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The Ultimate List of Freelance Visas for Remote Workers

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Kat Smith
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Visas are the arch-nemesis to long-term expat life. I honestly think it’s the reason “digital nomads” exist to begin with. In that lifestyle, you stay as long as you can before you have to deal with a sustainable visa, living either visa-free or on easy to obtain tourist visas and hop to the next country when your time is up. 

Personally, that lifestyle exhausts me. But if that pace excites you, use these 6 steps to work and travel successfully.

My husband and I have given it a few chances usually between my contracts in various countries but after a few months, we’re always ready for a bit more stability. I also prefer hanging out in a place longer than just a few weeks or months to really get a feel for the local culture and way of life. When you put down roots and stay put for a year, you notice much more than you do in the tourist whirlwind. You get to know your neighbors, find hidden spots, and have the time to really get into a groove before moving again. 

Before I started A Way Abroad, I sought in-person jobs that granted me a year-visa while my husband worked from home. Now that we both work remotely, when we decide to move away from Vietnam, we’ll definitely go the freelance visa route. In all honesty, he’s always worked under the table.

Working remotely currently falls into a grey zone in a majority of countries. Most haven’t yet acknowledged it as an option and so long as you’re not working with local clients or working in-person illegally, immigration isn’t usually too bothered. They don’t know where to draw the line because the line doesn’t exist...yet.

In the past few years, with an explosion this year, freelance visas are becoming much more the norm. These visas are also referred to as self-employed visas, digital nomad visas, visas of independent means and remote work visas, to name a few. The names vary and aren’t all that important, except for you to know they all mean the exact same thing. You work online for yourself or a company that is not based in the country offering the visa and you can prove that you make enough money to support yourself. 

Still looking for a remote job to support yourself? Find some new ideas and the resources to get started here.

Europe was the first continent to attract remote workers with their various visas and now countries in Central America and the Caribbean have caught on. Asia has been slow to the game, with the exception of the UAE, but I did read an article a few months back that Indonesia is looking to monetize on all the digital nomads flocking to Bali. I’ve yet to learn of any remote worker visas being offered in Africa, South America or Oceania but I do imagine that changing in the next few years. 

Before I dive into my list of 15 countries currently offering freelance visas, I want to make a big note. It’s best you think of visas as fluid, not fixed. What I mean by that, is the requirements are always changing and I’d bet that’s especially true for the newest visas on the list since most of them are only a few months old.

The amount you need to make annually or monthly will probably fluctuate with the local economy so it’s best to use them as a general guideline and not a fixed rule. Anytime you’re dealing with legalities, it’s best to reach out to the local embassy or consulate and/or an immigration lawyer from that country to receive the most up to date information.

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With that, here are 15 freelance visas from around the world you can apply to today.

1. Germany Freelance “Freiberufler” Visa

A nighttime view of Berlin's skyline on a clear night with the building illuminated
Berlin could be your next home abroad


Germany was one of the pioneers in the freelance visa world. While they may be the most established, this visa comes with some of the strictest requirements to obtain.

From my research, it seems they offer two different types of freelance visas based on your industry. For artists, you must plan to reside in Berlin but for other “liberal” professions, you can choose to live anywhere in the country. While they have some examples of these types of professions, the ultimate decision can come down to your immigration officer. 

A lot of the visas on this list ask that you first apply from an embassy or consulate in your home country and then finish up the process once you land in-country but most seem to have exceptions in letting you do the entire process in-country as well.

Requirements for the German Freelance Visa:

  • Completed visa form
  • Passport with additional pictures
  • CV and Cover Letter
  • Visa Fee (€60)
  • Health Insurance (most likely from a German provider)
  • Letters of Recommendation
  • Professional Authorization (proof of expertise)
  • Certifications of Education
  • Proof you can financially support yourself
  • Evidence of a freelance plan
  • Letters of commitment from future clients (proving your income will continue)
  • Proof of local accomodation with a signed lease, called an "Anmeldung"

Once you arrive in Germany, you would finish the process by registering your address, opening a bank account, registering yourself at a tax office, getting proper health insurance and applying for a freelance residence permit (the visa is only valid for 3 months while you do this). 

