What is a Digital Nomad?
A digital nomad is an employed or self-employed person that travels around the world whilst working. Digital nomads have the opportunity to work from anywhere in the world (that has WiFi), often working in a country for several months before moving on to the next. Digital nomads are more global citizens than travellers – they don’t just visit a country, they have the opportunity to live there and embrace the local lifestyle.
Prior to Covid-19 closing world borders, the concept of a digital nomad was reaching fever pitch. As work becomes more flexible, many are taking up the opportunity to take their digitally-based work abroad.
What are the best countries for remote workers?
1. Antigua & Barbuda
Antigua and Barbuda are islands that make up a nation located in the eastern Caribbean Sea, south-east of Puerto Rico. Lush and tropical, the islands are lined with beaches (365 to be exact) and are also home to the bustling capital city St John’s.
This location is perfect if: You want to work from the beach and clock off with a rum cocktail.
Visa Options: The nation has recently announced a new visa called the Nomad Digital Residence (NDR), designed for remote workers or sole traders who can prove they are supporting themselves on a salary of at least £30k per year. The visa lasts for two years, and applicants are required to have their own health insurance. Learn more.
Cost of Living: ££ Whilst Antigua and Barbuda wouldn’t be the most expensive location on this list, there is a fair amount of luxury tourism operating on the islands. You could easily spend a lot of money here, but more reasonable options are available, especially on Barbuda.
Also in the eastern Caribbean, Barbados is an island nation also known for its tropical beaches, many of which are famous for surfing. The Crop Over carnival is also a major drawcard for visitors to the island, with vibrant festivities taking place in June and July.
This location is perfect for: Digital nomads that enjoy surfing, eating delicious fish and enjoying a laidback lifestyle.
Visa Options: Barbados is currently offering a ‘Barbados Welcome Stamp’ – a visa designed for remote workers which lasts a year. Similarly to Antigua, you must be working remotely for a business outside of Barbados or be a sole trader and earning an annual salary of at least £30k. Learn more.
Cost of Living: ££ Although the rent is generally cheaper in Barbados, the cost of living is relatively high. Most household goods are expensive by global standards, but cheap eats are available from local markets.
3. Cayman Islands
Back to the Caribbean. The Cayman Islands – Grand Cayman, Cayman Brac and Little Cayman – are famous for their beautiful beaches, at many of which you can spot large schools of stingrays. The islands are also known as the Caribbean culinary capital.
This location is perfect for: Exploring caves and beaches, swimming and eating.
Visa Options: Remote workers can live and work on the Cayman Islands for two years with the Global Citizen Concierge Program. Sole traders are not covered under this visa, you must be employed by a company outside of the Cayman Islands and be earning an annual salary of over £50k to apply. Learn more.
Cost of Living: ££ You can expect to pay a little more on the Cayman Islands than elsewhere in the Caribbean due to the luxurious options scattered over the islands.
4. Costa Rica
The Central American country of Costa Rica is rich with rainforests, volcanoes and beaches. Over 30% of the country is dedicated to National Parks, in many of which you can have fun with zip lining, canyoning and rafting. The capital city of San José is full of beautiful architecture, delicious food and the national drink, coffee (Costa Ricans drink six cups a day on average!).
This location is perfect for: Drinking coffee in the sun as you answer emails.
Visa Options: The Rentista visa is open to foreign entrepreneurs and self-employed people, international employees are not eligible. Applicants must prove they have earned over £1.3k a month for two years or deposit £34,000 into a Costa Rican bank account. Learn more.
Cost of Living: £ Outside of tourist hot spots, Costa Rica is a very affordable place to be. Housing, healthcare, entertainment and transport are all at lower costs than the US or European countries. Groceries and eating out can be extremely cheap, especially if you shop at a local Feria (village farmers market).
After its announcement in August 2020, Croatia’s digital nomad visa has now launched in an effort to get visitors flowing into the country as the Covid-19 crisis subsides.
This location is perfect for: Having amazing Game of Thrones nerd moments in Kings Landing (Dubrovnik) and swimming in crystal clear waters.
Visa Options: The digital nomad visa permits workers from outside the EU working in ‘communication technology’ – either remotely employed or self-employed – to work in Croatia for one year. They are not allowed to provide services to Croatian businesses and are not subject to income tax.
Cost of Living: £ Croatia can see a modest income go a long way. Across the board, from rent to healthcare and nights out, your kuna (Croatian currency) will buy you a lot. Rent is, on average, 66% cheaper in Dubrovnik than London.
6. Czech Republic
Live like a queen in the Czech Republic… it has the highest density of castles than any country in the world! As well as having beautiful cities like Prague that are dotted with world heritage sites, the Czech Republic is famous for its beer and brewery culture. Need we say more!
This location is perfect for: Working from a castle window or starting a beer brewing side hustle.
Visa Options: The Zivno is another special visa that is only available to business owners and sole traders – and you must have a particular trade license for one of 80 chosen trades. To apply, you’ll need proof of accommodation for a year and pay about £45 a month in local taxes. Learn more.
Cost of Living: £ As well as having the cheapest beer in Europe, Prague is one of the most affordable European cities to live in. We’ll say Na zdraví to that!
