The Rise of Digital Nomad Visas
Jet-off to your dream location for a much-needed workcation!
By Arushi Sakhuja
Things have taken a 360 degree in the post-pandemic world. With travel numbers in some places exceeding While there were some things about the pandemic life that we enjoyed, one that left many of us with bittersweet feelings was remote working - some loved the concept while others took a while to adapt to the normal. But if you are one to inch towards the former, you do know remote working can be a boom. However, on the flip side, it can often be monotonous and tiresome working out of the four walls of your room, or maybe your living room; hence leaving you craving for a change in scene. And what better than a work-cation?
If some discovered new quaint cafes to work out of, others drove off to pristine beaches of hillside locations for a break amidst nature, because just a change in environment can immensely increase the productivity of work. Workcations and staycations were surely on the rise. However initially they were limited just to the domestic front. When tourism finally opened, people's itch to travel increased immensely and everyone was waiting to jet off to their desired locales. Although the tourism and hospitality industry was one of the worst hit during the pandemic, they saw this as a time to cash on a new business opportunity — workcations in a foreign land allowing tourists to work remotely from a new country/city. Countries started opening borders for nomad work visas for tourists. Today there are over 40 countries that offer a nomad visa. Indonesia is the latest country that offers a five-year nomad allowing you to live and work remotely in Indonesia, without tax liabilities in the country.
The pandemic has created a new breed of entrepreneur: one that has learned how to make a living digitally, who has a laptop and is equipped to work anywhere, and who leads a mobile lifestyle. Such an individual is sometimes called a digital nomad - someone who uses technology to work remotely while being away from home. Many countries offer such individuals and their dependant digital nomad visas.
What is a nomad visa?
A digital nomad is someone who lives a nomadic lifestyle and uses technology to work remotely from outside their home country. A digital nomad visa is a document or program that gives someone the legal right to work remotely while residing away from their country of permanent residence. Usually, a requirement is that you work for an employer outside the country or are self-employed and have a business that you can manage remotely. Also, you will need to have a job where you can do the work remotely. Like tourist visas, they are easy to obtain but in addition, they allow for longer stays. Avisa of this kind is great if you are a freelancer, a worker whose job is location-independent or if you own a business that can be run from anywhere. If you don’t need to worry about locations or time zones, getting a digital nomad visa for a foreign country will allow you to live and work remotely there.
Countries that offer digital nomad visas
As of April 2023, 55 regions offer programs for temporary remote workers. Some countriesthat have these visas are Norway, Colombo, Cyprus, Bahamas, Barbados, Croatia, Mexico, Australia, Spain, Greece, Romania, Hungary, Cyprus, Latvia, Albania, St. Lucia, Grenada, Panama, Belize, Brazil, Ecuador, Dubai, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Malaysia, Namibia, North Macedonia, Serbia, Montenegro, Indonesia-Bali, Italy, Columbia, and South Africa. Thailand leads as the world's top country for digital nomads based on a number of criteria including temperature, cost of living, internet speed, and the variety of activities available.
Getting this kind of visa usually comes with benefits. In Iceland, for example, teleworkers have the right to family reunification. In Italy, digital nomads can benefit from a 70% tax reduction on their income. In Madeira, teleworkers can enjoy free Wi-Fi, use coworking spaces and are invited to specific events. In Spain, the tax rate for digital nomads could reportedly be 15%, compared to 25% for Spanish residents.
From a practical point of view, this type of visa can be obtained either online, if the country has set up a digital application process, or via the relevant embassies and consulates.
Eligibility Criteria For a Digital Nomad Visa
However, in order to obtain their permit, digital nomads usually need to ensure they have sufficient income to support themselves. In Romania, you have to earn up to three times the average Romanian salary to telework from Bucharest, i.e., €3,500. Alternatively, Portugal only requires digital nomads to earn €700 a month. In the list of documents to be provided, employees must sometimes present proof of accommodation, and private health insurance is also required.
You must be over 18 years of age.
You must have a specific monthly income (the amount varies from country to country).
You must have a job you can do from anywhere in the world.
How Much Does a Digital Nomad Visa Cost?
A digital nomad visa can cost from $200 up to $2,000
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Digital nomad visas may offer many promising opportunities, but they could also create fresh challenges. They can, for example, spark a rise in local living costs, increase competition for resources and create bubbles of privileges.