Digital nomad visas are becoming increasingly popular as more and more people are choosing to live and work remotely. The ability to work remotely has been made possible by advancements in technology and the rise of the gig economy.
Digital nomads are individuals who work remotely while traveling or living in different parts of the world. These visas are designed to attract digital nomads to a specific country, providing them with the opportunity to live and work in a new location while also contributing to the local economy.
With the increasing trend of digital nomads, countries are recognizing the potential benefit of attracting and retaining these individuals by offering special visas. One of the most attractive regions for digital nomads has been Europe for the last decade and for multiple reasons.
This article will cover the various opportunities and benefits of digital nomad visas in Europe along with the tips on obtaining them. We will also offer you our top 3 digital nomad European destinations as we explore the topic.
Which countries in Europe have digital nomad visa?
In Europe, several countries have introduced digital nomad visas or similar programs to attract remote workers. You have plenty of options and abundant opportunities to start living in Europe as a digital nomad. As of 2023, at least 19 European countries are running the digital nomad visa programs. These is the complete list of available digital nomad visas in Europe:
- Portugal (Non-Habitual Residency program)
- Germany (Freelancer Visa or Self-Employed Visa)
- Greece (Golden Visa)
- Czech Republic (Long-term Visa)
- Bulgaria (Special Residence Permit)
- Croatia (Digital Nomad Visa)
- Hungary (Start-up Visa)
- Iceland (Entrepreneur Visa)
- Ireland (Start-up Entrepreneur Visa)
- Italy (Self-Employment Visa)
- Latvia (Digital Nomad Visa)
- Netherlands (Freelancer Visa or Self-Employed Visa)
- Romania (Digital Nomad Visa)
- Slovakia (Entrepreneur Visa)
- Sweden (Entrepreneur Visa)
You have to consider the fact that these digital nomad visas have different requirements and criteria. Not everyone can qualify to apply for them. Usually, the entrepreneur visas are much harder to obtain (Swedish, Slovak, Iceland, Ireland) than self-employment and digital nomad visas. If you are not a start-up founder or CEO at any currently operating company you will find it hard to obtain those permits. As for the regular digital nomads, remote workers in Tech fields and other professionals the qualification criteria to rest of the visa permits is quite simple.
Which country is best for digital nomads?
It is difficult to say which country in Europe has the “best” digital nomad visa, as it depends on an individual’s specific needs and preferences. Some countries may have more lenient visa requirements, while others may offer more benefits or support for digital nomads. However, some countries that are considered to be popular destinations for digital nomads include:
- Estonia – The Estonia e-Residency program allows digital nomads to establish a European business and access a range of services while living anywhere in the world.
- Portugal – The Non-Habitual Residency program in Portugal offers tax benefits for remote workers and digital nomads who establish residency in the country.
- Malta – Malta’s digital nomad visa allows non-EU citizens to live and work in the country for up to one year.
- Spain – Spain’s self-employed visa offers a path to residency for remote workers and digital nomads who can prove they have enough income to support themselves while living in the country.
Ultimately, the best country for a digital nomad visa will depend on factors such as cost of living, quality of life, internet connectivity and ease of doing business. And, this is exactly what we did. We have compiled a list of the best opportunities for digital nomads in Europe according to the criteria mentioned above. You can find the list below.
Top 3 digital nomad visas in Europe
Before we disclose the list of the best digital nomad visas in Europe we have to notify you regarding the upcoming visa waiver program in Europe. Every person holding the citizenship of the country participating in European visa liberalization program will have to apply for ETIAS to visit Europe after November 2023. ETIAS will be an online travel authorization which will oblige non-EU travelers to fill in a short application before visiting the region.
Let’s get back to our European destinations for digital nomads. Below you can find the top three digital nomad visa programs available to non-EU and EU citizens in Europe.
1. Malta digital nomad visa
Malta is considered one of the most attractive locations in Europe for digital nomads, it is a small island located in the Mediterranean Sea. Malta offers a great quality of life, a low cost of living and a high standard of living, a great weather all year round, a good internet connectivity and a stable political environment. Furthermore, Malta has a strong economy and a business-friendly environment, with a relatively low corporate tax rate.
