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Best Countries And Places For Digital Nomad Visas And Remote Work Abroad

If you are thinking of taking your laptop around the world, or if you are already a remote worker abroad, you may be confused by visas. Every country has a different policy, which may affect you if you intend to work during your stay. Thankfully, applying for digital nomad visas is not as hard as it may seem – and by knowing a few simple ground rules, you’ll have no problem entering, living and working around the world. The COVID-19 pandemic has shown that you don’t need to be in the office to get work done, so are you thinking of taking your show on the road? Digital nomads can do anything provided it can be done 100% remotely. Discover the countries and places that offer a special visa for digital nomads, including costs, income and health insurance requirements.

Key takeaways


  • A digital nomad is someone who lives a nomadic lifestyle and uses technology to work remotely from outside their home country.
  • A digital nomad visa is a document or program that gives someone the legal right to work remotely while residing away from their country of permanent residence.
  • Many countries offering digital nomad visas allow individuals to apply for themselves as well as for dependents.
  • These visas are available to students and workers, although the costs and requirements tend to vary.
  • Sadly, relying on travel insurance abroad is a risk. International health insurance can cover all of your health needs. Prices start from $146 per month.
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Working remotely is a dream for many people these days / GETTY IMAGES

The best countries and places for digital nomad visas and remote work abroad

A digital nomad is someone who combines working remotely with travelling to different countries and locations. Digital nomads might be employed by a company, or they might be self-employed or have their own company. To become a digital nomad, all you need is a job with a remote contract, or to be self-employed, and a laptop. And a digital nomad visa!

What is a digital nomad visa?

Since the COVID-19 pandemic, some countries have started to offer special visas for ‘digital nomads’ to work remotely.

These visas allow remote workers to stay for longer than they could with an ordinary tourist visa, and you won’t have to commit to any of the things a typical expat might have to, such as paying tax, opening a bank account or getting a permanent address. So long as you are able to prove you have a stable income, pay the visa fee and take out international health insurance, you’re likely to be accepted.

What are the best countries and places for digital nomad visas and remote work abroad?

With these factors in mind, here are our picks:

  1. Anguilla
  2. Antigua & Barbuda
  3. Aruba
  4. Australia
  5. Barbados
  6. Bermuda
  7. Cayman Islands
  8. Costa Rica
  9. Croatia
  10. Czechia
  11. Dubai
  12. Estonia
  13. Georgia
  14. Germany
  15. Iceland
  16. Italy
  17. Jamaica
  18. Mauritius
  19. Mexico
  20. Monsterrat
  21. Norway (Svalbard)
  22. Portugal
  23. Spain

The countries on this list have their own dedicated schemes for digital nomads or workers who intend to stay for a short time. Other countries have their own rules which may include some leniency for digital nomads.

Can I live and work as a digital nomad in other countries not on this list?

If you have your heart on living and working in one particular country, it’s fairly easy to do your research online. Visit that country’s government website to see what kind of visas are available, research tax laws in that country (especially to see if a double taxation exemption applies) and browse expat forums to read other people’s stories. Many countries will even allow you to apply for a short-stay visa after you arrive there – but don’t count on this always being the case.

How to choose the best digital nomad city and place for remote work abroad

If you want to stay in a country longer than a typical 60 or 90-day stay (depending on the country), most of the time you will either need a long term visa, or you will need to leave the country after the allotted time period. With some countries’ visas, rules are slightly laxer. If you reach your max amount of days, you can exit the country, get an exit stamp on your passport, head to another country for a day or so, and then return problem-free. The time limit will reset itself. In the digital nomad community, this is commonly referred to as a visa run. However, there are regions where this isn’t an option.

Apart from that, not all cities and places are equal when it comes to ‘nomad friendliness’. To be considered one of the best digital nomad cities, each destination must check a few key boxes, including costs, income and health insurance requirements:

  1. Quality internet connection
  2. Safety
  3. Relatively low cost of living
  4. Healthcare
  5. Fun and interesting things to do in the region

Here is a quick breakdown of the rules for each country that offers a digital nomad visa.

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St. John's, Antigua port and skyline at twilight / GETTY IMAGES

Anguilla digital nomad visa

“Work. Life. Bliss.”

At just 35 square miles, Anguilla is a tiny island. But it makes up for its diminutive size by offering strong WiFi across the whole country and 33 stunning beaches for you to work from.

