The Portuguese Ministry of Foreign Affairs has recently announced that 200 applicants have been granted a Digital Nomad Visa to live and work in the country, since the launch of the visa scheme in October 2022. According to the government body, the remote workers who have been granted the visa come from the USA, United Kingdom and Brazil. Other European countries have joined Portugal in regulating the stay of remote workers including Malta, Spain Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Greece, Finland and Norway. With talks of Italy announcing a similar visa soon, a European lifestyle – temporary or permanent can now become a reality for global remote workers.
Digital Nomadism is a trend that started in the early 2000s and gained traction during the Covid-19 pandemic, which forced workers to perform their duties remotely. With remote work becoming the norm, countries were also forced to catch up and regulate their stay with the so-called Digital Nomad Visas. Patricia Casaburi Managing Director of Global Citizen Solutions, a boutique investment migration company based in UK and Portugal explains how the visa works, “It is a long-term visa that grants residency rights to foreigners who can do their work remotely and are not employed by a company or entity registered within the respective country where they’re applying. The residency period ranges, on average, between six months to two years and can be subject to extension and often, you are not required to be a registered tax resident. However, tax residency depends on every government’s regulation and sometimes on how long you maintain residence.”
Upping sticks and moving to a different country is not a decision to be taken lightly. However, now the Digital Nomad Visa has made it possible for individuals and families to plan a life in Europe for a limited period of time. Portugal, Malta, Greece and Spain are attractive for remote workers due to the abundance of work hubs, warm weather, low cost of living and connections to major EU capitals. “With the Digital Nomad Visa also being a pathway for permanent residency, it can be an opportunity to test a lifestyle many did not have the chance to try before. If planned carefully, under the Digital Nomad Visa, it is still possible to live in two different countries within a couple of years.” As Patricia Casaburi points out.
It is also an opportunity to bring talent and specific skill sets to these countries, whilst boosting the local economy. Those who acquire the Digital Nomad Visa are permitted visa-free travel across the European Union's Schengen Area, which consists of 27 EU member states – for as long as their permit is valid.