Your Guide to Digital Nomad Visas: Where To Go and How To Get There

Whether you’re a solopreneur or a full-time remote worker, you no longer have to be tied down to a desk to do your job. If you fancy working from a beach or a Parisian cafe, you can.

Several countries offer digital nomad visas that give remote workers temporary residency. This special type of visa allows you to reside in a country without fully immigrating or breaking any laws.

While you might not think you need a digital nomad visa before working your way around the world, these visas can come with certain privileges and legal rights. You’ll want to make sure you can legally work or run your business in a foreign country before calling it home.

Erika Taught Me

  • A digital nomad visa is a type of visa for remote workers who want to become temporary residents of a foreign country.
  • Digital nomad visas extend certain privileges to remote workers, such as driver's license reciprocity.
  • There is usually a minimum income requirement and some countries require proof of employment before awarding a visa.

. . .

What Is a Digital Nomad Visa?

A digital nomad visa is a type of residency permit that allows you to stay in a country for a set period, usually longer than a tourist visa. Digital nomad visas also extend working privileges to people who work remotely for an employer in another country. 

Digital nomad visas have become increasingly popular because they generate new revenue for that country. When digital nomads spend their income on things like going out for lunch or taking a quick coffee break, it contributes to the local economy.

While you don’t necessarily need a visa to work from a laptop, performing remote work while on a tourist visa isn’t legal in some countries. A digital nomad visa covers you in case something happens. 

There are other benefits to consider as well. Some digital nomad visas can come with driver’s license reciprocity, allow you to open up a local bank account, and shield you from double taxation.

These types of visas can be processed much quicker than other residency visas and are typically more affordable, too.

Requirements to apply for a digital nomad visa vary by country. Some require monthly income, while others require proof of employment.

There are over 50 countries that now offer digital nomad visas. Here are some of the most popular ones for U.S. remote workers and entrepreneurs:

Costa Rica

Costa Rica is a popular spot for digital nomads. Since it’s within the Central time zone, it’s easy to take Zoom calls during U.S. hours. Plus, it’s much cheaper — an apartment in San Jose will cost less than $600 a month!

Costa Rica offers a one-year remote work visa that allows you to stay beyond the 90-day tourist visa limit. 

To qualify, you must meet the following criteria:

  • Proof of stable net income of $3,000 per month ($5,000 for families)
  • Medical insurance coverage during your stay
  • $100 visa application fee

Mexico

Since Mexico is so close to the U.S., it’s an easy pick for digital nomads who want to stay somewhat close to home. Mexico City has recently seen record numbers of digital nomads taking up residency.

A tourist visa allows you to stay in Mexico for up to six months, but after that, you’ll need to obtain a temporary residency visa. That gives you the ability to open up a local bank account if you want.

To apply, you’ll need to:

  • Complete a visa application 
  • Show proof of income up to $4,400 per month 
  • Pay a $40 application fee (the fee to get a temporary residency card is between $150 to $350, depending on how long you plan to stay)

Portugal

In 2022, Portugal launched its digital nomad visa, the Portugal D8 Visa. The goal was to attract remote workers and stimulate the local economy.

It may have worked a little too well — Portugal has become such a popular hub for remote workers that it’s driven up the cost of living for locals. A one-bedroom apartment in Lisbon costs about $1,300 per month — although that’s still very affordable compared to most American cities.

There are two different types of digital nomad visas that Portugal offers: 

  • The Short Stay visa is valid for up to one year.
  • The Temporary Residence visa can be renewed for up to five years. After five years, you can apply for permanent residency as well as Portuguese citizenship.

To qualify for a digital nomad visa, you must:

  • Show proof of income that’s four times Portugal’s minimum wage (that works out to around $3,555 per month)
  • Provide a rental agreement or proof of owning a property
  • Pay $100 for the application fee plus around $184 for the residence permit

United Arab Emirates (Dubai)

Dubai is quickly becoming the Silicon Valley of the Middle East, home to founders and startups from all over the world. The city offers a one-year remote work visa that lets remote workers and entrepreneurs work from Dubai. 

Digital nomads with this visa will have access to banking in Dubai, public utilities, as well as the opportunity to send children to Dubai schools.

You’ll need to meet the following criteria:

  • Show proof of income of $3,500 per month
  • Proof of employment if you’re employed by a company or, if you’re a business owner, proof your business can conduct work remotely and has been operating for at least one year
  • Go through a mandatory health screening
  • Pay a $611 fee

Spain

Spain is another popular destination for digital nomads. It offers a slower pace of life, plus is a quick train ride or flight to several European cities.

While most countries require all of your income to be generated from outside of the country, up to 20% of a digital nomad’s income can come from clients based in Spain.