7. Dubai (UAE)
Dubai is one of the most unique cities in the world, with innovative architecture, historic sights, extensive shopping and exciting attractions. Wake up to the most impressive skyline in the world and spend your weekends exploring this modern art and design capital.
This location is perfect for: Catching up with other nomads over an incredible view, over 90% of the population comes from outside the country.
Visa Options: Dubai’s One Year Virtual Working Program allows workers to work and live in the country for a year. To apply, you must prove that you have worked for an employer for at least one year, or that you own your own company. You’ll also need to earn at least £3k per month. Learn more.
Cost of Living: £££ In 2019 Dubai was ranked the 58th most expensive city in the world to live in. Whilst it may be 28% cheaper to live in than New York, the city is generally synonymous with luxury.
The country that Lonely Planet describes as ‘absurdly photogenic’, Estonia not only has beautiful cities but also three major national parks. In winter, cities and parks are transformed into something out of a fairy tale, with snowy shores and frozen lakes, plus ski trails for sports lovers.
This location is perfect for: Working on your photography hobby when you’re out-of-hours.
Visa Options: The Digital Nomad and Freelancer Visa is valid for one year. The applicant must prove that they have earned at least €3504 per month for the last six months. Learn more.
Cost of Living: ££ The general consensus is that living in Estonia is cheaper than living in other European countries. While prices may be high in the old town, generally accommodation, transport and food costs are affordable.
Georgia is a country located at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe. The country has unique mountain landscapes (perfect for skiing) and Black Sea beaches, plus vibrant cities and excellent local wine.
This location is perfect for: Working in cafes on the corner of charming cobblestone streets.
Visa Options: The Remotely from Georgia special visa is available to people who own a business or are remote workers for a company outside of Georgia. You must prove financial ability to pay taxes whilst in Georgia and earn at least £1.2k a month. Learn more.
Cost of Living: £ It’s easy to make ends meet in Georgia. Generally in line with other Eastern European countries, food is very affordable, especially if you’re eating outside the main city centres and buying local produce.
Ever wanted to live a creative lifestyle in Berlin? Maybe you’d prefer to explore the ancient city of Hamburg? Whether you’re seeking medieval towns or holding out for Oktoberfest, Germany is a fascinating place to live and work.
This location is perfect for: Alternative co-working spaces, nestled amongst incredible street art.
Visa Options: The Aufenthaltserlaubnis für selbständige Tätigkeit is a residency permit for self-employed and freelance workers that can last between six months and three years. To apply, you’ll need a German address, health insurance, to provide proof of financial self-sustainability and to show that you have German clients. Learn more.
Cost of living: ££ Germany is one of Europe’s most liveable countries, and the cost of living reflects that. While rental prices vary from city to city, living expenses are generally low.
Explore the Parthenon on your lunch break, complete tasks from the pebble beaches of Mykonos, or check your emails while riding a donkey through Santorini (impractical, but fun!). Greece is the latest European country to set up a visa for digital nomads.
This location is perfect for: Dazzling islands, incredible seafood and fascinating history. 5G is also available in most cities so you can access great WiFi with no worries.
Visa Options: The Digital Migrant Visa is the next in a line of investment visas that permit long-term stays. The scheme is open to both employed and self-employed workers as long as they have not previously been a tax resident of Greece, or replace an existing job in the country. The Greek government are also offering a 50% tax break for the first 7 years of your digital nomad status.
Cost of Living: ££ The cost of rent is around half the price in Athens than it is in London. Along with this huge saving, amenities across the board are reasonable in most Greek locations. You may find yourself paying slightly more if you want to set up shop on the popular islands.
Yes, Mexico has beautiful beaches to explore and ancient ruins. It has beautiful vibrant cities full of amazing art and architecture. It also has a rich and fascinating culture. And all of this is underpinned by the unbelievable cuisine. From classic tortas and tacos, to incredible seafood and Mayan delicacies – amazing food is a big part of Mexican living.
This location is perfect for: Working from a beautiful beach and clocking off early for a mezcal.
Visa Options: Mexico offers a temporary resident visa that lasts for one year and can be renewed for three years. The visa is open to remote workers and the self-employed, who need to show that they earn at least £910 per month or have a bank balance of at least £15k to apply. Learn more.
Cost of Living: £ Mexico is a very affordable country to live and work in. The cost of rent and utilities is very low, and you can eat extremely well on a dime.
A pastel de nata (local custard tart) and a €1 espresso could make anyone fall in love with Portugal easily. The country has a lively coast complete with stunning beaches (and beach bars), and incredible cities full of art and history. Portuguese wine is definitely another amazing drawcard, and an incredible bottle will only set you back about €6.
The location is perfect for: Working from your choice of lively cafe, while consuming alllllll the tarts.
Visa Options: Portugal’s visa option is open to both entrepreneurs and remote workers. You’ll need to provide proof of income from property, proof of business ownership or proof of employment and financial means. You’ll also need private health insurance and to be earning at least €600 a month. Learn more.
Cost of living: £ We know Portugal is a very cheap place for the coffee lover (with the lowest priced coffee in Europe), and other living expenses also come in at relatively affordable prices. It’s one of the cheapest places to live in Western Europe.