  • US$2,000 per individual or US$3,000 for four persons + US$250 for each additional family member
  • Valid for: 91 days – 12 months
  • No minimum income, but need to be earning enough to support yourself
  • Health insurance (including COVID-19 cover) required

Visit the official website to learn more.

Antigua & Barbuda Nomad Digital Residence Visa Programme

The twin islands of Antigua and Barbuda make one sovereign country in the Caribbean, part of the British Commonwealth. Famous for its white, sandy beaches, Antigua & Barbuda promises a laid-back lifestyle with plenty of sailing and jerk chicken.

  • US$1,500 per individual, US$2,000 for couples, and US$3,000 for families of three or more
  • Valid for: up to two years
  • Minimum income of US$50,000 per annum
  • Health insurance required

Visit the official website to learn more.

How to find a digital nomad job abroad?
Check out our step-by-step guide

Aruba digital nomad visa

One Happy Workation

Aruba is part of the Netherlands Antilles and, like the Netherlands, is generally flat. However, unlike the Netherlands, it also has beautiful sandy beaches, crystal-clear water and warm weather all year round. And now, the island nation is offering “One Happy Workaction” to interested guests.

  • Valid for: 90 days for US Nationals with a valid passport or 30 days for UK nationals
  • No minimum income
  • Must show proof of onward/return flights upon arrival
  • Health insurance (including COVID-19 cover) required – rigorous guidelines including testing also in place

Visit the official website for UK nomads and US nomads.

Does Australia offer a digital nomad visa?

It is worth mentioning that many websites claim Australia offers a digital nomad visa. However, this is not true. Tourists in Australia can stay for up to three months, however they are not permitted to work.

Meanwhile, young people from certain countries can take year-long working holidays in Australia but must be employed in a select field of work (usually manually labour) for the duration of their stay.

That said, Australia offers a host of visas for people interested in living down under. See them all here.

Barbados Welcome Stamp for digital nomads

Another Caribbean island, another tempting offer to work remotely in a tropical paradise, courtesy of the Barbados Welcome Stamp. Hope you like fresh food, rum and lots of carnivals!

  • US$2,000 for individuals or US$3,000 for families
  • Valid for: 12 months
  • No minimum income, and no taxes payable
  • Health insurance requested

Visit the official website to learn more.

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Cute baby three-toed sloth in the mangrove, Costa Rica / GETTY IMAGES

Work From Bermuda Certificate for digital nomads

Not only does this British Overseas Territory hold a monopoly over some of the most picturesque islands in the North Atlantic, but it also boasts excellent broadband and some pretty fancy shared workspaces – all with the hopes of attracting digital nomads to take advantage of its Work from Bermuda Certificate.

  • US$263 per person
  • Valid for: 12 months
  • No minimum income
  • Health insurance not formally requested

Visit the official website to learn more.

Cayman Islands: Global Citizen Concierge for high-earning digital nomads

The culinary capital of the Caribbean is home to some of the most beautiful wildlife in the world, but you probably know the Cayman Islands better as a tax haven for the super-rich. No surprise, then, that while their Global Citizen Concierge scheme is suited for the higher earners.

  • US$1,469 per annum for up to two people, plus US$500 per dependent
  • Valid for: up to two years
  • Must provide proof of minimum income, starting at US$100,000 per annum, plus an additional sum for each dependent, starting from US$80,000 for one dependent
  • Health insurance required

Visit the official website to learn more.

Costa Rica: digital nomad visa coming soon!

From picture-perfect coastlines to wild mountain trails, this central American country truly has it all – and is keen to attract digital nomads to bolster its economy. The law has been written, but not officially declared, so watch this space – but for now, we know this to be true:

  • Price per visa TBC
  • Valid for: one year
  • Minimum income of US$3,000 per month for individuals or US$4,000 per month for those with dependents
  • Health insurance required
Better still, did you know there are places in the world that will
actually pay you to move there as a remote worker?

Croatia Temporary Stay visa, ideal for digital nomads

Situated on the stunning Adriatic Sea, the Republic of Croatia is an EU member state best known for many things – not least of all footballer Luka Modric. Now, it is also becoming known as a great place for digital nomads – one town in Croatia has even started paying remote workers to move there! While Croatia’s digital nomad scheme is still in its infancy, here’s what we know so far.

