Digital Nomad Visa:
A work visa without
the red tape

A relatively new concept, a digital nomad visa is a type of work permit than allows the holder to work in a particular country without the need for formal sponsorship from an employer.

Traditional visa types can have protracted qualification requirements and often require the employing entity to be registered in the country from which the individual is working.  This can be particularly problematic not just for large corporations but for self-employed individuals who would otherwise struggle to obtain the necessary sponsorship.

The pandemic has only heightened interest in this type of permission, with many IT professionals in particular seeking alternative locations to work from whilst their role remains remote. That said, this desire to work from the beach can raise significant compliance risks for the employer and individual alike. Questions such as how long a person can remain in a country and whether they can actually ‘work’ are the most common queries before this type of arrangement can commence.

As an answer to the rising demand and partly to bolster local economies, some countries have introduced what is known as a digital nomad visa. More robust than a visitor visa but with greater flexibility than the traditional work permit routes, these categories are seen as the ultimate tool in remote working.

It is not just the individual participating in remote working that must take heed of their status and ensure the appropriate visa is in place. Employers must also be aware of their remote workforce as they too can face legal repercussions if an employee does not have the permission to work in the jurisdiction from which they are working.

Where can I get a digital nomad visa?

Currently, the following list of countries offer formal digital nomad visas. Others may well allow for the presence of digital nomads on an informal basis, whether it be through relaxed visitor regulations or proxy sponsorship, however we have omitted them from the list owing to the fact they do not formally identify a nomad category.

  • Barbados
  • Bermuda
  • Anguilla
  • Estonia
  • Dubai (UAE)
  • Georgia
  • Cayman Islands

It is anticipated Croatia will soon join this list, with further information due in early 2021. Further additions may well be made, with countries keen to boost their coffers and encourage spending in their economy: Indonesia for one is considering the option.

Many of the above countries share common themes to their visa requirements, with all having an income requirement of sorts. This does vary quite considerably and may vary if any family members are accompanying the main applicant.   In Estonia, applicants must demonstrate an income of €3,500 per month, whilst in Georgia it is substantially less at $2,000 per month.

Visas are generally valid for a period of one year although there are some exceptions, namely the Cayman Islands. Furthermore, many of these countries charge an application fee which ranges from $2,000 for Anguilla or completely free in the case of Georgia.

Help with applying for a digital nomad visa

Smith Stone Walters is on hand to assess eligibility for a digital nomad visa, whether it be from an individual perspective or an employer looking to review their compliance on remote working. We are able to provide assistance in making the applications and ensuring the local immigration rules are met thereafter.

To speak to an immigration advisor, please contact us today.

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