If you’re a new remote worker or a seasoned digital nomad and are wondering how to apply for the visas for freelancers available around Europe then read on.
Countries all around the world are quickly becoming aware of how lucrative it can be to invite digital nomads in with a visa for freelancers and provide them with some stability beyond the average tourist visa.
And, with a workforce who find themselves newly working online, people are understandably starting to weigh up their options outside their home.
It’s our prediction that digital nomad visas (or visa for freelancers) will become much more commonplace in the near future, especially as the travel industry rebuilds – with remote workers likely being among the first people to move around once travel resumes.
News like Greece’s recent income tax reductions for digital nomads and freelancers, as well as exciting new digital nomad visas in Croatia, Malta, and Romania, only emphasises this trend.
Digital nomads and remote workers with the freedom to move, plus those new remote workers post-pandemic, will be looking for places they can settle for a time that provides them with benefits.
One of the major benefits being that you can legally work within that country and typically apply for a local bank account and healthcare which certainly takes into account a lot of the daily problems that those living a remote lifestyle face.
Many of these visas for freelancers aren’t complicated to apply for with most of the work being done online – though most do involve a trip to your local embassy for that country with paperwork and documents in hand.
You do need to be aware of your tax situation as you will usually be liable to pay tax in the country your applying for a visa in. Be aware, most countries where you spend 180 days or more could require you to pay tax.
Europe’s Digital Nomad Visas for Remote Workers
While we anticipate this list being updated frequently, here are the countries in Europe that currently offer a visa for freelancers and artists, (or are planning to in the near future), and how to apply for one.
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Of course, there are always requirements to meet, and some are much more convenient than others. Find out everything you need to apply for a visa for freelancers below.
1) Germany Freelance Visa
Berlin has long been a haven for artists, freelancers, and those looking to start a new business. Germany is a wonderful place to work remotely, and they are very welcoming to freelancers providing you meet the requirements and follow the steps properly.
It’s an attractive option for many as it allows you to bypass the strict Schengen visa requirements legally.
Note: You do legally become a tax resident of Germany with this visa for freelancers. You will register with your local tax registration office and be issued a Tax ID.
Berlin is an exciting and vibrant place to live with a wealth of opportunities being one of the creative, tech, and financial hubs of the world. Whether you like a great bar or dining scene, museums, exciting day trips, or thriving arts and culture to immerse yourself in, it’s all here.
The seasons are typical for northern Europe, with cold winters and pleasant summers, and the cost of living is still currently at an affordable rate, thanks to the rent caps in Berlin.
Their permit program (known as the “freiberufler” visa, which means ‘liberal profession’) is specifically targeted at freelancers and remote workers and grants you leave in Germany for three months. It also leaves you in a position to apply for a residency permit which extends to three years. From there, you can look into getting a settlement permit.
This is one of the only visas for freelancers that has long-term residency in mind. Many visas for freelancers and remote workers don’t offer such long extensions, let alone residency options, but bear in mind each of these stages has its own costs and steps involved.
The initial process can take up to three months so make sure you start your application ahead of time. If you are from Australia, Canada, the EU, New Zealand, the United States, Israel, South Korea, or Japan, you can apply for visa for freelancers after you arrive in Germany.
Other countries will require you to go to your local German embassy with the documentation listed below.
If you are applying from within Berlin you will need to follow these immediate steps:
You must officially register at an address, a process known as Anmeldung. This will involve finding and registering yourself in short term accommodation and receiving an Anmeldung certificate.
You ideally need one or two clients based in Germany; something which would be good to prepare ahead of time. This list of companies and startups in Berlin can point you in the right direction.
You will then need to make a Freelance Visa Appointment at the Immigration Office In Berlin, taking the following things with you:
- Proof of income (you’ll need to demonstrate you can support yourself while in Berlin)
- Two passport photos
- Health Insurance
- CV (ideally with a German language copy)
- Valid passport with time to spare
- Visa fee (currently sixty euros)
- Certificates of Education and copies of these certificates
- Freelance Plan (your projected earnings and losses). While there isn’t a set amount for this freelance visa it’s expected you earn at least eighteen thousand euros a year.
- Letters of intent of those who intend to work with you once your visa has been processed (two to three would be ideal. They should also be German clients if possible). The letters should also be written or translated into German.
Helpful documents include letters of recommendation, portfolio/ samples of your work, cover letter, personal monthly budget, bank statements demonstrating any savings and ingoings/outgoings.
