Digital Nomad Visas For Europe: 9 Countries That Allow Expats To Work From The EU!

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If you have been bitten by the travel bug, you've probably dreamed of travelling and interrailing across the beautiful and culturally diverse countries of Europe. With remote working culture on the rise and more and more people looking to work from anywhere and everywhere around the world, there has been a rise in the Digital Nomad movement. This is a group of people who have location independence when it comes to their working and living arrangements, and tend to work online from exotic locations around the world.

This new trend has also been recognised by countries around the world (both in the EU, as well as around the world). Countries in Europe are coming up with new visa schemes that allow remote workers to live and work from within their borders to boost their own tourism as well as economies. Fancy living by the Mediterranean Sea in Portugal or Spain? Or perhaps, you prefer the colder, crisp air of Germany and Estonia. Regardless of your taste or preference, in Europe, there is something for everyone. The best part is, once you have residency in one of the Schengen countries, you will be free to explore all the beautiful countries that this country has to offer!

1. Estonia

What Is It?

Estonia has a Nomad Visa that was launched in August 2020. Estonia was the first country in the EU to start an e-residency program which made it easy for anyone to start an Estonia based business and run their company according to EU laws. After the pandemic, they have gone a step further and are now allowing freelancers and business owners who are location independent to come and live and work in Estonia for up to a year.

Who Can Apply?

There are several eligibility criteria that you need to satisfy to be eligible for Estonia's visa. As of 2021, these criteria include:

  • Being able to work independent of location, and to be able to conduct responsibility for telecommunication services.
  • Your income must meet the monthly income threshold. Currently, it stands at €3504 (gross of tax). This is the least amount of money that the applicant should have earned for the past 6 months.
  • You are either employed for a company outside of Estonia, work as a freelancer with mostly international clients or have your own business registered abroad.

How To Apply?

The process to apply for this visa is quite straightforward. Once you've read and passed the eligibility requirements, you can fill out their application form. Once you've filled out the application form, you can print it out and get it signed. Depending on the type of visa you apply for, it is either 80€ for a Type C (short stay) visa or 100€ Type D (long stay) visa.

After this, you should make an appointment with the closest Estonian embassy to you and submit your application along with your supporting documents. Once that's done, you should expect to receive a response in 30 days.

If living and working in beautiful Estonia sounds like your cup of tea, then this is just the visa for you. You can find out more on their official website.

2. Croatia

What Is It?

After the pandemic hit, Croatia's economy, which is heavily dependent on tourism has really suffered. To remedy this, they have started a digital nomad visa for people to live and work from the beautiful country without paying tax!

Who Can Apply?

According to their official website, a digital nomad is someone who belongs to a third country and is either employed or performs work through telecommunication technologies. This can be either for their own company or a company that is not registered in the Republic of Croatia.

Digital nomads are also required to have an amount of at least 2.5 average monthly net salaries paid for the previous year. This amount is increased by 10% for each additional family member. Currently, the average monthly salary must meet a minimum threshold of HRK 16,907.50. To sum it all up, if you intend to stay in Croatia for 12 months, then you need to have a minimum of HRK 202,890.00 (12 times 16,907.50) available in your bank balance.

How To Apply?

You can find all the information to apply on their website, along with an online form that you will have to fill out and submit to your nearest Croatian consulate or online. In addition to the online form, you will also have to provide some supporting documents such as:

  • Proof of Purpose: This could be in the form of a contract from an employer that states that you are employed with the company and can conduct responsibility remotely.
  • Proof of Means of Sustenance: You will have to provide bank documents stating that you are capable of maintaining the minimum bank balance required to sustain yourself
  • Supporting Documents: Along with these key documents, you will also have to provide proof of address, travel insurance for the duration of your stay, a valid travel document as well as proof that you have not been convicted for a criminal offence.

A full list of documents and more details on how to apply for this visa can be found here.

3. Iceland

What Is It?

Iceland recently rolled out a long-term visa for digital nomads who have both the flexibility as well independence of location with how they work and live. The visa is issued for 180 days, which gives you ample time to experience the beautiful country as well as its dramatic geography.

Who Can Apply?

The visa is open for people who satisfy certain criteria. The main ones include,

  • The applicant needs to be from a country that is outside of the EU, the EEA or the EFTA.
  • You must be a citizen or resident of a country that allows you to travel to Iceland without needing a visa.
  • The monthly income should be equivalent to 1,000,000 ISK if applying alone, or 1,300,000 ISK is applying with a partner, spouse or children under the age of 18.

How To Apply?

To apply you need to fill out their application form L-802. Then, you will need to submit the application form along with supporting documents by mail to the Directorate of Immigration. A processing fee must be paid before you send in your documents. Full information on how to apply can be found here.

4. Georgia

What Is It?

Georgia is another country that started allowing remote workers to live and work from within their borders in 2020. They started the Remotely From Georgia program for internationals wanting to move to Georgia for up to a year.

After a certain quarantine period (this will vary depending on where you are travelling from), visitors from 95 countries who are either employed or work as freelancers are welcome to live and work from Georgia for up to a year.

Who Can Apply?

Much like the other visas on this list, there are a couple of caveats associated with this visa as well. To qualify for this visa, you must be able to prove that you will positively contribute to the economy of Georgia. This can mean many things - from having an expendable income to be able to support yourself, not wanting to take a job locally, as well as being able to afford any medical costs associated with your stay, so that you don't overrun the healthcare system.

