May 17, 2021 3 min read

Nations are rolling out the red carpet for digital nomads

Nations are rolling out the red carpet for digital nomads

In the new roaring '20s, countries compete for you. As a digital nomad, one of the biggest decisions you have to make is where to live — whether it is short-, medium-, or long-term. For digital nomads, residency and tax has traditionally been a tricky subject.

In the new roaring '20s, countries compete for you.

As a digital nomad, one of the biggest decisions you have to make is where to live — whether it is short-, medium-, or long-term. For digital nomads, residency and tax have traditionally been tricky subjects. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, this is changing. Countries are formalizing policies that support digital nomads working and living — honestly, the exciting part is that there may even be a trend where countries are essentially competing with each other to make it more attractive for digital nomads to come on over!

Today we review over 18 countries that have digital nomad visa programs:

Croatia started issuing digital nomad residence permits in January 2021.

The walled city of Dubrovnik overlooks the Adriatic.
On the coast of the Adriatic Sea, a Mediterranean gem awaits.

Things you need:

  • Minimum of €2500 per month in income or demonstrated savings
  • Pass a criminal background check in your home country
  • Prove accommodations with a rental or lease agreement
  • Obtain travel and health insurance valid for the length of your stay
  • Provide proof of self-employment or ability to work remotely

Dubai in the UAE launched a one-year virtual working program allowing remote workers who earn above a certain threshold of income to live and work in the Arabian metropolis.

The Burj Al Arab is visible from a beach in Dubai
On the Arabian/Persian Gulf, this metropolis will host the World Expo in October 2021.

Basic information:

  • A fairly high bar for salary: $5,000/month based on the last three months' pay
  • Health insurance for the duration of the stay
  • $287 for the visa fee — and please note one of our Wayviator crew has noted that the fees ultimately may be nearly double with a mandatory medical fitness exam and stamping fee (in addition to the visa fee). Budget $500
  • Request for application is available here.

Costa Rica is known for jungles, warm weather, surfing, and now — digital nomad communities.

A city by the sea at sunset, with mountains in the background in Costa Rica
Year-round warm weather and an up-and-coming digital nomad community.

The visa is called the Rentista visa, and it allows foreigners to stay for up to two years, with an extension available. It is for freelancers, entrepreneurs, and self-employed individuals.

  • Income or wealth: $2500 per month or $60,000 deposited into a Costa Rican bank
  • All documents must be translated into Spanish and notarized at home
  • Visa fee of $250
  • Request for application is available here (in Spanish).

Estonia has been forward-thinking on digital residency and attracting foreigners to start businesses locally. After many years of offering 'e-residency' which didn't necessarily confer real residency — the country created a digital nomad and freelancer visa that allows for physically residing in the country.

An Estonia city with cobblestone streets
An Eastern European town with a digital-first population.
  • You must earn €3500 per month for the preceding 6 months and work for a location-independent company or company based outside of Estonia.
  • More information is available here.

Mexico has introduced a one-year Temporary Resident Visa that's renewable for a further 3 years. The monthly income threshold may be attractive as it is fairly low.

The Mexican flag on a flagpole in a city square
Proximity to the USA and Canada, warm weather, and a North American time zone.

You must work for a company outside of Mexico or own a location-independent business and earn at least $1,620 or have a bank balance of $27,000.

You can apply in English here and then make an appointment at the Mexican consulate.

Curtis Duggan
Curtis Duggan
Founder of Wayviator.com. Curtis co-founded a digital health company in 2016 and sold it to Virgin Pulse in 2020.
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