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16 BEST Freelance Visas for Digital Nomads (2022)

16 BEST Freelance Visas for Digital Nomads (2022)

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It’s an exciting time for digital nomads.

Remote jobs are exploding, the freelancing market is booming, and the number of digital nomads has more than tripled over the past three years in the U.S. alone. 

To top it off, new freelance visas for digital nomads are popping up all over the world.

One of the biggest struggles to becoming a digital nomad is short stay limitations. Hopping borders every 30 to 90 days can be a PITA — especially when you’re trying to cram both work and travel into a short stay. 

Freelance and digital nomad visas solve this problem.

Here’s everything you need to know about the best freelance visas for digital nomads, remote workers, and self-employed entrepreneurs. 

Important Note: This guide is meant to be a STARTING POINT for your freelance visa research. Rules vary by country and change regularly — especially during a pandemic — so use the official government websites (included below) for deeper research.

Freelance Visa Meaning

Before we start, let’s get one thing straight — freelance visas go by many names, including:

▶️ Remote work visa
▶️ Digital nomad visa
▶️ Self-employed visa
▶️ Entrepreneurship visa
▶️ Independent contractor visa
▶️ Long-term residency permit

And the list goes on. Some visa names don’t have anything to do with digital nomads, freelancers, or remote workers — they just happen to offer nomad-friendly perks.

In some cases, a visa only applies to certain types of digital nomads like freelancers or entrepreneurs. Other times the visa is open for any online earner.

In this guide, we use the terminology interchangeably, and in most countries with freelance visas, it all means the same thing — a longer-term visa that online workers are eligible for.

Top 16 Freelance Visa Countries

Here are the 16 best self-employed visa countries to help you decide where to start your adventure.

For current COVID-19 requirements, check the government websites listed in each section.

All cost of living and internet data was imported from Numbeo and Speedtest, respectively. 

Numbeo’s Cost of Living Index is relative to New York City (e.g. index of 50 means the cost of living is 50% of NYC). Estimated monthly expenses are for a single person.

1. Germany 

💻  Internet Speed: 69.52 Mbps 
📱  Mobile Data Speed: 52.30 Mbps
💰  Cost of Living Index: 66
📆  Estimated Monthly Costs: 780€ (~$852 USD) + rent

Are you a history buff, castle-lover, or luxury car enthusiast? Germany might be the choice for you. When you’re not working, you can explore the Berlin Wall, the Neuschwanstein Castle, or tour Audi, BMW, and Porsche facilities. If you’re around during Oktoberfest, get ready to drink.

The German “Aufenthaltserlaubnis für selbständige Tätigkeit” visa is a residence permit that’s good for 6 months to 3 years. You must submit the application for a freelance visa at the German Embassy or Consulate in the country where you currently live. It takes about 5-6 weeks for your application to go through.

The kicker to this visa is they want you to show a positive cultural or economic impact. For freelancers, that may mean finding a few German clients.

german flag

Germany Freelance Visa Requirements

Income Requirements: Proof of sustainability, but no specific amounts given.

Germany Self-Employment Visa Cost : €100 (can vary by situation)

Other Notable Requirements: If you’re over 45 years old, you need to show proof of an adequate pension plan. You also need to provide proof of address specifically in Berlin, so you’ll need to have that sorted out before applying. 

More Visa Info: Government website 

2. Estonia

💻  Internet Speed: 52.30 Mbps
📱  Mobile Data Speed: 54.57 Mbps
💰  Cost of Living Index: 54
📆  Estimated Monthly Costs: €661.54 (~$728 USD) + rent

Located in Northern Europe, Estonia is home to more than 2,300 islands. Many have been untouched and unexplored, and others are filled with history. The center of Tallinn alone spans a millennium of history. 

The Estonia Digital Nomad visa grants up to one year of residence. After filling out your application, sign it, then submit it to your nearest Estonian Embassy or Consulate. If it’s easier, you can also simply travel to Estonia on a tourist visa, then submit your application at a local police or border guard office.

All applications are viewed within 30 days.

city in estonia

Estonia Digital Nomad Visa Requirements

Income Requirements: Gross income of €3,504 for six months preceding your application.

Estonia Digital Nomad Visa Cost: €100 euros for a type-D (long stay) visa

Other Notable Requirements: Need to prove that you’re location independent.

