Eventually, hopefully, things will return to normal. As someone who has spent the majority of the last 6 years traveling the world as a digital nomad, I can’t wait.
One thing that always occupied a part of my brain wherever I went was how long I could stay. Every country/region has different rules. A tourist visa might last 30 days, sometimes 90, rarely more. For instance, as an American I’m allowed 90 days within a 6 month period covering almost every country in Europe. For the most part, this is fine as I tend to move around a lot. But I’ve always wondered what it would be like staying longer in one place. Really get to know a region.
Estonia has joined a handful of other countries with a specific solution for digital nomads like me. Announced in June, it’s called the Digital Nomad Visa and it’s an interested option. It’s also now available.
Digital Nomad Visa
Most long-term visas require local employment. The Digital Nomad Visa requires you to prove that you’re able to support yourself as a digital nomad. Programmer, writer, marketer, etc. Have computer, will travel. The idea behind this visa is the sound reasoning that it shouldn’t matter where you are, as long as you can support yourself. It’s a government recognizing what digital nomads have known for years.
From Estonia’s Ministry of the Interior:
“The Estonian digital nomad visa allows people to come to Estonia and stay here as a tourist, while continuing working for a foreign employer or as a freelancer, independent of location.”
As you’d expect, this isn’t some casual way to just give visas to anyone. You’ll need to prove you are a digital nomad, and go through standard visa application steps. Again, from the Ministry:
“…digital nomads will be subject to the general requirements for issuing visas, and minimizing the risks of misuse was taken into account in developing the amendments. No digital nomads will have the right to obtain a visa by default and their background will be checked as thoroughly as in the case of other visa applicants.”
There are some specific requirements:
- You are able to work independent of location
- You can perform your work duties remotely using telecommunications technology
- You either have an active employment contract with a company registered outside of Estonia, conduct business through your own company registered abroad, or work as a freelancer for clients mostly outside of Estonia.
- You can provide evidence that your income met the minimum threshold during the six months preceding the application. Currently, the monthly income threshold is €3504 (gross of tax).
Estonia is estimating around 1,800 people will apply for the new visa. While this was announced in June, it’s finally available.
You can start the process online, but to finish it you either need to do so in person in Estonia, or at one of their embassies or consulates.
As you can probably guess, the pandemic currently limits the number of countries able to apply for the visa to those able to actually travel to Estonia. So for those of us in the US this is just something to look forward to when everything, mercifully, goes back to normal.
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