Remote work has been on the increase in recent years, allowing people to take their job with them wherever they go. To add to this, the coronavirus pandemic has seen office workers across the globe continue their jobs at home. It’s expected that many will maintain this setup even once life returns to normal.
There are certainly many advantages to working remotely. With no daily commute, you can save hours each day and have more free time for leisure and spend with your family.
Perhaps one of the greatest attractions is the ability to work from anywhere in the world. With an internet connection and laptop, you may be able to complete your tasks just as effectively outside the traditional office environment. It offers the chance to explore new places for extended periods without losing out on income.
However, this rise in remote work has led to the need for a new type of visa given that, for many remote workers, neither a work permit nor a tourist visa is suitable. Here we’ll take a look at why this is the case and how EU digital nomad visas offer a solution to the problem.
Firstly, European tourist visas only allow for short stays in the EU, even if you’re from a visa-exempt non-EU nation you can only stay in Europe for up to 90 days.
If you’re just seeking a change of scenery or visiting family and friends overseas for a few weeks, and plan to get some work done remotely whilst you’re there, you can still apply for a tourist visa. You cannot be employed in an EU country on a tourist visa, but you can work remotely in between tourist activities. The same applies to passport holders from visa-exempt countries who can travel to Europe for leisure or business purposes for 3 months visa-free.
The problem arises when a non-EU citizen wants to work remotely from a European country for longer than the 90 days permitted on a tourist visa, or according to the EU’s visa exemption policy.
Such travelers are unable to obtain a work visa as a contract from a local entity or an invitation letter is required, something that remote workers don’t have.
The digital nomad visa has been created to fill this gap between tourists and work visas. Permits issued by certain European countries allow professionals to legally work remotely in the country for longer periods without having to provide lots of paperwork such as an employment contract.
How Can I Obtain an EU Digital Nomad Visa?
Each country that issues digital nomad visas has its own policies, requirements, and application procedures. In many cases, the permit can be requested online, although in some situations you may have to apply in person.
If you’re interested in getting a digital nomad visa you should check the specific conditions for the place you wish to work from. Consulates and embassies will be able to provide guidance and assistance.
The basic requirements are a valid passport and evidence that you have a steady income from your remote work to prove that you qualify for this special type of visa.
Which EU Countries Issue Digital Nomad Visas?
If you’re considering working remotely from abroad and think you could benefit from a digital nomad visa, keep in mind that only a few countries currently offer this type of permit.
The latest country to announce the launch of a digital nomad visa is Estonia. The northern European country has responded swiftly to the changes to the work-life brought about by COVID-19. With this digital nomad visa, you can work remotely in Estonia for up to a year.
As an applicant you must:
- be able to work remotely using telecommunications technology
- have an employment contract with a company registered outside Estonia, your own company registered abroad, or work as a freelancer for clients outside Estonia
- Provide evidence that you meet the minimum income threshold
To apply you’ll need to complete the online application form, print it, and make an appointment at the nearest embassy or consulate. Visa processing takes up to 30 days.
Germany has a special freelance visa (freiberufler visa) suitable for self-employed remote workers. The visa is initially granted for 3 months but can be extended to up to 3 years, provided the conditions are met. There is a subcategory of the freiberufler visas, an artist visa for artists and journalists working only in Berlin.
The Czech Republic, in particular Prague, is a great city for working remotely from overseas. Provided you sort out accommodation first, you can apply for a long-term visa for business purposes. With this visa, you can stay for up to a year.
Some non-European countries also have visas suitable for remote workers, among them Costa Rica, Mexico, and Australia.
It is expected that more countries will develop their own version of the digital nomad visa in response to the growing global tendency towards remote work.
Dorothy Jones is an experienced content writer. She is associated with many renowned travel blogs as a guest author where she shares her valuable travel tips with the audience.