More Visa Info: Government website

3. Georgia

💻  Internet Speed: 29.71 Mbps
📱  Mobile Data Speed: 20.18 Mbps
💰  Cost of Living Index: 30
📆  Estimated Monthly Costs: 1,335.07 GEL (~$405 USD) + rent

Georgia is an up-and-coming digital nomad hub located along the Black Sea, between Eastern Europe and Western Asia.

It’s the birthplace of wine and home to beautiful Caucasus mountain views. In Georgia, you can find your fill of amazing hikes and delicious food. 

Georgia’s visa, called “Remotely from Georgia Project”, welcomes all freelancers plus their families for long-term stays. It allows for residency for up to one year. You can apply for the visa online, and there are no fees.

city in georgia

Georgia Digital Nomad Visa Requirements

Income Requirements: $2,000 per month (or bank account with $24,000)

Georgia Remote Work Visa Cost: Free

Other Notable Requirements: As in many countries, if you live in Georgia for more than 183 days per year, you must pay income taxes. 

More Visa Info:
Government website
Additional information

4. Czech Republic

💻  Internet Speed: 47.68 Mbps
📱  Mobile Data Speed: 44.72 Mbps
💰  Cost of Living Index: 48
📆  Estimated Monthly Costs: 14,030.41 Kč (~$612 USD) + rent

The Czech Republic is rich with history. Best known for its hundreds of castles, beer, and of course, Prague — a total bucket list destination.

CR’s visa for freelancers is known as Zivnostenske opravneni, Zivno, or “Trade License visa”. It grants digital nomads six months to a year in the country with the option to extend.

You must submit your application in person at diplomatic missions of the Czech Republic. The process can be a bit of a wait, so plan accordingly. It takes 90 days to process, and may require an additional month if further examination is needed. 

city in czech republic

Czech Republic Freelancer Visa Requirements

Income Requirements: Bank account balance of at least CZK 124,500 (~$5,463 USD)

Czech Republic Digital Nomad Visa Cost: CZK 5,000 (~$225 USD) plus fee for trade license ~$45.

Other Notable Requirements: You’ll need to have your application and documentation formally translated to the Czech language before submitting. You also need to show proof of long-term accommodation.

More Visa Info: Government website 

5. Portugal

💻  Internet Speed:  99.62 Mbps
📱  Mobile Data Speed: 80.05 Mbps
💰  Cost of Living Index: 48
📆  Estimated Monthly Costs: 531.52€ (~$584 USD) + rent

Situated in southwestern Europe, Portugal has a little bit of everything. With incredible seafood dishes, historical cities, port wine, beach destinations, and 16th to 19th-century architecture, it’s almost impossible to get bored. 

Portugal’s digital nomad-friendly visa is called the D7 visa. It’s actually designed for retirees, but many use it to work remotely in the country for extended stays. The D7 visa initially lasts for four months, but during this time, you can apply for a residence permit that lasts two years (and can be extended even further).

To get a D7 visa, book a consular appointment, then complete an online application file with your service provider. Attend your appointment, and then submit your application. It takes up to 60 days to be approved.

city in portugal

Portugal Digital Nomad Visa Requirements

Income Requirements: €8,460 per year of passive income. This could be a passive income source you set up in your business. Or it could be from investment funds, rental property, royalties, etc.

Portugal Digital Nomad Visa Cost: €75 for D7 application fee + €90 for Residence Permit.

Other Notable Requirements: To complete your application, you’ll need proof of long-term accommodation as well as a Portuguese bank account (can be opened remotely).

More Visa Info: Government website 

6. UAE (Dubai)

💻  Internet Speed: 111.79 Mbps
📱  Mobile Data Speed: 134.41 Mbps
💰  Cost of Living Index: 58
📆  Estimated Monthly Costs: UAE: 3,071.38 AED (~$836 USD) + rent; Dubai: 3,452.31 AED (~$836 USD) + rent

Dubai is a high-tech city situated along the Persian Gulf. When you close your digital nomad laptop for the day, you can visit giant shopping malls, mammoth aquariums, and Burj Khalifa — the tallest building in the world. 

Best of all, you’ll enjoy zero income taxes (unless you’re an American citizen — Uncle Sam doesn’t care where you live).

