Portugal recently released the conditions for obtaining its “digital nomad visa,” which allows remote workers earning four times the national minimum wage, or $2,750 per month, to settle there and enjoy its environment.
According to businessinsider.com (Insider), starting Oct. 30, remote workers can apply for a one-year temporary residency visa or a renewable residency permit for up to five years.
The application for a digital nomad visa can be submitted at the Portuguese embassy in the applicant’s country of origin or at the Portuguese immigration agency Serviço de Estrangeiros e Fronteiras, as evidenced by the last three months’ proof of income. In addition to tax residency documents and employment contract (or proof of self-employment).
One of the main arguments of the program is that recipients can travel visa-free throughout the Schengen area of the EU’s 26 member states, where travelers can move freely without worrying about checks at borders.
+ Digital Nomad visas are not “a cause for concern”.
Portugal has already seen a large influx of foreign residents since the Covid-19 pandemic, many of whom have used the D7 visa or “passive income visa” to settle in the country, Insider points out.
One of the most affordable programs of its kind, the D7 visa requires applicants to earn only €7,200 per year. But unlike the Digital Nomad Visa, income must be the result of passive investment flows such as real estate or business equity.
Portugal’s popularity among remote workers is down to a number of factors, including the low cost of living, mild climate, large number of co-working spaces, connections to major European cities and the country’s fluency in English. Joana Mendonza, legal director of Global Citizen Solutions, an investment migration firm with a strong presence in the Portuguese market, told Insider.
Ezzedeen Soleiman, managing partner of Latitude Residency & Citizenship, told Insider that Portugal is one of the most sought-after “golden visa” programs for wealthy American investors, and that “Portugal is the next California.”
Several European countries, including Spain and Italy, are rolling out similar digital nomad visa programs with income requirements of €2,500 to €3,000 per month, Mendonza told Insider.
Hungary’s digital nomad visa, officially known as the “White Card,” allows for a slightly lower monthly income limit of €2,000 and visa-free travel within the Schengen area.
At the higher end of the spectrum, applicants for the Malta remote work visa must have a minimum monthly income of €2,700. However, participants are completely exempt from any local income tax, making it one of the most tax-efficient digital nomad visas.
The “Self-Employment Residence Permit” in the Netherlands is one of the most difficult to obtain EU visas, as it is only open to self-employed persons who are deemed to be of “vital interest to the Dutch economy”. Earn a minimum gross profit of €2,634.30 per month.
While proponents of digital nomad visas say the programs will boost local economies, some fear the influx of far-flung foreign workers could push up housing prices in areas already struggling with inflation.
However, Mendonca doesn’t think digital nomad visas are “a cause for concern” because “digital nomads don’t necessarily need to work in big cities,” as evidenced by the popular “nomad village digital” from Madeira, Portugal.
“People who work remotely don’t need to look for major urban centers that are too complicated in terms of rental prices because most of them want to explore other parts of the country,” he said.
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