Unlike other visas, I had some difficulty finding out how much money was enough for “proof of financial support” and also which countries this visa is applicable for but the German Office for Migration and Refugees has a hotline which can answer any specific questions and give you the most up to date information. 

You can also find more information directly on the government website.

2. Czech Republic “Živnostenský” Trade License Freelance Visa

a view of the red and green rooftops in central Prague on a clear afternoon
Fall in love with historic Prague

This visa, commonly referred to as Živno, is most commonly rewarded to English teachers since it can be difficult to find a school to sponsor your visa in the Czech Republic. If you’re Canadian though and plan to use this visa to teach, I highly recommend you instead consider the youth mobility visa

While common for English teachers, the visa is intended for freelancers in all industries. 

Requirements for Czech Republic's Freelance Visa: 

  • Passport with additional pictures
  • Background Check
  • Proof of funds (124,000Kč or $5700)
  • Proof of accommodation (signed by your landlord once you're in CR)
  • Proof of health insurance
  • Ability to pay taxes once you’ve been approved

The initial steps are to be completed at an embassy in your home country but some nationalities are allowed to complete this at any Czech Embassy. 

The visa is awarded for 8 months but it can be easily extended so long as you make 20,000Kč or $920 monthly. 

To be completely transparent, I had difficulty finding information on the official Czech Republic website about this visa in particular. It seemed all long-term visas were lumped together. I would recommend contracting the local Czech embassy or consulate nearest you for the most up-to-date information.

3. Portugal Freelance or Self-Employed Visa

A street view of Lisbon's iconic tram going through a cobblestone street in the aftenoon
It's easy to see why Portugal is becoming a digital nomad hot spot


My husband and I have actually been eyeing this visa for a few months now. We went ahead and had a call with a Portuguese immigration lawyer since we had trouble finding consistent information online. The requirements listed below were provided by the lawyer.

The lawyer did emphasize that given COVID, the requirements and processing time for this visa are constantly shifting so it’s best you seek information when you plan to actually apply. The most reliable source of information is the Portuguese embassy in your home country or country of residency.

Although recommended to apply for the visa from your home country (or wherever you have residency), COVID has made these rules more lax. If you’re living abroad on tourists visas or without residency, I’d still contact the nearest embassy to see if they can help you or not. 

Also, a lot of the paperwork, like applying for a tax number can now be done online, saving you a lot of time and hassle once you arrive.

While doing some research before our meeting, I saw a few people, like this Serbian couple, getting this visa once they arrived in Portugal, instead of doing it at an embassy before your flight. We asked the lawyer about this and he did admit that it was a common practice but not the "correct" route to go.

Requirements for Portugal's Self-Employment Visa

  • A remote job or service that can be offered to Portuguese clients. 
  • Proof of a minimum monthly income of €800 (can usually just show the past 3 months)
  • Proof €7000-8000 in your bank account. 
  • Background check
  • Tax number in Portugal (done after you’ve been awarded the initial visa)

For now this visa has been extended for 2 years, instead of only 1 year. After 2 years you can easily extend it up to 5 years. After 5 years, you have the option to apply for Portuguese citizenship. 

4. UAE Virtual Working Programme Visa

A pink sunset overlooking the center of Dubai with giant skyscrapers and the huge highway system apparent
Have neighbors from all over the world in UAE's multicultural mega city

Yet another country to offer a visa for remote workers, UAE has joined the list as the first country in the Middle East to do so.

I'm not sure if it was on purpose or not but all of the sources talking about this visa, only said "live and work in Dubai" instead of referring to the UAE in general. Even the website to apply is called, "Visit Dubai."

Since the visa is so new, I can't be certain if you're only given the right to live in Dubai or anywhere in the UAE.

Requirements for Dubai's Remote Work Visa:

  • Passport
  • Health insurance
  • Proof of employment or self-employment
  • Proof of financial stability ($5000/month salary, with 3 months bank slips to confirm)
  • Visa fee of $287

Don't meet the requirements but still want to move to the UAE? Learn how you can teach English abroad in Dubai.

They also state on their website that it is available to all nationalities but they have the right to deny any applicant to "protect national security." 

To be able to apply you must submit a short request which states they will email you the following steps to continue on with your application.

