[Updated on March 2021]
With the popularization of remote work after the spread of COVID-19 a few countries have started to offer mid-long term residence visas to attract those professionals who can work remotely, from wherever they want, and will wish to do it so from different locations that better fit their lifestyle preference.
The idea of working remotely from exotic, great weather places is not new; it has been around since many years ago with the booming of digital nomads, especially in some attractive locations offering a mix of great weather, beaches, cheaper prices and a reliable internet connection to a growing digital nomad community to work remotely. Among other hot digital nomads locations we have Bali, Chiang Mai, Lisbon or Medellin.
Now more countries want to get ready to attract the new wave of remote working professionals -that include established professionals working for top companies that have embraced remote work that could tend to have a higher buying power- who although at this time could be facing constraints to travel due to COVID-19, once the pandemic is controlled, they could be willing to give a try to live and work (at least for a while) somewhere else.
I did a poll asking about “being open to work remotely from a country offering remote work visas” if given the possibility to do it so once COVID-19 is under control: From the +200 answers, 56% said that they would like to give a try, while 23% said they preferred to stay at home, in some cases mentioning the challenges to do so with kids. So there’s definitely an interest, as we could see when we interviewed Martin McDonald, an SEO Consultant who moved from Silicon Valley to Barbados with a remote work visa along his family in Summer 2020.
What are the benefits we can expect with a remote work visa? What are the requirements? Which are the top countries offering such visas and how to apply? Let’s take a look:
- Remote Work Visa Benefits
- Common Remote Visa Requirements
- Top Countries Offering Remote Work Visas in 2021
Remote Work Visa Benefits
What are the benefits that remote workers can expect from a remote work visa? The first benefit most of these countries give to remote workers on is getting to live in an area with great weather and scenic beauty, such as the Cayman Islands. Countries offering remote work visas are often top tourist locations and have fantastic activities to do after work, which means you’ll never have a dull day.
Secondly, they have excellent internet setups. Since they’re marketing to remote working professionals, stable connections are well-maintained. Strong, stable, and fast interne – you can’t attract digital nomads without it.
Lastly, visiting digital nomads are offered a safe environment to work in. These countries depend on people coming into their country, staying for a while, and spending money. This wouldn’t be possible if everyone was worried about their security. Therefore, you’ll notice that they spend a lot on ensuring their cities are safe for expats.
Common Remote Visa Requirements
While each country has its own specific remote work visa policy, there are a few overlaps. For example, most places ask that you be at least 18 years old when applying. They also ask for personal data, proof of health insurance, and verification of your ID.
Beyond that, you have to prove that you can afford to stay in whatever country you pick. And each place has a different way of going about it. Some ask that you meet a minimum salary requirement, whereas others want you to have a specific amount in your bank account before entry.
Another common demand is that you work remotely. This may seem fairly obvious; however, it can be a big issue. When applying for this specific type of visa, host countries expect you to be employed and then continue it for the entire duration of your stay. You can’t apply and then take a month of holidays from your work or quit.
Top Countries Offering Remote Work Visas in 2021
If you’re one of that majority who is now open to work from abroad, here’s a list of countries that are now offering long-term, usually 1 year visas to remote workers for living and working legally for their employer or their own company registered abroad:
Estonia is offering a Digital Nomad Visa for remote workers from outside the country and the EU, that allows remote workers -whether working as freelancers or for foreign companies- to live and work in Estonia legally for up to 1 year. The applications are reviewed within 30 days.
- Applicants must be remote workers.
- The gross monthly income of the applicants must be €3504 (tax inclusive).
- Applicants must be able to perform their work duties using telecommunications technology.
- Lastly, applicants must have an active employment contract with a company registered outside of Estonia. Check out the detailed FAQ here.
How to Apply
- Remote workers must comply with the eligibility requirements.
- Applicants must complete the online Digital Nomad Visa application form, then print it and sign it.
- Note that the state fee for a short stay visa is €80 and €100 for a long-stay visa.
- Submit application with the copies of required documents at your nearest Estonian Embassy or Consulate.
Need a complete change of scenery and love the idea to live in the Caribbean? The beautiful island of Barbados has introduced a special visa for remote workers who want to work, live, and enjoy life in Barbados legally (as long as you work remotely for companies and individuals not registered in Barbados). The new 12 months Barbados Welcome Stamp (time that that can be expanded) will allow remote workers and their family to relocate and work from sunny and safe Barbados.
- Candidates applying for the special visa must show proof of work.
- Applicants must be able to complete their work duties via the internet.
- Lastly, people who are applying must be able to afford the expenses in Barbados.
How to Apply
- Applicants must submit a passport size photograph, biodata page of the passport, and proof of relationship with family members if anyone is tagging along.
- Candidates must be over 18 and fill the online application form.
- Upon approval, individuals will have to pay US $2,000, and families will be charged $3,000.
Work and live by the beach… or the desert if you want, by applying to Dubai’s new one-year virtual working program. Dubai is offering a great chance to all the remote workers for enjoying the sun everyday while working in one of the safest and most dynamic cities in the world.
Dubai’s one-year virtual working program gives remote workers from any nationality the freedom to stay in Dubai alone or with family while working remotely, in a similar manner to residents, with access to day to day services, and option to send your kids to Dubai’s schools.
- Candidates must have a passport with a minimum of six months validity.
- Applicants must have health insurance with UAE coverage validity.
- Proof of Employment and a minimum of USD 5,000 per-month income.
