Digital Nomad Visa Guide for Australians
Working holiday visas are a great option for young people who want to experience living in another country. But if you’re self-employed or already have a job that you’re able to work on remotely, a digital nomad visa could be ideal for you!
Estonia, Bermuda, Barbados, Portugal and the United Arab Emirates are among a growing list of countries offering digital nomad visas to remote workers. With this visa, you can live in another country for one year or more, while continuing to work online in your existing job or for your own business – and often without paying local income tax.
In 2021, more people than ever are becoming digital nomads and COVID-19 has accelerated the shift towards working from home. More and more countries are tapping into the potential of this trend by offering digital nomad visas and/or residency permits to entrepreneurs and remote workers who can work from anywhere.
Why digital nomad visas?
Digital nomad visas are a great way for countries recovering from the impact of COVID-19 to attract new residents with a stable income who will contribute to the local economy. It’s great too for remote workers who now have more opportunities to live in more countries!
While this varies by country, digital nomad visa holders generally won’t need to pay income tax in the host country if all income is earned from a business registered outside of the country. But there are exceptions – for example, if you stayed for more than six months in Mauritius, then you could become a tax resident in Mauritius.
Conversely, you will not have the right to enter the local labour market or work for an employer based in the destination country while staying on a digital nomad visa – this is not a work visa.
Unlike working holiday visas, digital nomad visas don’t have an age limit. So they represent a viable option for travellers over the age of 30 or 35 who may not qualify for a working holiday visa.
With a digital nomad visa, you may also be able to bring your children and/or family with you – something that is not generally permitted with a working holiday visa.
Typical digital nomad visa requirements
Remote worker and digital nomad visas are aimed more towards educated professionals with relatively high income, rather than backpackers. So, the requirements to get a digital nomad visa are a bit different to working holiday visa requirements.
The good news is that the countries offering digital nomad visas genuinely want to encourage people to move there. In fact, in many cases, these visas are actively promoted by the country’s tourism authority. Therefore, the application process is usually made as easy as possible.
To get a digital nomad visa, things you might need include:
- A minimum level of savings and/or monthly income (this threshold is generally much higher than the minimum savings required to get a working holiday visa)
- You must be self-employed or work remotely for a business based outside of the country (by comparison, you are not required to have a job to apply for most working holiday visas)
- Health insurance to cover your stay
- In some cases, proof of accommodation in the destination country
The visa fees for remote worker permits or digital nomad visas are generally higher than the fees applicable for a working holiday visa. But this isn’t always the case. Some countries, such as Mauritius and Georgia, do not charge anything to apply for a remote worker visa!
Which countries offer digital nomad visas?
The list of countries offering digital nomad visas to Australian citizens working remotely is constantly growing. At the time of writing this article, they include:
- Antigua and Barbuda – Nomad Digital Residence visa
- Barbados – Welcome Stamp visa
- Bermuda – Work from Bermuda Certificate
- Cayman Islands – Global Citizen Concierge initiative
- Costa Rica – Rentista (freelancer visa)
- Croatia – Digital nomad residence permit
- Curaçao – @HOME in Curaçao
- Czech Republic – Živnostenský (freelancer) visa
- Estonia – Digital Nomad Visa
- Georgia – Remotely from Georgia
- Iceland – Long-term visa for remote workers
- Mauritius – Premium Visa
- Mexico – Temporary Resident Visa
- Montserrat – Remote Workers Stamp
- Norway – Residence permit for independent contractors
- Portugal – Fixed residency for “people living out from individual revenues”
- Seychelles – Workcation Visitor Permit
- United Arab Emirates – Dubai virtual working programme
You can click on any of the links above for more information about the digital nomad visas, remote worker visas or residence permits offered by each country.
Interactive map of countries offering digital nomad visas to Australians
Summary of key digital nomad visa information by country
|Country||Visa duration||Able to renew?||Visa fee||Minimum annual income|
|Antigua & Barbuda||2 years||Yes||USD1,500 (~AUD2,000)||USD50,000 (~AUD6,700)|
|Barbados||1 year||Yes||USD2,000 (~AUD2,680)||USD50,000 (~AUD6,700)|
|Bermuda||1 year||Yes||USD263 (~AUD350)||N/A|
|Cayman Islands||2 years||USD1,469 (~AUD1,970) + 7% credit card fee||USD100,000 (~AUD134,000)|
|Costa Rica||2 years||USD250 (~AUD335)||USD60,000 (~AUD80,400)|
|Croatia||1 year||HRK640 (~AUD135)||HRK202,890 (~AUD43,000)|
|Curaçao||6 months||Yes||AUG535 (~AUD410)||N/A|
|Czech Republic||1 year||Yes||EUR100 (~AUD159) + CZK1,800 (~AUD111) monthly taxes||EUR5,587 (~AUD8,900) in savings|
|Estonia||1 year||EUR100 (~AUD159)||EUR42,048 (~AUD66,800)|
|Georgia||1 year||Free||USD24,000 (~AUD32,150)|
|Iceland||6 months||Must wait 12 months||ISK7,800 (~AUD85)||ISK12,000,000 (~AUD130,300)|
|Mexico||1 year||Yes (for 3 years)||CAD56 (~AUD60)||CAD32,640 (~AUD35,000)|
|Montserrat||1 year||Yes||USD500 (~AUD670)||USD70,000 (~AUD93,760)|
|Norway||2 years||EUR600 (~AUD950)||EUR35,719 (~AUD56,750)|
|Portugal||1 year||Yes||EUR155 (~AUD246)||EUR7,200 (~AUD11,440)|
|Seychelles||1 year||EUR45 (~AUD73)||N/A|
|United Arab Emirates||1 year||Yes||USD611 (~AUD820)||USD60,000 (~AUD80,400)|
There are a few other countries that also offer remote worker visas to people from specific countries, but not to Australians. For example, Cabo Verde’s Remote Working Program is available only to people from Europe, North America, Community of Portuguese Speaking Countries (CPLP) or Economic Community of West African States (CEDEAO).
Other countries planning to introduce digital nomad visas
The Indonesian government announced in early 2021 that it is planning to introduce digital nomad visas in the near future. Under this program, it will be possible to live in Bali for up to 5 years and not pay local income tax, provided your income is derived entirely from outside of Indonesia.
Thailand, too, is planning to reinvent its “Smart Visa” program to allow freelancers and digital nomads to live and work remotely in Thailand for up to 4 years.