Are you a remote worker looking to move somewhere new with affordable housing, great internet, and visa options that make it easy to stay long-term? Then you should consider getting a Digital Nomad visa and moving to Europe.
Many digital nomads flock to Asia for its low cost of living, high quality of life, and fast internet. However, many countries in this region can be restrictive for non-residents trying to settle there long-term.
On the other hand, many people overlook Europe as an excellent option for digital nomads because of its sometimes high cost of living. However, these drawbacks are exactly what makes it an ideal location for someone who wants to live as a digital nomad.
Let’s consider why moving to Europe is a good idea for any Digital Nomad.
What is a digital nomad visa?
A digital nomad visa is a special type of visa that’s available to certain people. If you are a digital nomad, you can obtain a residence permit and relocate to a foreign country that allows you to work remotely. This means that you can live in one country while working remotely for clients located in another country.
For example, let’s say you are a graphic designer who works for an advertising agency in New York City. You can apply for a digital nomad visa allowing you to live in Thailand, Portugal, or Greece, for example, and work for clients in New York City or anywhere else in the world. This is also known as “portable income” since it allows you to take your source of income wherever you go.
What types of visas are there?
So you’ve decided to move abroad, but where do you want to go? One of the main factors that will determine your destination is which countries offer digital nomad visas.
Three types of visa allow you to work remotely: residence, work, and investor’s visas. We’ll only focus on the first two in this article because they are the most popular ones for digital nomads.
Residence Visa – A residence visa is a long-term visa that allows you to live in a specific country for an extended time. Residence visas generally last from one year to five years and will enable you to freely travel in and out of the country while they are valid.
When applying for a residence visa, there are usually some requirements such as having an address, bank account, health insurance, and/or proof of income. Some countries also have age restrictions, such as being over 18 or 21 years old, depending on the country.
Work Visa – A work visa is similar to a residence visa, except it’s usually a shorter term (from one month up to one year). You can apply for a work visa if you have been offered a job by an employer located in another country. In some cases, it may be possible to apply for both a residence and work visa at once, depending on your situation (for example, if you were offered both an internship and a full-time job).
However, not all residence permits come with a work permit, but all work visas include a residence permit. This visa is linked to your employer and can be renewed with little fuss.
Who qualifies for a Digital Nomad visa in Europe?
Digital nomad visas are intended for long-term travelers looking to move to another country and start a new life there. If you’re planning on living in another country for less than 180 days, you probably don’t qualify. The visa is also intended for people who have a means of supporting themselves financially while they are away from their home country.
The 90-Day Visa
The most common visa for digital nomads is the 90-day tourist visa. If you are traveling to a country and plan to stay for less than 90 days, you can apply for this visa waiver instead of a specific visa for digital nomads. This visa is an excellent option if you simply want to travel to a new country and explore it. Many travelers use this visa to visit several different countries in a short time. While you can get a tourist visa when arriving in the country, some places apply you to apply at your local Embassy or Consulate.
In case you need a visa to enter the country as a tourist, it is up to the Embassy to grant it to you. Sometimes, as a digital nomad, you may encounter some issues when applying for a visa as they usually want to know what you plan to do while in their country. You should be fine if you have a solid reason for visiting their country.
The Entrepreneur Visa
The entrepreneur visa is designed to bring in people who want to start a business in the host country. An entrepreneur visa is an excellent option if you want to move to a European country and create your own company.
The basic requirements are that you have some sort of viable business plan, that you have a certain amount of money in the bank, and that you’re able to prove you have enough money to support yourself during your stay in the country. This visa is primarily for people who want to move to Europe, but it’s also possible to get one in other countries.
The Working visa
The easiest way to qualify for a working visa is to find an employer willing to sponsor you. Depending on the country, you may also need to prove that you have special skills that aren’t currently present in the country. If you want to move to a European country and work there, finding a company willing to sponsor you is best. Finding freelance work in Europe is also possible, but you will generally be required to prove that you have a certain amount of funds available to you. Depending on the country, you may also need to prove that you have a certain amount of experience in your chosen field.
