Photo by Romiana Lee/Shutterstock
Sunrise at Horseshoe Bay, Bermuda
The good news: A number of countries have just opened their doors to digital nomads. The bad news? Reading the fine print can be exhausting—so we did the hard work for you.
At a time when most borders around the world are shut to American travelers due to concerns over the country’s high rates of COVID-19 transmission, a number of destinations have recently decided instead to offer themselves up not as vacation destinations, but as new homes for digital nomads.
As Annie Daly reported for AFAR, “In an increasingly connected world, more and more individuals—especially those in the creative and tech sectors, like freelance writers, web developers, and digital marketers—are taking advantage of the opportunities for remote work.” And with the rise in remote work and “location-independent” positions, the United States is seeing an uptick in digital nomads, whether they’re fleeing the big city or just looking for a change of scenery. Here are countries that have recently touted themselves as destinations for digital nomads, plus information on how to apply.
On October 14, the Anguilla Tourism Board announced it was welcoming travelers to WFHiA—Work From Home in Anguilla. Those approved under the program will be allowed to work in Anguilla (which is east of Puerto Rico and north of St. Martin) for up to 12 months.
A so-called sun-worshiper’s paradise, 35-square-mile Anguilla has 33 pristine white-sand beaches, vibrant coral reefs, and average temperatures around 80 degrees.
Anyone who can work remotely and who has a valid insurance policy that covers COVID-19, though Anguilla is giving priority to travelers from “low-risk” countries where the coronavirus transmission rate is less than 0.2 percent.
For anyone staying less than three months, it’s $1,000; $2,000 for individuals planning on working in Anguilla between three months and a year; $3,000 per family (defined as a party of four) and $250 per additional dependent.
Visit the official application website to enter information about who’s traveling and how long you’ll stay; the site will then shuttle you to the appropriate application form. Expect to enter your passport number and information about your employer and medical insurance.
On September 30, Barbuda’s Prime Minister, Gaston Browne, announced the Nomad Digital Residence (NDR) program for the twin islands. Under the program, eligible workers can live in Antigua and Barbuda for up to two years.
Those who have an NDR visa will be able to travel freely in and out of the country, but must keep accommodation in Antigua and Barbuda unless they wish to end their visa stay earlier than the proposed time period.
Antigua alone has 95 miles of stunning coastline with pink- and white-sand beaches, while sister island Barbuda is known for its vibrant reefs and bird sanctuary. Average temps? A pleasant 80 degrees.
Those “who are employed or self-employed in a country other than Antigua and Barbuda.” (It’s worth noting that no personal income tax is payable to Antigua and Barbuda.)
$1,500 for individuals; $2,000 for a couple; $3,000 for a family of three or more
Complete the application form online and submit it, along with supporting documentation, including passport-sized photos, evidence of employment, medical insurance coverage, and a declaration from each main applicant that they expect an income of no less than $50,000 for each of the two years in Antigua and Barbuda.
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In mid-September, Aruba unveiled its new “One Happy Workcation” program, which lets remote workers stay up to three months and take advantage of special rates at hotels, villas, condos, and more. “Workcation” program members can also expect complimentary Wi-Fi, breakfast, or all-inclusive food and beverage, depending on where they stay.
Travelers must remain in the country a minimum of one week but can’t stay longer than 90 days. (Normally, Americans can stay in Aruba for 30 days without a visa but cannot work.)
A proliferation of gorgeous beachside resorts (with lazy rivers), a legendary wellness scene, and an air of escapism that’s hard to match.
Any U.S. national with a valid passport who is employed by a company or self-employed in the U.S.
There’s no application form, but workers participating in the program must fill out “One Happy Workcation” as their reason for traveling to Aruba.
In early July, Barbados Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley said her government was considering opening its borders to remote workers. By mid-July, they’d released a plan: Titled the “Welcome Stamp,” it allows anyone who can work remotely with internet to apply to stay in the Caribbean country for up to a year.
Near-perfect temperatures alongside a UNESCO World Heritage site capital, plus plenty of things to do. And did we mention the beaches?
Anyone over 18, but applicants must be able to show they can make more than $50,000 annually.
