One of the work models that are becoming increasingly popular as the Covid crisis continues, digital nomadism has been identified by several countries worldwide as an opportunity to attract foreign investment and boost their hard-hit economies.
It is no wonder that, for that reason, a growing list of destinations has been offering long-term travellers, who are both working remotely and have sufficient means of subsistence, the coveted digital nomad visa.
While the trend was initially seen mostly in lesser-explored places looking to promote tourism, several tourist hotspots have jumped on the bandwagon and are now competing among themselves for the title of digital nomad haven.
Here, you will find a list of seven sunny destinations that have flung their doors open for remote workers – and that are already incredibly popular among American and Canadian travellers:
Famous for its rainforests and access to both the Caribbean and Pacific Oceans, Costa Rica has recently approved a law permitting foreign nationals who qualify as digital nomads to reside in the country for a full year, with the option of extending the stay for an equal period.
The requirements are as follows:
- Having a stable income of at least $3,000 per month;
- Proof of a remote job (nomads can either satisfy this requirement by proving their status as entrepreneurs or employees of a foreign company established outside the national territory).
- Proof of health insurance valid for the whole duration of the visa.
As reported by the Nomads Embassy, there may also be a fee when applying, though the amount is yet to be determined. On the other hand, digital nomads will enjoy a number of benefits, including exemption from local income taxes and being allowed to drive in Costa Rica with their own national driver’s license.
Since the introduction of the Barbados Welcome Stamp, which aims to attract more flexible travellers, many in the digital nomad community have been considering the newly-declared Caribbean Republic as a viable option for a longer séjour of up to 12 months.
While the application process is pretty straightforward and all nationalities are welcome, there are still some rules nomads need to abide by, such as:
- Be employed by a company registered outside Barbados and earn all their income from foreign sources;
- Be earning at least $50,000 a year, or be able to provide proof of equivalent financial means to support themselves;
- Purchase health insurance covering the entire year;
- Apply via the official Welcome Barbados Stamp webpage.
Barbados has recently taken more steps to dissociate itself from its colonial past, formally breaking away from the Commonwealth of Realms and electing its first President in October 2021. Amid the newborn Republic’s attractions, tourists can expect to find clear water beaches, a developed surfing culture, and unique cuisine.
The Bahamas is yet another hotspot offering beach lovers the opportunity to remain longer while basking in the sun. Through its Bahamas Extended Access Travel Stay program, already dubbed BEATS, digital nomads can easily apply online for a stay permit and are jetting off to Nassau in no time.
And what’s best: The Bahamas is the only destination on this list without an income requirement! There is more: those studying remotely can also benefit from the program. In order to have a successful application, all digital nomads/remote students need is:
- A valid passport;
- Health insurance covering the Bahamas and valid throughout the stay;
- Proof of remote employment or self-employment;
- Student ID when seeking to study remotely.
With countless pristine beaches and rich in natural reserves, The Bahamas is surely one of the most appealing stopovers in the Caribbean. As for application fees, remote workers can expect to pay U$1025 in total, while students get it for half the price at only $525. More information is available here.
Croatia has been slowly cementing its status as a haven for long-term travellers since announcing a digital nomad visa in early 2021. With the opening of a new digital nomad village, and boasting several bucket list destinations along its stunning Dalmatian coastline, it is certainly an option for those enamoured with the Old Continent.
However, unlike other sunny getaways across the pond, Croatia has a more extensive list of requirements that nomads need to observe:
- Provide proof of health insurance covering the territory of the Republic of Croatia and valid for the duration of the visa;
- Be able to produce the so-called “proof of purpose“, which means either a contract of employment as a remote employee in a company not registered in Croatia, or other documents proving one’s status as a digital entrepreneur;
- When applying as self-employed, nomads are also expected to provide a copy of the registration of their companies and prove they perform tasks through this company;
- Have sufficient means of subsistence, which can be attested through bank statements or other proof of regular income. Currently, the amount required monthly is HRK16,907.50, or roughly U$2,545.28;
- Present proof they have not been convicted of criminal offences in their place of residence in the year preceding arrival in Croatia;
- Lastly, provide an address for the intended stay in Croatia, such as a privately-arranged accommodation or AirBnBs/hotels/hostels.
When choosing to apply for a digital nomad visa in Croatia, foreigners can submit their application online while enclosing a copy of their passport, which must be valid for three months beyond the intended stay.
American and Canadian citizens who are also nationals of a European Union (EU) or EFTA country (Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland) already enjoy the freedom of movement within Croatia and thus do not need to apply for any visa categories. For more information, please refer to this page.
One of Croatia’s strongest competitors in the Mediterranean market, Malta is one of the latest to open registrations for digital nomads hoping to reside temporarily in the country. According to the official website, those who pick Malta for an extended stay can expect to:
- Prove they can work remotely through electronic means;
- Earn a monthly income of at least €2,700, or approximately U$3,063.39;
- Take out health insurance valid while in Malta;
- Provide a property rental or purchase agreement;
- Undergo a background verification check.
In addition to the usual requirements, digital nomads must also be fully vaccinated against Covid, making Malta the only country on this list that currently restricts the entry of unvaccinated nomads. American digital nomads who hold EU/EFTA passports are already entitled to reside freely in Malta and do not need to apply for the visa in question.
Still in Europe, Spain is also planning to launch a digital nomad visa under its new Startup Act, which will allow people working remotely for companies abroad to live in the national territory without applying for the traditional work visa.
Before the pandemic, Spain was one of the most visited countries in the world, and it looks like it is ready to reclaim its spot. However, unlike its fellow EU partners, the country is yet to set out precise conditions for applicants, including the time they will be allowed to stay and how they can expect to apply. The following is all we know so far:
- Nomads must be employed by a non-Spanish company;
- Be able to prove less than 20% of their income is earned from Spanish sources.
Being an EU country, it is possible Spain may follow Croatia and Malta in also setting a minimum income threshold, as well as requesting proof of valid insurance and recent personal records, though the Spanish Parliament is still working on the details.
One of the leading tourist destinations in South America and a personal favourite among many Americans, Brazil is gearing up to launch a new digital nomad visa for up to 2 years. As stated in Brazil’s Official Journey, foreigners can apply to remain longer than the original three-month tourist visa if they meet the following criteria:
- Having purchased health insurance valid for the entirety of the stay;
- Having a stable source of income from a company registered outside Brazil;
- Being in possession of documents certifying their status as digital nomads.
Those interested can apply through any Brazilian consular mission abroad, while travellers who are already present in Brazilian territory and wish to switch to digital nomad status, are encouraged to register with the MigranteWeb system to legalize their stay. More information is available here (in Portuguese).
Irrespective of how they are called, these visas are becoming an ever more attractive option for travellers working remotely and who are looking to switch up their daily routine by exploring different countries and living completely new experiences.
From South America to Europe to the Caribbean, there are now numerous nations willing to receive foreigners under digital nomad rules, and we are sure there will be more to come. Despite slight variations in requirements, the one thing that is pretty consistent among those listed is the need for health insurance.
Besides protecting travellers from the high costs of treatment resulting from Covid while abroad, insurance policies such as HeyMondo‘s even guarantee coverage for cancellation costs and offer travellers the opportunity to buy “Long Stay” packages. Perfect for digital nomads travelling internationally!
For that reason, especially when country-hopping across continents, make sure you are covered for any eventualities that may arise during the pandemic. We would also advise our readers to check all the relevant entry requirements and guidance for specific countries they will be residing temporarily in.
Legal Disclaimer: This article is provided for information purposes only.