What You Need To Know Before Securing A Digital Nomad Visa

The advancement of technology has resulted in a paradigm shift in how people work. Employees are now more inclined to prioritize work-life balance over getting a pay raise.  

Remote and hybrid work arrangements have become the norm across all industries nowadays. This is true for both small businesses and established enterprises. 

One of the biggest perks of working remotely is having more time to travel. Gone are the days when you miss out on good deals on airfare ticket prices. Now, you can even spontaneously plan a vacation and still be productive while you travel.

This process has become easier since countries have eased restrictions - allowing freelancers and entrepreneurs to work in their territory with less red tape.  

In this article, we’ll give an in-depth guide to how you can secure a digital nomad visa.

How to choose the right digital nomad visa

Different countries have introduced digital nomad visas, with the number set to grow in the coming months. This allows remote employees to reside and work abroad for a prolonged period. 

But, with so many alternatives, how do you know which digital nomad visa is right for you?

The top four criteria to consider while applying for a digital nomad visa are the following:

Processing Time

It can be daunting to deal with the bureaucracy in a foreign nation. As a digital nomad, you may not have as much time to wait for a visa as someone who doesn’t live a life of continual mobility.

Some digital nomad visa programs handle applications in a few days, while others may take a few months. If you're in a rush, you might want to research a country’s processing time before submitting an application. 

However, if you are willing to wait for your application to be processed, this criterion shouldn't be an issue.

Tax obligations

Taxes, taxes, taxes — digital nomads despise them because they become quite complicated, especially when you travel to different locations and live a remote lifestyle. 

You can use online tax calculators to estimate the taxes you'll have to pay before deciding which country to visit. If you want to ensure all your taxes are accounted for, it’s good practice to hire a professional tax consultant. 

Benefits and location

Let's face it: one of the primary reasons you'd like to apply for a digital nomad visa is to enjoy the experience of living in a foreign country.

You can settle in for a short time and explore a location, or make it feel like your next home.

As a result, one of the factors to consider while selecting a digital nomad visa is the country's location and benefits. You should also think about the country’s climate, holidays, culture, and overall quality of life in that destination.

Cost of living

man using a calculator to compute costs

Calculating a country’s cost of living is vital in deciding which digital nomad visa to apply for. This factor is dependent on the average annual income in the area. Make sure your salary corresponds to how much you can expect to spend – or perhaps save – while you are there.

Consider your financial objectives and the type of lifestyle you desire. 

To begin, assess your financial capabilities by coming up with concrete answers to the following: 

  • How much money are you willing to spend? 
  • Do you have a contingency plan in place for unforeseen costs? 
  • When do you intend to embark on your journey?

Once you do get answers to these questions, it’s time to consider your financial goals and the type of lifestyle you prefer. Are you a digital nomad that’s looking for outdoor activities? Or are you more interested in knowing more about a country’s culture and history by visiting museums and famous landmarks?

Types of Digital Nomad Visas Available

It's important to note that not all digital nomad visas listed below are geared to digital nomads (though most of them are). This is because there are other types of visas that, while not identical, are also applicable to professionals. Thus, we must include them in this list.

  • Digital nomad visa or remote work visa: 

These are official visas dedicated explicitly to digital nomads. They have been on the rise since 2020 (mainly due to the pandemic's impacts on local tourism and the prevalence of location-independent employees globally).

  • Freelancer or self-employed visas: 

These visas are primarily for entrepreneurs and freelancers who do not work exclusively online.

  • Long-stay or temporary resident visas: 

Some countries give this to foreigners to exempt them from applying for a permanent residence permit during their first year of stay while still allowing them to work.

  • Working holiday visas:

These are long-standing visas that allow visitors to work or look for work throughout their stay in a particular country.

Economic benefits of a digital nomad visa

benefits of a digital nomad visa chart

While foreign travel activity has increased since 2020, a full economic recovery is still a long way off. Digital nomad visas assist in the influx of visitors who can help support and boost a country’s local economy.

Factors that attract digital nomads to a country are climate, cost of living, and reliable internet connection plus remote work facilities. Overall, digital nomad visas can benefit a country’s economy by giving foreigners an easier opportunity to enter the country. 

Some may continue working remotely or look for a more stable position to stay in the country for good once their visa expires. 

Final Thoughts

The number of countries offering digital nomad visas has increased as remote work arrangements have become more common. The creation of initiatives to attract distant workers is a clear potential for countries to enhance their economies. A country’s capacity to integrate nomads into the local society and establish a robust infrastructure to serve their needs will determine the success of these projects.

In many aspects, multiple events have altered how businesses across most industries conduct their operations. Millions of companies worldwide need to adopt the remote or hybrid work setup because of it.

Some people have even chosen to leave their place of residence in exchange for a more comfortable workstation where they can be more productive and be in proximity to other professionals.

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