The reality of the COVID-19 pandemic has caused a whirlwind of changes to everyday life globally. Arguably, the most notable lifestyle change has been the rise of remote work. Whereas in the past remote work was generally frowned upon by employers, recent studies have shown benefits of this paradigm for employers and employees alike. What is more, the reality of remote work has given rise to a new kind of visa program: the Digital Nomad Visa.
Digital Nomads are defined as “those who use telecommunications technology to work remotely outside of their country of permanent residence.” That being said, countries can have various terminology for this denomination of visa holders. For instance, the Cayman Islands refer to these visas as a “Global Citizen Concierge Program” while others may even refer to them as “residence permits.” These visas are available for both working professionals and students alike, although costs and requirements may differ in each case. Later in this article, we will be discussing the different costs and requirements that each country has for the program.
The digital nomad visa is symbiotic in its nature for both the participating countries and the businesses/professionals who are granted this visa. From the employer’s perspective, they are awarded with employees who are less likely to endure burnout—a sure detriment to their bottom line. From the employee’s perspective, this is a unique opportunity to travel amidst a pandemic. Not only is there ample time to sightsee, but fewer other tourists will yield a calmer and fulfilling trip. Moreover, for participating countries that mainly relied on tourism as their main source of income, this visa comes as a blessing for their economies.
The implications of the digital nomad visa are vast, both for the employer’s and employee’s perspectives. Specifically, from the employee’s perspective, the pandemic has opened the avenue towards more flexibility at work if not a permanent remote work setting altogether. What is more, the decades long call for more flexible work schedules for childcare purposes has been a resonating theme in the past few decades—and as it seems, this call has finally been answered. Even without the pressures of childcare, the digital nomad visa has even more implications for the millennial generation. In fact, the millennial trend of high spending and value placement on experiences further glorifies the opportunity that the digital nomad visa offers its applicants.
Naturally, the digital nomad lifestyle will be better suited for some types of job positions more than others. For instance, a professional working in essential business such as hospitals or construction may not be able to take advantage of this visa program. However, for professionals who are already working fully remote, or are permanently working fully remote: this is a once in a lifetime opportunity!
With the experience economy continuously growing, some can’t help but to ask: why does the United States not have a Digital Nomad visa of its own? The benefits of having such a program for the US would be plentiful. Not only would the US tourism industry benefit deeply, but US spending would notably increase. What is more, tourism in the US accounts for 2.9% of GVA (gross value added). With the global pandemic deterring tourists from traveling frequently, a Digital Nomad visa would surely aid businesses that fall within that 2.9%.
If you are professional who is currently working remotely, looking into the Digital Nomad visa is a must for anyone seeking a memorable experience. Listed below is a chart of participating countries and their respective requirements/deadlines.
- Antigua and Barbuda
- Cayman Islands
- Costa Rica
- Czech Republic
 Employers “Countries Offering Digital Nomad Visas.” 15 Jul. 2021, https://www.investopedia.com/countries-offering-digital-nomad-visas-5190861.