Digital nomad visas offer new opportunities for remote workers
Spain could soon join the list of countries that have chosen to introduce a specific visa for teleworkers wishing to settle elsewhere. And this particular visa could be valid for up to five years, according to The Guardian. Europe has become a major destination for digital nomads thanks to the proliferation of these new permits. But there are still some conditions to respect…
Zoom meetings can be much more enjoyable when you and your computer are sitting on a sunny patio, than when you’re crammed into an impersonal office or coworking space, let alone a tiny apartment. One of the benefits of the pandemic is that it has proven that many people can work efficiently and productively without being in the office. Meanwhile, stories of workers fleeing their cramped apartments to work remotely in Madeira or the Canary Islands seemed to be everywhere. And then, when the latest closures and restrictions finally ended, everyone went back to work – except for some, who took advantage of a whole new form of visa precisely for remote workers, or so-called nomads digital. Estonia was the first member of the European Union to launch a digital nomad visa. The entry permit became official relatively early in the global Covid-19 crisis, in June 2020.
Unlike a tourist visa, teleworkers can stay longer. As a general rule, employees can work under these conditions for one year (up to two years in Italy). But an expired document does not necessarily prevent them from renewing their application, as is the case in Greece, where the validity is 12 months. Obtaining this type of visa usually comes with benefits. In Iceland, for example, teleworkers have the right to family reunification. In Italy, digital nomads can benefit from a 70% tax reduction on their income. In Madeira, teleworkers can take advantage of free Wi-Fi, use coworking spaces and are invited to specific events. In Spain, where the visa is not yet in place, the tax rate for digital nomads could be 15%, compared to 25% for Spanish residents.
However, to get their permit, digital nomads usually need to make sure they have enough income to support themselves when they arrive. In Romania, you have to earn up to three times the average Romanian salary to telecommute from Bucharest, or €3,500. Alternatively, Portugal only requires digital nomads to earn €700 per month. In the list of documents to provide, employees must sometimes present proof of accommodation, as in Croatia for example, or a letter from their employer proving that they are not unemployed (this is the case in Iceland). In many cases, private health insurance is also required.
From a practical point of view, this type of visa can be obtained either online, if the country has set up a digital application procedure, or via the relevant embassies and consulates.
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Europe isn’t the only place where digital nomads can get visas to live and work. European citizens can, for example, apply for this type of visa in Antigua, the Caribbean, as well as in Bermuda, the Cayman Islands and more.
Finally, if you want to go to a particular country, but its government does not have a specific visa for teleworkers, it is still worth checking if there is a “freelancers” visa or “business” for which you may be eligible. The Czech Republic, for example, has not added another specific visa category but remains open to digital nomads.
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