Digital Nomad Visa EU

digital nomad visa EU

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The rise in the number of digital nomads embracing the digital nomad lifestyle across the globe every year is unbelievable. The need for remote work started during the COVID-19 pandemic, and it hasn’t stopped since. In just four years —2018 to 2021— the number of digital nomads skyrocketed from 4.8 million to 15.5 million.

Today, an estimated 35 million digital nomads of varied nationalities enjoy a nomadic lifestyle while working remotely in foreign countries. And it’s not hard to reckon that the number of digital nomads could double in just a few years. Last year, the US alone hosted more than 11 million digital nomads. And that number is expected to go up by the end of 2022.

Europe has also seen a drastic surge in the number of digital nomads in recent years. Several EU countries like Portugal, Germany, Spain, and Croatia are among the top destination for digital nomads. Based on several factors, like internet speed, tax regulations, and cost of living, European cities like Madrid, Prague, Berlin, Zagreb, Tbilisi, and Lisbon are the most convenient cities for foreign digital nomads or anyone who prefers to work remotely.

Did you know Estonia was the first country to announce a digital nomad program in June 2020? Portugal and Croatia were rated the top digital nomad location in Western Europe and Eastern Europe, respectively. As of March 2022, Spain ranked third as the most visited country by digital nomads after US and Thailand. 

Europe and especially the country-members of the European Union have already set up schemes to attract digital nomads. The most common travelers seeking a temporary resident visa are self-employed people, remote workers working for foreign companies, foreign entrepreneurs, or people owning location-independent businesses, or people with an EU-based online business.

This type of traveler prefers to stay in European cities for a year and extend their digital nomad visas for many reasons. Some continue to pursue a permanent residency permit and create a new life miles away from their home country.

What is an EU digital nomad visa?

Living and working in the EU is possible for almost everyone who meets the requirements to enter, stay and work in the EU countries. In most cases, foreign workers employed by a resident company in the EU country they live in, are issued a traditional work visa.

However, remote workers can not apply for such visas as they are either self-employed or employed by foreign companies. In this case, remote workers can obtain a tourist visa which will allow them to stay in the EU for a period of 3 months. Even exempt countries are allowed to stay in Europe for a short period of time. But when the tourist visa expires, that is when the digital nomad visa comes in.

Most Wanted Visas to Stay in Europe

Before we dive into the reasons why Europe is the best destination for digital nomads, let’s talk a little about tourist visas in Europe because most people searching for this query “digital nomad visa EU” also search for ways to get to the EU for longer than 90 days.

But that is next to impossible. You will have to apply for a specific digital nomad visa (DNV) to stay for more than 90 days within 180 days. While a tourist visa permits travelers to stay for a short time, typically 3 months, a remote work visa or digital nomad permit allows visitors to stay in a country and work remotely for up to a year. 

“How to stay in Europe longer than 90 days?” is a frequently asked question. The 90-day limit is what most travelers want to get past. Foreign citizens willing to stay in European countries for 90 days or less must apply for a tourist visa, also called Schengen (short stay) visa. And if they intend to stay for longer than 90 days, they must apply for a long stay visa, better called a digital nomad visa. Such a visa can be renewed and extended.

Luckily, some EU countries like Germany grant long-stay visas for work purposes. This remote work visa is especially for skilled workers to work in the Federal Republic for the long term, thereby contributing to the local economy. Germany launched the special digital nomad visa to attract remote workers from around the world, and within a few years, Germany had established itself as a top destination for remote workers. 

Several European countries have digital nomad visas or freelance visas for international freelancers and remote workers. Without further ado, let’s find out more about EU digital nomad visas.

How does the EU Digital Nomad Visa work?

More than 10 EU countries offer freelance visas to international remote workers or anyone who wants to work remotely, as long as they are working for a foreign company. A businessman owning a location-independent business can also opt for a nomadic life in EU countries. Estonia, part of the European nation, was the first country to have introduced the digital nomad visa for freelancers and remote workers. 

The visa eligibility and requirement differ from country to country. Some countries may request the applicant to sign the document and interview in person, while others have an online application system. The bottom line is the EU digital nomad visa depends on the country’s standard requirements.

