The entrepreneurial landscape has drastically changed in the past years. The Covid pandemic highlighted the need for a more borderless way of doing business, cryptocurrency’s importance, and offshoring’s benefits. This, in turn, snowballed to global citizenship and embracing a digital nomadic living. And as more and more professionals realize they don’t need to stay in one place to work or run their business, countries are clamoring to attract them to their shores through digital nomad visas.
What is a Digital Nomad Visa?
As the name implies, digital nomad visas specifically target remote workers. Countries with digital nomad visas usually offer flexible terms ranging from a couple of months to a year of stay, provide multiple entries, and can or cannot be renewed for an extension.
Digital nomad visa countries also offer zero to minimal tax liabilities. Depending on which country you are applying for, you often will find that these countries do not tax your income. Most only require that you provide proof that you are a remote worker or that you have a tax residence.
And lastly, countries with digital nomad visas attract remote workers to their shores through an easy application process. Some can be done entirely online. The aim of a digital nomad visa program is to attract foreigners to work, invest, and stay for longer in the country to contribute to its economy.
Limitations vary in countries with digital nomad visas, but the general restriction is that digital nomads should not compete with the local job market or be employed by local companies.
And as we continue into 2022, new and emerging programs from various countries are riding the tide of nomadic lifestyle.
Here is a list of digital nomad visas people are getting in 2022.
Spain Digital Nomad Visa
Spain is one of the relatively new players in the digital nomad visa wave. Though the country is offering a golden visa, the recently passed Startup Law outlines the provisions for Spain nomad visa.
Spain’s digital nomad visa was conceptualized to attract investments and talents (back) to Spain. It aims to create a globally competitive hub for digital nomads and business startups. And unlike its golden visa, the digital nomad visa does not require investment.
This nomadic visa will allow digital nomads to live in Spain while working remotely for companies outside the country without needing a full work visa. Some salient points include:
- Offers a streamlined, one-stop hub for all startup requirements.
- Non-resident income and corporate tax are reduced from 25 percent to 15 percent for four years. There is also a reduction in interests and deposit-free deferral of tax debt payments.
- Deferred, interest and deposit-free payments for corporate tax and non-resident income tax for 12 and 6 months, respectively. Moreover, corporate and non-resident income tax payment installments are waived for the first two years. The date starts from when taxable income is first recorded.
- Significant increase in tax exemptions on stock options for startups from 12,000 to €50,000 per year.
To meet the requirements for a Spain digital nomad visa, you must be (1) an investor creating an innovative startup, (2) a digital nomad working for a foreign company, or (3) a freelancer doing remote work for a client outside Spain. The Spain nomad visa is good for one year and can be renewed for two more years. And as a caveat, Spain Startup Law is yet to be launched, so some features like eligibility requirements might change.
Portugal Digital Nomad Visa
Portugal is a favorite destination among digital nomads and is not new in welcoming foreign tourists and expats to its shores. The country’s perfect weather, vibrant culture, stable internet connection, and affordable living attract international interest. Besides offering one of the most sought-after EU Golden Visa, Portugal is ramping up its digital nomad visa game by offering two programs: Temporary Stay Visa and Residency Visa.
Temporary Stay Visa
- Recommended for stays up to one year and renewable for 2-year periods.
- Permits multiple entry and travel outside the country. This Portugal nomad visa means you can establish a home base in Portugal while exploring the rest of Europe.
- Allows digital nomads to work as self-employed or freelance as long as there’s proof of earning of at least €635 per month.
Residency Visa or D7 Visa
- Recommended for digital nomads who wish to stay for more than a year.
- Valid for four months, after which an option to apply for a residency permit is available. The residency permit is valid for two years and renewable for 3-year terms after that.
- Allows travel outside Portugal, but you should not be outside the country for six consecutive months or eight non-consecutive months.
- Best for self-employed, retirees, and remote workers who do not wish to invest or set up a business in the country formally.
- Proof of passive income pegged at €7,200 per year is needed to qualify for the program.
- Extendable to family members with an additional requirement of €3,600 if you apply as a couple and €2,160 for each child if applying as a family.
