When it comes to working remotely and abroad, getting a visa is one of the most important things to figure out. Just because your wifi is borderless, doesn’t mean you are – if you’re staying anywhere for an extended period of time, and working while there, doing so legally makes life much easier.
While the thought of getting a visa can seem complicated and daunting, sorting it out before traveling is must-do, non-negotiable step. Luckily for you, we’ve answered a few frequently asked questions below to help get you started!
Do I Actually Need a Visa to Stay There?
You might be wondering what the purpose of a visa is. Why is it so important? Well, a visa is basically a permit to visit another country. Visas exist to provide the country you’re visiting with a traceable record – who you are, why you’re there and how long you intend to stay. Not every country requires a visa to visit, but some do, and requirements change depending on where you’re from.
If we compared an EU resident to an American, for example, we’d know that both could travel to Thailand without having to apply for a visa. But if they decided to live and work in India, then both would have to apply for a visa well in advance. If Brazil was the digital nomad hub of choice, then the EU resident could visit without worrying about a visa, but the American would have to apply for a visa to visit Brazil.
How Long Can I Stay with My Visa?
Again, each circumstance is different – so be sure to check visa entry requirements for your specific situation. If we circle back to the example above, then EU citizens can stay in Brazil for a period of 3 months during a 6 month period. Americans, once they’ve applied for their visa, can also stay for 90 days. For India, the maximum stay for both is 60 days. For Thailand, the American will get a Visa on Arrival (VOA) for an initial 30 days, as well as the EU resident.
It’s recommended to check the specifics with the embassy of the desired destination in your country.
Should I Get The Visa Before or When I Land at the Airport?
For some countries, applying for a visa in advance is required. From an American perspective, there are a few countries that are known for requiring a bit of legwork before traveling – Brazil, Bolivia, India, Qatar, and Australia to name a few – so it’d be wise to do your research in advance and prepare any visa applications necessary beforehand.
If you look at the same list from an EU resident perspective, then only India and Australia would need a little extra preparation in advance.
We can’t stress enough the importance of researching your specific requirements – it is truly different for everyone!
What Is Typically Required to Get a Visa?
Generally speaking, the below documents are standard requirements for visa applications:
- Visa application form for a specific country and visa type
- Valid Passport (with at least six months validity beyond your intended stay)
- Copy of your itinerary
- Proof of valid travel health insurance
- Accommodation details
- Flight reservation ticket
- Proof of financial sufficiency (ex: bank statement for 3 months, credit card, cash, certificate of employment etc.)
- Visa fee (which differs from country to country, and even visa type)
Which Countries Offer Better Visa Options for Digital Nomads?
We said it before, but we’ll say it again: visa requirements for each country are different, and change depending on your nationality. Additionally, when you obtain a Schengen visa you’ll also be able to travel to up to 90 days in any of the European Union countries.
However, there are some countries that are popular with digital nomads because they are more accessible, and offer decent visa options to stay a while. A few countries are:
- Germany – offers a Freelance Visa, that typically grants a three-month stay but can be extended with another visa for up to three years
- Ireland – offers what’s called a “Person of Independent Means” visa, with stays of up to 90 days
- Thailand – offers a “Smart visa” that allows highly skilled professionals to stay up to 4 years
Additionally, Estonia is planning to offer a “Digital Nomad visa” too, that is expected to allow a one year stay.
Which Country Visas Are More Difficult to Get?
On the flip side, there are some countries that are notorious for having stricter travel regulations and make it much more difficult to get a visa:
- China – a long list of required documents, including an itinerary detailing out every day of your stay, means lots of planning in advance if you want to visit
- Iran – not only do you need pre-approval to apply for the visa, but you’ll also need an MFA-approved guide for your trip and provide those details when you apply for the visa
- Russia – thanks to biometric applications, all visa applications for Russia need to be made in person to have your photo taken and fingerprints scanned
Get Your Travel Fix, Right
As a digital nomad, it’s your responsibility to navigate travel regulations of countries you want to live and work in – what was covered in today’s post was just a 101 on the subject of visas. Roaming around the world and working remotely is an amazing adventure, but one that runs much smoother if all the legalities are taken care of the right way.