2020 was all about working from home. The end of the year became all about working from the hills. 2021, in turn, is about working from anywhere. That’s the reason why some countries have started issuing digital nomad (or remote work) visas. Lack of tourism coupled with the comfort of working from anywhere has prompted these countries to think of new ways of attracting long-term stay.
Kartika Nair, a Bengaluru-based manifestation and life coach, who runs her own company called Synchro Shakti, moved to Croatia in June 2021. “I relocated as I had been missing my partner. We had been apart for more than 400 days due to Covid. Also, I have the liberty of working remotely. I decided to be adventurous and it has paid off.”
Nair spent around a lakh on visa processing, tickets, legal documents, and translation fee. She also had to present documents showing she owns a company. “The cost of living, including rental and groceries, is around `35,000 per month, far less than I spend in Bengaluru, plus I get to see this beautiful country,” says Nair, who has a visa till June 2022.
A digital nomad visa (official name differs in each country) is a document issued by the host country permitting a person the legal right to work remotely. Most countries issue this for one year. This year, the top destinations (since international airlines started flying) include Croatia, Thailand, Germany, Iceland, Portugal, and the Czech Republic. The main criteria of issuing this visa are that an individual should have their own company back home and they are able to operate remotely.
Naina Rastogi from Singapore, who straddles between India and Singapore, and runs a communications and social media company, has been living in southeast Asia for the past six months. “Called the Sosial Budaya Visa, this is issued if you get a local sponsoring you. It allows you to stay in Bali for six months, and is quite popular with the digital nomads,” she says.
Rastogi holds a valid two-year Singapore visa so it was convenient to fly in and out. She visited and stayed in Bali and in Cambodia as she got cheap tickets having planned in advance. “To get this visa, I had to submit documents proving I ran my own agency. It was tedious. You can get a visitor’s visa, but not a resident visa without proving you run a company. Also, your work should not deprive a local of his/her job,” she adds. Her next stop is Vietnam.
✥ You own/or are a partner in a company
✥ Valid passport for one year
✥ Medical insurance
✥ Stay arrangements, including a rental agreement for one year in some countries
✥ Earnings per annum as per the country’s norm
✥ Bank statements of the last one year as proof of earnings