Common Requirement for EU digital nomad visa

Normally the EU visa requirements vary from one country to another. The processing time, application system, and even the visa duration are unique in most cases. However, there are some common requirements for most European countries’ digital nomad visas, which are listed below:

  1. Proof of travel insurance and medical documents
  2. Proof of income
  3. Payment of the visa fee
  4. Proof of remote work, self-employment, or business registered outside of the country

Do I need a Digital nomad visa or a tourist visa for the EU?

The type of visa required to enter, stay and work in the EU depends on a few factors but it all comes down to the longevity of your stay. Most tourist visas allow a short stay, and such is the case with the EU.

If you only wish to travel around the EU for no more than 90 days or do remote work while you are vacationing, you should apply for a tourist visa. If your intention is to stay and work in the EU as a remote worker or a digital nomad, you can do so if you apply for the digital nomad visa, provided the country has already introduced a digital nomad visa program.

There is the possibility to use a tourist visa first and once it expires, then apply for a digital nomad visa in the EU country you wish to stay in. A digital nomad visa allows you to stay in the EU for up to 12 months, with the possibility to extend.

Note that neither a tourist visa or a digital nomad visa allows you to work for a local company. If you are a non-EU citizen and wish to work for a local company in Europe, you will need a national work permit or EU Blue Card, provided you meet all the requirements.

One thing to keep in mind is that from May 2023, all travelers that do not need a visa to enter Europe and the Schengen Area will be expected to register with ETIAS (European Travel Information and Authorisation System).This means that starting next year, the visa application process and issuing could be more strict.

Top 5 reasons why Europe is the best place for Digital Nomads:

High Internet Speed

The crux of remote work is the internet connection. Digital nomads, remote workers, and businessmen operating location-independent businesses in other countries are totally dependent on the internet for their remote digital jobs. Digital nomads are in a constant chase for high internet speed.

Europe offers blazing-fast internet speed, and on top of that, the internet is a lot cheaper there, rather than the internet in the US or parts of Asia like the UAE. Over the years, the internet performance has increased by more than 50%, attracting even more remote workers to move to the EU and work remotely without having to worry about slow or no internet connection at all.  

Food

Europe is a foodie-paradise, ideal for the gourmands who like to discover new sensations and explore the best gastronomic destinations in the world. In Europe, remote workers can embark on a journey to try new foods every day.Each country has its own specific cuisine and traditional recipes, despite their proximity.

Quattro formaggi pasta or pizza in Italy, Gazpacho soup and Paella in Spain, Dolma, Mousaka and Tzatziki in Greece, Bratwurst and Sauerkraut in Germany, Borscht in Ukraine and Pierogi in Poland, you name it. There are countless dishes to try in Europe. From little-known delicacies to dishes steeped in tradition, Europe is home to some of the world’s most popular and incredible foods. 

Climate

Europe boasts vast temperature differences throughout the year and there are places for everyone. Whether you are a warm-weather traveler or prefer the ski slopes, Europe has you covered. Most countries in Western Europe feature cool summers and mild winters. On the other hand, Southern Europe features a Mediterranean climate while Central-eastern Europe has a Continental climate.

For travelers who love cold places, Iceland is the ideal place. And for everyone who loves pleasant weather, Portugal, Malta, Greece, and Gibraltar are the best. Many remote workers love Greece for its dry summer and mild winter. On top of that, Greece’s digital nomad visa grants remote workers and travelers a stay for up to 12 months, with the chance to apply for a Digital Nomad residence permit to extend the stay a little longer.

Proximity to other Cities

When in Europe, travelers can travel from country to country, between 51 to be more precise. It is relatively cheap and easy to travel between different European countries and cities. Within 24 hours (some even less), travelers can reach any country on the continent.

Travelers can walk across or drive across the border with no checkpoints (not the best idea). Let’s not forget about low-cost airlines and the excellent train system in Europe, which are some major perks for digital nomads and remote workers.

Visitor-Friendly

Europe is open to all travelers regardless of their nationalities. Unlike some countries with stringent visa rules, European countries are welcoming and friendly. The Schengen Area comprises 27 countries in the European Union including Austria, France, Germany, Spain, and several others that abolished their internal borders for the unrestricted movement of residents and travelers alike. 

