While the COVID-19 pandemic has had an impact on almost every sector of the economy, the travel and tourism industry has been among the hardest hit.
And although the situation has begun to improve, recent data show that international travel has still only reached 57% of pre-pandemic levels. This means that countries where tourism represents a large section of the economy are still feeling these devastating effects.
At the same time, attitudes towards work have also changed, with many companies and employees now seeing the huge benefits of remote work. These two trends have led to an interesting development in international travel: the boom in remote work visas.
Instead of simply working from home, many remote employees (not to mention freelancers and self-employed business owners) are taking advantage of this situation and jetting off with just a laptop to exotic destinations around the world. This allows them to travel, experience new cultures and even learn new languages — all without interrupting their careers.
In this article, we’ll discuss 10 countries that are offering visas to attract remote workers in 2023 — and the requirements you need to meet to apply for them.
What is a remote work visa?
A remote work visa (or digital nomad visa) is a document or programme that gives workers the legal right to work remotely from a country. This provides a boost to the local economy while allowing digital nomads and remote workers to take a break from their home work environment.
The requirements for remote work visas vary from country to country, but most visas last for up to twelve months, and some can be renewed after that period is up. Most countries also require remote workers to prove a certain income level, and to show that they have health insurance covering the period of their stay.
10 countries offering remote work visas
1. The Bahamas
Sitting in the Lucayan Archipelago of the West Indies, the Bahamas has everything from cosmopolitan cities to Caribbean carnivals to pristine white sand beaches. And although it’s a popular spot for holiday-makers (there are over 2000 beaches to explore, after all), there’s no reason to limit your stay to just a week or two.
Thanks to the Bahamas Extended Access Travel Stay (BEATS), you could call one of 16 islands of the Bahamas home for a whole year, as long as you work for an employer outside of the country (or you’re self-employed). Unlike other destinations on this list, there’s no minimum income requirement for the BEATS scheme — although the cost of living in the Bahamas is quite high, so you’ll need to be earning money or have some saved up.
- Minimum earnings of 50,000 USD during your 12-month stay
- 2,000 USD for individuals, 3,000 USD for families
Barbados is another beautiful island destination that’s pretty much exactly what most people picture when they imagine working remotely abroad. Surrounded by the crystal-clear waters of the Caribbean Sea, Barbados is famous for its tropical beaches, world-class rum, fascinating culture and eclectic culinary scene. There are also no fewer than eight UNESCO World Heritage Sights — not bad for a country with less than 300,000 inhabitants.
The Barbados Welcome Stamp allows visitors to stay on the island for 12 months, as long as they own a location-independent business or work remotely for a foreign company. The visa fees are more expensive than those of other locations on this list… but just imagine waking up next to that turquoise ocean every day.
- Medical insurance
- Job letter or proof of self-employment
- 25 USD application fee, then 1,000 USD for the applicant and 500 USD per dependent
3. Costa Rica
If you’ve always dreamed of working remotely from the beach, then Costa Rica could be the perfect spot for your remote working adventure. This Central American country has almost 800 miles of coastline and around 300 beaches, bordering both the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea.
As of this year, remote workers can apply for a digital nomad visa that will allow them to work in the country for one year, with the possibility of extending — you just need to prove that you work for a foreign company or as a freelancer for clients based outside of Costa Rica, and meet the income requirements.
- Monthly income of at least 2,500 USD
- A criminal background check in your home country
- Proof that you work for a foreign company, or as a freelancer for foreign clients
- 100 USD government fee, 90 USD processing fee, and an additional fee for the visa once you’re approved.
With year-round hot weather, beautiful beaches, and a relatively low cost of living, Croatia is a favourite among European holidaymakers. It’s also a top spot for digital nomads and remote workers living abroad, thanks to its digital nomad permit.
The permit will allow you to stay in the country for twelve months, as long as you meet certain requirements. You can apply through a simple online portal.
- Monthly income of at least 17,822.50 HRK (about 2300 USD), or at least 213,870 HRK (about 28,000 USD) in savings
- Criminal background check in your home country
- Travel and health insurance covering your stay
- Proof of accommodation in Croatia
- 45–60 USD for granting a temporary stay, plus another 40–60 USD for the visa, depending on how you apply.
