16 + 1 destinations welcoming remote workers: Madrid Digital Nomad City
From beaches in Barbados to mosaics in Barcelona, countries have designed visa programs that encourage remote workers to spend an extended time in a new destination.
Each country requires an application process, which often entails providing proof of income, an active passport, and medical insurance.
These programs are becoming even more popular as countries search for ways to boost their tourism economies.
It is important to note that while the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention no longer advises against nonessential travel, it does warn that “travel increases your chance of getting and spreading COVID-19.”
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People around the world are dreaming about escaping their tiny urban apartments or suburban homes, and countries are making it a reality.
Some destinations, like Barbados and Bermuda, have recently launched remote visa programs for incoming visitors, while other countries, like Portugal and Germany, have had similar arrangements in place for years.
Today, these programs are even more appealing for countries and prospective visitors.
Workers are learning that they can do their jobs from anywhere. Meanwhile, countries are hoping to support local economies that have been decimated due to closed borders and lockdowns. The hope is that these long-term visitors will support local economies without displacing any permanent residents’ jobs.
Here are 16 places with programs designed to welcome remote workers.
Hawaii’s “Movers and Shakas” program asks participants to help a local nonprofit.
Hawaii launched a new remote work program that’s offering free round-trip tickets to Honolulu for the first 50 people who are accepted to its first phase, as well as special discounts on accommodations and coworking spaces.
In return, however, participants must give back to the community by committing to help a local nonprofit.
The “Movers and Shakas” program is open for applications through December 15. Participants must sign a “Pledge to Our Keiki,” which essentially asks people to respect Hawaii’s natural environment and to abide by local health guidelines.
Iceland just extended its Work in Iceland program, which allows remote workers to stay for up to six months.
Iceland, which previously only allowed residents of the European Schengen area to take part in its Work in Iceland program, has extended it to anyone who doesn’t need a visa to travel there — which includes US citizens.
The program allows people to live and work in the country for up to six months.
To apply, you must work for a non-Icelandic company or be self-employed, have appropriate health insurance, and make at least $88,000 annually, according to Bloomberg.
Mauritius just announced a new Premium Travel Visa, though details are still scarce.
Mauritius, an East African island nation, just announced its new Premium Travel Visa, which will allow non-citizens to stay and work remotely for up to one year.
Details are scarce, and the application form is still in the works. But according to Mauritius’ Economic Development Board website, the only requirements are that applicants work for themselves or companies outside of Mauritius (aka that their source of income is and remains outside of the island); that they provide proof of their long-term stay plans, such as a rental home; and that they have travel and health insurance.
Remote workers can stay in the tax-free Cayman Islands for up to two years.
The new Global Citizen Concierge Program allows travelers to work remotely from the Cayman Islands for up to 24 months.
According to the Cayman Islands Department of Tourism’s website, to apply, workers must prove that they’re employed outside of the Cayman Islands and that they make at least $100,000 a year. Couples must earn a combined minimum of $150,0000, and families with one or more children must make at least $180,000 a year.
Applicants also need a notarized bank reference, proof of current health insurance coverage, as well as proof of a clean criminal record, per the website. There’s also a non-refundable application fee of at least $1,469.
Antigua and Barbuda is rolling out a new residency program that will allow people to work from there for up to two years.
Antigua and Barbuda just announced a new Nomad Digital Residence program that will allow remote workers to live and work there for up to two years.
To get this special resident status, workers must prove that they earn at least $50,000 a year and that they can support themselves as well as any family members joining them, according to the program’s website. They must also prove that their employers are based outside of the Caribbean country, and must maintain health insurance throughout their stay.
Per the website, the cost for a single applicant is $1,500, $2,000 for a couple, and $3,000 for a family of three or more.
Dubai in the United Arab Emirates announced a new “one-year virtual working program.”
Dubai’s new visa will allow remote workers and their families to stay in the city for up to a year while working for companies that are based overseas. If approved, they’ll be able to open a local bank account, get a local phone number and internet access, and enroll their kids in school. Best of all, Dubai doesn’t charge any income tax.
According to Visit Dubai, to apply workers must prove that they earn a minimum of $5,000 a month by submitting proof of employment, last month’s pay stub, and three months of bank statements.
The application costs $287, per the website, and applicants are required to have medical insurance that’s valid in the United Arab Emirates, and a passport that’s valid for at least another six months.
Aruba announced a program that allows remote workers to live and work there for up to 90 days.
Aruba’s new “One Happy Workation” program allows people to live and work on the Caribbean island for up to 90 days, and offers them package deals and discounted rates at local hotels, chain resorts, and rental homes.