Other essential requirements to qualify for a Portugal Nomad Visa include proof of accommodation. This does not imply you have to buy a property in Portugal but that you at least have a long-term rental lease. Also, you need comprehensive health insurance, pass a criminal background check, and meet the minimum stay requirement of 183 days per year.
Costa Rica Digital Nomad Visa
Another digital nomad visa to watch out for in 2022 is Costa Rica Remote Worker Visa. A favorite destination among tourists and expats, Costa Rica boasts of relaxed beaches and pulsating nightlife. Though the country is not new to welcoming foreigners, it wanted to attract more remote workers and freelancers. The new Costa Rica Nomad Visa aims to remove the hassle of “border runs.” The current tourist visa is only valid for 90 days. Foreign visitors who want to stay longer would have to exit the country and have their visas renewed. Significant features of the Costa Rica Nomad Visa include:
- One-year validity and can be extended to another year. Provided you stay in the country for at least 180 days in the first year.
- Proof of stable income of at least US$ 3,000 per month or US$ 4,000 if you are a couple or family applying together.
- Foreign-earned income is not taxable. Import taxes on work equipment are also waived.
- Permits you to drive using your home country’s driver’s license, which is otherwise not allowed for tourists and resident’s visas.
- Has banking privileges that let you open a local bank account.
There are no exemptions as to who can apply for a Remote Worker Visa as long as you meet the requirements. You’ll also need comprehensive insurance valid throughout your stay. Costa Rica Digital Nomad Visa is relatively new so expect some kinks in the guidelines and implementation.
Croatia Digital Nomad Visa
Croatia’s version of a digital nomad visa is not a visa per se but a temporary residence permit. However, it works just the same because it requires applicants to make a remote income. Features of Croatia Temporary Residence Permit include:
- Stay and work legally in Croatia for six months up to a year. After that, the temporary resident is not extendable. You must leave the country once your residence permit expires and reapply after 90 days.
- Income tax exemption.
- A minimum monthly income of about €2,250 from a foreign source. The Croatia Temporary Residence Permit does not restrict how you earn your monthly income. Thus, your income can come from retirement, investment, etc., as long as it is earned outside Croatia.
Requirements to apply for a Croatia Digital Nomad Visa depend on your nationality. So it is best to check with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to ensure that you have all the necessary papers. If you want to make Croatia a second home, you might also want to check if you qualify for Croatian citizenship by descent. It is important to note that though Croatia is part of the European Union, it is not yet part of the Schengen Area and does not enjoy the same benefits as the open borders region.
Estonia Digital Nomad Visa
Estonia is another country that is fully embracing the nomadic lifestyle wave. Besides its E-residency program, it also offers a Digital Nomad Visa (DNV). The DNV provides two options: (1) the C-visa valid for 90-days which is best for a short-term stay, or the D-visa valid for up to 12 months. Both DNV offer:
- No restrictions on nationality. Everyone can apply as long as you fulfill eligibility requirements.
- Valid for up to one year, including 90-day travel across the Schengen Area with the option to renew.
- Minimum income requirement of €2,700 per month.
- No income tax for C-visa. But if you apply for a D-visa, your income is taxable if you stay for more than 183 days.
To qualify for Estonia Digital Nomad Visa, you must prove that you are a digital nomad (1) working for a foreign employer or company, (2) a shareholder of a company registered outside Estonia, or (3) you offer freelance service and have an established contract/s with clients abroad. You also must provide proof that you meet the monthly income threshold for the past six months. It is imperative to highlight that the Digital Nomad Visa is not a pathway to residency or citizenship but a permit for a temporary stay.
Greece Digital Nomad Visa
The recently passed Greece Digital Nomad Visa is different from the Greece Golden Visa. Law 4825/2021 was passed to create a Greek digital nomad visa to cater to remote workers. Foreigners who want to enjoy and see what the country has to offer but do not wish to commit for the long-term in terms of investing can try this nomadic visa. Features include:
- Validity for up to one year and can be extended for another year, maximum.
