Economies worldwide suffered during the pandemic, which drove countries across Europe and the globe to launch new visas to nourish their own. These new visas are typically geared toward foreign remote workers and are commonly referred to as Digital Nomad Visas. As every nation has its own set of regulations regarding its permit, we will walk you through the Digital Nomad Visas in Europe.
What is a Digital Nomad Visa?
A Digital Nomad Visa is a type of national visa issued by a country to qualifying foreign workers and foreign entrepreneurs who are capable of performing their services using a stable wifi connection and a laptop, i.e., using information and communication technology.
It is a long-term visa that grants residency rights to foreigners who can do their work remotely and are not employed by a company or entity registered within the respective country where they’re applying. The residency period ranges, on average, between six months to two years and can be subject to extension.
The advantage of having a Digital Nomad Visa is that you can acquire residency in a country without investing in it, and often, you are not required to be a registered tax resident. However, tax residency depends on every government’s regulations and sometimes on how long you maintain residence.
The Digital Nomad Visa versus the Tourist Visa
The difference between Digital Nomad Visas and Tourist Visas is vast and clear – one permits entry and stay for a limited time, and the other grants long residency rights. A Tourist Visa allows individuals visitation rights for up to three months every 180 days in a specific nation or area. Digital Nomad Visas grant extended residency rights to highly skilled workers for a period over 90 days up to a year, with the possibility of being extended.
Eligibility Requirements for the Digital Nomad Visa
Every nation has its own set of rules and regulations regarding its permit. However, they all share similar general requirements that determine whether or not an individual is eligible to obtain a visa.
The general requirements are:
- Applicants must be foreign citizens with clean criminal records.
- Applicants must have remote work contractual agreements with clients or entities based and registered outside the respective nation to which they’re applying.
- Applicants must be capable of providing their services remotely using digital technology.
- Applicants must have adequate health insurance to cover their residency.
- Applicants must meet the minimum monthly income determined by the respective country to cover their cost of living.
Digital Nomad Visas in Europe
Several European countries are offering Digital Nomad Visas to qualifying foreign nationals who plan on working remotely in Europe. These include some of the best countries to work in Europe, such as Portugal, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Germany, Hungary, Greece, Iceland, Italy, Malta, Romania, Spain, and Norway.
As the validity period and financial requirements for each visa differ depending on the respective nation’s objectives for its economy, we will walk you through each program’s requirements.
The Portugal Digital Nomad Visa enables non-EU and non-EEA remote workers who are employed by foreign companies based outside of Portugal to relocate and start working remotely in Portugal, provided they make four times the national minimum wage – which amounts to €2,836 (or $2,750) per month.
Digital nomads can apply for a temporary resident visa that is valid for up to one year, or apply for a residency permit that can be renewed for up to five years. They must first show proof of their income over the past three months, any documents related to their tax residency, and either a contract of employment or proof of self-employment.
Those interested in working in Portugal but are unable to meet the financial requirement for the Portuguese Digital Nomad Visa may be capable of applying for the Portugal D7 Visa and enjoying the digital nomad lifestyle, as it requires a lower income threshold. It is important to note that recipients of the Digital Nomad Visa can travel through the entire Schengen Area visa-free without having to deal with border control.
According to the Croatian Ministry of Interior, the Croatia Digital Nomad Visa enables foreign remote workers to relocate to the nation for a maximum period of one year, sometimes possibly less, with no room for extensions.
Digital nomads who would like to reside in the country for an extended period will have to submit a new application six months after the expiry of their previously granted permit. In other words, they will have to leave the nation before re-entering and residing there again.
To qualify for the Digital Nomad Visa in Croatia, foreign remote workers must show proof of earning what is equivalent to at least €2,363.55 (or 17,822.50 KN) every month. If they intend on residing in Croatia for 12 months, they’ll have to prove they have at least €28,380 (or 213,870.00 KN) in their bank accounts.
The Czech Republic
Digital nomads and self-employed individuals who obtain the Czech Republic’s Freelance Visa – Zivno Visa or Trade License Visa – are permitted residency rights in the nation for up to one year, with the possibility of it being extended for a further two years. To qualify, they must be non-EEA or non-EU citizens and demonstrate proof that meet the minimum income requirement of at least €5,727 (or $5,600).
Estonia grants foreign remote workers who are self-employed, or have an active employment contract with an organization or establishment registered outside of Estonia, residency rights for up to one year. To be eligible for Estonia’s Digital Nomad Visa, individuals must demonstrate proof of earning a monthly income of at least €3504 gross per month for the last six months prior to their application.
Compared to other Digital Nomad Visas in Europe, the German Freelance Visa involves much more bureaucracy, and is valid for a shorter period. To qualify, applicants must be self-employed individuals or freelancers in healthcare, law, tax, business counseling, science, technology, or linguistics and information transmitting.
