Digital Nomad Visas (DNVs) have become a thing in recent years, thanks to the increase in remote working models post-pandemic.
DNVs allow non-citizens to carry out remote work or teleworking for companies located outside their country. Teleworkers refer to people who work through the exclusive use of computer means and systems, telematics and telecommunication.
In the last three years, several countries including Portugal, Croatia, Italy, and Hungary have launched their DNVs.
As a result of their need to explore and work in new environments, digital nomads often apply for these visas. This article features 10 countries that offer digital nomad visas for remote workers, across emerging markets.
1. Dubai (UAE)
In March 2021, the city of Dubai in the United Arab Emirates introduced a new 'Remote Work Visa' to enable employees from all over the world to live and work remotely from the UAE. Dubai was awarded a ‘Safe Travels’ stamp from the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), recognising their work to prevent the spread of Covid-19.
The new remote work visa gives you the freedom to travel to Dubai along with your family and work remotely while remaining employed in your home country. Dubai does not levy income tax on individuals. You also get access to all required services, including telecoms, utilities, and schooling options. [Apply here]
2. Antigua & Barbuda
The Caribbean island nation of Antigua & Barbuda has announced a digital nomad visa called the Nomad Digital Residence (NDR). It is for remote workers who can show the means to support themselves and any family members joining them.
This visa is good for 2-years, and visitors will be required to maintain their health insurance plan while staying within the country and enjoying its 365 different beaches. [Apply here]
Estonia became the first country to create an e-residency program that allows foreign entrepreneurs to license an EU-based online business. Then, in June 2020, they also opened up a one-year digital nomad and freelancer visa that allows foreigners to live in the country while working remotely. [Apply here]
Barbados has also opened its borders to digital nomads and remote workers who are looking to escape the pandemic while basing themselves in a beautiful island destination. The “Barbados Welcome Stamp” is a special 12-month visa for remote workers, which can also be renewed for even longer. [Apply here]
Malta has created its own Digital Nomad Residence Permit specifically targeting remote workers from outside the EU. The Mediterranean island of Malta has been attractive to digital nomads for years now, due to its sunny island lifestyle, widely spoken English, and strong internet infrastructure (including nationwide 5G service).
It is also located close to mainland Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East — which means there are many opportunities for travel addicts to get out and explore nearby. To qualify for Malta’s one-year-long Nomad Residence Permit, applicants must prove they can work remotely via the Internet. A permit holder may renew their Nomad Residence in Malta for a maximum of up to 3 years. [Apply here]
Portugal offers both a temporary resident visa (D7 passive income visa) and a residence permit for independent workers and entrepreneurs for one year, with the ability to renew for up to 5 years. After 5 years you can apply for permanent residency.
As a foreign visa holder and resident, you will be given a residence card, the Título de Residência. This is your official ID in Portugal. The beautiful Portuguese island of Madeira in particular has become a remote worker hub, especially with the launch of their Digital Nomads Village. [Apply here]
Mexico is a favourite hot spot for digital nomads, partly due to their long 6-month tourist visas. However, they also offer a 'Temporary Resident Visa' that’s good for one year with the ability to renew for another 3 years.
You will need to provide documents proving that you had a monthly income of at least $1,620 over the last 6-months or a bank account balance of $27,000. Mexico is open to offering temporary residency to remote workers that are financially self-sufficient. [Apply here]
Mauritius is another island nation that has just launched its special visa for remote workers. It’s a stunningly beautiful country, with crystal clear water, a thick jungle, and epic mountain peaks to climb.
To qualify for the country's one-year long (and completely free) Premium Visa, you need to produce proof of your long-stay plans and sufficient travel and health insurance during your stay. [Apply here]
Partly due to the dramatic drop in tourism because of the coronavirus pandemic, the country of Georgia introduced a digital nomad visa called “Remotely from Georgia” to help stimulate their economy. If you’re a remote worker, why not consider working from a country known for its low cost of living, colourful cities, and epic mountain landscapes? [Apply here]
As of January 2021, Croatia started issuing digital nomad visas. The visa is available for different lengths of time, with a maximum of 12 months. From what I’ve read, it seems you need to physically be in Croatia to apply for this long-term residence permit, as you can’t apply from overseas. [Apply here]
Of course, this list of countries offering digital nomad visas is not exhaustive, but rather our picks of some of the countries where you can work remotely as a digital nomad or a freelancer.
In a future article, we would feature a step-by-step guide on how to apply for a digital nomad visa or a remote worker visa to these countries.