The nation of Armenia is adorned with a rich history, culture, and countless breathtaking sceneries. Interestingly, this small country of 29,743 square kilometers is home to some of the most accommodating people in the world.
Armenia is a landmass defined by countless historical artifacts and a host of charming attractions. The country is situated somewhere right between Asia and Europe, a geographical factor which adds to its unique culture. Bordered by Azerbaijan, Turkey, Iran, and Georgia (which happens to be another country recently rising in popularity with expats and digital nomads), Armenia is a relatively undiscovered gem of an opportunity for nomads seeking opportunities to live, work, plant flags, or just hop over to for a visit.
The former Soviet republic is popularly known for its religious exhibitions, housing some of the earliest Christian artifacts in history and other ancient architectures. In fact, Armenia was the first country to adopt Christianity as its official religion way back in the 4th century. The Armenian Apostolic church remains the spiritual backbone of the country to this day, which is an especially interesting fact considering the prevalence of Islam in most of its neighboring countries.
Armenia is one of those rare countries that provide a tangible feel of thousands of years ago. If you are longing for the feel of resilience, prosperity, and strength embedded in a culture, Armenia will provide it like no other place can. Living among the ancient cultural heritage is an inspiration for work, and its history invokes passion. With a population of only 2.93 million, this small country in the Caucasus presents a unique opportunity for expats, immigrants, and digital nomads from around the world.
Keep reading to learn more about what Armenia has to offer. GWP Insiders goes into greater detail on how to get your Armenian residency or even citizenship.
Tourism in Armenia
Drawing people from all corners of the earth to its wonders, sacred grounds and ancient religious and architectural remnants, Armenia is a brilliant tourist attraction. In fact, Armenians believe they know where Noah’s ark is, and this is reflected in their coat of arms.
Apart from this wealth of history, it has a naturally gifted landscape. It houses over 300 of Europe’s 530 bird species. Another interesting fact is that its women are the sexiest in the world, according to a poll once conducted.
The Armenians have a history of being subjects in the past to several empires. Subsequently, the culture is infused with myriad elements from other cultures; hence, its rich culinary profile. A typical plate of food in an Armenian restaurant embodies diversity and a feel of cultural richness.
Tourism is one of the significant contributors to the Armenian economy, which has been sometimes slow to recover from its war-torn past of mass emigration. The country is proud to host no less than four UNESCO world heritage sites, which locals and tourists alike never tire of visiting. Armenia is now very tourist-friendly, with affordable hotels, convenient transportation around the country via buses and shared taxis, and most importantly, its welcoming people.
As amazing as it sounds, most digital nomads are still not aware of the opportunities Armenia offers. They don’t get a lot of press or hype, so if you haven’t lived there (or are not connected to someone who has), you’re unlikely to find reliable information about Armenia among general travel discussion.
Aside from the obvious benefits it can bring to nomads, Armenia has many non-quantifiable qualities, such as its humanity. The small but elegant community is a great mirror of how interconnected we are as humans, owing partially to the fact that the population is now composed of ethnic Armenians who have lived there for generations, descendants of genocide survivors who left the country but eventually made their way back, and a thriving multinational population of foreigners. Within the very modern capital, Yerevan, it is normal to strike connections and avoid almost all aspects of culture shock. The people are united, and it is evident in how they get along.
Unknown Residency and Citizenship Opportunities in Armenia
Becoming a resident of Armenia is a simple process with requirements no more difficult than most other nations in a similar position. Currently citizens of 45 countries can come to Armenia as tourists for up to 180 days per year. For citizens of other nations, a tourist visa is usually easy to acquire.
For people seeking residency in Armenia, residency permits come in three different types: permanent, special, and temporary. They all allow you to stay in Armenia for a predetermined number of years before becoming a citizen. If you decide to apply to become a citizen of Armenia, you must hold residency for a minimum of three years first. This is a very short time compared to most other countries that require five to ten years of residency before citizenship.
Fortunately, Armenia is happy to allow dual citizenship for those who apply but still want to keep the passport of their home country. They are even one of just a handful of countries in the world that offers a convenient citizenship-by-descent program going back to generations. If you have a parent or grandparent that was an Armenian citizen (and have the documents to prove it), you could be accepted as an Armenian citizen in a matter of just a few months with only one visit to Yerevan required to complete the process.
Presently, Armenian citizens have visa-free access to only 60 countries around the world (including some hard-to-get countries like Russia, Iran, and Brazil). This is pretty low compared to the 183 visa-free countries for citizens of the United States. However, just as its neighbor to the north, Georgia, recently received visa-free access to Europe’s Schengen Zone and can now visit 113 countries without a visa, a similar development is expected for Armenia by 2021. This will greatly improve the quality of the Armenian passport and certainly increase the demand for nomads who want to diversify their travel documents.
Starting a business in Armenia is very easy. It may take less than a business day to get through most of the formalities. The cost of starting any business is low and hassle free. There are also numerous incentives, such as tax exemptions, to budding firms among. These are major opportunities for digital nomads.
Armenia ranks 44th on the world’s list of the countries with the most economic freedom based on the economic freedom world index. Economic freedom in Armenia means that you can control your property, labor, and get involved in almost any kind of legal business or investment.
Lifestyle Benefits for Digital Nomads in Armenia
The food in Armenia is affordable, exotic, and diverse. This diversity is most pronounced in Yerevan, of course, but also applies to many of its nearby small resort towns. One such popular town is Dilijan, about 90 minutes by car from the capital, which is known colloquially as the “Switzerland of Armenia” and offers cooler weather in the summer owing to its 50,000-foot elevation. It’s perfect for a writer, or other creative professional looking to get away from it all for a while.
The cost of living in Armenia is quite cheap yet offers a very comfortable and modern standard of living. This is one of its strongest points. The cost of living is 53.93% lower than in the United States.
One of the major frustrations of any digital nomad is a poor internet connection because of the need to constantly “stay in business.” Somewhat surprisingly, the internet connection in Armenia rivals that of any “developed” state in the world.
Although Armenia has experienced its fair share of hostility and misunderstanding with neighboring states, it is still a very secure place. It is considered to be one of the safest places to live in the world.
The Armenian atmosphere is an intense mix of serenity and offers a wild chance for fun. The nightlife is a culture in Armenia. Outdoors has a feel of home, with many strolling individuals, pubs, bars, and restaurants waiting to cater to your night.
The weather in Armenia is pleasant most of the year. Autumn, winter, summer, and spring exist here, each offering something unique. Autumn is marked by the beauty it sparks up with red and gold leaves. A lot of tourists prefer September to October as the weather is mild and warm in the capital at this time. Though it can get cold in winter, there is also the opportunity to see gorgeous snow-capped mountain ranges throughout the country that are almost entirely untouched by humans. If skiing is your thing, many resort towns around Armenia cater specifically to winter sports.
Armenia has invested heavily in its health care, making it free for all under the age of 18. This means that if you relocate with your family as a resident, your children under 18 years of age are catered to by the government of Armenia.
Getting a residence permit in Armenia may be one of the best choices a digital nomad could make. Every digital nomad needs safety, comfort, assurance, and an environment that aids and supports them.
Of course, relocating to Armenia has its share of complexities. For a successful transition, and adequate preparation, we recommend further expert guidance. For a more detailed break-down on procedures and processes, click here to subscribe to GWP Insiders. A subscription gives you a more comprehensive take of the country, further detailing what makes Armenia a land of opportunities for digital nomads.