The Digital Nomad Visa: A Ticket to Your Best Life

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Ah yes, the life of a digital nomad. A life of travelling the world, setting your own schedule, and working whenever and wherever you want. A life of meeting like-minded people, following the career you want, and moving around the world at your own pace. Sometimes when we see digital nomads posting their pics on the ‘gram, we might wonder how it’s actually possible, because it certainly seems too good to be true.

If you are working remotely, how do you manage to deal with the red tape of passports and visa requirements to let you live in all these different countries? For some of us (*cough cough* South Africans) even getting a tourist visa can be tricky for certain countries! But without a job in a specific country how can you live and work there legally, and stay there for longer than a tourist visa?

We’re going to let you in on a little secret: a handy little thing called a digital nomad visa.


What is a digital nomad visa?

A digital nomad visa is a visa aimed at the likes of those of us who want to work remotely and live in a foreign country. We might be online English teachers, bloggers, writers, programmers, social media experts; there are so many jobs available to us from our laptops. These jobs mean that we can live and work wherever we want to, be that at home with our parents or in a shared house in Vietnam. A digital nomad visa allows you to live in a country without the need for a working visa. In other words, the country is recognising that you are working while you are staying there but you are not technically working  in that country.

Read more: How Teaching English Abroad Can Help You Become a Digital Nomad

What are the benefits of a digital nomad visa?

The benefits are two-fold. For countries all over the world, the coronavirus pandemic has resulted in dramatic losses for the international tourism industry. Thankfully now that borders are open, we can start travelling again, but it will still take time for these economies to recover from the last few years.

Because the travel industry is such a massive one, it is not only airlines that have suffered, but hotels and accommodation, tourist attractions and local transport have all seen knock-on effects. The digital nomad visa is a way to encourage remote workers to travel again and put down roots for an extended period of time – and spend their hard-earned money in their new hometown, thus helping to revive the economy. It’s also more sustainable, with longer-term stays having less impact on the environment and society of a host country.

For the remote workers, the digital nomad visa offers the chance to experience life in another country without the hassle of having to organise emigration visas. Some of us have embraced the digital nomad lifestyle 100% and work from project-to-project on a self-employed basis. Others are employed full-time but are able to negotiate working from home or remotely. A digital nomad visa is a flexible visa that suits the digital nomad lifestyle, no matter what kind of a digital nomad you are.

Being a digital nomad means you can work from anywhere

How can I get a digital nomad visa?

As with any visas, there are different requirements for different countries and different passports. These visas allow you to stay in a country for a certain amount of time. Not all countries have introduced a digital nomad visa but more and more are seeing the benefits. Each country calls their digital nomad visa something different and they have different requirements but it’s worth investigating whether the country you want to visit has implemented such a visa.

Some of these visas allow you to live in a country for three months, others for six, and some up to a year or two. And yes, while some countries offer these visas free, others charge for the pleasure, just as is the case with any other visa.

With more and more countries cottoning on to this idea, chances are wherever you are thinking of settling will have a digital nomad visa on offer in some shape or form. So if you’ve considered a particular destination but have been put off by your passport and/or visa restrictions, now could be the time to check again. Let’s look at the digital nomad visas of some of our favourite destinations.

Read more: Top City Destinations for EFL Teachers


A very popular holiday destination, Bali now offers a 5-year digital  nomad visa. This new visa allows digital nomads to work tax-free in Indonesia (including all the islands like Bali) provided your income is from a country outside Indonesia. 


Under the new Startup Act, digital nomads working for non-Spanish companies can live in Spain without needing a full work visa for up to six months. Though it is not in effect yet, it is expected to be passed into law sometime in 2022.

spain digital nomad visa


The new nomadi digitali visa allows non-EU nationals to stay for up to a year initially, but this can be extended. It is thought that there will be a minimum income requirement and possibly a few other requirements (such as a clean criminal record) but the details have not yet been announced.


Portugal has two temporary resident visas which allow the holder to live and work in Portugal. The Temporary Stay Visa allows you to stay in Portugal for up to a year, while the Residency Visa D2, or the D7 (Passive Income Visa), allows you to stay there for up to five years.

portugal digital nomad visa


Let’s be honest – who wouldn’t want to live in Barbados? The Barbados Welcome Stamp is $2,000 and valid for twelve months.


A popular TEFL destination in its own right, Germany offers a Freiberufler visa for freelance workers in specific industries. This visa is valid for three months, but is extendable for three years. The visa costs €60.

germany digital nomad visa


Georgia has a project called Remotely from Georgia. There is no specific visa for remote workers but if you do not usually require a visa to visit Georgia then you are eligible to apply to the programme and live in Georgia for up to a year.


Hungary has introduced the White Card, which allows foreign nationals working remotely for non-Hungarian companies to live in Hungary for one year, with the possibility of an extension for another 12 months. 

Hungary main


A long-term visa for remote workers is available for non-EU nationals for 90 to 180 days.


The Nomad Residence Permit allows you to enjoy the island vibes of Malta while working remotely for up to a year.


Mauritius now offers a Premium Visa. With this visa you can stay in Mauritius for a year, and possibly renew it for longer. 

AdobeStock 435196429


As of August 2020, remote workers can apply for a Digital Nomad visa which allows them to live in Estonia for up to a year.


Dubai has a one-year virtual working programme for remote workers who are able to prove sufficient income.


Effective from 1 January 2021, Croatia offers a digital nomad visa. This is a temporary residence permit which allows you to live in Croatia for up to a year.


Costa Rica

Costa Rica offers a digital nomad visa which allows qualifying people to work in Costa Rica for up to a year. 

Of course, for these visas there are certain requirements that need to be met in order to be eligible. This might be a certain level of income, a clean criminal record, a certain level of education, or others. If you are interested in applying for a digital nomad visa, look into it in detail to make sure you tick all the boxes.

But before you go…

You might be wondering how doing a TEFL course and becoming TEFL-qualified will help you in your quest for a digital nomad visa. Quite simply, teaching English online. With a TEFL course from The TEFL Academy, you can live and work anywhere in the world!

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