The Dubai virtual working program lets you stay in UAE for one year. You can submit your application online. You are contacted via email when you are approved, and which steps to take next. 

building in UAE

Dubai Freelance Visa Requirements

Income Requirements: $5,000 USD per month

Dubai Freelance Visa Cost: $287 USD application fee

Other Notable Requirements: None

More Visa Info: Dubai Tourism Website

7. Mexico

💻  Internet Speed: 38.77 Mbps
📱  Mobile Data Speed: 22.26 Mbps
💰  Cost of Living Index: 35 
📆  Estimated Monthly Costs: 9,548.13 MXN (~$456 USD) + rent

During the pandemic, Mexico skyrocketed as the go-to digital nomad destination for Americans. It’s an enormous country with everything you could possibly want — world-class beaches, mariachi bands, and best of all, delicious tacos.  

The Mexico Digital Nomad visa is actually just a Temporary Resident visa. It lasts one year and is extendable up to four. 

In the past, most digital nomads mostly entered Mexico on the generous 180-day tourist visa. But times are a-changin’, and Mexico immigration is cracking down. You can no longer count on 180 days if you enter as a tourist.

To apply for Mexico’s visa, make an in-person appointment at your nearest Consulate. Processing can take up to 10 business days.

building in Mexico City

Mexico Digital Nomad Visa Requirements

Income Requirements: Proof of ~$2,500 USD per month (after taxes) for the previous six months.

Mexico Freelance Visa Cost: $48 USD application fee

Other Notable Requirements: None

More Visa Info: Government Website 

8. Antigua and Barbuda

💻  Internet Speed: 17.36 Mbps
📱  Mobile Data Speed: 21.96 Mbps (Statistica)
💰  Cost of Living Index: Numbeo data N/A; Cheaper than New York, similar to other large U.S. cities.
📆  Estimated Monthly Costs: Numbeo data N/A

There’s not much better than working in a beach paradise every day, am I right? Antigua and Barbuda are located in the Caribbean, lined with 365 beaches and endless scenic views. 

The Antigua Nomad Digital Residence grants a two-year stay, which should be plenty of time to get your fill of sand and sun. Similar to Dubai, you do not have to pay income tax to Antigua and Barbuda while living on the islands. 

After gathering the required documents, submit your application online, then wait five days for processing. 

beachfront houses in Antigua and Barbuda

Antigua Remote Work Visa Requirements

Income Requirements: Proof of $50,000 per year

Antigua Digital Nomad Visa Cost: $1,500 USD for singles, $2,000 for couples, or $3,000 for families. Unlike some other non-refundable application fees, these are only charged if approved. 

Other Notable Requirements: None

More Visa Info: https://antiguanomadresidence.com/ndr-visa/ 

9. Barbados

💻  Internet Speed: 68.83 Mbps
📱  Mobile Data Speed: N/A
💰  Cost of Living Index: 92
📆  Estimated Monthly Costs: 2,221.51 Bds$ (~$1,110 USD) + rent

Barbados is another slice of island paradise located in the Caribbean. You’ll need a decent budget to afford the island’s higher cost of living, but there’s no local income tax, and it offers some of the fastest internet speed in the Caribbean. 

The Barbados “Welcome Stamp” visa grants a one-year stay, plus the ability to easily reapply. The entire application process is online, and it takes seven business days to process. 

scenic water view in Barbados

Barbados Freelance Visa Requirements

Income Requirements: Proof of $50,000 annual income over the past 12 months.

Barbados Digital Nomad Visa Cost: $2,000 for individuals; $3,000 for families. Unlike some other non-refundable application fees, these are only charged if approved.

Other Notable Requirements: None

More Visa Info: Barbados Welcome Stamp Website 

10. Bermuda

💻  Internet Speed: 74.21 Mbps (Fastmetrics)
📱  Mobile Data Speed: N/A
💰  Cost of Living Index: 146
📆  Estimated Monthly Costs: 1,847.47 BMD (~$1,847 USD) + rent

Bermuda is a seven-island archipelago (plus 170 mini-islands and cool rocks). It’s famous for its pink sand beaches, coral reefs, shipwrecks, and ridiculously expensive cost of living. There’s not much information about mobile data speeds online, so make sure to have a backup digital nomad internet plan.

