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Best Digital Nomad Countries - Nomad Visas for Remote Work

Written By: Jakus Eloff
Fact Checked By: Richard Nathan

Jan 8, 2022

17 min read

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Ranking The Best Digital Nomad Visas

If you believe the internet, it seems that each and every country is offering some kind of visa to cater to the growing trend of Digital Nomads. The bad news is that these headlines are mostly driven by sensationalism, misinformation, and clicks. That’s why you’ll rarely find articles like “How To Become A Digital Nomad In Portugal” that show the reader how to accomplish what it promises.

Or you might find a great Digital Nomad Visa Program, only to discover that the financial requirements are way out of your league. Or maybe everything is fine, the application process is clear, the costs reasonable, but then you discover that the country has extremely poor internet speeds or infrastructure, just as you’re boarding your plane. Not a fun place to be… The truth of the matter is that a lot of travel websites will oversimplify the application process just to boost engagement.

At Atlys, we’re not about all that. We’re about simplifying travel, not complicating it. That’s why we went and took a good hard look at all the Digital Nomad Visa Programs that are currently available and ranked them accordingly.

How We Rank The Best Digital Nomad Visas

We then ranked most of the digital nomad visa programs currently available according to 5 factors:

  • Ease of Access

This metric takes into account how easy, or difficult, it is to complete the application. With this, we take into account the amount of time you’ll probably spend if you’re completing the application on your own, and the confusion and uncertainty that comes with such an application.

  • Qualifying Cost

This metric takes focuses on the amount of money you’ll need to make in order to qualify for the Digital Nomad Visa. To measure this we took an average between the median wages of the US, UK, EU, and International semi-developed economies. This average came to $3271.00. Anything below this amount will be considered cheap, while anything 20% above this amount ($3925.80) will be considered expensive. While your own budget might look different, we’ve decided on this approach to ensure that this report is relevant to as many readers as possible.

  • Application Fees

This refers to the financial cost that an applicant will need to pay to ensure that the application is received by the relevant embassy or consulate. Please note that as is the case with any visa application that paying this fee does in no way guarantee that an application will succeed.

  • Internet Speed and Quality

As most Digital Nomads are dependent on good internet infrastructure to execute their tasks, we’ve included the internet speed of the country offering the digital nomad visa as a ranking metric. We only considered fixed broadband speeds and took as a benchmark Speedtest’s global average of 54Mbps. After all, the best view in the world won’t help pay your bills.

  • Cost Of Living and General Infrastructure

Finally, we looked at how much it will cost to live and work in a country, and how easy it will be to do so, ie. what is a country’s infrastructure like? For the first part, we used Indianapolis, IN, USA, as a benchmark for comparisons. To determine the second factor we took the World Bank’s Logistics Performance index into account.

Countries Currently Offering A Digital Nomad Visa

These are currently the only countries offering a Digital Nomad Visa propper: Georgia, Bahamas, Malta, Antigua & Barbuda, Barbados, Bermuda, Cayman Islands, Croatia, Czech Republic, Curacao, Costa Rica, Dominica (NOT to be confused with the Dominican Republic), Dubai, Estonia, Mexico, Montserrat, Mauritius.

Portugal and Greece also sneak their way into the mentions here, as they both offer national visas that can easily accommodate digital nomads.

Countries that do not have a Digital Nomad Visa Program, but that still somehow make their way onto the above list on other websites include Norway, Germany (Freiberufler Visa), Spain (Entrepreneur Visa), and Australia (Working Holiday Visa). We do not consider these visas to be true Digital Nomad Visas and as such, we didn’t include them on this list.

Other countries and cities, like Sri Lanka, Thailand, Cape Town, and Bali have all reported that they are investigating how to take advantage of the growing digital nomad trend, but as of date, no concrete Digital Nomad Programs were on offer from any of them.

However, while the list of digital nomad visa programs is currently limited, many digital nomads still make a living in countries without official digital nomad visa programs. This is because you do not always need a digital nomad visa to live as a digital nomad in a country, as there may be other visa options available to you. That being said, Atlys would like to remind travelers that the visa applied for, and the purpose of said visa should always correspond.

It is also worth remembering that if you are traveling and working in a country you should ensure that you are always tax compliant in accordance with your country of tax residence and the country visited.

Ranking The Best Digital Nomad Visa Programs

Each country’s Digital Nomad Program will now be ranked according to the five metrics mentioned earlier. Each Digital Nomad Visa Program will then receive a score out of 25 which will determine their position on this list. The list is in descending order.

