You can work far from home thanks to dedicated remote work visas, provided you meet certain conditions. You can work far from home thanks to dedicated remote work visas, provided you meet certain conditions.
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Spain could soon join the list of countries that have chosen to introduce a specific visa for remote workers looking to set up somewhere new. And this particular visa could be valid for up to five years, according to The Guardian. Europe has become a major destination for digital nomads thanks to the proliferation of these new permits. But there are still some conditions to be met...
Zoom meetings could feel much more pleasant when you and your computer are sitting on a sun-drenched terrace, than when you're crammed into an impersonal office or co-working space, let alone a tiny apartment. One upside to the pandemic was that it proved that many people could work efficiently and productively without being in the office. During that time, stories of workers who fled their cramped apartments to work remotely in Madeira or the Canary Islands seemed to be everywhere. And then, when the last lockdowns and restrictions finally ended, everyone went back to work -- except for some, who took advantage of a brand-new form of visa precisely for remote workers, or so-called digital nomads. Estonia was the first member of the European Union to launch a digital nomad visa. The entry permit became official relatively early in the global Covid-19 crisis, in June 2020.
Unlike a tourist visa, teleworkers can stay longer. As a general rule, employees can work under these conditions for one year (up to two years in Italy). But an expired document does not necessarily prevent them from renewing their application, as is the case in Greece, where the validity is 12 months. Getting this kind of visa usually comes with benefits. In Iceland, for example, teleworkers have the right to family reunification. In Italy, digital nomads can benefit from a 70% tax reduction on their income. In Madeira, teleworkers can enjoy free Wi-Fi, use coworking spaces and are invited to specific events. In Spain, where the visa is not yet in place, the tax rate for digital nomads could reportedly be 15%, compared to 25% for Spanish residents.
However, in order to obtain their permit, digital nomads usually need to ensure they have sufficient income to support themselves upon arrival. In Romania, you have to earn up to three times the average Romanian salary to telework from Bucharest, i.e., €3,500. Alternatively, Portugal only requires digital nomads to earn €700 a month. In the list of documents to be provided, employees must sometimes present proof of accommodation, such as in Croatia for example, or a letter from their employer to prove that they are not unemployed (this is the case in Iceland). In many cases, private health insurance is also required.
From a practical point of view, this type of visa can be obtained either online, if the country has set up a digital application process, or via the relevant embassies and consulates.
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Europe is not the only place where digital nomads can get visas to live and work. European citizens can, for example, apply for this kind of visa in Antigua, in the Caribbean, as well as Bermuda, the Cayman Islands and more.
Finally, if you're interested in heading to a specific country, but its government has not set up a specific visa for remote workers, it's still worth checking if there's a "freelancers" or "business" visa for which you could be eligible. The Czech Republic, for example, has not added another specific visa category but is still open to digital nomads.