Digital Nomad Visa vs Tourist Visa, Which One Should I Apply for? — Andy Sto

Digital nomadism is here to stay. That’s a fact, supported by the rise in numbers of digital nomads around the world and the legal steps countries are taking to accommodate them.

Digital nomads are people who work remotely while travelling from one place to another. All they need are their computers and good internet connections wherever they go, and they will get the job done.

Nomads usually work remotely either as freelancers, investors, entrepreneurs or as employees working remotely for their companies. The rise of COVID-19 pushed more people into the world of remote-working, creating the conditions for an even bigger surge in digital nomadism.

The global conditions, the ease of travel, the advancing digital technologies and the fact that more and more jobs can be done online, prove that digital nomadism and remote work might be the future of work. After all, who wouldn’t like to work from the beach or with a beautiful mountain view?

As a new mode of work, countries were not prepared for digital nomadism; and recently they started passing legislation to both, regulate it and benefit from it.

Why a special visa?

  1. Covering a legal grey area: Digital nomads usually travel on tourist visas; however, most tourist visas prevent you from working; and since these laws are old, the fact that you work online and for an employer abroad, digitally, is a grey area open to interpretations. Same applies when it comes to paying taxes, which is again governed by old laws that precede the digital era.
  2. Duration: Most tourist visas allow a stay of average 90 days. While this might be enough for some, digital nomads would want to stay, on average, longer than a tourist would. However, they can’t get work visas that require a local contract and tax registration. Thus, the need for a new visa that accommodates this new reality came about.
  3. To attract digital nomads: Having a visa to cater for digital nomads and cover their needs, means the likelihood of attracting more of them is high. Digital nomads are sort of year-round tourists, who contribute to the economies they visit.

Digital nomad visas

Other countries with visas for digital nomads and remote workers include Estonia, Costa Rica, Georgia, Dubai, Cayman Islands, Bermuda, Barbados, Mexico, Thailand and Australia.

There are other types of visas that digital nomads can also use. For example, Czech Republic offers a special business visa, Croatia offers a digital nomad residence permit; Portugal offers a temporary residence for freelancers and Norway offers an independent contractors’ visa.

Countries like Greece and Indonesia are on their way to offer a digital nomad visa as well.

So as a digital nomad, which visa should I apply for?

1. The paperwork

As a general rule, to get a digital nomad visa you will need more or less the same papers you use to apply for a tourist visa, along with some extras. These extras will need to testify that you have a steady income from a remote job; thus, won’t be competing for jobs with locals, and will be able to support yourself for the duration of your stay.

Some countries, like Croatia, may ask for more documents about the company or clients you work with; and maybe also a clear criminal record.

The paperwork may also differ based on your nationality, visa history and the type of work you do remotely. These factors can affect your eligibility for the digital nomad visa.

In most cases, a tourist visa will win in this category, for the ease of acquiring it.

2. Processing time

3. The duration of your stay

4. The fees

5. Taxes

Some digital nomad visas however, come with a tax exemption valid for up to a year.

6. Your employer

7. Your future plans

Whereby to acquire permanent residency, you need to have lived there for about 5 years, almost continuously. Portugal is an exception to this rule, as a digital nomad visa can be a path to permanent residency.

Which visa would you rather apply for and why? Let us know!

Originally published at on April 13, 2021.

Digital Nomad focused in #remotework and #digitalnomadism

Digital Nomad focused in #remotework and #digitalnomadism