Tip: More information on the full list of requirements, the paperwork needed, and the steps you must take once you’re in Berlin can be found on NomadenBerlin. They can also personally help with any of the steps.
2) Croatia Freelance Visa
This visa for freelancers hasr ecently and is a hugely exciting prospect for digital nomads as Croatia becomes the next destination in a line of countries welcoming remote workers.
Currently, non-EU members can stay 90 days in Croatia but this visa for freelancers allows freelancers to stay in the country for up to a year. They recently held a ‘Dubrovnik for Digital Nomads’ conference which really demonstrated how open they are to making this a positive change for everyone.
If you’d like to stay beyond the year you will have to leave for six months and try applying again. It doesn’t put you on track for any kind of residency art this time.
There are huge advantages to being based in Croatia, there are multiple fantastic cities with cafes and coworking spaces already open and many in development. Typically people choose Dubrovnik or Zagreb as their base but that’s the tip of the iceberg.
The weather is generally better year-round than most of the other countries on this list and the cost of living is one of the most affordable on this list. Croatia offers one of the best lifestyles in Europe full stop so we anticipate Croatia being the next hot spot for digital nomads.
They have also just launched a digital nomad village scheme which looks very exciting.
Croatia Digital Nomad Visa Requirements:
You will need to apply at your nearest Croatian embassy or consulate or at the local police station if you’re already in Croatia.
You will need:
- A completed application, which the police/embassy/consulate will provide, or you can find here
- Proof you are a digital nomad (contracts are helpful here) and that you have sufficient funds to support yourself – a bank statement or proof of regular income to your account in which you must have available a minimum of HRK 28,800 for a period of 12 months ( approx. £3335.26 or $4619.53)
- A valid passport and two passport photos
- Government-issued background check from your home country
- A valid private/travel health insurance policy that covers the entire term of your permit (we recommend Saftey Wing)
- A valid rental contract and address in Croatia
- Application Fees (more info on fees available here).
Read More: A Digital Nomad Guide to Zagreb
3) Georgia Freelance Visa
This is a relatively new visa for freelancers and digital nomads. Georgia was a very welcome addition to the list being a place that has been slowly gaining popularity amongst travellers and freelancers over the past year.
Georgia offers a perfect location, at the mid-point between Europe and Asia, for those looking to explore off-the-beaten-track boasting incredible natural scenery for blowing off some steam, great food, and a low cost of living. The internet is fast and cheap.
Tbilisi is a fantastic international hub for travelling with direct flights going across Europe and Asia. The seasons are very distinct here with no extreme temperatures, winters are cold with a low of 0 degrees Celsius and summers are warm with highs of 30 degrees Celsius.
Georgia has always been particularly generous with offering stays of up to one year for residents of ninety-eight countries. Now, their ‘Remotely From Georgia’ visa (applicable to ninety-five countries including UK, USA, and Canada) allows you to legally work your online business up to a year with the possibility to extend after.
This program is currently free of charge, provided you meet the requirements below.
Note: You will be eligible to pay income tax in Georgia after spending 183 days in Georgia which are as low as 1% if you earn under $155,000.
Remote in Georgia Requirements:
- Minimum Monthly Income of $2000 USD – You can demonstrate this with your bank statements, contracts, pay stubs.
- Passport with over a year validity.
- Annual Health Insurance. You’ll need to show you have health insurance coverage for at least six months (minimum length of stay) to a year.
Current Situation: You can still apply for the Remote Visa and go to Georgia despite current travel restrictions on tourists. You will have to quarantine for twelve days in a government-approved hotel. Georgia has consistently been one of the safest countries in the world throughout the global pandemic.
How to apply: You can apply online on the Remotely From Georgia website. Currently, over a thousand people have already applied for the visa.
- A Complete Guide to Living and Working in Tbilisi, Georgia
- Everything You Need to Know as a Remote Worker in Georgia
4) Estonia Remote Work Visa
The Estonia E-visa was one of the first we heard about, and many Brits were investigating this option post-Brexit vote as a potential way to escape and hold onto European citizenship.
Unfortunately, this dream quickly evaporated because this visa doesn’t lead to citizenship or provide unrestricted travel to the other EU nations and only allows you to set up a business within Estonia.
In August 2020, they launched a visa for freelancers that’s specifically for digital nomads and offers a lot more options for people who want to enjoy Estonia as their base.