How to Apply
- Check-off all the eligibility requirements and fill the online contact form so that the host can contact you.
Located at the intersection of Europe and Asia, Georgia is a breathtaking destination whose tourism had boomed in recent years. Georgia has now introduced their special remote work visas under the name “Remotely from Georgia”, allowing foreign citizens from 95 countries to live and work in Georgia for a year.
Remotely from Georgia program is specifically designed for full-time remote workers, freelancers, and business owners who are looking forward to changing their work environment during the harsh days of COVID-19.
Remote workers, freelancers, or business owners who want to stay for at least 180 days in Georgia and have earnings of at least US$2,000 per month are welcome to apply for this program.
- Candidates must prove their financial ability to pay taxes in Georgia.
- Applicants must have a minimum monthly salary of US$2,000.
- Remote workers must be willing to stay in Georgia for at least 180 days.
How to Apply
- Applicants must fill out the Remotely from Georgia online application form.
- The online application must be filled personally.
- Candidates must show all the required documents and pass the eligibility checks.
Bermuda is a safe, beautiful, welcoming, friendly Caribbean country looking to attract remote working professionals with their “Work From Bermuda” certificate, allowing professionals and students to work and study remotely from the island.
Remote workers can apply for the residential certificate to become a long-term visitor in Bermuda, including also their family. Being a residential certificate holder of Bermuda means that remote workers can enjoy the vibrant culture, unique hospitality, and once-in-a-lifetime experiences in Bermuda, while having access to day to day services as another resident of Bermuda. It’s important to note how in terms of earnings, there isn’t a minimum requirement in this case to apply and after applying, remote workers will receive an answer in just 5 business days.
- Candidates must be at least 18 years old and be eligible to pay the application fee of US$263.
- Applicants must not have been convicted of a crime.
- Must possess valid health insurance coverage.
- Demonstrate employment proof with a legitimate company or enrollment in research, undergraduate work, etc.
- Lastly, applicants must have a continuous source of income.
How to Apply
- The applying process is simple, remote workers just need to fill in the online application form for Bermuda Certificate.
- The application process requires candidates to fill the form with valid information.
- Supporting documents required in the application form must be in English.
- Color scan of visa information and passport photo page is also required.
Croatia is one of the most beautiful places to visit on this list. Its beaches, historical museums with Neanderthal remains, and more attract hundreds of thousands of people annually. And you get the chance to stay there through their work visa policy.
It’s one of the few EU countries to open their tourism industry, and their digital nomad policy is an extension of that. The country’s leadership sees people like you, tech-savvy workers, as a boon for their local economy.
- Anyone working in ‘communication technology’ outside the European Union as a remote worker
- Applicants must have proof of health insurance.
How to apply
- Get an application from your closest Croatian embassy.
- Provide proof of employment, relationship (marital) status, health insurance
- Prove that you have enough money to finance your stay
- Apply for a 1-year residence permit after arriving in Croatia
7. Cayman Islands
Picture what your life could be like if you were attending conference calls from a beach in the Cayman Islands, a few feet away from one of their peaceful mangrove forests, sipping on a margarita. If it sounds like paradise, that’s because it is.
The Cayman Islands, through their Global Citizen Concierge Program, allows you to enjoy of the Caribbean lifestyle every single day.
- If applying individually, applicants must make at least USD 100,000 annually. If accompanied by a single partner, the minimum goes up to USD 150,000. And in the case of a partner and dependent, the figure rises to USD 180,000.
- Prove that the company you work for exists. You can do so by referencing their website or social media details.
- Provide proof of identity. You will need to fill out a biodata form and have a valid passport.
- You must have health insurance for at least 30 days from the time of entry.
How to apply
- Submit an official application on the Global Citizen Concierge site.
- Show that you have a job outside the Cayman Islands and can pay for your stay there.
- Pay the application fee after your profile has been reviewed by government officials.
- Follow all the standard protocols issued by the government once you enter the Islands.
Antigua is a huge tourist destination in the Caribbean Islands and now with its Antigua Nomad residence it offers digital nomads reliable internet connection, a safe environment, warm weather all year long and some of the best beaches in the world to work from. Even with the pandemic, they managed to maintain SOPs and keep the title of being one of the safest countries in the world.
The country has over three hundred and sixty-five beaches. This means that you can spend each day in a separate part of the country and still not make it through all of Antigua.
You can work during the day and spend your evenings swimming in coastal waters. You could also go fishing. On the other hand, if you don’t want to exert yourself, partake in one of the various cuisines offered and grab delicious food.
- Applicants need to be making at least USD 50,000 and prove that they can finance themselves and any dependents throughout their visit.
- Candidates for Antigua’s remote work visas must have clean criminal records.
- Health insurance must be covered for the duration of the stay.
How to apply
- Fill out the application on the Antigua Nomad Digital Residence website.
- Provide photo identification for all the applicants and their dependents.
- Prove that you have a job with a registered company even if you’re self-employed.
Last but not least, in case you need advise and support to sort out visa issues, check out the services of iVisa.
If you liked this article, check out:
- Best Virtual Mailboxes for Digital Nomads & Remote Professionals
- Places to live and work as a digital nomad
- How to Avoid Work From Home Fatigue: Causes & How to Overcome It
- Work From Home Productivity – 10 Tips, Methods and Apps to Improve your Remote Productivity
- Best Laptop Stands to Work Remotely & Comfortable from Home or Anywhere
- Remote Work Trends for 2020: The Present & Future of Remote Work [Updated]
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