Are you someone who is working remotely and want to travel while working? Have you come across the term ‘Digital Nomad’ and heard that countries are offering something called Digital Nomad Visa and you want to know more? Keep reading to learn more if a digital nomad visa is for you, the various types of freedom you should look for while working as a digital nomad, taxation, and the list of countries that offer a digital nomad visa.
As COVID-19 forced people to change how companies worked, remote work became familiar, and more and more countries started offering digital nomad visas. Furthermore, people started getting comfortable working from their home sweet homes and avid travelers got the perfect opportunity to become digital nomads (work from “home” travelers). As a result, according to Digital Nomad Statistics by Two Tickets Anywhere, a digital nomad couple, the digital nomad movement grew by 49%, thanks to the contribution of 10.9 million nomads from the US.
All the companies that required their employees to work from their computers, be it software development, website development, marketing, or graphic design, kept functioning by letting their employees work on the couches in the comfort of their homes. As a result, the dress code changed to t-shirts and shorts, and the drawing room became the meeting room. Your family making noise whenever you were speaking during your meetings became normal. For me, calling out to my mom for tea became a habit. I would shout, “Mummy, chai (tea)!” I knew this was not just my story, as there was a trend on Instagram Reels in India where a guy shouts for tea to his mom, later realizing that he is in the office! Haha!
Furthermore, tech companies like Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Google, Microsoft, and LinkedIn are shifting to a hybrid model, where employees show up in the office for a few days and work remotely for the rest of the week. Although, some companies are hiring for fully remote work. Hence, a shift from employees to freelancers can be seen in the industry as people get three types of freedom – freedom of location, time, and economic freedom.
Freedom of Location
Freedom of location allows a person to work from any location as the work is remote and does not require the individual to be in an office. Sara Tyler, a digital nomad since 2014, started teaching online instead of teaching in person at school. “Once I began teaching online, I realized I would be able to travel as long as I had a wired internet connection,” said Tyler in an interview with Bright Nomad.
Freedom of Time
Freedom of time lets people work whenever they want, even with the time zone differences with global clients. In a digital nomad interview by Bright Nomad with Jimmy and Tah, Tah, who worked at a finance firm in Thailand, was only allowed one week of vacation per year. “That’s a total nightmare for me,” said Tah. “Since then, I decided that I wanted to be able to work wherever and whenever I want, and that is when the idea of being a digital nomad came to my mind.”
Freedom of Finance (Economic Freedom)
Finally, we have freedom of finance or economic freedom, meaning that the freelance work you take is enough to suit your lifestyle. Yes, many avid travelers are thinking about being digital nomads but are usually scared about giving up their comfortable lifestyles, but this is where the freedom of finance comes in! In the same interview with Jimmy and Tah, Jimmy, who was in the military, said it was not about being a digital nomad when they started traveling in 2017, two years after they (Jimmy and Tah) fell in love. “It was about wanting to travel, and in order to do that, we needed money, so being a digital nomad was really the best option,” said Jimmy in the interview with Bright Nomad.
Who is a Digital Nomad?
A person traveling to different locations and using technology to work remotely is a digital nomad. For instance, in this digital age, technology like a laptop, tablet, or smartphone with an internet connection, usually high speed, can be used to work remotely.
What about payments?
If you talk about payments, there are multiple options based on the location of the individual, but some of the popular ones are – PayPal, which is global, and Wise, formerly known as TransferWise. Some freelancers also accept payments in cryptocurrencies like Ethereum and Bitcoin. Here is a link for some of the best banking options for digital nomads.
Now, when it comes to traveling to different countries, a visa would be required based on your residency and the destination country. Hence, you need a digital nomad visa.
What is a Digital Nomad Visa?
A digital nomad visa is a temporary residence permit that allows an alien to stay in a country and work remotely using a computer/laptop for a foreign-based employer. This visa, typically, is provided for a duration of 12 months and, based on the visa-providing country, can be extended further.
Is Digital Nomad Visa Right For Me?
You might wonder about the difference between a tourist visa and a digital nomad visa. So, usually, with a tourist visa, you can stay and explore the country for 90 days and no more than that. However, holding a digital nomad visa, you can stay in a country for anywhere from 6 months to 5 years, depending on the country. The visa length for most countries is one year and can extend for another year. There is still a large portion of digital nomads on a tourist visa as it is cost-effective or they do not plan to stay long-term. Long story short, if you are looking for long-term stays, a digital nomad visa is for you.
What do I need to apply?
You should not be a resident of that country and should be employed or have work from a foreign client. Furthermore, a person cannot have a job or work for an employer in their destination country. Additionally, you would need to show proof of income, which varies by country, that you can afford to live in that nation to apply for a visa and pay the program fee if applicable.
What countries offer Digital Nomad Visas?
Here is the list of countries that offer digital nomad visas as of 2022:
- Antigua & Barbuda
- Cape Verde (Cabo Verde)
- Costa Rica
- Czechia (Czech Republic)
- Indonesia – Bali
- North Macedonia
- Saint Lucia
- South Africa
- Sri Lanka
- The Bahamas
- The Cayman Islands
However, if you want to compare these countries based on their cost, safety, fun, and internet, visit NomadList.com.
What about income tax deductions with Digital Nomad Visas?
The taxation for a digital nomad visa varies based on your destination country. While some expect you to pay full taxes, some offer deductions or have special rates, and some have zero tax. Although, the countries with zero tax assume you pay tax in your home country. Also, you are not required to pay social security benefits as most countries mandate you to have private health insurance.