Brazil.

  • Cabo Verde.

  • Cayman Islands.

  • Colombia.

  • Costa Rica.

  • Croatia.

  • Curaçao.

  • Cyprus.

  • Czechia.

  • Dominica.

  • Ecuador.

  • El Salvador.

  • Estonia.

  • Georgia.

  • Germany.

  • Greece.

  • Grenada.

  • Hungary.

  • Iceland.

  • India.

  • Indonesia.

  • Italy.

  • Latvia.

  • Malaysia.

  • Malta.

  • Mauritius.

  • Mexico.

  • Montenegro.

  • Montserrat.

  • Namibia.

  • North Macedonia.

  • Norway.

  • Panama.

  • Portugal.

  • Romania.

  • Saint Lucia.

  • Serbia.

  • Seychelles.

  • South Africa.

  • South Korea.

  • Spain.

  • Sri Lanka.

  • Taiwan.

  • Thailand.

  • The Bahamas.

  • United Arab Emirates.

  • Uruguay.

Here's a selection of countries with digital nomad visas to give you an idea of your options.

1. Estonia

Estonia was the first country to offer what’s now called a digital nomad visa. You can apply if you work for a company outside of Estonia.

  • Application fee: $109 (100 euros).

  • Duration: One year.

  • Monthly income requirement: $3,825 (3,504 euros).

  • Proof of remote employment: Work contract with a company outside of Estonia.

  • Additional requirements: Bank statements from the last six months and valid health insurance coverage of at least $32,749 (30,000 euros).

Estonia is part of the Schengen zone, and its digital nomad visa allows you to visit other Schengen countries for up to 90 days within a 180-day period.

2. Portugal

Portugal offers a temporary stay visa that lets remote workers reside and work in the country for a non-Portuguese employer.

  • Application fee: $82 (75 euros).

  • Duration: One year.

  • Monthly income requirement: $3,319 (3,040 euros).

  • Minimum bank balance: $39,827 (36,480 euros).

  • Proof of remote employment: Work contract or partnership agreement.

  • Additional requirements: Valid health insurance coverage in Portugal.

If you reside in Portugal as a digital nomad for at least 183 days in a calendar year, you’ll attain taxed residency status. However, you’ll also be eligible to apply for non-habitual resident status, which reduces your tax burden from 48% to 20%.

3. Mexico

Mexico is also a good choice for American digital nomads who want to avoid time zone differences. It offers a temporary resident visa for those who want to work remotely while exploring what the country has to offer.

  • Application fee: $40 (plus $150 to $350 for a residence card).

  • Duration: Six months to four years.

  • Monthly income requirement: $2,595.

  • Additional requirement: Valid health insurance coverage.

If you don’t earn $2,595 per month, you can still qualify for a temporary residence permit if you can show a balance of at least $43,000 in your bank account for the past 12 months. To apply, you must schedule an appointment at an embassy or a consulate in your home state or country.

4. Colombia

One of the easier digital nomad visas to qualify for in terms of monthly income is Colombia’s Visa V Nómadas Digitales, available to foreigners looking to live in and work remotely from Colombia.

  • Application fee: $52. If approved, an additional visa fee of $170 to $230 is required.

  • Duration: Two years. However, you can only stay 180 days within a one-year period.

  • Monthly income requirement: $738 (3 million Colombian pesos).

  • Proof of remote employment: Work contract or proof of business ownership.

  • Additional requirement: Valid health insurance coverage.

5. Saint Lucia

To get a taste of island life without the large price tag, you can apply for the Saint Lucia Live It program.

  • Application fee: $75 (paid on arrival).

  • Duration: One year.

  • Monthly income requirement: None.

  • Proof of remote employment: Work contract or job letter.

Saint Lucia doesn’t have minimum monthly income requirements, doesn’t tax digital nomads and offers a multi-entry visa for 12 months. Its relatively low cost of living (when compared wiy the U.S.) makes it a desirable location for remote workers.

6. Malaysia

The Southeast Asian country of Malaysia has fairly accessible requirements for its version of the digital nomad visa, called De Rantau Nomad Pass.

  • Application fee: $214 (1,000 Malaysian ringgit).

  • Duration: Three to 12 months, with option to renew another year.

  • Yearly income requirements: $24,000 (or $2,000 per month).

  • Proof of remote employment: You must be working in the tech industry.

Although your job must be in the tech industry, the definition is rather loose and includes digital creators, marketing professionals, software developers and cybersecurity specialists.

Digital nomads are also allowed to work for a Malaysian company. Though the annual income requirement is reduced to $7,704 (36,000 Malaysian ringgit), you’ll have to pay local taxes.

Those working for foreign companies don’t need to pay taxes on their income in Malaysia.

Advantages of a digital nomad visa

While organizing all of the necessary paperwork, approvals and logistics can be a hassle, getting a digital nomad visa comes with some real advantages, namely experiencing life abroad and being able to live like a local.

Ability to live and work overseas

The chance to live and work abroad is the number one reason to apply for a digital nomad visa.

You can legally live and work in a foreign country for an extended period of time, get paid in your home country’s currency and use the free time to explore the city or country you’ve chosen. For many travelers, this is the opportunity of a lifetime.

Ability to stay in one place longer

If you’re traveling somewhere as a tourist, you’re only given a certain timeframe to visit before you have to leave the country. In some countries, you could be allowed to stay 90, or even 180, days, but in others, you may only have 30 days.

With a digital nomad visa, you don’t have to worry about leaving the country every couple of months to fulfill immigration requirements.

Disadvantages of being a digital nomad

Despite the appealing opportunity to live and work abroad, there are some downsides to the digital nomad lifestyle, too.

Potential tax implications

Depending on the country you go to, you might be taxed as a resident — even for short-term stays. In some places, your tax liability can represent a higher amount than what you’re used to in your home country, or you might have to pay taxes in both your home and host country. Not to mention, researching tax obligations could involve lots of time, paperwork and possibly even a lawyer.

Getting used to a new schedule

If you’re a freelancer who sets your own work hours, this may not apply to you. However, if you have a set work schedule, you’ll have to manage time zone shifts and adjust your work hours accordingly.

If you normally work from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. EST in New York City, you’re going to have to shift your day by five to seven hours when working remotely from Europe — your work day might end between 10 p.m. and midnight.

This becomes even more complicated if you’ve decided to work from somewhere like Malaysia, which is 13 hours ahead of the U.S. East Coast. Your work schedule there would begin at 10 p.m. and end at 6 a.m. local time.

How do I apply for a digital nomad visa?

Once you’ve decided you want to work as a digital nomad, you’ll need to apply for a visa. The application process and cost of the visa vary widely by country. However, in most cases, you have to already be employed, have adequate health insurance coverage and prove you have sufficient income to cover your expenses.

For example, to apply for a 12-month residency permit to live in Croatia, you’ll need to be employed by a foreign company or be an independent contractor. You also need to show proof of at least $31,550 in a personal bank account and health insurance coverage.

Conversely, Belize offers a 6-month digital nomad visa in which you must show proof of a minimal annual income of $75,000 as well as employment with a foreign employer. A travel insurance policy is also required.

Digital nomad visas recapped

Following the rise of remote workers, which was exacerbated by the pandemic, many countries have introduced their own versions of digital nomad visas to lure in remote workers and their money.

The option can be appealing to those embracing a location-independent lifestyle or who just want to experience life in another country.

If you have a remote job that’ll let you work abroad, and you want to trade in your home office for the world, you have plenty of options.

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