First Digital Nomad Visa

Back in January 2020, I announced to my email-list subscribers that Estonia might be one of the first countries in the world to enable Digital Nomads to apply for a visa for the purpose of remote work.

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This was quite some exciting news to everyone in the Digital Nomad community.


Estonia Launches Digital Nomad Visa

Although there are a few freelance visas out there, this would possibly be the first visa designed specifically for Digital Nomads and remote workers.

In another newsletter, I made a statement saying that I believed that governments would soon realise how important the Digital Nomad community is becoming, or for that matter, remote working in general.

It appears that with the current Coronavirus crisis the remote working community has exponentially grown, and it all happened at a faster pace than it could have ever been predicted.


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Remote Work Is The Future

Estonia announced back in January that this visa would enable people, whose job does not depend on where they are located at the time, to work in Estonia on the basis of a visa.

We’ve always known that Estonia is a global leader in e-government, becoming the first country to offer e-residency in 2014 which encourages freelancers, digital entrepreneurs, location independent business owners, to set up a remote company in Estonia.

On the 3rd of June 2020, Estonia finally created a digital nomad visa that allows remote workers to work as foreign employers or as location-independent freelancers.


Work as a foreign employer or a location independent freelancer

According to THIS ARTICLE, which is the first one to break the news, the Digital Nomad visas are subject to the general regulation of issuing visas and no Digital Nomad will get an automatic right to gain the visa – their backgrounds will be checked as thoroughly as all the other visa applicants.

The news was released only a few days after Estonia re-opened its borders to EU / Schengen Residents.

The implementation of the Digital Nomad visa is planned to be released in different phases.

Firstly, foreigners who can prove that they’re Digital Nomads will be allowed to apply. Later on, an extension to the Digital Nomad visa will be created by possibly combining it with other Estonian e-solutions such as the e-residency.


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Digital Nomads can bring positive impact on local businesses

Estonia’s interior minister, Mart Helme, stated that ‘the Digital Nomad visa will strengthen Estonia’s image as an e-state and helps Estonia be more influential in the global arena. It also helps export Estonia’s e-solutions, which is especially important in recovering from the current economic crisis.”

The country is predicting a maximum of 1,800 people a year would apply for the Digital Nomad Visa.

It goes to show that governments are truly starting to realise that Digital Nomads have the potential to bring in significant added value to a country by consuming goods and services and thereby having a positive impact on local businesses.


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Needless to say that I am excited about this announcement and I am more excited to see whether any other countries will follow Estonia’s lead in opening up their economy to remote workers and design specifically visas for them.

In my opinion, I think that Digital Nomad hubs such as Bali in Indonesia, Chiang Mai in Thailand, Carmen del Playa in Mexico would greatly benefit from designing a visa specifically for Digital Nomads, freelancers and remote workers as these people can make a significant contribution to the local economy.

A lot of location-independent business owners stay in one place for a little while before they move on.

When they get to their new destination keep in mind that they have to set up again their whole life there – new rental agreement, possibly new equipment for work, clothes, phone contracts, day trips to touristic attractions, coworking expenses, etc., etc.

That’s a lot of money that local economies could benefit from – especially in helping their recovery from the Coronavirus crisis.


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