  • US$65 initial application fee, US$71 visa fee, plus an additional US$65 fee to extend a stay after arriving in Croatia and US$11 administration fee
  • Valid for: one year
  • Minimum income of US$2,580 per month, increasing by 10% for each dependent, plus savings of at least US$30,960
  • Health insurance required

Find out more and start your application on the Croatian Ministry of the Interior website.

Czechia (Czech Republic) “Zivno” visa for remote workers

The Czech Republic may not have beaches, but makes up for it by being home to fantastic beer, wild countryside and technologically advanced cities, including the capital Prague. Its Zivno visa is not an official digital nomad visa, rather an existing visa that works well for non-EU freelancers.

  • Only available when applying in person at a Czech Embassy – applicants must receive an interview and wait up to 120 days
  • Total fees vary by embassy, but typically around US$200
  • Initially valid for up to nine months but can be extended to two years
  • Only available for citizens from selected countries (see the list here)
  • No minimum income, but applicants must have savings of US$5,300
  • Health insurance required

Begin your application via the Embassy of the Czech Republic in London or find your nearest Czech Embassy.

Work Remotely from Dubai programme

Famously tax-free, and with plenty of beaches and global cuisine to help expats pass the time, Dubai is a hotspot for international experts to ply their trade. Better yet, the application process couldn’t be easier! Just make sure you can afford the high cost of living.

  • US$611 for individuals
  • Valid for: one year
  • Minimum income of US$5,000 per month
  • Travel insurance required, while health insurance can be purchased locally

Start your application via the Visit Dubai website.

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Beautiful view on Holy Trinity Church or Gergeti Trinity Church over Kazbek mountain in Georgia / GETTY IMAGES

Estonia E-Residency and Digital Nomad Visa scheme

History, culture, the second-best education system in the world and a rapidly emerging technology scene is what awaits digital nomads in this fairytale Baltic state. The capital Tallinn is starting to compete for the number one start-up city in Europe, and if you want to be part of that culture, you could be there in under 30 days.

  • €80 per person for a short-stay visa, or €100 for a long-stay visa, which must be applied for in person at an Estonian embassy
  • Valid for: six months (type C Schengen visa) or one year (type D visa)
  • Minimum income of €3,504 per month
  • Assumed health insurance required, but no official confirmation

Visit the official website to learn more.

Remotely From Georgia programme for digital nomads

Fancy something a little different? Why not take to the Caucasus Mountains to fashion a new life for yourself in the birthplace of wine – the beautiful and historic country of Georgia? Capital city Tbilisi boasts super-fast broadband from as little as US$10 per month. What’s not to love?

  • Free
  • Valid for: 360 days
  • Only available for citizens from selected countries (see the list here)
  • Minimum income: US$2,000 per month
  • Health insurance (including COVID-19 cover) required

Visit the website of the Georgian National Tourism Administration to learn more.

Germany Short-stay Visas for digital nomads

The most populous European nation needs no introduction. From Frankfurt to Berlin, Hamburg to Munich, Germany is a thriving centre for technology, engineering and innovation, a crossroads for various cultures and chock full of great food, incredible experiences and now, opportunities for freelancers to make a life for themselves.

  • Free
  • Valid for: three months initially, but can be extended up to three years
  • Freelancers must have clients based in Germany
  • No stated minimum income, however applicants must show some proof of stable income
  • Health insurance required

Find out more via the German Missions in the United Kingdom website.

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Work in Iceland scheme

Working remotely doesn’t get more remote than this. But if the idea of working alongside geysers, natural hot springs and the Northern Lights appeals, this is the place for you. The little country with a big personality is now open and ready to welcome you for a working holiday.

  • US$93 per person (full prices here)
  • Valid for: up to 180 days
  • Only available to citizens from selected countries (see the list here)
  • Minimum income: US$7,611 for individuals, US$9,894 for individuals with dependents
  • Health insurance required

Visit the Work in Iceland website for full details.

Does Italy have a digital nomad visa?

Italy recently introduced a digital nomad visa for ‘highly qualified’ remote workers planning to base themselves in Italy. It is a new visa option soon expected to offer an easier route for international expats interested in legal remote work from Italy.

The Italian government still has to work on a new bill to implement the law, defining all the procedures and details though. Recently, it announced its plans to make a €1 billion investment in order to attract digital nomads to work remotely from Italy.

