Hello, digital nomads! Are you looking for the best countries to call home while you travel the world and work remotely? Look no further than Europe, a continent bursting with charm, culture, and breathtaking scenery.
As a digital nomad, you want to find the perfect balance between work and play, and Europe offers plenty of opportunities to do just that. From historic cities to idyllic beaches, there's something here for everyone. And the best part? You can do it all while earning a living from your laptop.
So, where should you head to in Europe? We've done some research for you and compiled a list of the top four best countries to live in as a digital nomad. In each country, we'll also share the conditions you'll need to meet to obtain a digital nomad visa. Ready to pack your bags and start your new adventure? Let's go!
1. Spain Digital Nomad Visa
If you're a digital nomad looking for a relaxed lifestyle, warm climate, stunning scenery, and a rich cultural heritage, Spain is an ideal destination for you. Spain offers a welcoming atmosphere that includes siestas, long lunches, and late-night socializing. Spain's beautiful beaches and stunning natural scenery provide endless opportunities for exploration and adventure.
Spain has a rich cultural heritage that spans thousands of years, with influences from the Moors, Romans, and Visigoths. It's famous for its art, music, and literature, with famous names like Picasso, Gaudi, and Cervantes. Traditional festivals and celebrations such as La Tomatina, Running of the Bulls, and Flamenco festivals are a big part of Spanish culture.
Food is a major part of Spanish culture, and the country offers a wide variety of delicious dishes to try. From tapas and paella to seafood and cured meats, Spain's cuisine is diverse and flavorful. Wine is also a significant part of Spanish culture, with many vineyards located throughout the country.
To apply for Spain's Digital Nomad Visa, you'll need to follow these steps:
👉 Determine if you are eligible. To apply for the Digital Nomad Visa, you must be a citizen of a country outside of the European Union, European Economic Area, or Switzerland, have a valid passport, have no criminal record, and be able to prove that you can support yourself financially without engaging in employment in Spain.
👉 Gather the required documents. You'll need to provide a valid passport, proof of sufficient financial means to support yourself, a clean criminal record certificate, proof of health insurance, and a certificate of no criminal record from your home country.
👉 To obtain a visa, it is necessary to have an income of at least € 2520 per month. Type of income: remote work (freelance or work contract).
👉 You can get a residence permit if you work. You can enter Spain even with a tourist visa (legally) and apply for a residence permit in the UGE for three years. Then you can extend your residence permit for two years.
👉 You work for a foreign company that has existed for at least one year. Or you are self-employed and have been doing business for at least three months.
👉 You can be absent for no more than six months in a year.
👉 Wait for the visa to be processed. Once you've submitted your application, it can take up to 30 days for the visa to be processed.
An important point: you must work for a foreign company outside Spain. You can also work for a Spanish company, but there is a "but": only if the percentage of income from this activity does not exceed 20% of the total professional training.
More information on how to obtain visa in Spain is here.
2. Portugal Digital Nomad Visa
Portugal is a top destination for digital nomads, thanks to its perfect blend of affordable living, stunning landscapes, and rich cultural heritage. The country is known for its warm climate, with mild winters and hot summers, making it an ideal location for those who love to be outdoors. From the rugged cliffs of the Algarve to the rolling hills of the Douro Valley, Portugal's landscapes are breathtaking and provide endless opportunities for exploration.
Portugal is also famous for its delicious seafood, wines, and pastries. You can taste freshly caught seafood in the coastal towns, try famous port wine in the Douro Valley, or indulge in the iconic pastel de nata in Lisbon. The country has a rich cultural heritage, with a mix of influences from its former colonies, including Brazil, Angola, and Mozambique. From the ancient Roman ruins in Evora to the vibrant street art scene in Lisbon, Portugal offers a diverse and fascinating culture.
The cost of living in Portugal is affordable, making it an attractive destination for digital nomads. The country has a range of accommodation options, from budget hostels to luxurious villas, and there are plenty of coworking spaces and cafes that offer a comfortable and productive work environment. The Portuguese are friendly and welcoming, and the country has a laid-back atmosphere that makes it easy to relax and enjoy the local way of life.
Portugal offers a Startup Visa program that is designed to attract entrepreneurs and digital nomads to the country. The program provides a fast track for visa applications, allowing entrepreneurs and startup founders to obtain a residence permit within a few weeks. The visa also allows you to bring your family, and there are no minimum investment or job creation requirements. This program is perfect for digital nomads who are looking to start a business or work on their own projects while enjoying the Portuguese lifestyle.