14. Cayman Islands Digital Nomad Visa Program (Score: 10)

There was some debate in the office on whether the Caymans Islands should be included on this list. After all, any program with the word “concierge” in it is going to be aimed at a rather specific demographic.

Either way, we decided to include the ostentatiously named Global Citizen Concierge Program and allow you to decide for yourself. This visa will allow nomads to live in the country for up to 2 years. We have a couple of issues with this visa program, the biggest is the fact that it requires an annual salary of $100000, and $150000.

This pushes the visa firmly into retirement visa territory. This is also accompanied by a long and arduous application process and a $1500 processing fee. Not all that appealing, especially when you take the 16 Mbps average internet speed into account. We suggest you visit the Cayman Islands on holiday, rather than working there.

  • Ease Of Access: 1/5
  • Qualifying Cost: 0/5
  • Application Fees: 3/5
  • Internet Speed and Quality: 3/5
  • Cost Of Living And General Infrastructure: 3/5
  • TOTAL: 10

13. Georgia Digital Nomad Visa Program (Score: 13.5)

The Georgia Digital Nomad Visa program, “Remotely Form Georgia”, will allow remote workers and digital nomads to live and work in Georgia for up to one year. This country at the crossroads between east and west offers breathtaking mountain views, black sea beaches, and ancient monasteries. The only way to truly understand what magic Georgia holds is by traveling there and seeing for yourself.

To qualify for this Digital Nomad Visa Program you’ll need to earn $2000 a month or have $24000 available in a bank account. Don’t worry about any application fees, Remotely From Georgia is available free of charge! Simply fill in the online form to complete your application. The only major drawbacks are the below-average internet speeds (26.73 Mbps - below half of the international average), and low infrastructure score (Ranking #119 out of 160 countries).

On the plus side, Tbilisi is 65% cheaper than Indianapolis, and overall, most of the challenges presented by low internet speeds and ailing infrastructure should be negated if travelers make the capital city their base of operations.

  • Ease Of Access: 3/5
  • Qualifying Cost: 3/5
  • Application Fees: 5/5
  • Internet Speed and Quality: 1/5
  • Cost Of Living And General Infrastructure: 1.5/5
  • TOTAL: 13.5

12. Antigua and Barbuda Digital Nomad Visa Program (Score: 14)

While the Caribbean Island of Antigua and Barbuda may seem like the perfect Digital Nomad location it suffers from a couple of issues that make it somewhat less appealing.

First off is a lengthy and complicated application process, followed up with a minimum annual salary requirement of $50000, or $4166.67 per month. Add to that an average internet speed of 17.11 Mbps, and only a marginally cheaper cost of living than that of Indianapolis, and the allure starts to fade like mist on the Caribbean sea. At the end of the day, Antigua and Barbuda is a way better Holiday destination than it is a digital nomad solution.

  • Ease Of Access: 3/5
  • Qualifying Cost: 1/5
  • Application Fees: 2/5
  • Internet Speed and Quality: 2/5
  • Cost Of Living And General Infrastructure: 3/5
  • TOTAL: 14

TIED 10. Barbados Digital Nomad Visa Program (Score: 17)

Another Caribbean nation on this list, the Barbados Welcome Stamp will allow digital nomads to live in Barbados for up to one year. It’s basically a one-year working holiday visa and it costs $2000 for individuals and $3000 for families. That already steep application fee is further exacerbated by the $50000 annual earnings requirement.

A mitigating factor is the relatively easy application process, great internet speeds (110 Mbps), and a low cost of living. The fact that Barbados comes in at #111 on the World Bank’s infrastructure index is a challenge, but not an insurmountable one. Barbados might be for you, but we suggest you travel to the island before making an expensive commitment.

  • Ease Of Access: 5/5
  • Qualifying Cost: 1/5
  • Application Fees: 2/5
  • Internet Speed and Quality: 5/5
  • Cost Of Living And General Infrastructure: 4/5
  • TOTAL: 17

TIED 10. Mexico Digital Nomad Visa Program (Score: 17)

The United States of Mexico offers digital nomads a temporary resident visa that allows them to live and work in Mexico for 1 to 3 years.

To qualify, you’ll need to own a location-independent business or work remotely for a company outside of Mexico, earning $1620 per month or have a bank account with $27000.

The application requires you to complete a form that must be submitted to your nearest Mexican Consulate in person.