Such an initiative aims to transform about 2,000 “ghost towns” into attractive places for digital nomads. Currently, only 75% of families in rural zones in Italy have access to the internet.

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Tourist women in Rome, Italy by the Coliseum / GETTY IMAGES

Does Jamaica offer digital nomad visas?

As with Australia, many websites claim Jamaica has a digital nomad programme, but this isn’t quite true. What Jamaica does offer is a very lenient long-term visa scheme, which you can take advantage of to work while living on the island.

You will need to apply for this visa either by filling in a form and interviewing in person at a Jamaican consulate in your home country, or by visiting the Jamaican Embassy in Kingston after you arrive in Jamaica.

Mauritius Short-stay visa for digital nomads

Another island nation, but this time in the Indian Ocean, Mauritius is a remote habitat spanning an archipelago of serene islands previously governed by the Portuguese, Dutch, French and British – and has influences (and languages) of each left over. Now, it’s also the first African nation to offer a special visa for digital nomads.

  • Free
  • Valid for: one year
  • Citizens of some countries may need to apply in advance (see list of visa requirements here)
  • Minimum income: US$1,500 per month for individuals, plus an additional US$500 per month for each dependent
  • Health insurance required

The visa can be applied for after arriving in Mauritius. Visit the Mauritian Passport and Immigration Office website for more information.

The Mexico “no lucrativo” visa for short-term workers

When it comes to visas, Mexico was already fairly lenient. Now, with the addition of their “no lucrativo” visa (which is not, strictly speaking, a digital nomad visa), they are even happy to let you make Mexico your working home in Latin America too. Check out our full guide to moving to Mexico as an expat.

  • US$44 consular fee when applying
  • Valid for: six months
  • Minimum income: US$1,500
  • Assumed health insurance required, but no official confirmation

Find out more and start your application on the Mexican consulate website.

Montserrat Remote Work Stamp programme

Montserrat is a small British territory in the Caribbean. You may remember it for the 1995 volcanic eruption, which made half the island – including the capital, Plymouth – uninhabitable. But don’t let that stop you if you’re thinking of moving there. With 20Mbs average broadband, plus jungles and beaches to explore, it could be the ideal place to work.

  • US$500 for a single applicant; US$750 for families of up to three, US$250 for each dependent thereafter
  • Valid for: one year
  • Minimum income: US$70,000
  • Health insurance (including COVID-19 cover) required

Find out more and apply online through the official Montserrat Remote Work Stamp website.

Norway (Svalbard), now open for digital workers

Of course, you’ve heard of Norway. It’s one of our top five countries for expats. But you’ll be forgiven for not knowing about Svalbard, a Norweigan island near the North Pole. The incredibly remote island has almost as many polar bears as humans and is home to the Global Seed Vault. It’s also crying out for digital nomads like you.

  • Free
  • Valid for: presumably permanent
  • Proof of income required, but no confirmation about minimum
  • Health insurance required

Information is scarce, but you can find out more via the Governor of Svalbard’s website.

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Tram on line 28 in Lisbon, Portugal / GETTY IMAGES

A one year visa to live and work in Portugal

Portugal was already one of our top five countries for American expats due to its visa-free system for citizens from the US and certain other countries. Now, the Portuguese are making it easier for digital nomads to stay, too. While not an official digital nomad visa, remote workers can take advantage of the lenient temporary stay visa to work remotely in Portugal.

  • €75
  • Valid for: up to one year
  • Proof of income required, but no confirmation about minimum
  • Health insurance required, until you have confirmed residency

See the full list of requirements here and learn more about the visa application system for Portugal.

Is Spain launching a digital nomad work visa?

Spain is in the process of rolling out a digital nomad visa. Until then, certain nationalities can take advantage of their three-month window for visa-free stays. Beyond that, you will need to apply for a work visa, for which you will need to visit the Spanish Consulate. Be warned: this is a notoriously tedious process! But persevere, and you might get to live in one of the top 10 countries in the world for healthcare.

  • No word yet about costs
  • Will be valid for up to one year
  • Proof of income and health insurance will be required

The Spanish government websites are fairly unreliable, so you’re better off getting your news from news outlets around the web. Nonetheless, British citizens may like to start their journey here.

