When working with a new client, one of the questions I am frequently asked is: “How do I start looking for my home abroad?” Well, the best way is to go see for yourself! Due to the increased hunger for exploration after lockdown, many countries are granting extended stays through special visa programs.
New “Digital Nomad Visas” allow travelers to thoroughly explore a region for a longer duration than a traditional tourist visa while working remotely. These new visas are excellent tools for travelers looking to live the expatriate lifestyle as they shop for real estate abroad! Dive in below as we wade into the exciting and emerging world of digital nomad visas.
What is a Digital Nomad?
Before Covid, Digital Nomads were freelancers— writers, computer programmers, photographers, designers, and other professionals who made their living gig by gig, not tied to any one employer or location. Their self-employed, mercenary-like lifestyle allowed them the freedom of location independence, and many chose to stay on the move. After Covid and the ensuing influx of remote work opportunities, digital nomads now come in all shapes and sizes from virtually any career path.
What is a Digital Nomad Visa?
A Digital Nomad Visa, as the name suggests, is a visa specifically for remote workers who plan to travel while working / employed. These visa programs vary significantly in length and requirements on a country-by-country basis, but all give some type of extended stay permission to those who can provide proof of employment, business ownership, or income generated remotely. Unlike other extended stay or residency programs, these visas do not offer a path toward citizenship.
Which Countries Have Digital Nomad Visas?
Digital nomad visa programs have been introduced in nearly 50 countries, with more on the way. The following countries have operating Digital Nomad Visa programs: Andorra, Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Aruba, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bermuda, Cabo Verde, Cayman Islands, Croatia, Curaçao, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Dominica, Dubai, Ecuador, Estonia Georgia, Germany Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Indonesia, Italy, Latvia, Malta, Mauritius, Mexico, Montenegro, Montserrat, North Macedonia, Norway, Panama, Romania, Saint Lucia, Seychelles, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, and, Taiwan.
Who is Eligible?
As mentioned above, eligibility for these visa programs varies significantly by country, but there are commonalities within each program. The cost for these visa programs also varies significantly by country, from as little as $200 to as much as $2000 for individual applications and $3000 for family applications.
Digital nomads and remote workers applying to these visa programs will likely have to complete an online application and even an in-person interview at an embassy or consulate. They will need to provide their passport and submit themselves to a thorough background check.
The application will usually require proof of employment and the ability to work remotely or proof of earnings as an entrepreneur or a freelancer. Applications can take several months to process. Applicants who fail to provide proof of their employment, their earnings, or have a criminal record will likely be denied.
Are Digital Nomad Visas Worth It?
If you’re thinking about applying for a Digital Nomad Visa, consider the following: Is the cost of a Digital Nomad Visa worth it for my destination? Is my stay in-country going to outlast a typical tourist visa? Is the Application process worth it?
While many may be eager to jump at these new visa programs, they often overlook whether they’re necessary. For example, a three-month stay in Spain while working remotely can be done on a typical 90-day tourist visa, as long as you’re not working for a Spanish company. Additionally, a Spanish tourist visa allows you to travel throughout the EU within the Schengen territories. Many countries, like Spain, have other extended visa programs that are less complicated and costly to apply for than their Digital Nomad programs.
Spain’s Non-Lucrative Visa allows travelers to live in Spain for up to a year if they do not work for a Spanish national or Spanish company during that time. In many cases, Digital Nomad Visas are more costly and complicated than they are worth, but these visa programs are still in their infancy, and they will likely become more popular and accessible at a later date.
Live Everywhere’s Favorite Digital Nomad Visa Programs
While there are nearly 50 countries currently implementing some form of a Digital Nomad Visa Program, many of those programs are far more costly and time-consuming than they are worth, unless your desire to be there outweighs the extensive process. To help our readers navigate the complicated new landscape of the Digital Nomad Visa, we’ve compiled a list of our favorite programs below.
Mexico now offers a Temporary Resident Visa that is perfect for remote workers looking for an extended stay. This visa allows travelers to stay for a full year and extend up to three times. Mexico’s Temporary Resident Program has been around for years and they are now offering it as a Digital Nomad Visa.
Remote workers can apply for Germany’s Freelance Visa, which enables the holder to work with different German businesses or individuals on a need-basis through part-time contracts.
Costa Rica has officially launched the Rentista Visa for Digital Nomads in Costa Rica, which allows the holder to remain in the country for up to two years with the possibility to extend. The visa requires a minimum of $2,500 of monthly income.
Portugal offers digital nomads the D7 Passive Income Visa that allows holders to stay for up to one year with the possibility of extending the visa two years at a time. The visa is offered conditionally based on proof of income
The Panama Digital Nomad Visa is issued for nine months and can be renewed for an additional nine months.
If you’re in the market for a second home / vacation home, or are interested in setting sail on a new nomadic chapter of life, then learning about a Digital Nomad Visa is an excellent way to get started.
By extending your ability to stay in a country without worry, you grant yourself freedom to explore your options without feeling rushed into a purchasing decision. You could take your time exploring neighborhoods and other cities before making your choice.
With me, Lisa McIntyre, as your real estate agent, I’ll guide you all along the way. We’ll take a look at all your options when it comes to scouting locations, visiting properties, and finding financing. If you have any questions about the Digital Nomad Visa programs just reach out to me at [email protected] or call 720-449-3442.