For a traveler at heart, the lust to explore is hard to quench despite the necessities of making a living. And since when there’s a will there’s a way, digital nomads have learnt to carry their remote jobs like luggage. One day you could be sitting beside the Eiffel Tower, on another you could be hitting off on Sydney harbor. However, it is illegal in most countries to work on a tourist visa, and such visas also expire pretty soon.
But many countries have realized the economic potential of this new form of tourism and offer Long Term Visas. These are specifically designed for freelancers and remote workers. And are surely a boon for the digital nomads that are more keen on exploring and not just getting their passports stamped. Also, they are usually designed for an extended stay beyond the usual 60 or 90 day allowed in Schengen Visas. Besides, though the norms differ from country to country, these visas help you gain temporary residence and live like one.
What is the Schengen visa?
The famous Shengen visa allows the applicant to stay for 90 days in a 180-day period of time. After that you will have to spend at least 90 days outside that country, to be eligible to return. And this goes on and on, till your Schengen visa lasts. However, there's only a couple dozen European countries that are included in the Schengen Visa.
Therefore, if you wish to stay for extended periods like a year or more, the digital nomad visas will come to your rescue. Check out the following countries that offer extended stay in the best cities for digital nomads.
1. Germany - stay up to 3 Years with Freelance “Freiberufler” Visa
Germany has over two millennia of history, splendid landscapes, beaches, bustling nightlife, and world-class beer festivals. Naturally, it is a dream destination for digital nomads worldwide, and the tons of coworking spaces add to their convenience.
Subsequently, the German government played its part and curated the Freelance “Freiberufler” Visa that allows remote workers to enjoy up to three years of stay in the country.
Check the basic requirements for the German “Freiberufler” Visa.
- You must have a German-based employer.
- Valid health insurance
- Lease or proof of homeownership
- Filled Application for Issuance of a Residence Permit (Antrag auf Erteilung eines Aufenthaltstitels)
Unlike many other countries, Germans are keen that the remote workers contribute to their community, making local employment mandatory. However, you need to make sure that your work field is included in the Income Tax Act of Germany’s listing of liberal and commercial professions.
2. Cayman Islands - Up to 24 months stay with Global Citizen Concierge Program
The Caribbean tax haven, Cayman Islands is an autonomous British Overseas territory replete with palm beaches and mesmerizing mangroves. This tropical getaway can provide you all the vigor and enthusiasm to learn, explore, and live life king size.
The recently launched Global Citizen Concierge Program is a gift by the Caymans to digital nomads so that they can enjoy the seaside paradise while earning remotely. It offers up to two years of stay for freelancers with Global Citizen Certificates.
Additional eligibility requirements are,
- Proof of Employment and/or Income
- No criminal record
- Health insurance coverage
It has numerous properties for freelancers to reside in during their stay, from high end secluded villas to vacation rentals. But, you are not allowed to get employed in the Cayman Islands. You can get more information about this program on the www.visitcaymanislands.com website.
3. Antigua & Barbuda - Two year Nomad Digital Resident Programme
Wish to make video calls with white sand beaches in the backdrop or figure out future plans while strolling through mesmerizing landscapes? Antigua and Barbuda is one such Caribbean archipelago of 365 islands that will make it all possible. Their Nomad Digital Residence Program offers you and your dependents a heavenly stay for up to two years of residency.
They also have excellent connectivity throughout the islands, modern medical facilities, and all the comforts one could ask for. The islands also have a wide range of historical sites and natural landscapes. And wherever you stay, gyms, restaurants, supermarkets, and adventure, sports will only be at a stone’s throw.
To avail of this program, you’ll need to furnish:
- Proof of employment, including self-employment
- Proof of earning at least $50,000 a year, but none from within the country.
- Proof of health insurance
- Police clearance
You can find more details about the requirements and procedure of this digital nomad visa here.
4. Dubai - One year stay with Virtual Working Programme
Dubai is synonymous with luxury, and why not? It has world-class cuisine, natural and man-made beaches, and home to many world-class tourist hotspots like Burj Khalifa, Palm Jumeirah, and many more. It is especially ideal for those seeking to work and enjoy life to the brim with an extended stay.
Dubai’s Remote Work Nomad Visa makes a one-year residency in one of the best cities for digital nomads a reality. Requirements include
- Health insurance with UAE coverage validity
- A minimum annual salary of US $5,000
- Proof of employment or ownership of a business (as applicable)
The entrepreneurial hub boasts of high-end coworking spaces; white sandy beaches are also ready to serve as ad hoc workplaces. Besides, it’ll help you gain exposure to an international digital and business landscape. So it’s all going to be a remarkable stay. Besides, it's a tax haven, and you can rent a property for a year's term.
