Only a couple of years ago, the number of countries offering Digital Nomad Visas (DNVs) could be counted on the fingers of one hand. Now that governments are warming up to the idea and realizing nomads help boost their economic recovery, the once-limited list is already 45 countries long. But where to go? Where’s more affordable? Which destination has the best weather? How receptive to foreigners are locals?
Based on these concerns, we have rounded up the top destinations offering Digital Nomad Visas for 2023, what long-term travelers can expect moving to these countries, and how exactly DNVs can be obtained:
The Rise Of Digital Nomadism
Digital nomadism is, perhaps, the number one travel trend moving forward, with an entire generation keen on being outdoors and exploring new destinations while still having a stable income. Quicker than we ever expected, authorities are seeing the unexplored potential in young, self-sufficient country-hoppers.
They are occasionally described as long-term tourists, seeing that they stay for a prolonged period of time and are involved enough with the local community to be considered more than mere visitors, but are usually exempt from stricter tax regulations or other rules applying to the usual long-term resident or national.
There are various countries offering DNVs as of 2023, and the number keeps growing, but here we have narrowed down the five best based not only on their vast cultural wealth but also their straightforward visa application process and, most importantly, amazing year-round weather, with winters ranging from tropical to a Mediterranean mild.
The first one on the list is Croatia, straddling the Adriatic Coast of the Balkan Peninsula, part of the Mediterranean basin, and one of Europe’s culturally richest. Croatia has been issuing DNVs since late 2020, famously becoming the first country in Europe to formally embrace the trend and welcome young nomads.
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Having existed as a collective of city-states and minor kingdoms, under the rule of several different empires over the centuries, with the coastal area dominated by the Romans and later on the Venetians; on the other hand, the northern half was heavily influenced by the Habsburg Monarchy, Croatia is more diverse than it gets credit for.
You could be strolling cobblestone streets and having gelato in the scorching hot Dalmatia seaside, where the Roman nature of ancient ports like Zadar and Split is still evident, or marveling at the Austrian-Hungarian-inspired architecture of Zagreb and Varazdin, two cities that have historically been Central European in character. It truly has it all.
Digital Nomad Visa Requirements For Croatia:
- Earn at least U.S. $2,600 monthly
- Purchase health insurance
- Undergo a criminal record check
- Pay the temporary residence permit fee of U.S. $55 – $65
- Ensure your passport will remain valid for at least three months from the intended date of departure from Croatia
*Visas are valid for up to two years and may be extended.
Some of the best cities to base yourself in being a nomad in Croatia include:
- Zagreb, the inland capital, full of medieval landmarks and charming cafes
- Pula, a small hub on the Istrian Peninsula featuring a Roman arena and other historic buildings
- Zadar, a pearl of the Adriatic particularly favored by Alfred Hitchcock himself, who described sunsets here as the most beautiful in the world
- Split, Croatia’s second-largest city born from within the walls of a 4th-century palace
- Dubrovnik, the legendary former Republic of Ragusa, where an incredibly well-preserved medieval town and pristine beaches can be found
Traveling further south along the Dalmatian Coast, you’ll hit the tiny country of Montenegro. Although it is very similar to Croatia culturally, having been part of a federation with the latter up until the 1990s, this unheard-of gem does not get half as many visitors, and we cannot understand why.
Being part of the wider Dalmatia, Montenegro’s Bay of Kotor shares the charm of neighboring Dubrovnik, with the same narrow winding alleyways, traditional stone houses, and green window shutters. The fact that it is largely overlooked by tourists also means it normally sees fewer crowds than Croatia, though its popularity keeps growing.
Details about the Montenegrin DNV are still being finalized, but we can expect the visa to launch officially in 2023 once official requirements are set out. So far, the Government has yet to confirm important information such as the financial criteria that must be met, whether taxation applies to nomads, and who is de facto eligible.
Digital Nomad Visa Requirements For Montenegro:
- Earn all, or most of your income from foreign-based sources (to be confirmed)
- Provide proof of sufficient funds to support yourself for the duration of your stay in Montenegro
*Visas may be issued for up to two years once the visa applications open
Our favorite picks in Montenegro are:
- Kotor, a medieval walled city, guarded by a hilltop fortress where you’ll find incredible views of the adjacent Bay
- Tivat, a modern, trendy resort town located on the Bay of Kotor
- Budva, a small historic port part of the Budva Riviera, where some of the clearest beaches of the Adriatic are located
Moving over to the Global South, Colombia has been issuing DNVs since August of this year, and unlike Europe, where stricter rules must be observed, it is probably one of the easiest visas for Americans to obtain, with both a low minimum income requirement and far less bureaucracy. On top of that, who wouldn’t want to move to Colombia?
Home to a beautiful Caribbean coast with numerous Spanish colonial-era settlements, including Cartagena, and the world-class cities of Medellin and Bogota, the country has a lot to offer to those looking to linger a tad longer than the usual three months. Additionally, it is super affordable, making it an ideal destination for nomads on a budget.
The new permit allows remote workers from outside Colombia to stay in the national territory for up to two years initially, as long as their income originates from abroad and they are able to fulfill very simple criteria, as defined by the Colombian Government when they first announced the visa. Those are listed below:
Digital Nomad Visa Requirements For Colombia:
- A valid passport not set to expire during the temporary residence
- Proof of earnings of only US $684.00 per month
- Take out health insurance
- Undergo a background check
- Pay an application fee of US $22.80
When moving to Colombia on a Digital Nomad Visa, perhaps you should consider the following destinations:
- Bogota, the metropolitan capital best-known for its historic center – La Candelaria – and vibrant nightlife
- Medellin, perhaps Colombia’s number one destination, nicknamed the ‘City of the Eternal Spring’ and a recognized cultural center
- Cartagena, a popular beach retreat on the coast, surrounded by a UNESCO-listed Spanish defensive wall and packed with 16th-19th century monuments
Costa Rica has historically been the leading backpacker destination in Central America, and in recent months it’s taken center stage again in the nomad scene. Moving forward from Covid, both ‘millennials’ and ‘Gen Zs’ have expressed a strong desire to unplug and reconnect with nature, and Costa Rica has certainly been at the forefront of their minds.
Enjoying a year-round warm climate, it has an extensive tropical jungle dotted with untarnished waterfalls and other natural wonders safely tucked away from civilization that provides an escape from the hustle and bustle of the 21st century. Moreover, it boasts scenic, development-free sandy beaches lining both its Caribbean and Pacific coastlines.
Costa Rica’s DNV launched back in July with the easiest rules yet. Hoping to woo young explorers, local authorities have scrapped the usual background checks, proof of income within the next two years, and even face-to-face appointments. Applications are processed online, and visas will be issued immediately so long as the below requirements are met:
Digital Nomad Visa Requirements For Costa Rica:
- Prove you’re employed in a company based outside Costa Rica, or your status as an entrepreneur
- Make a minimum U.S. $36,000 per year
- Submit proof of health insurance comprising the whole stay in Costa Rica
Some of our Costa Rica faves are:
- San Jose, a developing metropolis that is perhaps Latin America’s safest capital
- Liberia, the gateway to the Nicoya Peninsula and an open-air museum for colonial heritage
- Las Catalinas, a laid-back coastal town on the Pacific side
- Puerto Jimenez, located in close proximity to the beautiful Corcovado National Park
You can find out more about DNVs, including which countries offer them and digital nomadism in general, on this link.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com