Aruba reopened to tourists from some places in June, and has been allowing visitors from more countries, including the US, on a rolling basis since then. According to the program’s website, it is open to anyone with a valid US passport, no special visa or paperwork required.
To take part, visitors must book one of the packages available for at least one week, and no more than 90 days, though the website says that it may extend the maximum duration in the future.
Remote workers must be employed by a non-local company or be self-employed, per the website, and cannot work for an Aruban individual or company as that would require a work or business permit.
Barbados has officially launched its 12-month Barbados Welcome Stamp.
Visitors could live and work on the island for up to a year with Barbados’ new visa program.
The country officially launched the online application form in July. The form requires individuals to upload information, like pictures of passports and birth certificates.
The visa program is also open to families looking to relocate.
Approved applicants will have to pay $2,000 for an individual visa, or $3,000 for a “family bundle,” according to the website.
Estonia has also announced a digital nomad visa program.
In August, the Republic of Estonia officially launched its new Digital Nomad Visa, which it says is the first of its kind in the European Union.
According to the Republic of Estonia’s e-Residency website, the visa allows remote workers to live and legally work in the northern European country for up to a year.
The website also states that applicants must prove that they can do their job remotely, and that they are either employed by a company that’s registered outside of Estonia, self-employed with a business that is registered outside of the country, or that they are freelancers that work mostly with clients based outside of the nation. They must also meet a minimum gross income requirement of $4,130 (€3,504) per month for six months preceding their application
According to the Republic of Estonia, the application costs between $94 and $117 (or €80 and €100) depending on how long you plan on staying.
It’s important to note, however, that Estonia, as part of the European Union, is also closed to Americans for the time being.
Enjoy pink, sandy beaches while working or studying from Bermuda.
Bermuda announced in July that it would be launching a new residency certificate policy.
This is one of the few programs also aimed at students.
The policy would allow remote workers and students to live on the Caribbean island for up to a year.
In order to qualify, the applicant must be older than 18, have health insurance, supply proof of employment and/or enrollment in an educational program, and show sufficient means and/or a continuous source of income, according to the Government of Bermuda.
The certificate will cost long-term visitors $263.
If beaches aren’t enticing enough, Georgia launched a long-term visitor program.
The country of Georgia’s new visa program is aimed at self-employed, remote workers.
According to the Ministry of Economy, the visa is designed for digital nomads looking to stay in the country for six months or longer.
Agenda.ge, the government’s news site, says that to apply, visitors must prove that they earn a minimum of $2,000 a month so that they can pay taxes while in Georgia, and must have health insurance for the duration of their stay. The website also says that visitors should expect to quarantine for 12 days upon arrival, at their own expense, and that they must take a COVID-19 test after quarantine.
The Czech Republic’s program isn’t new, but now is the perfect time to take advantage of it.
The Czech Republic has offered a zivno visa, or long-term business visa, for years now.
The visa is targeted at freelance and remote workers looking to live in the country for longer periods of time, according to the Embassy of the Czech Republic.
Interested applicants will need to get in contact with the consular office based in the US. They’ll also need to fill out an application, which includes providing proof of income, travel medical insurance, and accommodation.
Stay in Portugal for a year with its self-employment visa.
This visa program offers temporary residence for independent workers. The only caveat? Applicants must demonstrate that their skills are needed in the country.
Applicants have to register as a freelancer in the country, and it helps if they have local Portuguese clients. Depending on how long a visitor plans to stay, Portugal’s Ministry of Affairs outlines the different visa programs.
For freelancers, Portugal has one of the lengthier applications, and those applying must have things like a Portuguese bank account. BePortugal, a website for expats, has a cohesive outline of the requirements and how to apply.
If you’re self-employed, head to Spain.
Freelancers and self-employed individuals can apply for the country’s self-employment work visa.
This visa allows individuals to live and work in Spain for up to a year.
Applicants will need to establish and maintain employment and pass a background check. The details for the visa application can be found here.
Enjoy pretzels and beer while working remotely from Germany.
Germany also has a permit program targeted at freelancers and remote workers.
The government’s website clearly outlines the different visa programs and who is eligible to apply. The “freiberufler” visa is designed for freelancers who want to be their own boss.
The freelance visa only lasts for three months, but it could potentially be converted into a residency permit. The application is similar to other remote visa programs.
Applicants must show proof of income, travel insurance, and letters of recommendation from previous employers.
Live and work in Mexico for up to four years with the country’s temporary resident visa.
Mexico’s temporary resident visa allows visitors to live in Mexico for a year, and after that, it could be extended for an additional three years.
In order to qualify for the visa, applicants will need to show that an income of more than $1,620 per month or a bank account balance of over $27,000.
Under this visa, visitors would not be able to work for the country.