With this visa for freelancers, you are allowed to stay in Estonia temporarily which the previous e-visa didn’t allow. It’s applicable for short and long-term stays with the minimum being 90 days and the long term application granting you a year.
Firstly, Estonia is a wonderful country. It’s safe and relatively affordable and Tallin has a surprising amount of independent cafes to enjoy. The wifi is also one of the best in the world and you have the option of taking the ferry to Helsinki or the train or bus to neighbouring Latvia for more variety.
With the Estonia e-visa, you’ll be able to live and legally work in the country for up to a year.
Estonia Digital Nomad Visa Requirements:
- Currently the application costs between 80€ for a Type C (short stay) visa and 100€ for a Type D (long stay) visa depending on how long you plan on staying.
- You must make a minimum gross income requirement of €3,500 per month for the six months preceding your application.
- You have to prove that you’re either employed by a company registered outside of Estonia or self-employed with a business registered outside of Estonia.
How to apply for an Estonia Digital Nomad Visa:
- Fill in the application form online (it needs to be printed and signed). You can also register for their newsletter and updates on the website.
- Make an appointment at your nearest Estonia embassy and take the visa fee, passport photos, and required documents including bank statements and any contracts proving your employment.
- The process typically takes thirty days.
Read More: 10 Essential Tips for Beginner Freelancers
5) Czech Republic Freelancer Visa (Zivno)
‘The Czech Republic has offered a zivno visa, or long-term business visa, for years now, and it’s certainly a good option if you’re like to create a stable working life in the Czech Republic. You will be registering at the trade office and becoming a trade license-holder.
The visa is targeted at freelance and remote workers, and people doing freelance contract work (like English teachers) looking to live in the country for longer periods of time. It is more accessible than other visas as you need to make 5587 euros per year to be eligible.
Note: You will be a licensed taxpayer and will need to be health insurance and social security in the Czech Republic.
The Czech Republic is a wonderful place to live, and has already become popular with digital nomads taking advantage of the Schengen Visa. This means a good community is waiting for anyone interested in working remotely, especially in Prague.
You will benefit from a low cost of living and a beautiful country with a rich art and culture scene to explore in downtime.
How to apply for the Zivno Visa:
It will involve a trip to your local Czech Republic embassy and cannot be applied for from within the Czech Republic. Make an appointment with your local embassy and request an appointment for the zivno visa.
They will interview you about your business plan, your intentions in the Czech Republic, and how much you’re aware of the tax, health, and social security system in Croatia.
Many people opt for a local agency to help them out with obtaining this visa as you will need secured accommodation in the Czech Republic which is difficult to obtain from home.
You will also need to obtain a criminal background check as well as passport, passport photos, proof of at least 124 500 CZK in your bank account.
Getting help with the application for this visa is recommended.
6) Portugal Freelance Visa
Portugal has a thriving digital nomad community, and it’s undoubtedly an attractive place to live with beautiful beaches, impressive hiking opportunities, delicious food, and typically good weather year around.
Generally, people looking to live and work in Portugal have applied for the D7 passive income/retirement visa. If you can prove you have regular passive income from various sources, including intellectual property then you can apply and, in many cases, remote work income will be accepted.
Portugal has also launched a new visa specifically for digital nomads which may be more suitable.
This visa for freelancers and digital nomads entitles you to a year in Portugal which and then be extended for five years with the option to apply for permanent residency after that.
The new Portugal digital nomad visa, shortly being launched, will allow digital nomads to stay in Portugal for five months and should hopefully take away the confusion of whether a salaried income is acceptable.
How to apply for a Portugal Independent Visa:
You will need to apply in person at your local Portuguese embassy and provide:
- two recent photographs
- a valid passport
- evidence of accommodation and sufficient means of supporting yourself
- labour contract
- a clean criminal record check
- A Guide to Portugal for Digital Nomads
- The Best Coworking Spaces and Cafes in Portugal
- Portugal’s New Digital Nomad Visa: Everything You Need to Know
7) Romania Digital Nomad Visa
One of the newer digital nomad visas, you can now apply to spend a year in Romania with the option to renew for another year if you meet the requirements.
Already, a beloved spot within the community due to the affordable living costs, excellent infrastructure including lightning-fast and reliable internet, and frankly outstanding local travel opportunities, this visa is great news for people looking to make Romania a solid base to work from.
