What does it mean to be a digital nomad?
Discovering the world without needing to “take a vacation leave” is ideal for anyone who loves to travel. Paradoxically, it is the pandemic that has turned this dream into reality, giving more and more people the opportunity to embrace the digital nomad philosophy. If you are not familiar with the term, a digital nomad is an individual, usually freelance or self-employed, who, thanks to his or her professional activity requiring only a computer, a smartphone and a good internet connection, can work anywhere in the world. Today, many countries offer an accessible visa for this mode of work; in this article, we invite you to discover how to become a digital nomad and where to expatriate!
Which job is best for a digital nomad?
Digital Nomads are mostly independent workers (freelancers) who can practice their profession anywhere. Some of the more modern companies also allow their employees to telework 100% as long as the job is done! It is the web and graphic design professions that allow such an opportunity:
- Web design, UX / UI designer
- Content writer
- Web developer / programmer / web integrator
- Digital marketing specialist
- Traffic Manager / Acquisition Manager
- Management of an online e-commerce business…
As you can see, to become a digital nomad, you need to have strong digital skills.
What documents do I need to be a digital nomad?
For most countries, you will need to provide certain documents in order to apply for the Digital Nomad visa. These fall into three main categories.
- Proof of income (sometimes 3 months back);
- A minimum amount of savings.
- Photo ID;
- Valid passport;
- Proof of expatriate health insurance;
- A clean criminal record;
- Medical certificate of good health;
- Airline tickets.
- A certificate of accommodation;
- One or more letters of recommendation from local clients;
- Proof of educational qualifications;
- A contract with a local client;
- Tax identification number of the country concerned;
- A letter of intent outlining why you are moving to the country and what you will be doing there.
Digital Nomad: where to go?
For the sake of attractiveness, many countries offer Digital Nomad expatriation with very accessible visas. The ball is in the court of the future expatriate who only has to choose according to his cultural preferences and the standard of living of his host country. Good news for future expats, the choice is wide as more than 40 countries offer such a visa.
Expatriating with a Digital Nomad visa in Europe
Let’s start our tour d’Horizon with the expatriation to Georgia, for which we already wrote a short article. For European Union residents: no Georgian visa is required for a stay in Georgia of less than 1 year. However, for a continuous stay of more than one year, a long-stay visa and a residence permit are required.
To work remotely while staying in the country, you must prove that you earn $2,000 per month or have a bank statement showing $24,000, have proof of remote work and expatriate health insurance. It’s quick and easy and there’s no need to go through the process of getting a visa.
The advantage: the very low cost of living!
To expatriate to Germany, it will cost you 100 euros (approximately, depending on the country you are applying from) to obtain the sacrosanct visa valid for up to 3 years. In order to apply for the Digital Nomad Visa in Germany, you will need several documents including a freelance application form, two letters of recommendation, proof of residency, a CV and cover letter and proof of health insurance.
Please note that working as a digital nomad in Germany requires you to find at least one local client.
The Portugal Passive Income or D7 is a visa for self-employed workers and entrepreneurs for a period of one year renewable up to five years. After 5 years you have the possibility to apply for permanent residence. The Digital Nomad visa in Portugal costs 83 euros. You have to prove that you earn at least $755 per month and have savings of at least $9058. Finally, you will need to provide proof of intent or a letter establishing your status as a digital nomad indicating that you are either a remote worker for a foreign employer, a business owner outside Portugal or a self-employed person with foreign clients.
According to the StartUp Act, which is the embryo of the Digital Nomad Visa that should be released in the next few months: remote workers can obtain a visa that allows them to stay and work for 5 years with a special tax regime. Although the visa is still under discussion, the criteria mentioned to be eligible are:
- To be able to work independently of your location (remote worker).
- To be able to carry out your work responsibilities using information and communication technologies (wifi, laptops, etc.).
- You must meet the financial requirements set by the Spanish government. In general, this can range from 1,000 to 3,000 euros.
- You will not be allowed to work for a company registered in Spain. In other words, you must be employed by a non-Spanish/foreign company.
The island offers a digital nomad visa called: Nomad Residency Permit for non-Europeans. Freelancers, consultants or employees of foreign companies (or who have foreign clients) can apply.
It will cost 300€ for the family visa included and is valid for one year (renewable). To qualify, you must prove an income of €2700 per month. See the full list of eligibility criteria on this link.
A word of advice: the cost of living is high! Expect to pay over $3,000 per month to live comfortably.
If you want to expatriate to Hungary, check out the White Card visa. Valid for one year and renewable for a further year (if eligible), it will cost you €110 to apply. The only requirement is to prove that you earn 2000 euros per month. For your information, this is an individual residence permit and does not allow you to stay as couples or families. The main targeted group for this visa is “single people under 40“..
The last European country in our article to allow access to the Digital Nomad on its territory is Cyprus. The aim of this visa is to help transform the business ecosystem and stimulate the local economy by attracting talented people to the country. The visa gives the right to stay and work remotely on the island for 12 months. This visa can be extended for an additional 24 months. Applicants will need to prove that they earn €3500 per month after taxes and that they can work remotely using telecommunications technology.
If you are interested in an expatriation to Cyprus, please read our advice on how to make the move to Cyprus a success.
Information: If you wish to expatriate to Cyprus as a family, the minimum amount to prove increases by 20% if you are married and by 15% for each minor child.