- A Greek digital nomad visa application is extendable to other family members.
- The minimum monthly income requirement is €3,500. An additional 20 percent is required if applying with a spouse and or 15 percent for each child.
Despite its struggling economy, Greece is an ideal location for most digital nomads because it has a well-developed infrastructure to support all types of nomadic professions. The country has excellent coworking hubs for workspace or office, stable internet connection, digital and mobile banking, a well-run transport system, and a vibrant community of expats to connect with.
Malta Digital Nomad Visa
Malta is another favorite destination among digital nomads and travelers. The country’s sunny weather, beaches, and relaxed lifestyle are ideal for those who want to take a leisure approach in life. Though the government already has a Global Residence Programme (GRP), it also introduced a digital nomad visa program called Nomad Residence Permit (NRP). This visa option is perfect if you do not wish to be a full-on tax resident. Some provisions of the program include:
- Digital infrastructure in place for telecommuting work.
- Zero income tax liability for one year even if you spend over 183 days in Malta, provided you have a tax residency in your home country.
- The minimum monthly income threshold is pegged at €2,700.
- No physical stay requirements.
- Freedom to travel and stay in Schengen visa countries for 90 out of any 180 days.
One crucial requirement for getting a Malta Digital Nomad Visa is proof of tax residence. If you are no longer paying taxes in your home country (i.e., exempted from paying taxes), then the NRP might not be a good fit for you.
Brazil Digital Nomad Visa
The Brazil Digital Nomad Visa is another Digital Nomad Visa to get in 2022. The recently launched Temporary Visa program aims to attract foreigners to work remotely in the country without needing local employer sponsorship. Brazil’s version of a nomadic visa seeks to propel the country as an up-and-coming hotspot for remote workers by offering its vibrant culture and diverse landscape. Some benefits include:
- One-year validity with an option to renew for another year.
- A minimum monthly income requirement of US$ 1,500 or a maintaining balance of US$18,000 in your bank account.
- No income tax liability provided you do not exceed your stay of 183 days within a one-year period.
Because the Brazil Digital Nomad Visa just launched this year, there are still some gray areas like tax obligations of digital nomads and their foreign employers. In addition, the in-person application can also be a turn-off to some remote workers who enjoy the convenience of filling applications online. If you prefer a more long-term approach, you could opt to get Brazilian citizenship by marriage or residence by investment.
Digital Nomad Visa Advantages
What makes digital nomad visas attractive to remote workers is the relatively easy application process and easy requirements (for most countries at least). There’s also minimal visa fee, tax exemptions, relatively short duration, and a low commitment.
If you are a constant traveler who fully embraces the nomadic lifestyle, then this is one way to explore the world. As long as you follow the general requirements of earning your living outside the country you are visiting, meet the minimum monthly threshold, have comprehensive insurance, and pass a thorough background check, you can fully embrace the life of a global citizen.
Digital Nomad Visa Disadvantages
On the other hand, because countries are still warming up to the idea, there are vague areas of implementation. For instance, Brazil Digital Nomad Visa is unclear if it can be extended to other family members. In addition, some countries have unclear guidelines regarding tax. For example, Malta’s one-year tax exemption is not for everyone. Tax regulations for Nomads in Greece are still vague, while Estonia offers zero income tax in theory but is difficult to achieve in actuality. These can make you vulnerable to double taxation and other tax risks.
Another issue is that there are already other visas in place that cater to a nomadic lifestyle, such as golden visas, residency permits, and freelancer visas that are more established with more explicit guidelines.
Most importantly, there is also the question of maximizing the benefits. Do you need a digital nomad visa, or will a tourist visa be enough to travel and work legally?
A Holistic Approach
Which visa is best for you to apply for as a digital nomad? It all boils down to a lifestyle fit. What works for most may not be the right choice for you. Always opt for a custom-tailored, holistic strategy that considers your lifestyle preference, future plans, and financial goals. If you want to know more about how you can go where you’re treated best and be a global citizen, apply here. Our Nomad Capitalist team can assist you create a life of financial and personal freedom.