While it’s still early days, a very exciting aspect of this visa is that the minimum financial requirement will be around 3300 euros. You will need to apply at your local Romanian consulate.
Don’t miss our guide to Romania for remote workers to find out why we loved living there.
The other requirements for the Romania digital nomad visa include:
- proof of being an employee or an owner of a company registered outside of Romania
- proof that for three months before applying for the visa the digital nomad has an income amounting to three times the national average of approximately 3300 euros per month.
- proof of health insurance covering your time in Romania
- A clean criminal record check
- Proof of accommodation in Romania
8) Malta Digital Nomad Visa
A new digital nomad visa has launched for people who want to experience island life while working. An independent country situated between Sicily and the North African coast, you can expect stunning coastline, consistently great weather, historic cities and sites for exciting day trips.
With an excellent healthcare system and fast wifi, it’s no wonder that many people have chosen to call Malta home with foreigners accounting for 14% of the population.
The program offers a six-month visa to non-EU citizens and the option of obtaining a one-year ‘Nomad Residence Permit’ which costs €300. You will also need to prove you are contracted to work remotely by a company based overseas, and show that they run their own business, or offer freelance service to clientele based abroad.
A highlight of this visa is that you’re permitted to bring your partner or family as part of the application.
How to apply for the Malta Remote worker Visa:
- The minimum salary requirement for an applicant is €2700
- You’ll need to fill in a form and a GDPR privacy document as well as writing a letter of motivation for moving to Malta and the intention of applying for the Nomad Residence Permit
- Proof of a rental in Malta with a lease or purchase agreement
- Submit your application, and find more information, on their website.
9) Work in Iceland Long Term Visa for Remote Workers
Launched in 2020, the Iceland digital nomad visa offers high-earning remote workers an opportunity to experience the many highlights of Iceland for six months. The opportunities for mind-blowing travel in Iceland are endless with fjords, national parks covering most of the island, and colourful fishing towns there won’t be a dull moment in your downtime.
You will need to prove you have an employment relationship with a company in a foreign country or verify your self-employment history in their home country
Hot to apply for the Iceland Remote Work Visa:
- You will need to be from a country outside the EU/EEA/EFTA and not need a visa to travel to Iceland
- You will need to earn around $88,000 (1,000,000 ISK) per year to qualify
- Valid health insurance, criminal record check
- The application forms and information on how to apply are available on the gov website.
10) Hungary Digital Nomad Visa — White Card
Hungary’s new residence permit is attracting many remote workers to Budapest and surrounding cities. You can currently apply for one year, but it can be extended for one additional year as long as you continue to meet the criteria.
You will need to be a third-party national, so not from an EU country, and hold a valid work contract from countries outside Hungary. You will also need to be earning a minimum amount of €2,000 (Euros) per month and will need to prove you have met this amount for at least six months prior to applying. You can apply at your local consulate with proof of income and the items below.
Check for specifics by calling your local consulate.
Note: Don’t miss our guide to Budapest for remote workers to find out if it’s the place for you.
Hot to apply for the Hungary Remote Work Visa:
- You will need to provide valid proof of accommodation in Hungary when applying for your visa
- Valid health insurance which will cover you for the duration of your time in Hungary, AXA is recommended
- A valid passport and return flight
- A filled-in application form
11) Italy Digital Nomad Visa
The newly announced Italian digital nomad visa will allow remote workers to live in Italy for up to a year. Though it has not be launched yet, Italy does have a self-employed visa program which you may be eligible to apply for in the meantime.
To apply for the Italy self-emplyed visa, you will need to demonstrate you have a clean criminal record and suitable accommodation within the state of Italy.
You will also need an annual gross income totaling €8’500 one year prior to their visa application (or with promise by contractual compensation for services provided), health insurance coverage for hospitalization/medical expenses during the first 30 days after entry into Italy as well as proof of sufficient economic funds.
12) Spain Digital Nomad Visa
Digital professionals now have the opportunity to live and work in Spain for up to a year, with the potential of renewing their visa up to five times or even becoming eligible for permanent residency.
You will need to have a global income with no more than 20% stemming from Spanish companies and not possess any criminal records barring entry to Spain.
You will also need to demonstrate proof of remote work experience over the past year and valid private health insurance that is honored across all regions within Spain.
Lastly, an employment contract or appropriate housing arrangements are necessary to apply.
So if you’re looking for a change of scenery and some warm weather, then Spain could be the option for you.
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