5. Mexico Temporary Residence Visa

An overhead view of Guanajuato, Mexico on a clear day
Embrace Mexico's colors, culture, and charm


While this isn’t only for remote workers, it is a great option for those of working freelance. Mexico already offers 180 day tourist visas, with border runs for easy renewal for many nationalities, but this visa is perfect if you prefer to do things legally.

As all of us living on tourist visas know, our legal rights in a country can change at any given point and since we’re technically “tourists” we can be kicked out at a moment’s notice. This visa is for those of you that would rather not risk it and have some legal rights to stay in Mexico.

It’s important to note that unlike many of the European visas, the bureaucracy throughout Latin America is typically slow and might require you to jump through a few extra hurdles. If that sounds like it’s not worth it, you might want to rethink your decision and pick a rule-following country like Germany or Norway instead. 

Requirements for Mexico's Temporary Residence Visa:

  • Passport with additional photos
  • Completed visa application
  • Can work remotely but not have any Mexican clients
  • Proof of income and savings (This seems to have recently changed so I would double check with your Embassy. The most up to date information I could find was that you needed to prove a monthly income of $2000 and a savings of $25,000. Before you could show either but didn’t need both).
  • Proof of skills
  • Proof of clients (to show your income will be stable)

You’ll start the process by creating an online account and then schedule an appointment with a Mexican embassy in your home country. Once you’ve completed the steps there, you’ll be awarded a visa but must finish the process to receive residency once landing in Mexico.

The fee for 1 year of residency is 4000 pesos or $200.

6. Costa Rica "Rentista" Visa

A lush view of Costa Rica's rainforest with one tall waterfall in center frame and clouds rolling in the green hills in the background
Most likely you won't be working from here exactly but it could easily be your weekend view



Costa Rica has long been a favorite retiree spot for Americans hoping to stretch their dollar. Now, they’re offering a relatively easy way for younger foreigners, not just Americans, to call Costa Rica home. 

This visa is technically for freelancers but instead meant more for people who have passive forms of income. Although, it does state on a few different articles I read that you can be a business owner, so I think self-employed freelancers can get by with this definition. Keep in mind, they require you already have a hefty sum in a bank account to be able to apply for this visa.

Again, cue the Latin American bureaucracy and prepare yourself for the slower pace of life that I personally miss about living there but definitely isn’t for everyone. 

It’s worth noting that a lot of this process is done in Spanish so it’s best you already speak the language or can hire a lawyer to help you through.

This visa is valid for 2 years with options to renew.

Requirements for Costa Rica's Rentista Visa: 

  • Passport with additional photos
  • Regular monthly income of $2,500. Must be deposited into a Costa Rican bank account for a total of $60,000. This can be done at monthly increments or all at once.
  • You may have your own business or be self-employed, you cannot be an employee to apply.
  • Visa fee: $250usd
  • Background check

Important to note, I believe you must be able to prove you already have $60,000 that can be directly deposited into your Costa Rican account at a monthly rate of $2,500, instead of proving the potential to earn that amount on a month to month basis like the other visas.

For updated information and how to apply for this visa, I recommend contacting the nearest embassy directly, or if you understand Spanish, you can navigate the official Immigration site.

7. Barbados 12-Month Welcome Stamp

A Barbados beach will bright blue water, white sand and green palm trees with a few people scattered on the beach
Not a bad way to spend a lunch break


Barbados is one of many countries that started offering remote worker visas in 2020. They began this visa under the premise of giving you an escape from your city quarantine to instead have nature at your fingertips while working from paradise.

It seems to me that this visa is by far the easiest and fastest to obtain but comes with the biggest price tag. The current visa fee is $2000 but the entire process is done online and the processing time is only 1 week.

Requirements for Barbados Freelance Visa: 

  • Passport
  • Expected income of $50,000/year.
  • Must take COVID test

Yep, that's it. Since it's all done online, you simply need to check a box stating that you'll make $50,000 a year but they don't ask for any proof via work contract or bank statement.

I've already browsed the application form and it super quick and easy.

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8. Bermuda “Work from Bermuda” Visa

A woman's back as she stands on her rooftop patio overlooking the roofs of her neighbors homes in Bermuda
Imagine this...that could be you!



