As the world continues to open up, more affordable and even tax beneficial options abound for existing and new digital nomads.
November 28, 2022
By: Bobby Casey, Managing Director GWP
I love being able to add to the list of countries introducing or expanding their nomad visas! It’s good to have the different choices because then the expat or nomad experience isn’t defined by a restricted number of locations and experiences.
At this point, there are some places all over the world: different climates, cultures, languages. At this point the choices are myriad, and you can find whatever you need.
Malaysia has been praised as a particularly great destination because of it’s moderate climates, access to the rest of Asia, affordability, and English speaking constituency. It certainly checks a lot of boxes.
In that same cluster is Indonesia and Thailand for their affordability, climate, and access to other Asian countries.
Latin America has places cropping up from Mexico, Costa Rica, Guatemala, and Brazil.
Places such as Dominica, Barbuda, Anguilla, and Barbados all offer the Caribbean island life many folks find relaxing and more in line with their general lifestyle.
It seems a good number of Eastern and Western European countries have gotten on board with issuing digital nomad visas. Some countries that don’t come up as much in expat and nomad discussions are places like Lithuania, Latvia, Malta, and Norway.
We are updating Georgia, and adding Kyrgyzstan, South Africa and a few islands in the Indian Ocean.
Georgia had a digital nomad program for the broader Schengen region, but has since opened up to 95 countries. It’s relatively easy and quick (approximately ten days to get approval). Something that might deter a few folks is their mandatory 12 day quarantine upon arrival at the expense of the applicant, after which you have to submit to Covid testing (PCR test).
If that’s not an issue for you, then Georgia could still be a contender!
We discussed a few Balkan nations offering nomad visas as well such as Croatia, Montenegro, and Armenia. If you go further east into Asia, a small up-and-comer on the digital nomad scene is Kyrgyzstan.
It is not the nomad hub that many places like Panama or Mexico have become, but it has considerable promise. Not nearly as busy, even in its bigger cities. The infrastructure outside the larger cities is rough, it might make sense to make a city your home-base and visit the areas further out if you need stronger internet connections and access to transit regularly.
The cities have greater accommodations for a digital nomad, but the country sides and the immense amount of nature outside those cities are wonders to behold. If you are trying to get away from the busyness of cities or expat hubs, this might be a cool place to check out!
Kyrgyzstan has a lot to offer such as: lower density of population, abundant natural surroundings, and affordable cost of living. For many, the process isn’t difficult to get in at all. In fact, in some cases you don’t even need a visa!
Hiking, hot springs, and bazaars are some of the nearby things you can do while there. The weather can get a bit harsh in the winters, dropping to subzero temperatures, so definitely something to be mindful of.
There are 69 nations that don’t need to obtain a passport to go to Kyrgyzstan. You will need to check the length of stay for your country as this varies dramatically. Some of the 69 nations can stay indefinitely; others have a maximum stay of 90 days, some 60 days, and some 30 days. Within the visa-free countries, the UK, USA, most EU countries, Australia and New Zealand are included. You will still be stamped in to mark your time in the country.
Interestingly enough, Africa has popped up as a destination spot for many nomads. So much so, the Seychelles, Mauritius, and Mozambique both have digital nomad visas already, and South Africa is expecting to follow suit.
Mozambique isn’t doing anything too profound as it just bumped up the visa stay from 30 days to 90 days.
The Seychelles and Mauritius are closer to South Africa’s aspirations. Seychelles and Mauritius offer quick inexpensive visa opportunities that extend for as long as a year. Both are islands off east side of Africa in the Indian Ocean.
South Africa has yet to officially role out it’s digital nomad visa, but it is expected to run as long as one year. For now, their tourist visa allows for up to 90 days.
All three have some tax benefits for digital nomads, and all three offer very affordable living when compared to larger western cities.
While language, culture, climate, and cost are all legitimate considerations, equally important are the tax implications and your banking arrangements. Just remember to research those comparatively uninteresting factors
All these new opportunities are cropping up. If perhaps there was some hesitation in the past of not having all the things you are looking for in a given destination, it might be a good time to reconsider because this list is growing!