Overall, Malta’s digital nomad visa is an attractive option for remote workers and entrepreneurs looking to establish residency in a European Union member state. With its combination of low cost of living, great quality of life, and business-friendly environment, Malta is a great place for digital nomads to set up base.
2. Estonia digital nomad visa
Estonia is considered one of the most attractive locations in Europe for digital nomads, it is a small country located in the northeastern Europe, bordered by the Baltic Sea, Gulf of Finland, and Gulf of Riga. Estonia offers a great quality of life, a low cost of living, a good internet connectivity and a stable political environment. Furthermore, Estonia is known for its highly developed digital infrastructure, which includes an e-Residency program that allows entrepreneurs to establish and run a location-independent business from Estonia.
Finally, Estonia’s digital nomad visa is an attractive option for remote workers and entrepreneurs looking to establish residency in a European Union member state. Additionally, with the e-Residency program, Estonia offers digital nomads the opportunity to establish and run a location-independent business, which is a great advantage for freelancers, entrepreneurs, and remote workers.
3. Spanish digital nomad visa
Spain’s digital nomad visa, also known as the Non-lucrative Visa, is a special permit that allows remote workers to live and work in Spain while they are based there. This visa is designed for non-EU nationals who wish to live and work remotely in Spain for a period of up to one year with the possibility to extend the visa afterwards.
Spain is a popular destination for digital nomads, it offers a great weather, a rich culture, and a low cost of living compared to other countries in Western Europe. Furthermore, Spain has a good internet connectivity and a stable political environment, also has a booming startup scene, with many co-working spaces and accelerators.
Overall, Spain’s digital nomad visa is an attractive option for remote workers and entrepreneurs looking to establish residency in a European Union member state. With its combination of great weather, rich culture, low cost of living, and business-friendly environment, Spain is a great place for digital nomads to set up base. Additionally, with the Non-lucrative Visa, Spain offers digital nomads the opportunity to establish and live in the country without the need to be employed or run a business, which is a great advantage for freelancers, entrepreneurs, and remote workers.
How to be a digital nomad in Europe?
To become a digital nomad in Europe legally, you will need to research and comply with the visa and residence requirements of the country you plan to reside in. Below are some general steps you can take to become a legal digital nomad in Europe:
- Research visa options: Different countries in Europe have different visa options for digital nomads. Some countries, like Estonia and Malta, have specific digital nomad visas, while others, like Spain, have more general self-employed or freelancer visas.
- Meet the requirements: Depending on the country, you may need to demonstrate certain qualifications, such as having a certain level of income or a specific type of insurance.
- Apply for a visa: Once you have met the requirements and have all the necessary documents, you can apply for a visa. This can be done through the embassy or consulate of the country you plan to reside in.
- Register with the local authorities: Once you have your visa, you will need to register with the local authorities, such as the police or city hall. This will allow you to legally reside in the country.
- Meet taxes obligations: To be legally compliant, you need to pay taxes. You will be required to pay taxes on your income earned in the country you are living in. You may also have to pay VAT as you are providing services in the European Union.
- Keep your visa up to date: Many digital nomad visas have a time limit, so make sure you keep your visa up to date by renewing it before it expires.
Who qualifies for digital nomad visa?
The qualifications for a digital nomad visa in Europe can vary depending on the country. However, some common qualifications that are required by many European countries include:
- Proof of income: You may need to demonstrate that you have a sufficient income to support yourself while living in the country. This could be through proof of employment, self-employment, or freelance work.
- Health insurance: Many countries require that you have health insurance that covers you while you are living in the country.
- Business plan: Some countries may require you to provide a business plan outlining how you intend to contribute to the local economy through your remote work.
- Residence address: You may need to provide a valid residence address in the country where you plan to reside.
- Clean criminal record: Some countries may ask for a criminal background check to make sure the person applying for a digital nomad visa has no criminal records.
- Good command of the language: you may be required to prove that you have a good command of the language spoken in the country you are applying to, as it will help you in case of emergencies and make it easier for you to navigate in the new country.