Here is an exact plan on how to apply for a digital nomad visa in Portugal
👉 Determine if you are eligible. To be eligible for a digital nomad visa in Portugal, you must be a non-EU/EEA/Swiss citizen and work as a freelancer or for a company registered outside of Portugal.
👉 Fill in the visa application form. First of all: determine how documents should be submitted in your country – directly at the consulate or through the VFS Global visa center. Register to apply by entering your personal information and attaching the required documents. Upon completion, a PDF file containing the application form will be sent to your email. You can edit the form if necessary before submitting it. See more in the guide.
👉 Get a police criminal record. All applicants over 16 must provide a certificate of no criminal record from their country of citizenship and any countries where they have lived for more than a year after age 16.
👉 Prepare the rental contract. For a D visa, providing a long-term lease agreement is essential. The SEF ignores an apartment's cost, size, or location. But we do not recommend using false documents – the SEF can selectively check applicants.
👉 Proof of monthly income. You must show proof of an average monthly income for the last three months that is at least 4 times the minimum wage in Portugal (for 2023, the minimum wage is €760, so you must show a monthly income of €3040).
👉 Savings in a bank account. Official requirements for the Digital Nomad visa do not mention mandatory savings for the principal applicant. However, based on experience, it is recommended to show at least €9120 per person in some countries. To increase the chances of getting approved for a long-term visa, some applicants aim to show a €12,000-16,000 deposit.
👉 Health insurance. It is important to note that insurance for a D visa and a residency permit differ. For a D visa, it is sufficient to obtain standard travel insurance for 120 days (the length of the visa). However, for a residency permit, you must obtain Portuguese insurance with a minimum coverage of €30,000 in case of hospitalization.
👉 Book your ticket to Portugal. You do not need to purchase actual tickets, only show proof of ticket reservations for the approximate date of your planned arrival in Portugal with a D visa.
Typically, it is best to show ticket reservations for a date 1,5-2 months after your visa application to the consulate. The exact date on the tickets does not affect the processing speed of your visa application.
👉 Your family documents (if applicable). Yes, you can apply for all D visa categories with your family. For each family member, you must fill out an application form online here. On the form, you must select “Accompanying family member.
👉 Write a cover letter. It is not necessary, but it will help to convince the consulate. Write an essay explaining why you chose Portugal, demonstrating your financial stability, dependability, and plans for the future in Portugal.
👉 Apply to consulate or VFS. You’re ready to apply!
Make an appointment at the consulate or VFS and apply. In some countries (for example, Brazil or USA), you can send all your documents by mail.
Wait 1-2 months (in some countries, waiting times may be longer, up to 6 months; check out country guides), and the visa is yours.
That's it! Once you have completed these steps, you can enjoy the beautiful landscapes, rich culture, and delicious food that Portugal has to offer while working remotely as a digital nomad.
You can find more information on how to obtain a digital visa in Portugal here.
3. Estonia Digital Nomad Visa
This hidden gem in the Baltics offers everything you need for a productive and enjoyable remote work experience. With a highly developed digital infrastructure and widespread internet access, you can work from almost anywhere in the country. Plus, the culture here is tech-savvy and innovative, with a strong emphasis on entrepreneurship and creativity. As the birthplace of Skype and home to a thriving startup scene, Estonia is the perfect destination for tech enthusiasts.
But it's not just about work. Estonia also boasts a low cost of living, allowing you to stretch your budget further while enjoying all the comforts of modern living. And with a high quality of life, you'll find yourself surrounded by stunning natural landscapes, delicious cuisine, and friendly locals who are always happy to help. Whether you're looking to explore the vibrant city of Tallinn or the picturesque countryside, Estonia offers something for everyone.
Here is a brief plan on how to apply for a digital nomad visa in Estonia:
👉 Check your eligibility. To apply for a digital nomad visa in Estonia, you need to be a non-EU citizen who works remotely for a company or runs their own business outside of Estonia. You must also be able to support yourself financially during your stay in Estonia.
👉 Income Level. To obtain a digital nomad visa in Estonia, it is required to show a minimum income of 3,504 euros per month. It is recommended to have an income of 4,000 to 5,000 euros per month.
👉 Deposit on account. In Estonia, a deposit of 3,504 euros in a bank account is required to obtain a digital nomad visa.
👉 Prepare your application. You will need to prepare a digital nomad visa application form, a passport-size photo, a copy of your passport, and proof of employment or business. You will also need to provide evidence that you can support yourself financially, such as bank statements or a letter from your employer.
