In spite of opening many doors, Digital Nomad Visas (DNVs) are often criticized for being too difficult to obtain, or too expensive, immediately discouraging, or even blocking millions from applying. Fortunately, there are 3 DNVs you may be eligible for when making less than $2000 a month.
These visas are becoming more popular as taboos surrounding remote work are broken, and more countries ease their strict immigration rules. While this is great news, high financial requirements imposed by authorities have proven a major obstacle for middle-income nomads, including long-term travelers aspiring to relocate abroad temporarily.
There are, of course, some exceptions to this rule. Who needs an overpriced, overly bureaucratic Western Europe anyway?
Financial Requirement: USD $1677.88 per month
Length of Stay: 2 years
One of the lesser-known countries in Europe, and perhaps one of the most underrated, Latvia launched its DNV last year to limited media coverage. Spain, Italy, and Greece received thousands of applicants upon releasing their own; in contrast, this Baltic state's announcement went by almost unnoticed, even though it has a lot going for it.
Once a USSR Republic, Latvia has a long record of socialism and a much older History as a valuable port on the shores of the Baltic Sea. Wandering Riga, visitors will be mesmerized by the stylish Art Nouveau architecture interspersed with Brutalist, Soviet-era apartment blocks, tall church spires, rows upon rows of guild houses, and medieval landmarks.
Outside the capital, other destinations worth exploring are Jurmala, an up-and-coming resort town home to an extensive sandy crescent, and Daugavpils, which carries the name of a nearby Bastion fort built in the 19th century. Incredible History aside, trust us when we say you won't find a DNV as cheap as this in Europe.
In order to be eligible, Americans must observe some simple criteria: not hold EU/EEA/Swiss simultaneously, as in this case, they already enjoy the freedom of movement; work for a company registered in an OECD country, such as the U.S., Canada or Mexico; and lastly, earn at least 2.5 times more than the minimum wage in Latvia.
In case you are wondering, Latvians earn, on average, €620 per month. This means an American would need only USD $1677.88 to satisfy immigration requirements. Needless to say, with a financial threshold as low as this, the cost of living is much less burdensome compared to the States: consumer prices in Riga, including rent, are 64.8% less expensive than in U.S. cities.
Pros Of Living In Latvia As A Digital Nomad:
- Their DNV is cheaper to apply for than others in the European Union
- Holding a Latvian residency card, you have year-round access not only to Latvia, but 27 countries participating in the border-free Schengen Area
- Latvia is in the top 20 of Europe's Digital Economy and Society Index, making it a well-developed hub for remote workers
- It is one of the safest nations in Eastern Europe
Cons Of Living In Latvia As A Digital Nomad:
- If you're LGBTQ, you will find Latvia is not as open as other Western EU countries and face legal challenges heterosexual individuals do not face when entering a civil union or getting married
- Temperatures can drop to an uncomfortable 21.2 degrees Fahrenheit or even colder over winter
Continent: South America
Financial Requirement: USD $684 per month
Length of Stay: 2 years
Colombia has made great strides in modernizing its migration policy lately, having launched South America's easiest-to-apply-for DNV yet: all digital nomads with a clean criminal record earning USD $684 or higher, working either as entrepreneurs or employees in a company based outside Colombia, qualify for this visa route. That's it, basically.
As a slow travel destination, Colombia has a vast tourist offer beyond the famous Bogota-Medellin-Cartagena triad that is commonly ignored by globetrotters. From dense tropical jungles to cobblestone colonial towns and quaint Caribbean islands yet to be tarnished by overdevelopment, it hosts a plethora of bucket list items.
The only major downside to living in Colombia in the present day? Crime in certain areas is rampant, and foreigners who do not easily blend in have become easy targets (mostly in suburban areas of big cities like Medellin). When traveling or relocating to Colombia, Americans must:
- Avoid walking poorly-lit streets at night
- Exercise caution when meeting strangers off of dating apps (see why)
- Keep a low profile in crowded areas.
Pros Of Living In Colombia As A Digital Nomad:
- The cost of living is 66.7% lower than in the United States, and due to the low financial threshold, the vast majority of nomads can apply for a DNV
- You will be able to practice and perfect your Spanish-speaking skills – maybe you'll even catch on to the Paisa lingo living in Medellin long enough?
- Visa extensions are not hard to get, whether you've entered as a tourist or a DNV holder
- Its biodiversity is unparalleled: one week, you could be riding a boat traversing the Amazon en route to the remotest city in Colombia; the other, you could be relaxing on a Caribbean beach indulging in refreshing açai bowls for half the price you'd get in Tulum
Con Of Living In Colombia As A Digital Nomad:
Yep, just the one relevant flaw…
- Safety levels are sub-optimal, to say the least, especially when far lower crime rates in neighboring countries are taken into account
1. Cape Verde
Financial Requirement: USD $1622.53 per month
Length of Stay: 1 year
An insular nation off the coast of Western Africa, Cape Verde is the perfect destination for lovers of sun, sand, and culture. Landing in Sal, Maio or Boa Vista, you will be welcomed with breathtaking views of pristine white-sand beaches lined with colorful villages and luxurious resorts, all bordering a teal-colored ocean.
If it's culture you're after, the island of Santiago is where the nation's capital and largest urban center – Praia – is located, along with remnants of the Portuguese colonial era, including heritage buildings and historic forts protected by UNESCO. Other islands like Santo Antao and Sao Nicolau boast rugged coasts, wild jungles, and majestic mountain peaks.
As you might have noticed, Cape Verde has something for every taste, and its laid-back nature, coupled with the friendliness of locals and a relaxed visa regime is one of the main reasons why sun-seekers are flocking to the archipelago. Digital Nomads enrolling in the ‘Remote Working Program‘ are allowed to remain for up to a whole year*
As long as they are able to prove monthly funds of at least €1500 euros, or USD $1622.53, on the last six months preceding application, they're good to go. Other requirements include proof of accommodation – AirBnBs, lease agreements, hotel bookings – for the entirety of the stay, health insurance, and a criminal record certificate issued by their birth country:
*Subject to renewal once an initial six-month period has elapsed
Pros Of Living In Cape Verde As A Digital Nomad:
- Great weather irrespective of the season, with the yearly average ranging from 78.8°F to 86°F
- Prices are lower than in the Caribbean, the Southeastern U.S., and other competing sunny spots
- Despite its tropical climate, it is perceived as a seasonal destination, meaning you can have the beaches all to yourself when all the summer crowds are gone
Cons Of Living In Cape Verde As A Digital Nomad:
- Access to healthcare and other public services is limited in some of the smaller islands
- The largest urban center is a medium-sized to small city at best, so unless you're looking for idle days by the seaside and some peace and quiet as you work, you're best advised to seek a Nomad visa elsewhere
These other countries allow you to stay longer than the usual 3 months as a tourist, even though they have not implemented Digital Nomad Visas, such as Georgia and Albania, where American nomads can relocate for a whole year requirement-free, and the United Kingdom, which grants foreign nationals a 6-month entry stamp.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com
Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.