The major boons of living and working in Mexico are the low living cost, and relatively good infrastructure (#51 out of 160 countries), and internet speeds (55 Mbps). If you haven’t visited Mexico before, this is the best time to take the plunge! Who knows, you might like it so much that you decide to stay...

  • Ease Of Access: 2/5
  • Qualifying Cost: 4/5
  • Application Fees: 5/5
  • Internet Speed and Quality: 3/5
  • Cost Of Living And General Infrastructure: 3/5
  • TOTAL: 17

9. Bahamas’ Digital Nomad Visa Program (Score: 17.5)

The tropical paradise of the Bahamas offers the Bahamas Extended Access Travel Stay (BEATS) Program. This will allow both remote workers and students to live and work on any of the 16 islands that make up the Bahamas for an entire year.

The $1025 application fee might seem a bit steep, but it’s a bargain when one takes into account that there’s no other qualifying cost. All you need to do is provide a letter from your employer or school or be able to prove that you are financially self-sufficient.

The drawbacks include a cost of living very close to that of Indianapolis (10% lower in Nassau) and ailing infrastructure (#112 out of 160). But who cares about these issues when you can knock off work early to enjoy the immaculate beaches that the Bahamas have to offer? And the best part is, you’ll be able to deal with your work easily and efficiently with the Bahamas’ average internet speed of 55 Mbps. Why not travel to the Bahamas, before deciding if it's for you?

  • Ease Of Access: 4/5
  • Qualifying Cost: 5/5
  • Application Fees: 2/5
  • Internet Speed and Quality: 4/5
  • Cost Of Living And General Infrastructure: 2.5/5
  • TOTAL: 17.5

TIED 7. Malta Digital Nomad Visa Program (Score: 18)

This small Mediterranean island nation can be your home if you choose to take part in Malta’s Digital Nomad Residency. This will allow applicants to live and work in Malto for 6 months that may be converted into a Nomad Residence Permit which will allow you to stay in Malta for up to a year.

However, while the qualifying cost of $2700 per month is well below the $3900 benchmark the ease of access due to all of the checks and requirements makes this a less appealing option.

That being said, once an applicant has made it through the rigorous process they’ll be rewarded with some of the best internet and infrastructure on this list as well as an affordable cost of living.

  • Ease Of Access:1/5
  • Qualifying Cost: 3/5
  • Application Fees: 4/5
  • Internet Speed and Quality: 5/5
  • Cost Of Living And General Infrastructure: 5/5
  • TOTAL: 18

TIED 7. Estonia Digital Nomad Visa Program (Score: 18)

Estonia was the first country to create a visa that specifically caters to digital nomads. This visa allows digital nomads and freelancers to live and work in Estonia for up to 1 year. To qualify you’ll need to have earned at least $4100 per month for the last 6 months. If this is you, you’ll need to fill out a form and submit it at your nearest Estonian embassy/consulate. The application fee of $115 is payable when you submit your application.

While the qualifying income may seem high, successful applicants can rest assured that they live in a country with a relatively low living cost, great internet speeds (82 Mbps), and good infrastructure (#36 out of 160 countries.)

  • Ease Of Access: 4/5
  • Qualifying Cost: 1/5
  • Application Fees: 4/5
  • Internet Speed and Quality: 4/5
  • Cost Of Living And General Infrastructure: 5/5
  • TOTAL: 18

6. Mauritius Digital Nomad Visa Program (Score: 19)

In the Indian Ocean lies the pristine island nation of Mauritius. Mauritius has recently joined to digital nomad surge and it offers a visa that will allow digital nomads to live and work in Mauritius for up to one year. The application is totally free and you only need to meet the monthly threshold of $1500 to qualify!

The application is very easy to complete and the cost of living is low. The biggest issue is internet speeds with an average speed of 26 Mbps and relatively poor infrastructure. But as long as you settle in one of the big towns you’ll be fine.

  • Ease Of Access: 5/5
  • Qualifying Cost: 4/5
  • Application Fees: 5/5
  • Internet Speed and Quality: 2/5
  • Cost Of Living And General Infrastructure: 3/5
  • TOTAL: 19

5. Dubai Digital Nomad Visa Program (Score: 20)

The commerce mecca of Dubai has recently launched their own remote working visa.

The application process is straightforward and the visa is available for only $287. However, applicants will need to submit a one-year work contract and 6 months of salary statements together with proof from their employer and medical insurance.

While the cost of living is actually higher than in Indianapolis, the average internet speed of 195.11 Mbps and the #11 spot on the world infrastructure index go a long way to soothe that.

