Digital nomad travel work by the beach

More than 60 countries now offer Digital Nomad Visas

UN Tourism’s latest Tourism Visa Openness report looks at the background and current state of digital nomadism trends and provides an analysis of existing digital nomad visas (DNVs) covering 54 destinations, mostly located in the Americas and Europe. It examines the DNV programmes in seven areas: application process; duration of visa; taxation; insurance; accommodation; minimum income requirements; and criminal records check.

According to this analysis, the rise in DNVs has gone hand-in-hand with an increase in digital nomads, with destinations in all regions working to meet the market trend. A digital nomad visa offers more flexibility than traditional work visas, and the opportunity for applicants to experience life in the host destination’s unique setting.

The Citizen Remote blog reported in February 2024 that 66 countries around the world now offer digital nomad visas.

Key findings of the UN report include:

  • 47% of destinations offer visas for up to one year.
  • 39% of destinations exempt digital nomads from tax payments
  • 17% of destinations do not have minimum income requirements.
  • 76% of destinations have online applications for DNV programmes.
  • 80% of destinations process applications within one-month period.
  • Only 6% of destinations have no visa fees for application.
  • Almost all destinations require some form of criminal records check.
  • Estonia was the first country that officially introduced a specialised digital nomad visa programme in July 2020.
  • Aruba, Georgia, and Mauritius process visas free of charge.
  • The highest visa fees are in Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, the Cayman Islands and Grenada
  • Canada offers the shortest stay (30 days) for digital nomads while Thailand issues the longest DNVs (up to 10 years).
  • Generally, digital nomads become tax residents in the host country (with few exceptions) after 183 days of their stay.
  • Antigua and Barbuda, Brazil, Cabo Verde, Curaçao, Georgia, Malta, Mauritius, Namibia, and Seychelles require that visa holders possess both health and travel insurance, while the rest of the destinations require either travel or health insurance. Antigua and Barbuda, Curaçao, Iceland and Panama do not require visa applicants to make advance arrangements for their arrangements.

Digital nomads spend big money

The BBC reported that digital nomads are spending big money. According to US-based consultancy MBO Partners’ 2023 Digital Nomads Report, 17.3 million US workers are currently digital nomads, and 24 million aspire to join them in the next two to three years. A 2023 survey conducted by travel writer Carlos Grider estimates digital nomads contribute nearly US$800 billion to the global economy annually.

A lot of that cash was flowing to places such as Portugal and Spain. Nomads List, a website for remote workers) reported that Portugal was home to nearly 16,000 digital nomads in December 2023, thanks to its Golden Visa residency programme for expats looking to make Portugal a permanent home – plus a newly launched digital nomad visa. As for Spain, VisaGuide.World named the country the top destination for nomads thanks to its visa’s lower barrier of entry, requiring proof of income at just €2,600 per month.

Bangkok ranked as the overall most visited remote work hubs by absolute trip counts in 2023 followed by Lisbon, London, Barcelona and Paris according to data by Nomad List which analysed more than 300,000 check-ins on its database.

The other cities in the Top 10 are Mexico City, Chiangmai, Istanbul, Tokyo and Canggu (Bali).

Digital Nomad in Lisbon Portugal

Nomads List also named Mexico City, Valencia, Medellin, Warsaw and Lisbon as destinations that are growing fast in the last five years (except 2020) and already have a high amounts of remote workers there now. The fastest growing remote works hubs in 2024 are Danang (Vietnam), Mumbai, Panama City, Phnom Penh (Cambodia), Buenos Aires, Hong Kong, Doha, Taipei, Cebu and Kuala Lumpur.

Asian cities offering digital nomad visas

One of the first in Asia to offer digital nomad visas in October 2022 is Malaysia’s DE Rantau which allows people to stay in the country for up to one year. Applicants must work in a “digital domain” such as IT, content creation or digital marketing; and show proof of income of at least US$24,000 a year.  In 2023, the Philippines’ digital nomad visa allows travellers to spend up to 12 months in the country. They must show a proof of income of at least US$24,000 a year.

digital nomad japan

By end March 2024, Japan’s digital nomad visa will be available to nationals of 49 countries. Visa holders can legally live and work remotely from anywhere in Japan for up to six months and earn a minimum income of 10 million yen (about US$68,000) yearly. Japan’s high-income requirement also appears to be a trend across several countries in Asia that are launching digital nomad visas.

The requirements for Thailand are quite steep which include showing proof of income of at least US$80,000 annually for the two years prior to visa application, or US$40,000-$80,000 if you hold a master’s degree or own intellectual property. The visa covers you for a 10-year stay, but you have to renew it after the first 5 years.

In January 2024, South Korea began offering its digital nomad visa that allows travellers to stay for up to two years. Applicants must show proof of income of at least US$66,000 a year. Digital nomads wanting to work in Taiwan can do so under the Employment Gold Card. It gives you the right to stay and work in Taiwan for 1 to 3 years, and applicants must earn a minimum of US$68,400 year.

Vietnam currently doesn’t offer a digital nomad visa, but offers tourist e-visas that allow foreigners to stay for up to 90 days. On Indonesia’s B211a visa, digital nomads can stay in the country for up to 180 days. The initial visa is typically 60 days and can be extended twice.

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