With a constant increase of people flipping their 9-to-5 jobs for a more adventurous life, digital nomads are completely redefining remote working: can you imagine working and travelling, simultaneously, with (almost) no restriction?
Let’s have a quick overview of which countries have started to set up immigration procedures to cope with digital nomads’ travel needs, and what they are currently offering in terms of visas for these new remote workers.
As the global pandemic has hit the usual business practices, lots of workers have decided to start a new life. A bigger house, a quieter town, or a totally different view from their windows is just a sample of the reasons given to those being interviewed. Sometimes, working remotely is not enough and you're just craving for a new travel lifestyle.
Digital workers are definitely the most benefited from this situation: all they need is a good internet connection, a reliable VPN (virtual private network: provides online privacy by creating a private network from a public internet connection) and a decent equipment that will follow them everywhere.
Are you an IT expert? A social media influencer? A marketing guru? A best-seller author?
Pack up your stuff and let's go on an adventure! (any similarities with a small long-foot guy would be totally fortuitous)
Let's stick to the facts: a digital nomad is a 100% remote worker who is usually travelling and working at the same time (the main difference between a remote worker and digital nomad is principle of being "nomad" and going out of your own country).
The recipe is pretty simple: take a cup of wireless internet device, an inch of Wi-Fi, mix it into a co-working space or coffee shop, and you'll get a happy digital nomad, ready to fulfill any mission you'll assign to them.
Not convinced? Latest studies show that digital nomads are happier than ever.
Figures never lie:
- 85% of business owners say their business is more productive when people work remotely
- 49% of digital nomads earn the same salary (or more) than their prior office job
- 70% of digital nomads report working no more than 40 hours per week
After two years under the threat of the global Covid19 pandemic, we also begin to see a real rise of the numbers. The pandemic led people to leave their way of life not only for a few months, but for good. For example, in 2021, 11 million of Americans were choosing nomadism, against 7.3 million in 2019. Speaking globally, the estimated number of digital nomads is 35 million in 2021.
Any place to recommend as a kickoff?
Many countries are now offering visa residency options for digital nomads, as you have to keep in mind that tourist visas usually do not offer the possibility to work (or a legal scheme to start an activity). That's where you must be very cautious.
As national immigration laws may vary from one country to another, please note that you'll have to check for updates regularly (and if applicable, add some COVID restrictions or requirements). Most of the time you'll be asked to send few documents (passport, ID photos, proof of income, criminal record, health insurance, etc.) along with the fees in place in the country of destination.
As of July 2021, these countries and regions were offering programs for temporary remote workers:
Beyond Extraordinary Anguilla program allows digital nomads to stay for up to 1 year.
- Antigua & Barbuda
Nomad Digital Residence is valid for 2 years (for both islands).
- The Bahamas
Bahamas Extended Access Travel Stay allows digital nomads to work remotely for 1 year from any of the 16 islands.
Barbados Welcome Stamp sets up a visa allowing visitors to work remotely for up to 1 year.
Work From Bermuda Certificate permits digital nomads to work remotely for 1 year.
Brazil has a 12-month Digital Nomad Visa that can be renewed for another 12 months
- Cabo Verde
Cabo Verde Remote Working Program is valid for 6 months and can be renewed for another 12 months (available to remote workers originating from Europe, North America, the Community of Portuguese Speaking Countries, and the Economic Community of West African States).
- Cayman Islands
Global Citizen Concierge Program targets wealthier remote workers. Those who can meet the high entry barrier can work remotely from any of the 3 islands for 2 years.
- Costa Rica
Rentista temporary residency visa offers a 2-year remote work opportunity.
Croatia doesn't offer a visa, but its program still targets digital nomads. Temporary stay is available for up to 1 year, without the possibility of extension, but you can submit a new application for another 6 months.
The @HOME in Curaçao program is available to remote workers for 6 months (can be extended for another 6 months)
- Czech Republic
The Czech Republic’s freelancer visa, Zivno, lasts for 1 year.
Work In Nature Extended Stay Visa for digital nomads provides an 18-month legal stay.
The city of Dubai launched its 1-year Virtual Working Program for remote workers and digital nomads.
Estonia launched an official Digital Nomad Visa for remote workers to remain in the country for up to 1 year.
The Remotely from Georgia program enables digital nomads and their families to work for 1 year.
Germany’s residence permit is granted to freelancers and other self-employed workers to reside within the country for 3 months, but this can be extended by up to 3 years.
The Digital Nomad Visa program is for digital nomads that are non-EU / EEA Citizens and is valid for 1year. After that, you can apply for the digital nomad residence permit, with a validity of an additional year. This one can be renewed again for a total stay of 3 years.
The Long-Term Visa for Remote Workers can be issued for up to 180 days (not available to citizen originating from the EU, the European Economic Area, or the European Free Trade Association).
The Nomad Residence Permit allows digital nomads to work remotely for 1 year (can be renewed but is available only to residents of countries outside of the EU).
The Premium Travel Visa offers 1 year of remote working (with the possibility to renew).
Mexico’s Temporary Resident Visa is targeted toward (but not restricted to) Canadians. Digital nomads can work remotely within Mexico for 180 days to 4 years.
Montserrat Remote Work Stamp is valid for 1 year of remote working.
The Independent Contractor Visa provides 2 years of residency within Norway for remote workers.
In May 2021 Panama created the Short Stay Visa for Remote Workers. It is a 9-month visa that can be extended for another 9 months and allows you to work remotely.
Portugal offers a visa for independent workers that is valid for 1 year. It can be renewed twice, each time for another 2 years.
Romania has a 6-month Digital Nomad Visa that can be renewed for another 6 months
- Saint Lucia
Its Non-Immigrant Visa allows you to stay for 1 year on a multiple entry visa and work remotely, and is called Saint Lucia Live It.
The Seychelles Workcation program enables digital nomads to work remotely from any of its islands for up to 1 year.
- Sri Lanka
The country just set up a Digital Nomad Visa; with a 1-year validity. Possibility of an extention is still beind discussed
The Taiwan Employment Gold Card combines an open-ended work permit, resident visa, alien resident certificate, and re-entry permit. The card allows workers (remote or not) to stay in Taiwan for up to 3 years.
We can spot other countries where similar programs are soon expected to be launched - they'll be added to the above list: Thailand, Belize, Cyprus, Montenegro, Slovakia, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Grenada, Ecuador, Colombia, Argentina and Albania. New Zealand and Finland are expected to set up a self-sponsorship route to residency.
Of course, this is a quick overview, and as the world is definitely having a twist in business practices, "digital nomad visas" may become the new trend in a close future.
Can everyone become a digital nomad?
From backpackers to retirees, from digital families to entrepreneurs, everyone can jump into the loop of the nomad life. First of all, you must set up your mindset and open your chakras: the process is not necessarily complicated! As you'll certainly be travelling, the very first thing to get is a travel health insurance. Then, finding a first country of destination is the second step.
The best advice we could give you is to be accompanied by a professional, whether you are an independent and afraid not to find any client/missions, or an employee and not knowing a thing about how to convince your employer to be more flexible and adaptable.
At Cooptalis, we provide a wide scope of solutions, from talent recruitment & training to immigration & relocation services. We operate worldwide and have offices everywhere with experts awaiting to help you guys.
Want to know more about our services ? >> International & National Mobility
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