You must be able to show proof of income of at least $2000 per month. You must also have valid travel insurance for 6 months (which is the minimum duration of the program).

How To Apply?

The application process is fairly straightforward. You need to fill out an online form. This online form and all supporting documents can be submitted on the portal itself, and you can expect to hear back in as early as ten days!

5. Spain's Non-Lucrative Visa

What Is It?

Spain's non-lucrative visa is a long-stay resident permit that allows its holder to live in Spain for an extended period of time, without them having to need a local job. This residence permit will allow you to stay in Spain for up to 1 year. There is also a possibility to extend your stay along with the renewal process.

The main benefit of this visa is that you can travel freely within the Schengen zone, and also undertake internships and further studies without needing to apply for an additional visa.

Who Can Apply?

Ideally, the non-lucrative visa is for those who are either,

  • looking to retire in the beautiful country and have sufficient funds to keep them going for a couple of years.
  • Are non-EU citizens looking to work from Spain.
  • For those who would like to spend a year in Spain without looking for a job, but potentially get a work permit after the first year.

How To Apply?

The non-lucrative visa is relatively straightforward to apply for. All you need to do is gather the supporting documents and submit them to the Spanish embassy. You will need to provide some documents to provide your documents. These include,

  • A health insurance contract with a private Spanish company.
  • Proof of funds of a minimum of €26.000 per applicant.
  • All past criminal records, health certificates as well as copies of your travel documents and birth certificate.

6. Portugal

What Is It?

Portugal offers a residency permit for people living off their individual incomes. These are independent workers and entrepreneurs who can come and live in Portugal for one year. You will also have the ability to renew your visa for up to 5 years. Thereafter, you also have the option to apply for permanent residency.

The island of Madeira in Portugal has become a hub for digital nomads, more so after the launch of their own Digital Nomads Village.

Who Can Apply?

The application process is fairly straightforward. All you need is,

  • Proof of income. This can be in the form of proof from property investments, business or other financial means.
  • You must earn at least €600 per month.
  • You will need to submit proof of private travel/health insurance.
  • Criminal background checks.

How To Apply?

The application process is fairly straightforward. First, you will need to gather the required documents and fill out their application form. Then, you will need to make an appointment and submit your application at the nearest Portuguese consulate along with the associated fee (€83 for the visa and €72 for the resident permit).

7. Germany's Freelancer Visa

What Is It?

Germany was the first European country in the world to create a freelancer visa. The freelancer or Freiberufle visa is available for two kinds of people - professionals working in the industry as well as creatives.

It is essentially a residence permit that allows its holders to live and work from Germany, anywhere from 6 months to a year. It is targeted towards freelancers and self-employed.

Who Can Apply?

You are likely to be approved for this visa if you can prove that you are providing services that benefit the German economy. For this, you will likely need to have clients based in Germany if you are a freelancer, or be providing business services to people and corporations in Germany if you are an entrepreneur.

You will also need proof of address in Germany, health insurance and be able to sustain yourself financially.

How To Apply?

  • You will need to gather the list of documents provided on their official website.
  • Be able to find and secure accommodation in Germany.
  • After this, book a visa appointment with the nearest German consulate, submit your documents and pay the associated fee of €100.

8. The Czech Republic

What Is It?

While not as straightforward as the other countries mentioned on this list, it is possible to live and work from the Czech Republic through their visa program called Zivno. With Zivno foreigners who are non-EU citizens can move to the country and work as freelancers or contractors, or even run their own business!

Zivno is short for “Zivnostenske opravneni”. The literal translation is trade license or business license.

Typically, in the past, this visa has been used by English teachers, software developers as well as freelancers in the creative professions.

Who Can Apply?

There are 80 unqualified trades (which include things like education as well as manufacturing) that do not require a lot of proof or supporting documents. You only need to prove you are over the age of 18 and don't have a criminal record.

For other, more specialized trades, you will also have to provide proof of experience as well as relevant experience.

You will also need to prove that you have at least €5,587 in your bank account to start, as well as the ability to pay 1,800 Kč in local taxes.

How To Apply?

  • For unqualified trade licenses, you can find a list of qualifying professions here.
  • Once you have selected your trade, you will have to gather all supporting documents and make an appointment to submit them at the Czech embassy, along with a visa fee of €100.

9. Norway

What Is It?

Who wouldn't want to live in Norway? This Scandinavian country is known for its beautiful Fjords, a laidback and liberal population as well as a political system that is strong and egalitarian.

Norway offers the chance for digital nomads to experience life within its beautiful borders in the form of a 2 year Independent Contractor's Visa.

Who Can Apply?

To qualify for this visa, you must be self-employed and have clients in Norway, or have a contract to work for a business in Norway. Along with this, you will need some relevant qualifications from recognised educational institutes.

You will also need to have an income of at least €35,719 per year before tax, along with proof of accommodation in Norway.

How To Apply?

  • You can find a list of required documents that you will need to provide to apply for this visa
  • Once you've filled out the application form and gathered all relevant documents, you must submit it at the nearest embassy and pay the associated application fee of about €600.

Remote working is not the future of work, it is the present! More and more people are moving abroad, and whole communities are being built around this movement. Living and working abroad can sometimes be an isolating experience, so it could be wise to join one of these communities such as NomadList to connect with like-minded people while continuing to be on the road and exploring the world as you work!