Lifestyle & Culture

New Digital Nomad visas: More countries see restless internationals as key to prosperity

As the Trump madness, the pandemic and hurricanes all converge on the United States, the question we get more than any other is “What’s the easiest route to living in Europe long-term?” In the past, we would have directed you to our Golden Visa archives or our posts about freelance visas. But all of a sudden, countries see digital nomads as long-term economic assets and image boosters and are issuing digital nomad visas.

That’s because many are skilled developers, entrepreneurs, social media marketers and influencers pulling down serious jack. But you don’t have to be all about the money. You, like our Beth Hoke, can make a living doing what you love to do, in her case, writing, teaching English and hustling clients while she experiences the best Europe has to offer.

So let’s look at the latest developments. And so you know … these visas aren’t actually available yet in Europe. We’ll update this post as they come online.

Estonia

In June, Estonia announced plans for a digital nomad visa, with ambitions to attract 2,000 on-the-go people to this far north innovation center, though you can’t apply yet.

Estonia has always been a net talent-exporter, with its techies leaving for London or Stockholm to lay the digital foundations for multiple Unicorns including Skype and TransferWise. Now, Estonia wants to steal other countries’ best and brightest.

The one-year visas will be available to digital nomads willing to spend part of their time working from the Baltic state. (We recommend the summer.) The visa will allow people to stay in the country for 12 months, including 90 days of travel across Europe’s 26-country Schengen zone, which in and of itself will make this a hit.

When the visa goes live, you’ll apply to embassies just like you would for any other visa. But we’re guessing this launches a whole cottage industry of companies that will help you get this visa for a fee.

Who is eligible to apply?

  • You can work anywhere remotely using telecommunications technology
  • You have an active employment contract with a company registered outside of Estonia; you conduct business through your own company registered abroad, or you work as a freelancer for clients mostly outside of Estonia.
  • You can prove your income meets the minimum threshold during the six months preceding the application. Currently, the monthly income threshold is 3,504 euros before taxes

While you can’t apply yet online, you can subscribe to the newsletter here that will alert you when all this goes live.

The fee is 80 euros for a Type C (short stay) visa and 100 euros for the Type D (long stay) visa. Forms can be submitted at the nearest embassy.

Georgia

Is Georgia (the country, not the state) on your mind? Maybe it should be as this last of the exotic (sort of) European destinations is offering a digital nomad visa. Georgia, like every other country in the world, wants to attract highly skilled internationals who can contribute to the tax base.

This country on the physical and psychological dividing line between Europe and Asia is inexpensive and, according to our expats, beautiful and inviting.

This visa isn’t available yet, but when it is, you’ll apply here.

Not in Europe, but we hear it’s nice

Here’s a no-brainer … work from the beach on one of the world’s lovliest islands, a favorite of British celebrities since the 1930s. With its five-star resorts, Barbados was St. Barths before St. Barths became the Caribbean destination in the 2000s.

If Elon Musk were a digital nomad, this is where he’d be digitally nomading – with Amber Heard at Sandy Lane.

Now, Barbados, of all places, is offering a digital nomad visa.

On 1 July, Barbados Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley announced a 12-month Barbados Welcome Stamp to allow visitors the option to work remotely from Barbados for a year at a time.

“You don’t need to work in Europe, or the US or Latin America if you can come here and work for a couple months at a time; go back and come back,” the prime minister announced.

You can apply here, and there is a $2,000 fee involved. Also, you have to “expect” to make at least $50,000 during the next 12 months. (We expect to make millions … we hope that counts.)

Now, about that cost of living … cities such as Tallinn and Tbilisi are far less expensive cities than, say, Copenhagen or Amsterdam. The Caribbean not so much. We are huge fans of the Caribbean, but we know from experience that most things are more expensive just because everything has to be shipped in.

That said, Expatica and other crowd-sourced data mills indicate that Bridgetown, the main city on Barbados, has sort of affordable housing, about 40-percent less than Amsterdam.

So there you go … you heard it here first.

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