👉 Submit your application. You can submit your digital nomad visa application online through the Estonian Police and Border Guard Board website. You will need to create an account and follow the instructions to submit your application.
👉 Wait for the decision. The processing time for a digital nomad visa application is usually up to 30 days. Once your application is processed, you will be notified of the decision via email.
👉 Pick up your visa. If your application is approved, you can pick up your digital nomad visa at an Estonian Embassy or Consulate in your home country.
👉 Register with the Estonian authorities. Once you arrive in Estonia, you must register with the Estonian Population Register and obtain a digital ID card. You must also apply for a residence permit if you plan to stay in Estonia for more than six months.
Note that the digital nomad visa is valid for up to one year, and you can stay in Estonia for up to 365 days. You can also leave and re-enter Estonia as many times as you wish during the validity period of your visa.
You can learn more about how to obtain e-Residency in Estonia here.
4. Czech Republic Digital Nomad Visa
Czech Republic is a great destination for digital nomads due to its high-speed internet, affordable cost of living, and abundance of coworking spaces. Additionally, Czech culture places a strong emphasis on innovation and creativity, which can be seen in the country's thriving startup scene.
The city of Prague, in particular, offers a unique blend of historical charm and modern amenities. Digital nomads can work from beautiful cafes in the Old Town or from the comfort of their apartments in trendy neighborhoods like Vinohrady or Žižkov.
In terms of cultural activities, Czech Republic has plenty to offer. From exploring the ancient castles and historic landmarks to attending music festivals and beer gardens, there is something for everyone. Czech Republic is also known for its delicious cuisine, such as hearty goulash, traditional dumplings, and of course, world-renowned Czech beer.
Overall, the Czech Republic offers a welcoming and supportive environment for digital nomads looking to work and explore a beautiful and vibrant country.
Here’s a list of long-term visas and basic requirements for them in Czech Republic
👉 Eligibility. To apply for a long-term business visa as a digital nomad, you need to prove that you have a sustainable income stream from your online work, which can support your stay in the Czech Republic. It is recommended that you have at least 100,000 CZK (around 4,000 USD) in your bank account to cover your expenses for the duration of your stay.
👉 Bank statement. you need to submit your bank statements as proof of your financial means. You must have at least CZK 124,500 (appx. €5,084) in your bank account. Along with the bank statements, you should submit a copy of your card, proving you are the holder.
👉 Supporting Documents. In addition to the basic requirements, you will need to provide a detailed business plan that outlines your work and income sources, your target market, and your marketing strategies. You may also need to provide proof of previous work experience, education, or training that is relevant to your business.
👉 Freelance Visa. In addition to the long-term business visa, you may also consider applying for a freelance visa, which allows you to work as a freelancer in the Czech Republic for up to one year. The requirements for a freelance visa may be slightly different from those of a long-term business visa, so it is recommended that you check with the Czech Embassy or Consulate in your home country for specific information and guidance.
👉 Czech Republic Startup Visa. If you plan to start a business in the Czech Republic, you may be eligible for a Czech Republic Startup Visa, which is a special type of visa designed for entrepreneurs who want to launch their startups in the country. The requirements for this visa are different from those of a long-term business visa, and you will need to meet certain criteria to be eligible.
👉 Legal and Tax Obligations. As a digital nomad in the Czech Republic, you will be subject to certain legal and tax obligations. It is recommended that you consult with a local lawyer or tax advisor to understand your obligations and comply with the relevant laws and regulations.
More information on how to obtain a long-term visa in the Czech Republic can be found here.
It's important to note that visa requirements and processes can change over time, so it's always a good idea to double-check the latest information with the appropriate government agencies or a qualified immigration lawyer before making any concrete plans.
There you have it, our top four best countries to live in Europe as a digital nomad. Whether you're seeking sunny beaches, cultural experiences, or a comfortable standard of living, these countries offer something for everyone. Plus, with their digital nomad visa programs, it's easier than ever to make your dream of living and working in Europe a reality.
As a digital nomad, the world is your oyster. And while there are countless destinations to choose from, Europe is a true gem. With its rich history, diverse cultures, and stunning natural beauty, it's no wonder that it's become such a popular destination for digital nomads.
So, pack your bags, grab your laptop, and get ready to explore everything that Europe has to offer. Who knows, you just might find your new home away from home.
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Photo: Jacques Bopp, Annie Spratt, Anthony DELANOIX