Estonia Is Developing a New Visa for Digital Nomads

Estonia Is Developing a New Visa for Digital Nomads

Estonia is developing a new visa that could make this small, northern European country a welcoming spot for people looking to work from anywhere in the world. The country’s planned visa for digital nomads would be the first ever targeting digital nomads, placing Estonia at the global forefront in providing an inviting environment for “borderless” workers.

Why Estonia? It’s not as unlikely a landing place for digital nomads as you might think. As noted in the European edition of Entrepreneur magazine, Estonia ranks third across all of Europe for number of startups per capita. For people looking to work from anywhere, that’s a great indicator of Estonia’s tech-savvy commitment to entrepreneurship and new technology. With a population of about 1.3 million, Estonia is a leading European creator of startups in technology, engineering, electronics, and location services.

Workers who enjoy a digital nomad lifestyle and are interested in Estonia’s visa for digital nomads don’t have to limit their careers to industries that are popular in Estonia, or to companies headquartered there. That’s where the proposed new visa for digital nomads comes in. Jobbatical, a global job search platform, is developing the visa program in collaboration with Estonia’s Ministry of the Interior with an eye toward helping location-independent workers recognize Estonia as a great place to be a digital nomad.

Why Estonia is a cutting edge destination for digital nomads:

Details of Estonia’s visa program, which could be up and running in 2019, are still being finalized. With the idea of making it easy for location-fluid workers to live in Estonia as so-called “e-Estonians,” the visa for digital nomads would allow workers to cut through bureaucratic red tape. Proposed benefits of the visa for digital workers include:

  • legal residency in Estonia for one year;
  • travel access to other European Union countries for periods of up to 90 days;
  • support as a registered taxpayer for one year;
  • access to a range of services and rights accorded to all Estonian citizens.

Estonia already has an “e-Residency” program, established in 2014, that provides non-resident working professionals with a “smart card” and access to financial services, start-up support, and tax declaration support, among other benefits. Once the visa for digital nomads is established, Estonian officials may consider expanding the visa program even further to include access to healthcare services through a buy-in program.

Estonia’s Impact on the Future of Digital Nomads

Thanks to its efforts in recent years, Estonia has firmly joined the ranks of the best countries for digital nomads. The country’s top officials stress that the visa for digital nomads and other efforts will place Estonia at the forefront of the future of work.

In a recent news release, Estonian officials noted that the new visa program would eliminate the need for digital nomads to obtain tourist visas to work in the country over longer periods of time. The program could bring an influx of more than 1,400 skilled workers a year to Estonia, contributing significantly to the economy, officials said. That could set a powerful example for other countries, large and small, who may be thinking of offering a visa for digital nomads.

Estonia’s Technological Appeal (and Other Charms)

Perched on the Baltic Sea south of Finland, Estonia boasts a pretty impressive variety of attractions for such a small country. A recent New Yorker article hailed Estonia as Europe’s digital republic, with a government that’s “borderless, blockchained, and secure.” The capital city, Tallinn, is on the northern coast and is home to a thriving cultural and educational scene, lively nightlife, and some of the best-preserved medieval architecture in Europe.

Digital nomads who venture outside the capital will find much to explore in Estonia, including an archipelago of more than two dozen islands on the Baltic. Forests, castles, waterfalls, fishing villages, beaches, and national parks are scattered elsewhere across the country’s varied regions.

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By Adrianne Bibby | September 7, 2018 | Categories: Work Remotely

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