What do I need to qualify for a Digital Nomad Visa?
To qualify for a digital nomad visa, you must prove that you can support yourself financially while you are away from your home country. If you are just starting as a freelancer, getting one of these visas will be more complex since the immigration officers want to see that your business has potential. You may also need to provide proof that the company that will hire you is real and has an actual office space where employees can go every day.
Europe has a wide range of housing options, making it easy to find a place that fits within your budget. You can live in a cheap apartment in the city, an adorable cottage in the countryside, or even rent out a room from a local.
For example, you can get an apartment for as little as $400 per month in parts of Portugal and Spain. On the other hand, a room in an apartment costs about $500 per month in Lisbon and Barcelona, which is a fraction of New York City.
And if you want to live it up with some luxury, you can rent an apartment for about $1,500 per month in Barcelona. If you’re moving to Europe from Asia, where the cost of living can be high, finding affordable housing will be music to your ears.
If you’re not looking to settle down permanently, renting is always an option. However, if you’re moving somewhere new and want to stay there long-term, there are many affordable places where it won’t break the bank to buy a house or an apartment. For example, a decent apartment costs around $200,000 in parts of Spain and Greece.
And if all else fails and you need some temporary accommodation while looking for something more permanent, then AirBNB is always an option! For example, you could rent out someone’s couch or entire home while staying there yourself!
Internet Speeds in Europe
If you choose to live and work as a digital nomad in Europe, you will be able to get fast internet throughout most of the continent. Many countries have fiber optic connections that allow super fast internet with download speeds reaching up to 100mbps! This is great for businesses because this means that your employees and clients will be able to connect easily and quickly over the internet.
But what about cell phone plans? Unfortunately, many digital nomads are surprised by how expensive cell phone plans can be when they move abroad. Of course, you don’t have to pay as much if you use your mobile phone less frequently (for example, by using Skype or Google Hangouts instead), but if you regularly make calls or use data, it may cost quite a bit more than what you had before.
What about taxes as a Digital Nomad?
You must pay taxes if you are using a digital nomad visa in Europe.
Taxes can be a big challenge for digital nomads, especially if you’re working remotely. If you’re self-employed and earning income while traveling, there’s a good chance that you’ll have to pay self-employment taxes if you’re American or declare that you are not in the country. There are also hurdles as an American with issues like double taxation.
As an employee, you don’t have to worry about these taxes.
There are also some special considerations for digital nomads who choose to live in countries where the local tax system is different from the US. For example, many digital nomads choose to live in places like Asia or the Middle East, where they are exempt from local income tax.
But this doesn’t mean they will also be exempt from other types of taxes. These digital nomads must still file their own returns in order to report all of their earnings and figure out how much they owe in taxes.
There are different rules for each country that you may want to consider before setting up your business. For example, some countries charge a flat rate of 25%, while others may have different rates based on your income or office space. Learn more about how taxes work here.
So, you have decided to move abroad as a digital nomad. Great choice! Now you must decide where to settle down. While there are many great places in Europe, some countries are better than others for people who want to live an online lifestyle. Here is a ranking of the best countries to live as a digital nomad.
The 5 Best Countries for Digital Nomad visas and moving to Europe
- Portugal – Lisbon
- Greece – Athens
- Spain – Barcelona
- Hungary – Budapest
- Poland – Krakow
There are many advantages to living in Europe as a digital nomad, but it’s important to consider each country’s cost of living and visa requirements before moving there.
If you’re thinking about moving to Europe as a digital nomad, it’s important that you monitor the cost of living in each country you’ll be moving to. As with any relocation, it’s important to do your research and make sure you can find an affordable housing option in the area where you’re moving to.
If you live in an expensive city like London, Paris, or Berlin, the cost of living will be high. On the other hand, if you move to a less expensive city like Prague, Madrid, or Athens, the cost of living will be much lower.
Speak with the team at Lexidy today to learn more about Digital Nomad visas and moving to Europe.