Digital nomadism was a phenomenon that existed before the pandemic. But now, with the advent of remote work, the trend has exploded. Countries across Europe are recognizing the benefits — including money — that digital nomads can bring to sparsely populated cities and villages, and are devising ways to make it easier for them to settle. What is a digital nomad visa? In English, a “digital nomad visa” is a somewhat nebulous term, but it generally refers to a temporary residence permit that allows foreigners to stay in a country between six months and two years.
For remote workers outside the EU, they can offer an ideal way to settle on the continent without being tied down by restrictive tourist visas. But not all digital nomad visas are created equal. In Iceland, for example, program applicants must prove they earn at least €7,100 per month, while a Portuguese visa requires people to stay in the country for at least 16 months during the first two years after program approval.
Here is a brief summary of how these digital nomad visas will work in the European countries that offer them, and the countries you can expect to get them soon. Croatia launched its Digital Nomad Visa in January 2021. It allows successful applicants to stay for one year, and can be extended for a second year. Requirements include a government-issued background check from your home country, proof of health and travel insurance, proof of Croatian address, and proof that you are a digital nomad. Applicants must be able to prove that they earn at least €2,370 per month, but that they will not be taxed by Croatia.
Unlike typical digital nomad visas, the Czech digital nomad visa is a long-term residence permit that allows non-European nomads to work independently in the country as a freelancer for up to 365 days. Nomads wishing to work in the Czech Republic must apply for a “Zivno” visa in person through the Czech Republic’s embassy in their home country. The process of applying for this visa is not entirely smooth – it can take between 90 and 120 days and the applicant must pay a fee of 1,000 CZK (around 40 euros).
Estonia launched its digital nomad visa in August 2020, and the new program allows successful applicants to stay for one year. You will need proof of a monthly income of €3,504 per month and must be self-employed or work for a foreign company. For the first 183 consecutive days in the country, digital nomads will not pay any taxes, after which they will be considered residents of Estonia.
The Georgia Remote, Georgia Digital Nomad Visa allows remote workers who earn at least $24,000 per year to stay in the country for up to one year. During this time, nomads are registered as residents of Georgia and can register with local health care. Beyond its beautiful countryside – where nomads can find plenty of outdoor activities in the Caucasus Mountains and along the Black Sea coast – Georgia is one of the cheapest nomad destinations in Europe. The digital nomad visa application process is also relatively simple: you can apply online in just 10 minutes and receive your visa within 10 days.
Greece launched its digital nomad visa in September 2021 and allows people to stay in the country for 12 months, which can then be extended for a second year. Digital nomads must prove that they will work for the duration of their stay by presenting an employee contract and showing proof of Greek address. The minimum required monthly income is €3,500 and the application fee is €75. Bedouins will not pay any taxes for the first six months in the country, but they will also not be able to use public health or education services.
The Icelandic Digital Backpacker Visa, announced in November 2020, is perhaps the least attractive of the bunch, with a required monthly income of 1 million ISK, or more than €7,100 at current rates. There is also an application fee of $83. Successful applicants will be able to stay in the country for up to six months without paying any local taxes.
The Mediterranean, sun, sand…and a relatively easy visa process make Malta a great place for backpackers. Interested applicants must fill out and sign a written form, indicating how long they plan to stay in the country, and also write a letter of intent, stating their motives for applying for a Bedouin residence permit (in addition to providing the usual documents: passport, proof of income, etc. that). The permit is issued for one year and is renewable – it usually takes up to 30 days to be approved. Applicants who plan to stay for less than one year will be issued a national visa for the duration of their stay. Some conditions to note: Bedouins must have a gross monthly income of €2,700 per month to be considered for a digital nomad visa and pay an application fee of €300.
Norway does not have a dedicated digital nomad visa, but independent nomads (with business abroad) can apply for an independent businessman visa, which allows them to stay in Norway for up to two years – earning at least €35,718 euros annually. To apply for an independent contractor visa, applicants must complete an application form, print and sign this checklist, and pay an application fee of €600. You can apply for the visa in person either at the police station in Norway or through the Norwegian embassy in your country. A key point to note: digital nomads with an independent entrepreneur visa will have to pay local taxes during their stay in Norway and will need to apply for a VAT number.
The Portugal D7 visa is one of the oldest digital nomad residence permits, and was launched in 2007. Applicants must earn €9,870 annually and have a Portuguese tax number and bank account. The catch is that applicants must be able to stay in the country for 16 months within the first two years of their stay. The application process is very long and people must have health insurance and proof of Portuguese address.
It’s still not clear when the Italian Digital Nomad Visa will be available, but we do know some information about what it will mean for digital nomads. It is believed to give people the right to reside in Italy for a year and potentially earn a minimum income. The visa will also only be available to “highly skilled workers,” but it’s unclear how that will be determined.
Montenegro has not finalized its plans for a digital nomad visa yet, but it is expected to be rolled out later this year. From now on, the visa should allow nomads to live in Montenegro for two years, with the possibility of renewing the visa for another two years after that. There has also been talk of tax breaks for nomads who hold this visa, though no further details have been revealed.
The Spanish Digital Nomad Visa has been in the works for some time, it looks like the government will have the legislation in place by the end of the year. It remains unclear exactly what the rules will surround the visa, but it is believed that it will allow the nomads to live in the country for six to 12 months, with the possibility of extension.