Applicants must also demonstrate proof of sufficient financial means to cover their stay – usually by showing they have at least €3,000 to €5,000 in their bank account. Those who are successful in their application for Germany’s visa acquire initial residency rights for three months, which they can convert into a residence permit within that validity period.
Digital nomads may extend their residence permits after that for up to three whole years, provided they continue to meet the program’s requirements. One important thing to note is if you acquire the German Digital Nomad Visa, your freelance activity has to be registered with the tax office in Germany instead of the trade office. Meaning you’ll have to issue a tax number for tax purposes.
The Hungary Digital Nomad Visa scheme is referred to as the White Card and has a validity period of one year, which digital nomads can later extend for another year. To be eligible for the visa, applicants must be non-EU, non-EEA, or non-Swiss third-country nationals who can work remotely and earn at least €2,000 monthly.
The Greece Digital Nomad Visa enables non-EU, non-EEA, and non-Swiss citizens who work remotely to establish residency in the nation for up to 12 months. The visa can be extended for another year after its expiration and has a relatively straightforward application process. To be eligible for Greece’s Digital Nomad Visa, individuals must demonstrate proof of earning at least €3,500 net per month after tax deductions.
While most European countries require that applicants are non-EEA, non-EFTA, or non-EU citizens capable of performing their work remotely and sustaining themselves during their stay to acquire a Digital Nomad Visa, Iceland stipulates a further requirement. Namely, applicants come from a country with a visa-free travel agreement with Iceland. Individuals who qualify for the visa must demonstrate proof of earning at least €6,866 (or 1,00,000 KR) per month.
Italy is among the EU countries yet to launch their Digital Nomad Visa. The Italian government is set on launching the Italy Digital Nomad Visa within the coming year, enabling non-EU, non-EEA, and non-Swiss foreign remote workers to relocate to Italy, establish residency, and start working remotely there.
Although the official Digital Nomad Visa has not yet been launched, foreign remote workers seeking to establish their residency in Italy can apply for the Italian Self-employment Visa. This visa grants them residency rights for one year with the possibility of being extended. To qualify, they must demonstrate proof of earning at least €8,500 gross the year preceding their application.
The Malta Digital Nomad Visa – or Nomad Residence Permit – grants temporary residency rights to non-Swiss, non-EEA, and non-EU nationals who can provide their services remotely with a fixed internet connection and whose current source of employment is in a country foreign to Malta.
The Nomad Residence Permit is initially valid for up to one year. However, digital nomads can renew their permits if they continue to meet the eligibility requirements. To qualify, they must demonstrate proof of earning at least €2,700 gross per month.
The employment requirements for Romania’s Digital Nomad Visa are a little more elaborate than most other Digital Nomad Visas. In that, individuals must demonstrate proof that they have been employed outside Romania for at least three years prior to their application.
Digital nomads can be employed on a full-time or part-time basis. However, they will only qualify on the condition that they earn at least three times the average salary in Romania, which would amount to around €3,300 gross monthly.
The Spain Digital Nomad Visa is anticipated to launch at the end of 2023. Its eligibility and financial requirements are still unclear, as the Spanish government is yet to detail them. However, the new Digital Nomad Visa is expected to grant residency rights in Spain for at least one year.
The Norwegian Digital Nomad Visa – or Svalbard Digital Nomad Visa – authorizes foreign remote workers to establish residency in Svalbard and work remotely from there. Svalbard is a Norwegian archipelago between the North Pole and mainland Norway, and one of the world’s northernmost inhabited areas.
Due to the location’s remoteness and the Norwegian government’s interest in maintaining their digital nomad community to continue boosting their economy, the validity of the Norwegian Digital Nomad Visa is lifelong.
Digital nomads can maintain permanent residency in Norway for as long as they choose to work remotely. The only qualifying factor aside from their foreign nationality is that they show proof of earning the minimum income requirement, which is equivalent to at least €35,000 annually. Moreover, individuals must have at least one Norwegian client.
Frequently Asked Questions about Digital Nomad Visas in Europe
Which EU countries offer a Digital Nomad Visa?
Many European countries offer Digital Nomad Visas to qualifying foreign remote workers who plan to set up their remote work in Europe. These include Portugal, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Germany, Hungary, Greece, Iceland, Italy, Malta, Romania, Spain, and Norway.
Can I be a digital nomad in Europe?
Yes, there are plenty of Digital Nomad Visas in EU countries that you can apply for. You just have to make sure you meet the respective country’s eligibility requirements to succeed.
Which European country is best for digital nomads?
Hungary, Estonia, Portugal, and the Czech Republic are among the best European countries for digital nomads.
Can I work as a digital nomad with a tourist visa?
Although you can work remotely with a tourist visa, you cannot establish residency for longer than 90 days. By obtaining a Digital Nomad Visa, you will have extended residency rights in the respective nation.