Remote work gained popularity over the recent years. As a result, many individuals whose jobs do not require physical presence in the office choose to relocate to countries with higher standards of living or better climate.

To learn about the best countries for digital nomads in 2024, we talked to Albert Ioffe, a Legal and Compliance Officer at Immigrant Invest.

Today, we regularly hear news that yet another country is launching its Digital Nomad Visa. What is it?

In most cases, a Digital Nomad Visa is actually not a visa but a residence permit granted to individuals whose work is location-independent. It is designed for freelancers, self-employed, remote workers, and entrepreneurs, allowing them to live in a country while working for a foreign employer.

Digital nomads are generally not allowed to work for local companies or provide services to local inhabitants. Additionally, they must demonstrate financial self-sufficiency, either by proving a certain amount of monthly or annual income or by showing sufficient savings in a bank account.

Digital Nomad Visas gained popularity during and after the COVID-19 pandemic. Currently, about 50 visas for remote workers are available worldwide. Later on, I will share my perspective on the five best Digital Nomad Visas.

What benefits does a Digital Nomad Visa provide?

The benefits of holding a Digital Nomad visa vary depending on the country. For example, digital nomads in Schengen countries have an opportunity to travel visa-free to other member states for up to 90 days out of 180.

In Malaysia, digital nomads get access to exclusive benefits, such as nomad-ready living and working hubs, discount vouchers, and promotions.

Let’s explore three main benefits common to most Digital Nomad Visas.

  1. Easy and fast path to a residence permit. To qualify, applicants do not need to work, study, or have relatives in the country. Proving income and having accommodation is enough to qualify. Obtaining periods range from several days to several months.
  2. Relocation with the family. Most Digital Nomad Visas allow the main applicant to add a spouse and children to the application. The minimum income requirement might increase in this case.
  3. Tax optimisation. Typically, digital nomads are exempt from paying taxes on income earned abroad. This rule usually applies for the first six months until the applicant becomes a tax resident of the country issuing a permit.

Is it difficult to obtain a Digital Nomad Visa?

Procedures of obtaining a Digital Nomad Visa are usually easier than for other residency types.

Step 1. Collecting documents and applying is the beginning. Applications might be submitted either online or at a consulate in the country of the applicant’s residency.

The standard list of documents includes:

  • a passport;
  • 2—3 recent passport-size photos;
  • documents proving remote employment;
  • bank statements demonstrating income and savings;
  • proof of accommodation;
  • medical insurance.

Step 2. Visa application processing takes from several days in some countries to several weeks in others. During this step, the applicant may either be granted a residence permit or a travel visa, which will allow entering the country to apply for residency.

The digital nomad can relocate right after getting a positive decision on their application. If necessary, they visit the immigration office and apply for a residence permit. The residence permit card is usually issued within 2—3 weeks.

What are the 5 best Digital Nomad Visas in the EU?

#5. Hungary. The country launched its Digital Nomad Visa, called a White Card, in 2024. It requires a monthly income of at least €3,000 and savings of €10,000 in a bank account. Passive income sources such as dividends or property rental do not qualify. Families cannot join the digital nomad either at the visa-obtaining stage or by family reunification.

The residence permit is granted for one year and can be extended for an additional year. If the nomad wants to stay in Hungary for longer, they need to leave the country and submit a new application. A White Card does not entitle its holder to Hungarian permanent residency or citizenship.

#4. Italy. This is another EU country which introduced its Digital Nomad Visa in 2024. The visa is created for highly-skilled foreigners with at least six months of experience in their area of activity. Applicants demonstrate income of at least €2,700 per month or €32,400 per year and savings of €30,000 or more. If joined by a family, the digital nomad must have an additional €3,500—4,000 of savings per person.

The initial residency card is issued for one year and can be extended upon expiration. All the subsequent residence permits are granted for two years. After five years, one becomes eligible for permanent residency.

#3. Malta. The country’s Nomad Residence Permit is initially granted for one year and can be extended for the same period three times, allowing for a four-year stay in total.

To qualify, applicants confirm a monthly income of at least €3,500 outside Malta, and demonstrate savings of at least €17,500 to live in Malta for 5 months after application. Adding a family does not increase income requirements.

Digital nomads in Malta are not entitled to permanent residency and citizenship.

#2. Portugal. The country’s Digital Nomad Visa is one of the most popular among remote workers. To obtain the visa, the nomad’s minimum monthly income should be €3,280, irrespective of the number of applicants. Along with proving income, one demonstrates savings of at least €9,840. When applying with the family, they should add 50% of this sum per spouse or parent and 25% per child.

Applicants get a 2-year residence permit that can be extended upon expiration. After being a Portuguese resident for five years, the digital nomad can apply for permanent residency or citizenship.

#1. Spain. It was recognised as the best country for digital nomads in 2023. It is one of the few countries that allow them to work for local companies, provided that the share of such clients does not exceed 20% of the total amount of the nomad’s professional activity.

To qualify, an applicant must meet the following requirements:

  • have a University or College degree or a minimum of three years of work experience in their area;
  • work for the current employer for at least three months;
  • get a foreign identity number called a NIE;
  • demonstrate income of at least €2,646 per month; €993 is added for a spouse and €331 for each additional family member in the application.

The initial residence permit is valid for 3 years. It can be extended for an additional two-year period twice on the same residency grounds. After 5 years, a digital nomad is granted permanent residency for life. Being a Spanish resident for 10 years entitles one to apply for citizenship.

How does Immigrant Invest help digital nomads obtain residency?

Our experts accompany digital nomads throughout the entire process, from the first consultation to extending a residence permit.

real d8eb9fe6 a883 46d0 8846 547ad50794deAs the first step, we conduct a preliminary Due Diligence check of the applicant to identify possible issues that may affect obtaining a Digital Nomad Visa and lead to denial. Then, our lawyers provide the applicant with a list of required documents, help translate and notarise them, fill in the government forms and submit a visa application.

Once application is processed, Immigrant Invest leads applicants through the remaining steps, such as booking an appointment with local authorities, opening a bank account, or applying for a residence permit. And when it is time to extend the residence permit, the digital nomad can still rely on our assistance.

To get more information and choose the visa that best suits your needs, book a meeting with one of Immigrant Invest experts.