Top 5 Destinations in Europe for Digital Nomads in 2022

Here are some of the top destinations in Europe for digital nomads based on factors like cost of living, internet speed, network opportunities, and transportation services:

Portugal

Portugal is an amazing country for travelers and digital nomads. Portugal has balmy weather, affordable cost of living, delicious food, good wine, great nightlife, work-friendly cafes, and a good internet connection all of which entice digital nomads. Portugal offers some of the lowest costs of living in entire Western Europe. You can rent a one-bedroom apartment in Lisbon for €1000 monthly. From all perspectives of digital nomads, Portugal is a perfect destination for digital nomads.

Spain

Spain is one of the most affordable countries in Europe. The WiFi facility is laudable, and there are many places to explore for months on end. With high-speed internet, low cost of living, excellent quality of life, and co-working spaces abound, Spain, an EU country is among the top choices for digital nomads and remote workers. There is a non-lucrative visa (NLV) to enter Spain for residence purposes.

Romania

Just like Spain, Romania, a friendly nation, is also an affordable European country attracting many digital nomads. Romania boasts 7 UNESCO world heritage sites and some of the oldest chapels in Europe. Digital nomads in Romania get to enjoy a low cost of living and fast internet speed. Bucharest, Brasov, and Sibiu are three top cities in Romania to be based as digital nomads. 

Germany

Germany has a lot to offer to digital nomads, freelancers, and expats. Regarding finance, Germany is relatively more affordable than several European countries. The cost of living in Germany can vary depending on the city; Berlin is comparatively cheaper than Munich. The warm summers and mild winters make this country a year-round destination. 

Italy

Italy is undoubtedly one of the best destinations for digital nomads, self-employed people, and travelers of all kinds. This country is a haven for those who love a laid-back lifestyle and adventures. Rome, Milan, Florence, and Venice are some of Italy’s most popular cities for digital nomads. Unfortunately, the cost of living in Italy is high. The country hasn’t yet launched the digital nomad visa, but it is anticipated. Foreign nationals can still apply for a self-employment visa, which is valid for 2 years. 

European countries offering digital nomad visas

Croatia

Quick Overview

  • Visa Name: Croatia’s Digital Nomad Visa
  • Where to Apply: Online or at a Croatian Embassy or Consulate
  • Introduced on: January 1, 2021
  • Visa Fee: €80-€130
  • Length of Stay: up to 1 year
  • Processing Time: 3-4 weeks
  • Tax: no tax

Requirements

  1. Proof of remote work or self-employment or location-independent business
  2. Proof of income: minimum of €2500 per month
  3. Clean criminal record
  4. Proof of health insurance coverage
  5. Proof of rental agreement

How to Apply

  1. Obtain OIB identification number (osobni identifikacijski broj)
  2. Fill out the application form here
  3. Pay the application fee

Czechia (Czech Republic)

Quick Overview

  • Visa Name: Zivno Visa
  • Where to Apply: in-person interview, visit immigration office or consulate
  • Visa Fee: $165 approximately
  • Length of Stay: up to 1 year
  • Processing Time: 90-120 days
  • Tax: local tax

Requirements

  1. Trade License
  2. Proof of accommodation 
  3. Proof of at least €5,587 in your bank account 
  4. Ability to pay 80 USD local tax 
  5. Clean criminal record
  6. Travel insurance

How to Apply

  1. Gather required documents
  2. Make an appointment at a Czech embassy
  3. Pay the visa fee

Estonia

Quick Overview

  • Estonia: Digital Nomad Visa
  • Where to Apply: in-person at Estonian Embassy
  • Types of Visa: Type C Digital Nomad Visa for 90 days, Estonia D Visa for more than 90 days
  • Introduced in: August 2020
  • Visa Fee: €80 Type C (short stay), €100 Type D (long stay)
  • Length of Stay: 1 year
  • Processing Time: 15-30 days
  • Tax: you need to pay taxes if you stay for more than 183 days within 1 year

Requirements

  1. Proof of remote work or business
  2. proof of income: at least €3504 per month for 6 months

How to Apply

  1. Fill out the online application form and sign it
  2. Book an appointment at Estonian Embassy and apply in person
  3. Choose Type C (short stay) or Type D (long stay)
  4. Pay the visa fee, €80 for Type C and €100 for Type D

Germany

Quick Overview

  • Visa Name: Aufenthaltserlaubnis für selbständige Tätigkeit (Freelancer visa)
  • Where to Apply: in person at the visa office
  • Visa Type: Artist Freelance Visa and Work Freelance Visa
  • Visa Fee: €100
  • Length of Stay: 6 months to 3 years
  • Processing Time: 5 weeks
  • Tax: income tax and VAT

