Digital Nomad Visas: Countries Offering Long Term Stay for Remote Workers

Pre-pandemic, the concept of being able to work remotely and travel the world was a dream very few were able to act upon. However, after a year of organisational shifts and powerful remote-working technology, a vast percentage of businesses are considering going distanced for the long haul. Already, major cities are seeing a mass exodus of workers, newly free to head for the countryside and carve out a life somewhere a little more spacious. Though international travel is still tightly regulated, we may see this movement go even further, with digital nomad visas eventually tempting individuals overseas.

We’ve all sat on our morning commute, dreaming of a palm-tree paradise as we cram into a claustrophobic metro car. Swapping lunch break lattes for a beach-bar pina colada may have seemed a far-off fantasy once, but with the chains of a physical office desk removed – why not? Enter the Digital Nomad Visa, a rapidly evolving model being taken up by ever more countries as 2021 progresses. Hitting the sweet spot between the simplicity of a tourist visa and the benefits of a working visa, it takes away the bureaucratic stress of formal sponsorship, allowing an individual to live and work for an extended period of time in their chosen country.  

The vast majority of countries now offering the Digital Nomad Visa are tropical island nations, aware that a semi-permanent workforce will improve local economies and replace tourist businesses with more stable, year-round industries. From Barbados to Bermuda, these visas tend to be more oriented to high earners, yet there is often enough scope for mid to low-earners too. Below, we’ve listed (with relevant figures) our updated list on the Digital Nomad Visas that have got us most excited for 2021:

Dominica:

Visa Cost: $800 ($1200 for families) with $100 application fee

Minimum income: $70,000 a year

Length: 18 months maximum

Dominica is one of the cheapest islands in the Caribbean in terms of living costs, as well as visa-fees. Thanks to their Work in Nature Visa program, the government are encouraging earners to immerse themselves in nature, to escape the big city and enjoy 18 months in this safe, English speaking paradise. Dominica has been particularly efficient at controlling the virus, and nomad residents can enjoy the freedom of beachside bars and restaurants with minimal restrictions. With this visa, workers can benefit from an income tax waiver, free travel in and out of the island and plenty of schooling options for families.

Croatia

Visa Cost: €80

Minimum income: €26,790 a year

Length: 1 year maximum

Croatia’s Digital Nomad Visa has been hotly anticipated throughout the year, and was officially launched in early 2021. Technically a temporary residency permit, it allows visitors similar opportunities as the visa – complete freedom to stay, up to a year, for anyone globally to continue working remotely in their pre-existing job. Those bringing their families are also allowed, but an extra 10% must be added to the minimum income level for each additional family member/partner. You are also free from having to pay local taxes. Whether you pay taxes to your home country depends on your home government’s rules of residency.  

Mauritius:

Visa Cost: Free

Minimum income: None

Length: 1 year maximum

Mauritius is one of the best Nomad visas out there. With no fees and no-minimum income threshold, there are truly no restrictions to tropical paradise. All that is needed to qualify for the Premium Visa is proof of long stay plans, sufficient travel and health insurance and a legal agreement not to enter the Mauritius labour market. Applicants main source of income should be outside of Mauritius and choice of accommodation should be stipulated prior to visa application. Money spent using foreign credit cards in Mauritius is not liable to local tax, although “officially” the Economic Development Board does stipulate that residents spending 183 days or more in the country should then start to pay local tax. A quick glimpse at local property site, Property 24, shows one can rent a sizeable 4-bedroom villa, complete with pool and beach access for around €1000 a month – just €250 each if you can gather three remote-working friends!

Thailand:

Visa Cost: $45

Minimum income: None

Length: 9 months maximum

Thailand is no stranger to remote workers, it being the digital nomad capital of the world. For years now, backpackers have taken up long-term residence in budget hostels, often paying costs of around €150 for a month-long stay in a dorm (breakfast generally included!) Living costs in cosy expat towns, such as Chiang Mai, are very low, making the quality of life for residents exceptionally high. Most nomads make use of the 60-day tourist visa, which can be extended for another 30 days. However, since Covid, a new 3-month tourist visa has been instituted, that can be extended to 5 months more (9 months total). Most people do fine on this visa, but to ensure your working stay is properly legit, it seems an official Digital Nomad Visa is on the cards for later this year.

The Bahamas

Visa Cost: $1000 ($500 extra for each family member)

Minimum income: None

Length: 3 years maximum

Another tropical paradise, The Bahamas was one of the first to launch a digital nomad scheme, known as the Bahamas Extended Access Travel Stay (BEATS) programme. Visas are offered for an initial year but can be extended for up to three years. The Bahamas is bursting with luxury resorts, villas and beaches, making it an absolute favourite of high-earning travellers. For mid-tier earners, however, despite there being no minimum income threshold, the living costs may become unsustainable.

Aruba:

Visa Cost: None

Minimum income: None

Length: 3 months maximum

Aruba’s remote work visa is slightly different from the others. Taking the hassle out of organising accommodation, this package advertises itself more as a “Happy Workation” exclusively for U.S. nationals. Essentially an extended holiday, the package offers luxury accommodation in three-month stints, with no fees or minimum income. Hotels have been remodelled to include kitchen units, giving you the freedom of self-sufficiency, whilst maintaining the holiday feel of a tropical resort. Simply select the villa of your choice and relax by Aruba’s glistening turquoise ocean.

Germany

Visa Cost: €100

Minimum income: None

Length: 3 years maximum

Our final visa pick is in Germany, the Aufenthaltserlaubnis für selbständige Tätigkeit. It allows residency for self-employed people (or freelancers) from other nations to live in Germany for 3 years. It is more of a residence permit than a visa, but it essentially amounts to the same thing. This is certainly an excellent option for those outside of the EU that wish to stay in Germany long term (or even travel to other European countries from there). Be warned, however, that Germany’s administration system can be gruelling, and applications can take several months to clear.

Starting from Skratch? Here are a Few Tips to Get You Started:

https://remoteworkvisas.com

https://nomadgirl.co/the-countries-with-digital-nomad-visas-around-the-world/

https://www.skratch.world/post/work-from-paradise-countries-that-are-inviting-remote-workers

Digital Nomad Visa - At a Glance:

🇩🇲 Dominica:

Visa Cost: $800 ($1200 for families) with $100 application fee

Minimum income: $70,000 a year

Length: 18 months maximum

🇭🇷 Croatia

Visa Cost: €80

Minimum income: €26,790 a year

Length: 1 year maximum

🇲🇺 Mauritius:

Visa Cost: Free

Minimum income: None

Length: 1 year maximum

🇹🇭 Thailand:

Visa Cost: $45

Minimum income: None

Length: 9 months maximum

🇧🇸 The Bahamas

Visa Cost: $1000 ($500 extra for each family member)

Minimum income: None

Length: 3 years maximum

🇦🇼 Aruba:

Visa Cost: None

Minimum income: None

Length: 3 months maximum

🇩🇪 Germany

Visa Cost: €100

Minimum income: None

Length: 3 years maximum

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Hannah Orde
May 19, 2021
posted in
LOCAL

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