  • Ease Of Access: 2/5
  • Qualifying Cost: 5/5
  • Application Fees: 4/5
  • Internet Speed and Quality: 5/5
  • Cost Of Living And General Infrastructure: 4/5
  • TOTAL: 20

4. The Czech Republic Digital Nomad Visa Program (Score: 21)

The Capital of the Czech Republic, Prague, ranks as one of the top 20 cities in the world. And digital nomads can call this ancient city their home away from home. Zivno is a visa program specifically designed to cater for digital nomads and freelancers. It’ll allow holders to live and work in the Czech Republic for up to one year, with the possibility of extension.

It’s a little bit more difficult to get this visa, but it may well be worth the trouble. 1st off, you’ll need to check if your work qualifies and then you’ll need to provide proof that you have accommodation for a year. Finally, you’ll need $6500 in your bank account and pay about $80 in monthly taxes.

Doing this will allow you access to a country with an average internet speed of 86.29 Mbps, a low cost of living, and good infrastructure (#22 out of 160 countries.) Taking all of this into account, it might be worth your while to consult an immigration expert to ensure that your application is successful.

  • Ease Of Access: 2/5
  • Qualifying Cost: 4/5
  • Application Fees: 5/5
  • Internet Speed and Quality: 5/5
  • Cost Of Living And General Infrastructure: 5/5
  • TOTAL: 21

3. Croatia Digital Nomad Visa Program (Score: 22)

Croatia is one of the countries that has experienced the largest increase in tourist numbers in the world. And it’s not difficult to see why with medieval forts dotted along a stunning coastline and some of the best cuisines in the world. Now digital nomads can call Croatia their home, provided that they fill in a form, buy health insurance and have a bank account with HRK 28,800 or about $4600.

The application process is relatively easy, and the country offers internet at 55 Mbps. Couple that with a low living cost and an infrastructure top 50 placement (#49) and it’s easy to see why Croatia is one of the most popular Digital Nomad destinations in the world.

  • Ease Of Access: 4/5
  • Qualifying Cost: 4/5
  • Application Fees: 5/5
  • Internet Speed and Quality: 4/5
  • Cost Of Living And General Infrastructure: 5/5
  • TOTAL: 22

2. Bermuda Digital Nomad Visa Program (Score: 23)

Bermuda created the Work From Bermuda program, specifically to attract students and remote workers and make this island paradise their home.

Recently Bermuda has invested a lot of energy into making itself as appealing as possible for remote workers and digital nomads and has vastly improved the infrastructure that the island offers. This includes the creation of co-working spaces, an increase in car rentals, and some stunning accommodation.

One only needs to look at the average internet speeds to see Bermuda’s improvement: in 2018 the average download speed was 13.55 Mbps. Three years later, that number has shot up to 73.6 Mbps, a remarkable improvement.

And the kicker? There is no minimum required income to apply for the Work From Bermuda Program! All you need is travel insurance and proof that you work remotely for a company outside of Bermuda. Why not organize a quick getaway to see if this Island paradise is for you? With Atlys, traveling to Bermuda is super easy!

  • Ease Of Access: 5/5
  • Qualifying Cost: 5/5
  • Application Fees: 4/5
  • Internet Speed and Quality: 5/5
  • Cost Of Living And General Infrastructure: 4/5
  • TOTAL: 23

1. Portugal Digital Nomad Visa Program (Score: 24)

With the D7 visa, Portugal is fast becoming one of the most popular destinations for Digital Nomads. To qualify, you’ll need to earn more than $700 per month, obtain private health insurance and agree to a criminal background check.

This is a small price to pay when you consider the internet speeds in Portugal (145 Mbps), the great infrastructure that the country has to offer (#23 out of 160 countries), and the low cost of living.

To learn more, check out this extensive guide on Portugal’s D7 visa, or simply take a trip to Portugal to see what everybody is raving about!

  • Ease Of Access: 4/5
  • Qualifying Cost: 5/5
  • Application Fees: 5/5
  • Internet Speed and Quality: 5/5
  • Cost Of Living And General Infrastructure: 5/5
  • TOTAL: 24

This concludes our list of the best Digital Nomad Visa Programs. If you're not sure if you want to become a nomad yet, we recommend going on one of the Nomad Escape tours to see what it's like!

We hope you’ve enjoyed it and that we’ve helped you take your first step on your nomadic adventure. For any of your visa needs, don’t forget to download the Atlys app.

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