The Digital Nomad Visa – What is it?

Visa blog header

Hands up if you’d love to find a way to extend your vacation time, without the backlog of work and catching up to do when you come home?

Is that everyone? – Yep, I thought so!

Well, this might not be the solution for everybody, but for those in the right circumstances, let me introduce you to The Digital Nomad Visa.

Although some countries were offering this kind of thing earlier, this was something GOOD to come out of the pandemic! Many countries are looking for ways to boost their economy again, including all of the income lost from the lack of tourism, and so are enticing travellers into their countries with the promise of right-to-work.

Right at the outset here, I want to make it clear that before embarking on anything like this PLEASE check the relevant government websites etc. I am not a legal advisor or anything of the sort, and so although obviously I’ve done my best to get accurate and up-to-date info, if immigration come knocking on your door, please don’t blame me!

So, as it stands, I could find almost 50 countries offering (or planning to be offering) this specific type of visa, including Portugal, Norway, Cyprus, Thailand, Dubai, South Africa, Mauritius, Costa Rica, Mexico, Brazil, The Bahamas, Saint Lucia and more! Of course, if there is a specific country your heart is set on, it’s worth checking out whether they have prolonged visas available some other way too.

I’m sure you have some questions about all this – surely it can’t be as perfect as it sounds – pick your favourite beach spot and just go there! Sadly, it’s probably not quite that simple, but I still think this is pretty damn good!

Why would I even need this visa?

As much as I’d love to be able to say I’ve been to all of the countries on the list, I haven’t .. but I’ve been to some! For example, Costa Rica was really my first major travel destination for a few years and TOTALLY stole my heart, and our recent trip to Mexico has me day-dreaming about tacos al pastor … 

Both of these countries were very easy to get into, but there’s often a maximum stay. I may be wrong but for Costa Rica I think it’s 90 days, and for Mexico is 180. Although many travellers like to go on a little ‘border run’ to renew their time, and this can be fun, it can also be costly! If you aren’t near a border that you can cross by land, and are having to take a flight somewhere, or extend your stay out of the country by booking accommodation etc, doing so every 3 months can really rack up quite the cost! So, to have peace of mind that for at least a year, if not longer, you don’t need to travel except for pleasure, this visa is a great idea.


What kind of work would I need to have?

Whilst a few countries have slightly different options (some including self-employment, or proof of owning your own business), the majority of places want to see proof of employment, and may require a covering letter from the employer. Obviously, it’s implied that your work is going to be online too.


How much income will I need?

This varies HUGELY! One I was very happy to see was Portugal requiring just 600 euros a month! Many are mid-ranging at between $2000-$3000 per month, but some countries, where the cost of living is comparatively high, will require annual salaries of $50,000 or more! (Sorry for the jump between currencies, but all info is given in the local currency of the country usually!)

If this is something you may be considering, bear in mind that you may also need to have back-dated proof. So, if you’re a company director and will need to increase your salary, think about that sooner rather than later.


How long do these visas last?

The majority seem to be up to 1 year, but there are many that offer opportunities for extension too, and Thailand is the outlier, offering up to 10 years!


Is there a cost for the visa?

In most cases, yes, and once again, this really varies, from just 50 euros for Iceland to $2000 for Barbados! Even for the costlier ones though, it’s worth sitting down and working out what would be the cost of having to fly in and out multiple times etc, and it will still probably work in favour of the visa!


What are the tax implications?

This is something that I strongly advise reading up on beforehand – either on government websites, or by contacting the relevant embassies etc .. for the most part, from what I’ve found, it seems that as you’ll be employed by a UK company, and as part of the legalities of the visa, the tax will be paid to HMRC just the same. For some though, after a certain amount of time, you will become a resident of that country for tax purposes, so please do clue up on this!

I know that this may not be for everyone, but almost anyone who has travelled will tell you – if you have the opportunity, DO IT! Whether it’s for the sun, for learning a language, immersing yourself in a culture, getting time for a hobby, or anything else, you won’t regret spending some time abroad!

Keep your eyes peeled for part 2 of this blog where I’ll go into a little more details about which countries offer this, their terms, and why you’d be crazy not to pay them a visit!



Interested in how Ellie has got on with working while travelling? Check out her travel adventure blog