Requirements

  1. An address in Germany
  2. Proof of health insurance coverage
  3. Proof of work in Germany
  4. Proof of source of income for self-sustainability

How to Apply

  1. Gather all required documents
  2. Secure a residence in Germany
  3. Book a visa appointment 
  4. Pay the visa fee

Greece

Quick Overview

  • Visa Name: Skilled Digital Nomads
  • Where to Apply: submit the application and documents in person to a nearby Greek consulate
  • Introduced in: October 2021
  • Visa Fee: $85
  • Length of Stay: 1 year
  • Processing Time: 10 days
  • Tax: currently, no tax regulations or exemptions

Eligibility Requirements

  1. Proof of remote work
  2. Proof of gross monthly income threshold of at least €3,500
  3. Proof of sufficient funds
  4. Proof of travel insurance
  5. Clean criminal record

How to Apply

  1. Gather all the required documents
  2. Submit visa application to a local Greece Embassy or Consulate. You can also submit via email.
  3. Pay the freelancer visa fee

Italy

Quick Overview

  • Where to Apply: currently not available
  • Visa Fee: unknown
  • Length of Stay: 1 year
  • Processing Time: unknown
  • Tax: unknown

Eligibility Requirements

  1. Clean criminal record
  2. Proof of accommodation
  3. Proof of Health insurance and vaccine certificate
  4. Proof of a steady remote income

How to Apply

Sadly, the digital nomad visa for Italy is not yet opened. It could take a couple of months before the application is available.

Malta

Quick Overview

  • Visa Name: Nomad Residency Permit
  • Where to Apply: Submit your application to Residency Malta Agency
  • Introduced in: September 2021
  • Visa Fee: €300
  • Length of Stay: 1 year
  • Processing Time: 30 days
  • Tax: no personal income tax, but you’ll be subject to consumption tax 

Eligibility Requirements

  1. Proof of remote work, business, or freelancing
  2. Proof of monthly income: at least €2,700 per month
  3. Proof of health insurance
  4. Proof of accommodation

How to Apply

  1. Gather all the required documents
  2. Fill out the N1 and N4 General Data Protection Form and sign
  3. Write the letter of intent explaining why you want to apply for a digital nomad visa
  4. Pay the administrative fee (€300)

Romania

Quick Overview

  • Visa Name: Digital Nomad Visa
  • Where to Apply: through a Romanian embassy or online
  • Introduced on: December 21, 2021
  • Visa Fee: not confirmed by the Romanian government, but expected to be minimal
  • Length of Stay: 1 year
  • Processing Time: 10-14 working days
  • Tax: local taxes

Eligibility Requirements

  1. Proof of Employment
  2. Proof of monthly income: €3,700 per month (the income must be three times the Romanian average gross salary)
  3. Clean criminal record
  4. Proof of health insurance
  5. Proof of accommodation
  6. Proof of ticket to enter the country
  7. Letter of intention

How to Apply

  1. Gather all the required documents
  2. Apply through the Romanian Embassy or online

Spain

Quick Overview

  • Visa Name: Self-Employment Work Visa
  • Where to Apply: in person at the Spanish Consulate or Embassy
  • Introduced in: 2021
  • Visa Fee: $140
  • Launch Date: expected to launch in September 2022
  • Length of Stay: up to one year
  • Processing Time: not yet known
  • Tax: non-resident income tax (24% tax for the first €600,000 earned)

Eligibility Requirements

  1. Proof of saving at least €25,816 or a monthly income of at least €2151 per month
  2. Proof of private Spanish health insurance
  3. Clean criminal record
  4. Proof of medical Good Health

How to Apply

  1.  Apply in person at Spanish Embassy or Consulate
  2. Sign a sworn statement about not working in Spain
  3. Pay the visa application fee of $140

Portugal (D7 Visa)

Quick Overview

  • Visa Name: D7 Digital Nomad Visa
  • Where to Apply: Portuguese consulates abroad
  • Visa Fee: €90 for the visa and €75 for the resident permit fee
  • Length of Stay: up to 2 years
  • Processing Time: 3-4 months
  • Tax: Portuguese Personal Income Tax