The visa is good for 12 months and can be renewed for up to three years. 

To qualify, you must: 

  • Have a monthly income of at least $2,600
  • Show proof of health insurance 
  • Show proof of a clean criminal record
  • Pay a visa fee of around $87

How To Get a Digital Nomad Visa

The process for getting a digital nomad visa varies from country to country. Check any special requirements in the application instructions for the country you want to go to.

Generally, you can expect to follow these steps when applying for a digital nomad visa:

  1. Fill out a visa application form.
  2. Schedule an appointment at the country’s consulate or embassy for your visa interview.
  3. Assemble the required documents and any certifications needed to validate those documents (i.e., bank statements, proof of employment, valid passport, etc.).
  4. Pay any administrative fees and submit your application.

Many countries require you to show proof of health insurance. Since a lot of typical travel insurance plans only cover trips of a limited length, you may need to search for a more specialized, long-term plan. 

You can use a service like VisitorsCoverage to search for more niche options that suit your plans.

FAQs

What are the income requirements for a digital nomad visa?

The income requirements vary by country. Most of the time, you’ll need to demonstrate that you are self-sufficient and will not be in a situation where you need to look for work locally. 

You can demonstrate proof of income by showing recent pay stubs or a steady stream of invoices from freelance clients.

Which is the easiest visa for digital nomads?

The easiest visa for digital nomads is Mauritius. Located off the coast of East Africa, Mauritius offers a one-year digital nomad visa with a $1,500 minimum income requirement.

There are no fees and the application is done online. Visa approvals can be awarded within 48 hours.

How is a digital nomad visa different from a tourist visa?

A tourist visa is given to someone visiting a country for a short period. It can often be issued right at the airport and is good for around 90 days, depending on the country. 

A digital nomad visa is designed for someone who wants to be considered a temporary resident of a country. This allows them to work within the country and obtain a residency card. 

With residency, digital nomads have access to certain services like banking. Depending on the country, digital nomads may also be on the hook for local taxes. 

Visitors on tourist visas generally won’t have access to public services and thus won’t be expected to pay taxes.

TL;DR

There are some 50+ countries that offer digital nomad visas, with Portugal, Spain, Costa Rica, Mexico, and the UAE being some of the most popular for Americans. 

To get a digital nomad visa, you’ll need to show proof of income and savings, and you may have to undergo a health assessment or prove you don’t have a criminal record. You’ll also need to pay an application fee.

Each country has its own rules, so research thoroughly to make sure you can meet the requirements for where you want to go

And for more travel inspiration or entrepreneur tips, check out these episodes of the Erika Taught Me podcast:

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I'm an award-winning lawyer and personal finance expert featured in Inc. Magazine, CNBC, the Today Show, Business Insider and more. My mission is to make personal finance accessible for everyone. As the largest financial influencer in the world, I'm connected to a community of over 20 million followers across TikTok, Instagram, YouTube, Facebook and Twitter. I'm also the host of the podcast Erika Taught Me. You might recognize me from my viral tagline, "I read the fine print so you don't have to!"

I'm a graduate of Georgetown Law, where I founded the Georgetown Law Entrepreneurship Club, and the University of Notre Dame. I discovered my passion for personal finance after realizing I was drowning in over $200,000 of student debt and needed to take action-ultimately paying off my student loans in under 2 years. I then spent years as a corporate lawyer representing Fortune 500 companies, but I quit because I realized I wanted to have an impact; I wanted to help real people and teach them that you can create a financial future for yourself.

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Our aim is to help you make financial decisions with confidence through our objective article content and reviews. Erika.com is part of an affiliate sales network and receives compensation for sending traffic to partner sites, such as MileValue.com. This compensation may impact how and where links appear on this site. This site does not include all financial companies or all available financial offers. Terms apply to American Express benefits and offers. Enrollment may be required for select American Express benefits and offers. Visit americanexpress.com to learn more.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our aim is to help you make financial decisions with confidence through our objective article content and reviews. Erika.com is part of an affiliate sales network and receives compensation for sending traffic to partner sites, such as MileValue.com. This compensation may impact how and where links appear on this site. This site does not include all financial companies or all available financial offers. Terms apply to American Express benefits and offers. Enrollment may be required for select American Express benefits and offers. Visit americanexpress.com to learn more.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our aim is to help you make financial decisions with confidence through our objective article content and reviews. Erika.com is part of an affiliate sales network and receives compensation for sending traffic to partner sites, such as MileValue.com. This compensation may impact how and where links appear on this site. This site does not include all financial companies or all available financial offers. Terms apply to American Express benefits and offers. Enrollment may be required for select American Express benefits and offers. Visit americanexpress.com to learn more.