The “Work from Bermuda Certificate” lasts one year, takes five days to process, and is renewable on a case-by-case basis. Similar to other Caribbean digital nomad programs, remote workers are not required to pay Bermuda income tax. 

pink sand beach in Bermuda

Bermuda Remote Work Visa Requirements

Income Requirements: Proof of ability to support yourself in the world’s highest cost of living country.

Bermuda Digital Nomad Visa Cost: $263 USD application fee

Other Notable Requirements: None

More Visa Info: Government Website 

11. Spain

💻  Internet Speed: 134.19 Mbps
📱  Mobile Data Speed: 35.59 Mbps
💰  Cost of Living Index: 54
📆  Estimated Monthly Costs: 611.61€ (~$672 USD) + rent

If you need to find a relaxing place for your work, choose the country that is home to the siesta. Spain is known for its laid-back vibe, gorgeous Mediterranean beaches, and delicious Paella. 

Plans for Spain’s digital nomad visa have just been recently announced, so the details have yet to settle. According to the proposed Startup Act, it looks like it’ll last for one year, with the option to extend for two more.

buildings in Spain

Spanish Freelance Visa Requirements

Income Requirements: No details available

Spanish Digital Nomad Visa Cost: No details available

Other Notable Requirements: Make at least 80% of your income from companies outside Spain.

12. Croatia

💻  Internet Speed: 39.54 Mbps
📱  Mobile Data Speed: 76.61 Mbps
💰  Cost of Living Index: 49
📆  Estimated Monthly Costs: 4,363.09 kn (~$634 USD) + rent

If you’re a Game of Thrones fan, this Balkan country could be for you. Between exploring lavender fields, chasing waterfalls, and visiting historic cities, you definitely won’t run out of things to do between work sessions.

Croatia’s “Digital Nomad Residence Permit” grants up to one-year of residency and cannot be extended. That said, if you fall head over heels for the country, you can submit a new application six months after your first visa expires. 

You can apply online, at Croatian Consulates and embassies, or just head to Croatia and apply in-country.

city in Croatia

Croatia Digital Nomad Visa Requirements

Income Requirements: Proof of HRK 16,907.50 per month (~$2,475 USD) or an HRK 202,890 (~$29,708 USD) bank balance to cover the year. An additional 10% per family member.

Croatia Digital Nomad Visa Cost: Between HRK 660 (~$95 USD) and HRK 1,190 (~$175 USD), depending on how you apply.

Other Notable Requirements: You need to provide an address, but if you don’t have long-term accommodation sorted out, you can use the address of a hotel/hostel in the city you plan to base yourself in.

More Visa Info: Government Website 

13. Malta

💻  Internet Speed: 90.36 Mbps
📱  Mobile Data Speed: 47.08 Mbps
💰  Cost of Living Index: 68
📆  Estimated Monthly Costs: 733.80€ (~$806 USD) + rent

Malta is a Mediterranean island known for its stunning views. So stunning, in fact, that it’s a popular filming location for movies and TV shows. If you’re into history, Malta has some of the most ancient temples in the world, dating back to 3,600 BC. Oh, and did I mention it averages 300 sunny days per year?

Malta’s “Nomad Residence Permit” grants a renewable one-year stay. If you’re planning to stay 180 days or less, choose the National Visa instead. 

beach town in Malta

Malta Freelance Visa Requirements

Income Requirements: €2,700 per month

Malta Digital Nomad Visa Cost: €300 per person

Other Notable Requirements: None

More Visa Info: Government Website 

14. Mauritius

💻  Internet Speed: 19.88 Mbps
📱  Mobile Data Speed: 20.59 Mbps
💰  Cost of Living Index: 44
📆  Estimated Monthly Costs: 23,790.97 Rs (~$537 USD) + rent

Ever seen that picture of the insane-looking underwater waterfall? Yeah, that’s Mauritius. Located in the Indian Ocean, just east of Madagascar, this tiny African island offers a unique digital nomad experience.  