$2,000 for individuals; $3,000 for families
Visit Barbados Welcome Stamp and complete the application online. Applicants must submit a birth certificate (for self/partner/children), proof of relationship of dependents, an entry visa (where applicable), two passport-sized photographs, and a copy of the data page of their passport(s). A visa will be confirmed or denied within a week.
In early July, Bermuda’s Ministry of Labor introduced the One-Year Residential Certificate program, which allows visitors to research, study, or work from the North Atlantic island for up to 12 months. Applications open on August 1.
The program is aimed at those “who are location-independent, using technology to perform their job no matter where they are,” Bermuda’s labor minister, Hon. Jason Hayward, said in a statement about the new residency policy. “The trend towards remote working has been accelerated by COVID-19. These visitors can reside in Bermuda without seeking employment on the island and will promote economic activity for our country without displacing Bermudians in the workforce.”
Comprising more than 180 islands and islets, the archipelago is nearly all shoreline, meaning it’s more than likely your laptop life will come with a view of pink-sand beaches.
Anyone over 18 with valid health insurance, proof of employment, and income from a company that does not operate in Bermuda.
Complete the Application for Residence form and submit it, along with supporting documentation, including employment references, character references, passport-sized photos, qualifications, and copy of a birth certificate. A visa will be confirmed or denied within two weeks.
Estonia’s digital nomad visa has been a long time coming, and in August, the Baltic nation (and EU member) opened up applications. If approved, location-independent workers can live for up to a year in Estonia.
Located at the crossroads between Scandinavia and Russia, Estonia has a stunning capital with a UNESCO-listed Old Town and celebrated national parks.
Anyone over 18 who makes at least €3,504 (roughly US$3,530) in gross monthly income and who can work remotely “for an employer registered abroad, for their company registered abroad, or as a freelancer for clients mostly abroad.”
Note that Americans are not currently allowed to travel to Estonia, but there are exceptions made for those working or studying in the country. Upon arrival in Estonia, U.S. citizens must quarantine for two weeks and take two COVID-19 tests.
The application fee is €80 for a Type C (short stay) visa and €100 for a Type D (long stay) visa.
Fill out an application form online, and then print and sign it. Make an appointment at the nearest Estonian Embassy or Consulate and be sure to bring any supporting documents. Every application is reviewed within 30 days.
On August 27, Georgia announced that its “Remotely from Georgia” visa program was up and running. Per a press release from the government, the program is designed for “freelancers, full-time employees or business owners who are able to stay in Georgia for at least 360 days without a visa per their passport or other travel document.”
Citizens of 95 countries who are able to provide proof of employment, have a minimum monthly salary of $2,000, and can sign a consent form agreeing to a 14-day quarantine at their own expense upon arrival. Applicants must also obtain travel insurance for duration of time they will be in Georgia. (Per the U.S. Embassy in Georgia, Americans will only be allowed into Georgia if they receive a six-month visa to work there—either self-employed or as a freelancer—or are the spouse of a Georgian citizen or a business traveler.)
Fill out an online application form and upload a copy of your passport.
Jamaica hasn’t formalized its remote-worker policy with any new branding, but the country allows digital nomads to work from the island, reports the Washington Post. Americans have been allowed back into the country as of June 15, but all travelers must fill out a Travel Authorization form and adhere to protocols once on the island.
The third-largest island in the Caribbean—and the birthplace of Bob Marley, reggae, and jerk cuisine—Jamaica offers beaches, culture, and friendly people to make you feel like you’re on permanent vacation.
Travelers approved for travel to Jamaica who receive a 30-day visa. They can then apply for a longer visa once on the island.
A nonrefundable fee of JMD$14,400 (US$98) must be submitted with an application for self-employed remote work. Should approval be granted, applicants will have to pay a work permit fee that varies in price depending on the duration of the stay.
Applications for work permits must include a cover letter with the following information: The nature and duration of the work, certified copies of the credentials of the applicant, two passport photos, the applicant’s resume, and the individual’s police record. The work permit forms can be found on the Jamaican government’s website, and the turnaround time for approval is between four to six weeks.
This article was originally published in July. It has been updated with new information.
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