5. Costa Rica - Extendable two year Rentista Visa
If you are up for a rustic and adventurous stay while working remotely, this is it. It has rainforests, plenty of wildlife and Caribbean delicacies at your anvil. And not so surprisingly it is termed as one of the happiest countries in the world. So digital nomads and freelancers can apply for two years of temporary residency through Rentista Visa.
However, there’s just one catch. Applicant needs to furnish proof of earning a minimum income of US$2,500 per month from a guaranteed source. Also known as Person Of Independent Means Visa, it allows you to open a business and become an employer. Yet, you cannot seek employment from a Costa Rican employer.
It’ll also require a bank deposit of US$60,000 at a local bank, covering one dependent and minor children. For additional dependents or at the time of renewal, additional money will require to be deposited.
6. Czech Republic Long Term Visa
The Czech Republic offers a long term business visa, called Zivno Visa. It has been specially curated for freelancers and remote workers with the opportunity to stay over 90 days. You’ll have to book an appointment at the nearest Czech Consulate, and complete the documentation and interview process.
Zivno is short for ‘Zivnostenske opravneni’, intended for non-EU citizens who wish to have an extended stay in this paradise. After application your visa shall be confirmed in 90-120 days.
- Proof of funds (at least at least 124 500 CZK in your account)
- trade license and documental proofs of the intent of your stay
- Valid health insurance
- Clean criminal record
- Medical fitness certificate
- Proof of residence in Czech Republic
7. Spain - Renewable one year Non-Lucrative Visa
Like most European countries Spain is studded with royal palaces, sumptuous churches, modern landmarks, and a lot more. Besides, the capital Madrid counts among the best cities for digital nomads thanks to the inexpensive living costs and carefree lifestyle.
Therefore, the Non-Lucrative Visa offers one year stay with the option to renew it for two years at a time. To apply, you’ll have to visit the nearest Spanish consulate in your country, pay the fee, and submit the application.
Though you must check all the requirements for Spain’s Non-Lucrative Visa, here are the basic ones.
- Proof of financial sustainability
- Proof of public/private Spanish health insurance
- Medical fitness certificate
It’s important to note that freelancers and remote workers will be required to translate all documents into Spanish as well.
8. Mexico Temporary Resident Visa
Mexico is home to ancient ruins like that of Aztec and Chichen Itza, and also to modern beaches and coral reefs. So if you are looking for a workplace that allows you to enjoy all water sports and seafood this is the right place for you.
Mexico’s Temporary Resident Visa is for digital nomads who wish to reside in the country for a period between 180 days and four years. In case you seek employment with registered Mexican employers, you’ll need to apply for a work visa separately.
Applications to Mexico’s Temporary Resident Visa are hassle free and require minimal documentation. And a proof of economic solvency, stating annual income is a must. For both remote workers and freelancers, you will need to prove income of $1,634 USD per month. Also, as per standard procedures, you will have to visit the INM (Instituto Nacional de Migración) in the first 30 days of reaching Mexico, and then apply for a temporary residency permit.
9. Australian - Extendible one year Working Holiday Visa
Great Barrier Reef, beaches, museums, ancient ruins, botanical gardens, modern infrastructure and an international diaspora is what makes Australia unique. Also, many of its cities like Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra, are entrepreneurial hubs and best cities for digital nomads.
And since there is so much to explore in the country, a two year residency visa comes as a boon for digital nomads. Besides, the government allows temporary residents to gain employment and find their extended stay in Australia. The Working Holiday Visa allows you to travel for 12 months, work for six months at a time. And you can even study for up to 4 months. How cool is that?
- Applicant’s age must be between 18 and 30 (Up to 35 for Canadian, French and Irish Nationals)
- Sufficient fund to support the stay
- Not have had a visa cancelled or a previous application refused
- Meet health and character requirements
However, this visa is available for only a few countries, so you must definitely check if your home country is on the list. Also, in order to extend the visa, you will need to do some specified work in rural Australia.
Digital nomadism is a new way of living and national governments are fast accepting and promoting it through novel visa programmes. But while choosing a city or country and applying for a temporary resident visa, ensure that you understand the processes. Check your eligibility for a visa for the specific country. Ensure that you understand all the documents that are required to be attached with visa applications. Furnish the required documental proofs and ensure that they are true to the best of your knowledge.
And lastly, give your best in the interview as fascinating lifetime experiences await you on the other side. Good luck!