Affordable Countries with Digital Nomad Visas

Working abroad as a digital nomad is an ideal opportunity for passionate travellers. The reality though can be that you’re hitting a dozen dead-ends with visa applications that cost valuable time and money. And with places like Bali and Thailand raising their standards to beyond what the average person can afford — it feels like you’re five years too late. But all hope is not lost. If you have small pockets and big dreams, read on to find out our choice of countries that are more budget-friendly.

New to being a digital nomad? Start in Croatia

If this is your first time, we strongly recommend researching into Croatia. Not only is this Baltic beauty memorable with its walled cities and Adriatic coastline, it’s pretty affordable compared to Western Europe and is one of the statistically safest countries on this list. English is also widely spoken here, so you shouldn’t have much trouble making friends.

Introduced in 2021, the Croatia Digital Nomad Visa is a temporary residence permit that allows you to stay in the country anywhere from six months to a year. In this time, the Croatian government doesn’t charge you for income tax. So you’ll only have to pay tax for the country that you have tax residency for.

The reason why we say Croatia is suitable for those newer to the digital nomad lifestyle is because when your visa expires, you have to leave the country for 90 days. Once the time has passed, you’re welcome to reapply. This gap is a nuisance for anyone looking to work here long-term, but is great if you want to try something new for a year. Think of it almost like an university year abroad.

Here’s what you’ll need to submit:

  • A copy of a valid travel document (i.e. passport)
  • Proof of health insurance that covers the period you’ll be in Croatia
  • Proof of work and purpose (your employment contract or a signed official letter)
  • Proof that you can financially support yourself (this can either be savings of 30.471,72 EUR already in your account, or six months of payslips proving you earn a minimum of 2.539,31 EUR per month)
  • A clean criminal record
  • Proof of residence (where you plan to stay while in Croatia. For your first time, you can use the address of a hotel or hostel so long as you have a confirmed booking there)

Find out more about submitting your application for a digital nomad visa in Croatia here.

Birdseye view of Split, Croatia.

Romania is up-and-coming on Nomadlist

Timişoara may be a hidden gem to many travellers, but on Nomadlist, it’s made the global Top 10. Between the pastel Baroque architecture in the Union Square, an abundance of green spaces and a growing foodie scene, it’s easy to see why it was awarded as a European Capital of Culture for 2023.

Even outside of Timişoara, you’ll find that many cities in Romania work well with a digital nomad lifestyle. Its broadband speed is one of the best in Europe — beating out places like the UK by almost three times. The best part? It’s also super cheap.

Romania’s digital nomad visa lasts 12 months and allows you to stay without needing any other permit or visa. But if you are in the country for over 183 days, you will become a recognised tax resident for Romania. If you continue to meet the standards required, you’re welcome to renew the visa. By the end of 2023, Romania will join the Schengen area: meaning that you can go interrailing through Europe on your days off!

Here’s what you’ll need to submit:

  • Proof that you have been employed for at least three years either full-time or part-time outside of Romania
  • Proof that your minimum monthly income is €3,300. The rule is 3x that of the average Romanian income (€1,100)
  • A clean criminal record
  • Proof that you have a place to stay in the country. This can be a rental agreement, hotel booking, or a lease
  • Proof of health insurance
  • Proof of identity and employment contract

Find out more about submitting your application for a digital nomad visa in Romania here.

Timişoara, Romania.

Try big city-living in Hungary

We’re all guilty of romanticising metropolitans like Paris and New York City. But the Marais and Upper East Side fantasies you’ll find on television don’t reflect the extremely high cost of living.

This isn’t to say that Hungary’s capital, Budapest, is as cheap as they come. But compared to many big cities around the world, the cost of living is significantly more affordable. For reference, one month’s rent for a single person apartment could cost somewhere between €580 to €675 a month. Budapest’s food costs are roughly the same as what you’d expect from other destinations in Central or Eastern Europe.

Hungary’s Digital Nomad Visa was launched in 2021 and is formally known as the White Card. It’s an individual residency permit aimed at people under 40 who are earning a minimum of €2000 per month (and have received this salary for at least six months prior to arrival). The visa is for one year, but can be extended for another. You do not have to pay tax for the first 183 days, but after that you’ll become a tax resident in Hungary.