Similar to Barbados, Bermuda jumped on the freelance visa train in August 2020. The application process and processing time is very similar to that of Barbados. You can do the entire process online and should expect your visa in about 5 days.

The biggest difference is the Bermuda visa costs only $263, which is a tremendous difference from Barbados $2000 price tag. 

Now before you get too excited and start packing your bags- at this point, I yelled to my husband, “Hey, let’s move to Bermuda!”- there’s something you need to know. It’s quoted as being the most expensive country in the world to live. Now, after I read that fact, I did some digging and sure enough it tops the list at World Population Review but I found it odd that in a recent article by GQ they failed to put it even in the top 30. Take that as you will but it was enough to deter me and yell a, “Wait, nevermind” to my husband. 

Requirements for Bermuda's Remote Work Visa: 

  • +18 years old (although I'd say it's a safe bet to say that's true for all these visas)
  • Background check
  • Health insurance
  • Proof of remote work or self-employed

I was unable to find the exact amount of income required. On their website it simply states, “applicants need to be able to support themselves financially” but if you plan to move to the most expensive country in the world, I’d make sure you have a steady monthly income first. 

Their online application also looks quick and painless and you can even choose a start date from your visa up to 9 months in the future.

9. Anguilla "Work from Anguilla" Visa

Anguilla from a plane showcasing the small island and the deep blue ocean surrounding it
Working from home won't be so bad from here

Anguilla has actually fared one of the best in COVID out of every country in the world, making it a safe haven for you to go work from. Don't worry, this new visa shouldn't ruin that, as they have mandated multiple COVID tests for all new arrivals.

This visa can also be applied for online and like Barbados, costs $2000 to apply. They also clearly state they're pet friendly so you can bring your pets along on the adventure hassle-free.

Requirements for Anguilla's Remote Work Visa:

  • Complete application form
  • Background check
  • Health insurance
  • Proof of employment or self-employed
  • Copy of birth certificate
  • Passport
  • Short summary of your work

10. Cayman Islands Global Citizen Certificate

A beach resort on Cayman Islands famous seven mile beach in the afternoon sun
Cayman Islands visa is strict but if you can't get it, it looks worth it


Another amazing Caribbean island, another remote work visa. This one though is for the serious workers, not for those of you that just started working remotely or haven't quite chased the big guys yet.

What sets this visa apart is the requirement that you must make $100,000 a year to qualify. It also seems that the proof of employment is a little stricter than the others, stating the letter from your employer must have the company's letterhead on it. This makes sense to prove it's credibility, but you know they're serious when this is line one of the requirements to apply.

You can still move to the Cayman Islands and teach at an international school instead.

Requirements for Cayman Islands' Remote Work Visa:

  • Proof of employment and annual salary of $100,000
  • Proof of legal existence of company (in case you thought you could photoshop your own letterhead)
  • 6 months of bank statements and bank reference
  • Passport
  • Background Check
  • Healthy insurance

You can complete the application online, just be sure you already have the documents scanned and ready to submit.

11. Antigua and Barbuda Nomad Digital Resident (NDR) Visa

St. John, Antigua and Barbua from a high vantage point with white villas overlooking the water
It's really hard to go wrong with any of these Caribbean escapes

While we're already on a Caribbean streak, let's finish it up with Antigua and Barbuda. They're another country who has taken advantage of this year to offer a visa for remote workers, whether employed or self-employed.

It seems all of these Caribbean countries used the exact same formula for the visa, making it completely online and delivering early on their promise to ease COVID stress by moving to paradise.

Requirements for Antigua and Barbuda Remote Work Visa:

  • Passport
  • Background Check
  • Health insurance
  • Proof of employment or self-employment
  • Expected income of $50,000/year

Like Barbados, they also opted for a heftier application fee of $1500.

They also note that they do not require people to pay personal income tax to Antigua and Barbuda but instead expect you to pay taxes to the country you typically call home.

To go ahead and apply, here is the online application form.

12. Estonia Digital Nomad Visa

Tallinn looks like it's full of charm, if you like cool weather



Estonia is yet another country that added a freelance visa this year, which is unsurprising since they already offer electronic residency (e-residency) for remote workers who want to start a business in Estonia from abroad.