Estonia is a small country in Northern Europe, made up of some 1,500 islands and famous for its historical capital, Tallinn, its lush green forests, and its traditional smoke saunas, among other things.
It was also the first country in the world to launch a specific visa for digital nomads. Estonia remote work visa was introduced in 2020 with the aim of attracting new talent to the country by allowing foreign residents to live and work in Estonia for up to a year. You just need to show you have an employer abroad or work for clients outside of Estonia.
- Contract of work with a foreign company or proof of owning a business outside of Estonia
- Minimum monthly income of 3,504 EUR (3,434 USD)
- Proof that you can perform your work remotely
- Health insurance covering the length of your stay
- 80 EUR (78 USD) for the C-Visa (short-stay) or 100 EUR (98 USD) for the D-Visa (long-stay).
Mauritius is a small island country just off the Eastern coast of Africa, known for beautiful white sand beaches, a turquoise sea, and impressive coral reefs. And thanks to the Mauritius Premium Visa, remote workers can live and work in the country for up to twelve months, with the option to renew once that period is up.
All you need to do is show that you work remotely for a company that’s outside of Mauritius, and make sure you meet the income requirements (thankfully, they’re quite a lot lower than some of the other countries on this list, at just 1,500 USD).
And the best part? The Mauritius Premium Visa is the only option on this list that’s completely free to apply for!
- Minimum monthly income of 1,500 USD for each applicant, plus 500 USD for each dependent under the age of 24.
Known for its relaxed and friendly people, rich Mayan and Colonial culture, diverse landscapes and buzzing cities, Mexico has long been a top spot for holidaymakers and travelers.
And with a Temporary Resident Visa, remote workers and freelancers can stay in the country for up to four years (one year with a possible three renewals), as long as you meet certain requirements. To get the visa, you’ll need to apply for the visa in person at your nearest Mexican Embassy or Consulate.
- Minimum monthly income of 1,620 USD or bank balance of 27,000 USD
- Up to 350 USD depending on length of stay.
Living in Panama guarantees you a high standard of living for a low cost. Its unique location means the country has both swathes of rainforest and miles of breathtaking beaches on both the Caribbean and Pacific coasts — all within driving distance of a vibrant and cosmopolitan city.
Unlike the other countries on this list, Panama’s Short Stay Visa for Remote Workers is only valid for nine months. However, you can renew it for another 9 months if you’re not ready to leave. The visa is open to anyone working remotely for a foreign company or as an independent freelancer.
- Minimum annual income of 36,000 USD
- Valid work contract or proof that you work as a freelancer
- 250 USD application fee, plus 50 USD for your visa card.
Holidaymakers, digital nomads and remote workers all flock to Portugal seeking sun, sand and delicious seafood. The country’s South European location means remote workers in Portugal can enjoy year-round hot weather, and the vibrant and lively cities mean you’ll never be bored. The cost of living in Portugal is also relatively low, so you’ll be able to make the most of your stay without worrying about your bank balance.
Remote workers, digital nomads and freelancers looking for a change can apply for the Temporary Stay Visa for stays of up to 12 months, as long as they meet an extremely reasonable income requirement (the lowest on this list!).
- Minimum income of 600 EUR (588 USD) per month
- Proof of return travel (e.g. airline ticket)
- Criminal record check in home country and/or country of residence
- Proof of employment or self-employment outside of Portugal
- 75 EUR (73 USD)
Seychelles is a nation made up of over 100 islands in the Indian Ocean, off the coast of East Africa. Boasting some of the best beaches in the world, it’s a top destination for scuba divers, sunbathers, and now remote workers and digital nomads.
The Seychelles Workcation program is open to remote workers working for foreign companies, as well as self-employed individuals, and allows you to stay in the country for a maximum of one year. Permits can also be extended to family members.
- Proof of income (exact amount unclear)
- Proof that you’re an employee or business owner
- Medical and travel insurance covering the length of your stay
- 45 EUR (44 USD)
Other countries and territories offering remote work visas
- Antigua & Barbuda
- Cayman Islands
- Puerta Rica
- Saint Lucia
- Czech Republic
- Cabo Verde
- South Africa
Working from anywhere
Want to learn more about the benefits and challenges of remote work or hiring remote employees? Read our posts on paying international employees, permanent establishment risk and taxes for remote workers to get started.
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