People & Money

Top Five Countries with a Digital Nomad Visa

Remote working is becoming more popular than ever before, driven by a convergence of factors that have reshaped how work is viewed. In 2020, companies were forced to adapt to remote work as a safety measure in response to the global pandemic. However, it is no longer a temporary response to unforeseen circumstances but a permanent fixture in the modern work landscape.

According to a report by US workforce management company MBO Partners in August 2023, there has been a 2% increase from 2022, with 17.3 million Americans, which represents 11% of the U.S. workforce, now identifying as digital nomads. This includes both traditional jobholders and independent workers.

Also Read: Application Opens for New UK Visa Scheme for graduates from top 50 Universities

In response to this shifting dynamics, many countries especially in the global North are setting up frameworks and offering remote visa schemes to digital nomads. A digital nomad visa, or sometimes a temporary residency permit, grants visitors permission to stay in a country and work remotely for a foreign employer or business using a computer or laptop.

Here are five countries that are currently offering the best digital nomad visa schemes.

1. Canada

The Canadian government is actively encouraging digital nomads as part of its tech talent strategy by promoting Canada as an attractive location for remote work. According to current Canadian immigration rules, a digital nomad can move to Canada and work remotely for a foreign employer for up to six months with just visitor status.

The Digital Nomad Index produced by Circle Loop rated Canada as the number one destination in the world for digital nomads, ahead of the UK and Romania. The country has an average broadband speed of 149.35 Mbps and an average mobile internet speed of 84.54 Mbps.

2. Norway

Norway offers a digital nomad visa which is a 2-year visa tagged the Independent Contractor Visa. However, this visa is targeted to only self-employed individuals as one of the requirements of the visa is that the applicant must prove that they run a business outside Norway.

Some of the requirements of the Norwegian Independent Contractor Visa include a minimum annual income of €35,719 which will be proven with bank statements; The applicant must have at least one client from Norway, and to demonstrate this, they’ll have to provide a contract with the Norwegian client confirming the client will pay at least the minimum wage. The visa fee is €600.

In addition to the Independent Contractor Visa, Norway also provides the Svalbard Digital Nomad Visa. This visa permits applicants to reside in Norway’s Svalbard region while working as a digital nomad.

Norway is included on the list because of the quality of life in the country. The country has a broadband speed of 146.53 Mbps, a mobile internet speed of 87.37 Mbps, as well as a Happiness Index of 7.49, according to the Digital Nomad Index.

3. Spain

In June 2023, Spain introduced a digital nomad visa that allows remote workers and freelancers to live and work in Spain for up to one year. The visa is renewable for up to five years.

Some of the requirements of the visa include proof of the minimum income requirement which is set at €2,160 per month or €25,920 per year for an individual. Applicants should either hold a bachelor’s or master’s degree from a prestigious university, college, or business school or have a minimum of three years of work experience in their current field. Applicants can also obtain visas for their family members or dependents.

4. Portugal

Portugal offers the D7 Visa which is also known as the Retirement Visa or Passive Income Visa. The residence visa in Portugal is open to non-EU/EEA/Swiss citizens with a decent net regular passive income, which is a common characteristic of remote workers and freelancers. The visa offers a residence permit in Portugal for one year and can be renewed for two years successively. After five years, holders of this visa can apply for permanent residency.

Also Read: UK Student Visa Can Now be Switched to Skilled Worker Visas, Before Graduating 

To be eligible for this visa, applicants need a minimum yearly income of €8,460. If they have a spouse, they should have 50 per cent of this amount, and each dependent child should have 30 per cent. According to the Digital Nomad Index, Portugal is the 34th best country for remote working, with an average broadband speed of 131.5 Mbps, and an average broadband cost of $49.42.

5. Malta

Malta, a small island nation in southern Europe, is well-known for its sunny weather and beautiful sandy beaches. This European country also offers stunning natural landscapes that are perfect for outdoor adventures like hiking, cycling, and rock climbing, hence it is an ideal country for digital nomads.

In 2021, the country introduced a digital nomad visa that’s known as the Nomad Residence Permit. It allows non-EU nationals to reside in the country for one year. However, if applicants plan to stay for less than one year, the visa allows them to stay for between 91 and 180 days. The minimum gross monthly income required to apply for the visa is €2,700.

David Olujinmi

David Olujinmi studies Engineering but his true passion is research and analysis. He writes about finance, particularly the capital market, investment banking, and asset management. More »

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