Estonia is actually one of the most technologically advanced countries in the world, making it even more appealing to most remote workers. 

Like most other countries, you should start the visa process at the Embassy in your home country but might need to finish up a few things once you’ve arrived. If you’re already legally in Estonia, it seems you can apply from within the country as well. 

Requirements for Estonia's Freelance Visa:

  • You are indeed a remote worker
  • Proof of active employer contract or proof you own your own business and your clients are primarily not Estonian.
  • Monthly income of €3500
  • Application fee €80-100 based on nationality

This visa is typically processed in 30 days.

Along with the Caribbean nations, Estonia had the easiest government page to understand, with clear guidelines of the requirements and how to apply. That alone makes those countries big contenders in my book!

As of now though, Estonia has strict border control so this visa is only valid for certain countries. Check here for an updated list of countries.



13. Georgia “Remotely from Georgia” Visa

A spectacular view of a small house sitting on a green slope with steep snowy mountains in the right behind it
Sorry to my home state but this Georgia is the definition of "wow"

Many people reading this might see this visa similar to Mexico’s. They already have great tourist visas, so why waste your time and money with extra steps? I’d offer the same argument that going the legal route should always be preferable to flying under the radar, especially when the legal route exists. 

It’s also really nice to have legal rights within a country, especially at a time like now when border closures are common and at any time a country could stop processing or renewing tourist visas. 

By the way, if you’re wondering, Georgia offers visa-free entry up to a year to a long list of countries. See the complete list here.

This visa is also only a few months old and much to my disbelief, the online application was even shorter than any of the others previously listed.

Requirements for Georgia's Freelance Visa: 

  • Complete the online application
  • Show proof of employment or proof that you are self-employed
  • Proof of income- $2000/month
  • Pay for a mandatory 12-day quarantine upon arrival
  • Health insurance

This visa is currently available for 95 countries.


14. Norway Self-Employed or Independent Contractor Visa

A spectacular view of a small Norwegian town sitting on the water with steep mountains in the backdrop
Norway is another country with the absolute "wow" factor



This one is a bit different than the others on the list as it requires you to have a remote business but have a contract with a Norwegian company.

Most of the other countries on this list are the exact opposite and make it clear you can’t work with businesses within the country.

This visa is granted at 2 year increments, up to 6 years.

Requirements for Norway's Freelance Visa: 

  • Education Documents (proof of schooling/training)
  • Accommodation in Norway
  • Contract with Norwegian client
  • Documentation you’re self-employed
  • Pay visa fee

To navigate the government page, follow this link and find the dropdown stated "Self-employed persons with company abroad." There you'll find more in-depth information and how to apply.

15. Spain Non-Lucrative Visa

A sunny Madrid, Spain with brightly painted building glowing in the afternoon sun
Not a bad place for a mid-day stroll

This is another one that differs from the others on this list but seems like a good deal for the right person. Here’s the catch though, this visa is meant more for someone that has passive income.

Although it’s a definite no to seek employment in Spain under this visa, working remotely yet again falls into a grey zone. 

This visa actually doubles as Spain’s retirement visa since you could use your pension as signs of passive income but there is no age limit that I could find to classify it fully as a retirement visa.

Much like the other visas on this list, you should apply for this visa at a Spanish Embassy in your home country.

Requirements for Spain's Non-Lucrative Visa:

  • Must not have a EU passport
  • Annual income of €26,000/year (or €2,100/month)
  • Medical Check
  • Passport + additional photos
  • Background Check
  • Health Insurance
  • NIE Number- this is a special number used in Spain that should be applied for at the Embassy before you apply for the visa
  • Visa fee (€80-500 based on nationality)

Rather teach in Spain than work online? The two biggest programs are BEDA and Auxilares de conversacion.

This visa is actually only valid for 3 months but once you arrive in Spain you’re meant to then apply for non-lucrative residency which is valid for 2 years, with the ability to extend. After 5 years, you can apply for permanent residency. 

Although this information is by the Spanish embassy in California, the information can be applied for your nearest embassy as well.

There you have it, a comprehensive list of 15 countries around the world that currently offer freelance visas or visas for remote workers. Now there's no excuse to continue to work from home in 2021 but from a country of your choice.

xx,
Kat

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