Year-long digital nomad visas

Interesting mini-trend with a couple of countries offering new year-long “digital nomad” visas.

Digital nomads and remote workers have long faced ambiguity when working while they travel, often skirting the law by working while visiting a country with a tourist visa. While other countries like Costa Rica, Mexico, Portugal and the Czech Republic have introduced visas for digital nomads, so far these have primarily targeted freelancers.

In contrast, the new Estonian Digital Nomad Visa (DNV) covers a broader range of digital nomads — in addition to freelancers, it also allows teleworking from Estonia if the person has a foreign employer or is a partner in a company registered abroad. This is great news for location-independent entrepreneurs around the world as it provides a legitimate way to live and work here for up to a year.

They only accept people with actual proven revenu as freelancers, company owners, or employees with a contract so it really is a working abroad visa, not a loose visiting one. I don’t see any direct mention of it so I’m not sure how that translates in terms of European travels but it probably means you could spend the bulk of your time in Estonia and use it as your base for multiple short trips across the continent.

The second one is much less interesting, to me anyway, but is useful as a second example of a potential new trend.

The government of Barbados has announced that it could soon be introducing the 12-month “Barbados Welcome Stamp” to allow visitors the option to work remotely from the island for a year at a time. [Editor’s note: applications opened on July 24 and the stamp costs US$2,000 per person or US$3,000 for families.]

The visa would allow people “to come and work from here overseas, digitally so, so that persons don’t need to remain in the countries in which they are”, said Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley.

“You can come here and work for a couple months at a time; go back and come back,” she said.

The idea is based on the fact that the pandemic has shown that short-term travel is more difficult because of the requirements for rapid Covid-19 testing, which are not reliably available yet, and the fear people feel getting ill abroad.

This one is interesting because, where Estonia’s is a logical evolution of their e-Residency program, Barbados’ is an answer to travel restrictions related to COVID-19 and the sudden need for a different base of operations that some are feeling now.

Looking forward to who offers some other variation next. Thailand? Iceland? Greece?

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