Eligibility Requirements

  1. Minimum income requirement of at least €600 per month
  2. Proof of travel insurance
  3. Clean criminal record
  4. Proof of accommodation
  5. Get A Portuguese NIF Number

How to Apply

  1. Gather all the documents and complete the application form
  2. Book an appointment at the nearest Portuguese consulate
  3. Pay the visa fee

Norway

Quick Overview

  • Visa Name: Independent Contractor Visa
  • Where to Apply: Online
  • Visa Fee: NOK 6300 (600 euros)
  • Length of Stay: up to 2 years
  • Processing Time: 15 days to 1 month
  • Tax: 25% tax as a VAT over the goods and services.

Eligibility Requirements

  1. Proof of self-employment and contract of a project for a business in Norway
  2. Proof of accommodation and address of the accommodation
  3. Proof of income of at least €35,719 per year
  4. Contract with Norwegian client
  5. Proof of valid health insurance

How to Apply

  1. Gather all the required documents listed on Norway’s Directorate of Immigration website
  2. Complete the application form and bring it to the nearest Norwegian Embassy
  3. Pay the visa fee of €600

Iceland

Quick Overview

  • Visa Name: Work in Iceland Visa
  • Where to Apply: Paper form or Regular Mail
  • Introduced in: October 2020
  • Visa Fee: ISK 12,200 ($94)
  • Length of Stay: 180 days
  • Processing Time: 3-4 weeks (not stated)
  • Tax: No local income tax 

Eligibility Requirements

  1. Proof of remote work and self-employment
  2. Proof of monthly income of 1,000,000 ISK (approximately $7,275)
  3. Proof of health insurance
  4. Clean criminal record

How to Apply

  1. Gather all the required documents
  2. Complete the application form
  3. Mail the documents and application form to the Directorate of Immigration
  4. Pay the visa fee of 7800 ISK (approximately $55)

Hungary

Quick Overview

  • Visa Name: White Card
  • Where to Apply: In-person interview at your local Hungarian embassy or consulate
  • Introduced in: 2022
  • Visa Fee: €110
  • Length of Stay: 12 months with the possibility to extend for another 12 months
  • Processing Time: 30 days

Eligibility Requirements

  1. Proof of remote work and self-employment
  2. Proof of monthly income of €2,000
  3. Proof of health insurance
  4. Clean criminal record
  5. Address of accommodation

How to Apply

  1. Gather all the required documents
  2. Submit the application form (You must be outside of Hungary to submit your application for the White Card digital nomad visa. Make an appointment at your local Hungarian embassy or consulate to submit your documents).
  3. Wait for approval
  4. Apply for residency (30 days upon entry, you must visit the Directorate General for Aliens Policing to apply for your residence permit).

Conclusion

Over the past few years, travelers to Europe and EU countries, have had the opportunity to stay in the desired destination for a period of one year with the chance to extend. With the introduction of digital nomad visas not only in the EU countries but on every other continent, the world has become even smaller, allowing all remote workers the freedom to explore a country besides their home country, and live and work there, all the while not paying tax (in most cases).

The process of getting a digital nomad visa for most EU countries is similar. Some of the EU countries require an in-person interview, and others ask you to submit an online application. The required documents needed for the digital nomad visa application process vary from country to country but basically consist of a valid passport, proof of income, proof of employment, health insurance, a clean criminal record, and a few others.

If you are a remote worker and want to work remotely while vacationing in the EU or Europe, you may only need a tourist visa. Some countries are visa exempt and allowed a short stay. However, if you want to move to your desired country, settle and work remotely from there, you will need to apply for a digital nomad visa in the respective country (if applicable).

European cities like Lisbon, Barcelona, Prague, Valetta, Munich, Kotor, Dubrovnik, Thessaloniki, and Tallinn are considered some of the best for digital nomads from all over the world.

The fact that more and more countries in Europe are introducing a digital nomad visa, means that the number of remote workers is multiplying by the day. Whether working remotely will become a new lifestyle to even more people, we are yet to find out.

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Sofiann

Sofiann

I am a digital nomad. Not the kind of nomad that keeps travelling all the time though. I tend to live for 6 months at home in France and 6 months abroad. I created this blog so I can share some insights about the places I have been and how did I manage to work and travel at the same time. I hope you will enjoy it :)