Rather than reverting back to pre-pandemic practices, many countries are leaning into extended digital nomad visas: Latin America is no exception!
November 14, 2022
By: Bobby Casey, Managing Director GWP
I love seeing all the new opportunities for nomad visas cropping up! It’s not lost on me that this is one of those really cool phenomenona that came out of a terrible period of Covid lock-downs. And it honestly sucks such an event needed to happen for this to finally unfold.
Company openness to work remotely, countries relaxing their visas to allow for longer and renewable stays, and just a generally more accommodating world is indicative of a world that learned something from all this.
Who knows if they learned every essential lesson? Time will tell. But for now, we things didn’t snap back to the way things were. In some cases, that isn’t great. In other cases, it’s about time!
Between remote work finally overcoming its taboo status, and a lot of people shifting from employee to entrepreneur, we have a growing market of people ready willing and eager to pursue life outside the confines of their own country, or even their home state.
The profit incentive for countries to offer this visa product is too good to stop. It went from tourism to tourism in bulk. While I’m no fan of lock-downs, this is still a worthwhile safeguard for countries trying to protect their tourism industry. Now people can come for two weeks, two months, or even two years! As the host country, it makes a lot of sense to have long term tourists.
It isn’t much different from the subscription business model for online services. I’d rather give a discount to someone who has a recurring order, than have one transaction that I have to work to bring back for the next order. That’s just smarter business.
People are doing what’s called “workcations” where they take their whole family somewhere for months at a time, they still work, but they get to live in another country for a while and take their time doing the fun stuff they would have crammed into a week otherwise.
Latin America has always been prone to seeing expats as a source of income. From second passports to fairly straightforward residency, places like Paraguay and Panama have offered great opportunities.
But other countries are getting on board. Brazil and Ecuador, in fact have some interesting news about their digital nomad programs.
Brazil has a digital nomad visa called Temporary Visa VITEM XIV. You can apply for it at any Brazilian consulate.
Though the cost can vary, they average about $100 USD. They are good for one year, and can be extended for a second. The best part is the in-and-out privileges that allow you to leave and return to Brazil during that time. This means, you could visit Argentina or Columbia during your stay, and come back to Brazil.
Like many other countries’ nomad visas, Brazil requires proof of income and/or employment from a business not based in Brazil. Likewise, they require a minimum monthly income of $1,500 USD, or a bank balance of $18,000 USD.
It’s not the cheapest country in South America, but it is more affordable than many European countries, and major metropolitan cities in the US.
While being yet another country offering a nomad visa, the really cool development is the Nomad Village they have in the northeast coastal area of the Pousada Morada dos Ventos called the Village of Priaia da Pipa.
If you enjoy being on the beach, then this is a great place to consider. It is ideal for those who enjoy surfing.
Pipa has a subtropical climate. From October to December is their Spring so the temperature range between 28-30 degrees Celsius during the day and 22-24 at night.
Ecuador is launching its new digital nomad visa. If you have the Galapagos Islands on your bucket list, this would be an awesome chance to check that box!
Unlike Brazil, it can indeed offer low cost of living. The visa, called the Rentista visa, is aptly named for the nature of the applicants living on outside income.
You can apply for it on Ecuador’s online consulate (which is very convenient!). It costs approximately $475 USD, and takes about 3 to 4 months to process.
A valid passport, a clean criminal record, and proof of foreign income of at least $1,310 USD per month can get you into Ecuador.
The major cities like Quito have great infrastructure as well as strong internet connections. As smaller beach towns become more popular, co-working spaces are cropping up there too.
Countries are developing nomad communities and work centers. And this whole new service industry is emerging. I don’t think there were enough nomads to warrant such services before; and if there was, they were only concentrated in very specific cities around the world.
These accommodations are cropping up everywhere. Websites designed to help you find long-term temporary housing; services for finding nomad hubs and work stations, services that help you process your visas.
So the digital nomad lifestyle is here to stay. It is growing in number, and it’s growing as a business opportunity throughout the world. It has graduated from some fringe, esoteric thing rich people do, to something middle class remote or gig workers can likewise enjoy.
It’s become normalized because it’s become its own industry. Like the click and deliver services. Those aren’t going anywhere. Instacart, Uber, GrubHub, and GoPuff will all stick around because people still like the convenience of someone else cooking or shopping for them, and not having to leave the house.
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