Here’s what you’ll need to submit:

  • A valid passport
  • Facial photograph taken less than three months ago
  • Proof and purpose of residence
  • Proof of a valid work contract outside of Hungary. You must have proof that you earn €2000+ a month and have been for at least six months
  • Proof that you possess shares in a profitable company outside Hungary (you cannot have shares in Hungary)
  • Proof of health insurance
  • Evidence for conditions of exit

Find out more about submitting your application to work in Hungary here. Please note you cannot submit an application online and must do so through a consular office of Hungary or an authorised place that processes residence permits.

St. Stephen’s Basilica, Budapest, Hungary.

Co-work by the beach in Panama

If you’d choose sea views over a cityscape any day, consider making Panama your new home… So long as you don’t get too distracted by the sandy beaches and curved palm trees. From trendy Bocas del Toro to skyscraper centre Panama City, your office and the ocean are ever-connected.

Whether you work remotely for a foreign company, or are a freelance worker or autonomous business owner, you’re welcome to apply. The visa covers nine months, and can be extended for a further nine months. Application is quite simple, but you’ll need to process it through an immigration lawyer in Panama.

Here’s what you’ll need to apply:

  • Three passport-size photographs
  • An official copy of your passport
  • Proof of health insurance and a certificate of good health
  • Clean criminal record
  • Proof that all your work is outside of Panama
  • Proof of an annual income of $36,000
  • Commitment to funding cost of return to home country once visa expires

Find out more about submitting your application for a digital nomad visa in Panama here.

Bocas del Toro, Panama.

Find new passion in Argentina

Argentina’s seductive capital, Buenos Aires, was practically made for extroverts. The dancing city slows down for nobody and never, ever stops. There are few places that are just as enigmatic at both 3am and 3pm. Whether you’re admiring the art of tango on the streets or experiencing that famous nightlife, Buenos Aires is awe-inspiring to all.

Since 2022, Argentina has implemented a digital nomad visa which allows you to stay in the country for 180 days with the option to renew. If you are eligible, you could transfer onto a different type of visa. Although no minimum salary is stated, you must provide proof of income that will support you while in the country. Your visa will be on a multiple-entry basis, meaning that you have the opportunity to explore the incredible depths of South America on your days off.

Here’s what you’ll need to apply:

  • A passport that has been valid for at least six months
  • A cover letter
  • Proof of income
  • Proof of employment
  • An up-to-date CV and proof of qualifications
  • Proof of accommodation for the first part of your trip
  • Proof of health insurance
  • A clean criminal record

Find out more about submitting your application for a digital nomad visa in Argentina here. Please keep in mind that Argentina can be quite strict with form and wording on official documents. Consulting a visa advisor would be wise to avoid a denied application which cannot be refunded.

El Ateneo Grand Splendid, a converted bookshop in Buenos Aires.

Honourable mentions

Mexico: Artistic, enriching and exhilarating are fitting adjectives for Mexico City. The stunning architecture and green spaces (Bosque de Chapultepec is twice the size of Central Park) make this city popular with tourists — but it’s the variety of neighbourhoods that make it a treasure to the locals. Find out more with our detailed guide on why Mexico City is so favourable for digital nomads.

Portugal: As the second oldest city in Western Europe, Lisbon seems like an unusual choice for high-tech development. Yet the fast internet speed, slick co-working spaces and friendly community who know how to have fun have all earned Lisbon the reputation as one of the best countries to live in as a digital nomad. Check out our full guide to working remotely in Lisbon.

Starting from Skratch? Here are some links to help you get started:
Work from paradise with our Digital Nomad series.

Digital Nomad Destinations Quick Averages

Croatia (Split)

💶 Visa cost: total comes to roughly €155

🏢 Studio rent: €845 to €1,254

🍽️ Meal at inexpensive restaurant: €9.63


💶 Visa cost: Information not available (presumably low)

🏢 One person rent: €490

🍽️ Meal at inexpensive restaurant: €6.52

Hungary (Budapest)

💶 Visa cost: €110

🏢 One person rent: €580 to €675

🍽️ Meal at inexpensive restaurant: €10


💵 Visa cost: total comes to $300

🏢 One person rent: $730 to $918

🍽️ Meal at inexpensive restaurant: $8

Argentina (Buenos Aires)

💵 Visa cost: total comes to $200

🏢 One person rent: $200 to $500

🍽️ Meal at inexpensive restaurant: $12

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Hannah Douch
November 22, 2023
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