The Mauritius Premium Visa is good for a one-year stay, with the option to renew. Apply online, and if approved, you’ll receive your visa via email.

mauritius underground waterfall

Mauritius Digital Nomad Visa Requirements

Income Requirements: None

Mauritius Remote Work Visa Cost: None

Other Notable Requirements: None

More Visa Info: Mauritius Website 

15. Cabo Verde (Cape Verde)

💻  Internet Speed: 16.37 Mbps
📱  Mobile Data Speed: Speedtest data N/A; Some report 14 Mbps maximum
💰  Cost of Living Index: N/A
📆  Estimated Monthly Costs: Average data N/A, approximately half the cost of New York

Cabo Verde (formerly known as Cape Verde) is another tropical paradise. It’s an archipelago of ten islands situated off the west coast of West Africa. Its sunny weather, vibrant culture, and “slow down” lifestyle helps workaholics remember to enjoy themselves. 

Cabo Verde’s “Remote Working Program” visa is good for 6 months, with the opportunity to renew for another 6 months. After submitting an online application, they’ll contact you within two weeks with your next steps.

beach on cabo verde

Cabo Verde Remote Work Visa Requirements

Income Requirements: Individuals must show €1,500 per month for the previous six months; families must show €2,700 per month.

Cabo Verde Digital Nomad Visa Cost: €20 visa fee + €34 airport fee

Other Notable Requirements: None

More Visa Info: Cabo Verde Remote Work Program Website 

16. Brazil

💻  Internet Speed: 87.52 Mbps
📱  Mobile Data Speed: 23.84 Mbps
💰  Cost of Living Index: 33
📆  Estimated Monthly Costs: 2,398.30 R$ (~$480 USD) + rent

Brazil is the only Portuguese-speaking country in South America and accounts for nearly half of the continent’s landmass. It’s home to a portion of the Amazon Rainforest, the famous Rio de Janeiro Carnaval, and a coastline packed with spectacular beaches.

The Brazil Digital Nomad Visa is good for one year, with the ability to extend for a second year. Immigration is still working out the kinks for this new visa, but for now, you must apply online, then bring your paperwork to an appointment with your nearest Brazilian Consulate.

view of rio de janeiro, brazil

Brazil Digital Nomad Visa Requirements

Income Requirements: $1,500 USD per month or proof of $18,000 in your bank account.

Brazil Freelance Visa Cost: Still unclear, but it appears to be between £100 (~$130 USD) and £290 (~$380 USD), depending on nationality.

Other Notable Requirements: This visa is still new, so specific details and processes are subject to change. 

More Visa Info: Government Website

Digital Nomad Visa Honorable Mentions

The remote work visas listed above have lower requirements, making them accessible to a wider variety of nomads. 

That said, they aren’t the only options. Here is a list of countries with digital nomad visas that either (1) have higher income requirements or (2) are less popular.

▶️ Iceland
▶️ Taiwan
▶️ Norway
▶️ Anguilla
▶️ Curaçao
▶️ Dominica
▶️ Montserrat
▶️ Costa Rica
▶️ Seychelles
▶️ The Bahamas 
▶️ The Cayman Islands

In addition to these, many more countries have announced that they have freelance visas in the works — so stay tuned.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need a visa to freelance?

You do not typically need a visa to freelance as long as your freelance clients aren’t from the country you’re traveling in. The benefit of a freelance visa is it allows you to legally stay in a given country for longer periods of time. 

Can I work as a freelancer on a tourist visa?

This tends to be a gray area, but millions of digital nomads work online on tourist visas. Unless you have some sort of freelance or work visa, none of your clients should be from the country you’re traveling in. This would be seen as taking job opportunities from locals. 

Can I get a visa as a freelancer?

If you meet the requirements, you can get a visa as a freelancer in countries that offer freelance visas. You typically need to provide evidence for your freelance activities and income statements. That said, even if you meet the requirements, you are never guaranteed to be approved. 

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Safetywing Insurance - This cheap travel insurance has saved me over $15,000 in medical bills.
Booking.com - Book accommodation without adding your credit card (in case you need to cancel).
Skyscanner - Find cheap flights.
Trusted House Sitters - Take care of pets in exchange for free (sometimes luxury) accommodation.
Flexjobs - Find remote jobs without having to sift through crappy ones.
Skillshare - Free trial to take unlimited classes that teach digital nomad skills.
Anytime Mailbox - Virtual mail service that can handle your mail while you’re away.
Wise - Send and receive money abroad cheaply (great for freelancers).

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