If you’re one of those who like to travel the world and live off a backpack (of course, if you don’t forget to pack your laptop and battery charger), this article is for you. So, sit back and relax as we take you on a tour that will reveal 5 of the best countries for digital nomads.
In the order of our preference but most importantly affordability and living costs, any of these countries would make a perfect destination for a working traveller like you. Did you get your digital nomad visa?
What is a digital nomad visa?
The beauty of being a digital nomad is not being tied to a specific location. Digital nomad visas allow you to live and work legally on foreign soil for as long as your heart desires.
The best part? A growing number of countries are beginning to acknowledge the benefits of opening their borders (pun intended) to digital nomads who help boost the local economy by purchasing goods and services, paying taxes, and getting involved in social life as they make local friends and learn the language.
Digital nomad visas are typically granted for one year with the possibility of renewal for one or more years. In most cases, you can apply online and pay a moderate amount. To qualify for a digital nomad visa, you must prove that you earn at least the minimum monthly income and you have health insurance.
Costa Rica: Best for tax-free living
Costa Rica is loved for its white, sandy beaches and hot weather all year round and its affordable cost of living, which ranges between $1,000 to $1,600 per month. If you make at least $3,000 a month individually or $5,000 with your family, you’ll live (almost) like a king in Costa Rica. And if you have a flair for languages, you can have fun learning Spanish, Costa Rica’s language.
The digital nomad visa can be obtained for $190 plus an extra fee after approval. Plus, you don’t need to pay taxes in the first three years. You can pocket every penny. Arriba!
Saint Lucia: Best for 0 required income
Wait, what? You got it right; Saint Lucia does not have any minimum required income for digital nomads. The single-entry visa costs only $46, and $70 the multi-entry one, while the average monthly cost of living is between $1,100 and $1,700.
In terms of languages, the exotic Caribbean country speaks English and French Creole; so if you fancy a Caribbean experience, you’ll have one! Being one of the most popular holiday destinations, you’ll quickly find affordable flight deals to and from Saint Lucia all year round. Ready to pack your bags?
Malta: Best for tech-savvy pros
If you’re looking for more hustle and bustle in the Central Mediterranean, Malta is the perfect destination. Home to hundreds of online businesses, Malta is a hub for tech-savvy pros. The country has a lot to offer to digital nomads too.
The average monthly cost of living is relatively low, ranging between $1,200 and $1,600, while the minimum required monthly income is $2,750 or €2,798. With a cost of $305 or €310.32, a digital nomad visa for Malta comes with a slew of benefits, including 5G nationwide WiFi coverage, cost-effective traveling anywhere to mainland Europe, and a possibility of renewal for a total of three years, two times consecutively.
To qualify for a visa, you need a foreign employment contract, be the founder or co-founder of a registered company or be a freelancer with several foreign contracts. In addition, you should also benefit from health coverage and provide proof of temporary accommodation (e.g., Airbnb) in Malta.
Estonia: Best digital nomad programme
A rising unicorn in a pristine digital realm in the early 2000s, Estonia was the first country to introduce the digital nomad visa in 2020. With an average monthly cost of living of anywhere between $1,100 and $1,300 and a minimum required monthly wage of $3,568 or €3,630.26, Estonia is the place to be for “nomadic” start-up founders.
If you’re planning to make your sharp entry into the business world, you should know that the Baltic country can grant you a digital nomad visa for $81 or €82.41 for 90 days or $102 (€103.78).
In addition to a rich cultural heritage and saunas scattered around the city to warm you up in the cold winter chill, Estonia is also known for high-tech, amazing coworking spaces to get your creativity flowing and speedy WiFi.
Thanks to the country’s efforts to rise after 1991, when it managed to cut its umbilical cord with the USSR-led communist bloc, it has seen unprecedented expansion over the last two decades. Embarking on fast-track economy reinvigorating programmes, Estonia is home to numerous tech challenger brands, including ride-sharing Bolt, identity verification app Veriff, bank challenger Tuum and many more. If you happen to e freelancing for any of these, you might just pack your bags.
Portugal: Best European destination for minimum lowest income required
If you don’t sit on a fortune and fancy traveling around Europe, Portugal is the place to stop awhile, live a little, work, have fun and enjoy the beauty of the sights, Porto wine, and Portuguese language – all for a monthly average cost of living of $1,100 to $1,600.
The minimum required monthly income is $717 or €729.51, which is why a growing number of digital nomads choose Portugal as their temporary residence. Furthermore, the digital nomad visa cost is roughly 10% of the monthly minimum required wage – $77 or €78.34 for one year. If you wish to extend it, you’ll have to open your pocket a tad more but still not a lot considering the absolutely stunning sights and pay $92 or €93.61 for it.
Alternatively, you could apply for the D7 visa, which, although not specifically designed for digital nomads, allows you to be a remotely working tourist in Portugal. Who knows, you might decide to stay and continue doing what you love.
That’s all for today, peeps! Check in regularly for digital nomad guidance; we’ve got plenty of updates. Have you sorted out your zazoo account? Be sure to have it up and running before leaving so you can accept and make payments easily, wherever you are and enjoy all the benefits of a European IBAN.