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Why do digital nomads need health insurance?

Imagine you are a digital nomad with your travel itinerary booked up for months — but you suddenly get seriously ill. If you are using a domestic health program or insurance tied to one specific country, you will usually be required to live the majority of your time there as a tax resident in order to qualify for coverage. You can’t just hop back “home” after being absent for years of not paying taxes and expect free or affordable health care by flashing your passport.

For many digital nomads and serial expats, what you most likely need is a primary international health insurance policy. Ideally, one that’s tailored to your lifestyle. Many countries now also stipulate that your health insurance policy must include cover against COVID-19. This may mean having cover for:

  • Yourself, if you become seriously ill with COVID-19
  • Public liability, for instance, if you are blamed for a local outbreak
  • Loss of income, if you are unable to work.

What are the health insurance requirements for digital nomads?

When relocating to most countries in the world, even as a digital nomad, you will be expected to show proof of adequate health insurance. This means having insurance that will:

  • Cover you in cases of serious illness, including conditions such as cancer
  • Help towards medical costs for ambulance journeys, hospital stays, the cost of essential drugs and so on
  • Provide various assurances, such as assistance in case of loss of income.

Every country has its own rules when it comes to health insurance, and it can be difficult to know which policy to take out for which country. That’s why William Russell provides a single international health insurance policy that covers you no matter where you are in the world and strives to always provide the necessary level of cover to help your visa application process. You can even move between countries and stay under the same policy.

Why do you need international health insurance instead of travel insurance?

Having primary health insurance is not an unnecessary expense. It’s important to remember that as a nomad, you are not just on vacation but you chose to live a permanent or semi-permanent life of travel. This means that you are not just prone to the health risks of adventure and travel, but you also need to check up on your regular health needs that come with daily life.

Just imagine that you break your leg while climbing Kilimanjaro and need emergency care insurance. If you are diagnosed with a chronic condition that requires regular check-ups — basically, it’s game over for both your wallet and possibly even your future travel ambitions.

Additionally, even with only emergency health care, it often means that they will send you back to your home country as soon as it is cheaper or more convenient for them to do so, or if it’s the only way they can give you sufficient care. Read more about the difference between international travel, health and local insurance.

How much does international health insurance cost?

You can choose between our Bronze, SilverLite, Silver and Gold plans. The Bronze plan is a budget-friendly option that offers full cover for hospital treatment, cancer treatment, and medical evacuation, with outpatient treatment limited to post-hospital treatment for up to 90 days. Silver and SilverLite offer the same but with full outpatient treatment, the main difference being whether you get a private or shared hospital room. The Gold plan includes extras like mental health and maternity care, with a higher annual limit.

To give you an idea on cost, the table below shows examples based on different circumstances across our range of plans:

Bronze

SilverLite

Silver

Gold

About you
International student
Digital nomad
Solo experienced professional
Mature family with kids
Avg monthly cost
US$95
US$141
US$225
US$821
Included as standard
  • Semi-private room & post hospital treatment
  • Cancer treatment
  • Medevac
  • Mental health
  • Semi-private room & treatment
  • Cancer treatment
  • Medevac
  • Standard out-patient up to US$5,000
  • Physiotherapy
  • Private hospital care
  • Cancer treatment
  • Medevac
  • Outpatient treatment
  • Mental health treatment up to US$75,000 per lifetime
  • Wellness & vaccinations
  • Complementary therapies
  • Private hospital care
  • Cancer treatment
  • Medevac
  • Outpatient treatment
  • Mental health treatment up to US$100,000 per lifetime
  • Wellness & vaccinations
  • Routine dental
  • Maternity
  • Accidental death benefit
  • Cancer critical illness benefit

You can access the full policy document here.

What’s good about these plans is that they are fully personalisable depending on your needs. You will have to specify the country you are primarily residing in when signing up with them, however, you are free to travel about and receive coverage anywhere as long as it is in your area of cover.

Wherever you move, go with total peace of mind

William Russell’s international health insurance policy is designed with globetrotters like you in mind. The first step to starting a new life as a digital nomad is to take out a comprehensive global health insurance plan that will protect you anywhere in the world.

At William Russell, we have been providing worldwide health cover for 30 years, helping expats and their families to settle into their new lives overseas. Speak to us today to find out more about how international health insurance could support you.

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Learn more about our plans