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5 Things to Know About Digital Nomad or Remote Work Visa

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Remote work and digital nomads are surging in trends. Many countries have started tapping into this demographic by offering Digital Nomad Visas or Remote Work Visas—a temporary visa that allows non-citizens to live and work in the country remotely, usually for a foreign business.

Here are 5 things to know about the Digital Nomad or Remote Work Visa.

5 Things to Know About Digital Nomad or Remote Work Visa

1. What is the Digital Nomad Visa or the Remote Work Visa?

The Digital Nomad or Remote Work Visa is a temporary visa issued to foreign nationals to live and work in a country remotely for a foreign business.

Typically, this visa does not allow its holders to work for a local business or a local client. It allows eligible foreign nationals to live in the country and work online, but without affecting the local labour market.

2. What types of remote workers are eligible to apply?

The Remote Work or Digital Nomad Visa is typically offered to 2 types of remote workers:

  • Non-citizens who are employed remotely by a foreign company
  • Non-citizens who are self-employed with foreign income sources

To apply for this visa, applicants will have to show proof of their financial means, ongoing work contract, or employment amongst other requirements, which varies from one country to another.

3. Is remote working or digital nomading legal?

If you are approved for a Remote Work Visa or a Digital Nomad Visa in a country, then it is perfectly legal for you to perform your remote work or online business activities there.

But, the issue lies in the following:

  • If you are employed, the company you work for may or may not allow employees to work remotely in another country
  • If you are self-employed or own a business, there may be tax implications of having a registered business in one country but maintains operations in another

The implications of remote working and digital nomading are usually tax-related in nature. Companies are often hesitant to let their employees work in another country because it may subject them to international taxes for operating outside of the country by having an employee overseas.

However, there are also companies with international operations and depending on the company's business structure, you may be allowed to work remotely for a limited period of time.

4. Are Remote Work Visas and Digital Nomad Visas two different types of visas?

The Remote Work Visa and the Digital Nomad Visa are essentially similar to one another.

The difference between the two comes mostly in terms of how a country chooses to call the program. Some countries opt for variations of the term Remote Work Visa, while some others opt for variations of the the term Digital Nomad Visa.

For example, Malta 🇲🇹 uses the term Nomad Residence Permit, whereas Iceland 🇮🇸 opts for the term Long-Term Visa for Remote Work. Of course, these visas will also have their own names in Maltese and Icelandic.

5. Are Remote Work and Digital Nomad Visas available for citizens of all countries around the world?

Previously, those with stronger passports from developed countries have it easier when it comes to digital nomading because they are able to access more countries visa-free on a whim, for longer periods of time.

But with Remote Work and Digital Nomad Visas, the distinction between a passport from a developed or a developing country becomes less of an issue because everyone who wants the visa will have to go through similar processes to apply for it.

Still, citizenship can matter if a country only offers Digital Nomad Visas to citizens from particular countries. For example:

  • The Nomad Residence Permit in Malta 🇲🇹 and Long-Term Visa for Remote Work in Iceland 🇮🇸 are only available to citizens outside the European Union (EU) / European Economic Area (EEA) / European Free Trade Association (EFTA). This makes sense, because citizens inside the EU/EEA/EFTA can already live and work in Malta or Iceland without a visa.

  • The Remotely from Georgia 🇬🇪 Program is only available to citizens of 95 countries who already have visa-free access to the country by default.

  • The Cape Verde 🇨🇻 Remote Working Program is only open to remote workers from some European countries, North America, Community of Portuguese Language Countries (CPLP), and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

Over and Out

The Digital Nomad or Remote Working Visas are very recent and not all countries around the world are offering them as of now. This visa offers a decent pathway for those with online businesses or remote employment to work temporarily in another country.

Because this visa is still so new, there are bound to be changes in years to come. Rules and regulations around this visa are also evolving, so be sure to research into it diligently through official sources in your destination country before taking the plunge. Hopefully, with this article, you will have a better idea on what to keep a lookout for.

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