If you’re a digital nomad, chances are you’ve heard of freelancer visas.

As someone with a rather limited South African passport and a travel content creator, I’ve spent a fair share of my time diving into the various freelancer visas. Mostly to determine whether they’re a viable option for me and my little family if we felt the need to leave South Africa for an extended version of time.

My top 2 options have always been Portugal’s D7 Visa and Germany’s Freelancer Visa. Although I’m holding out hope that Ireland implements one soon.

However, there are so many other digital nomad visas available. More countries than ever before are offering freelancer visas in the hopes of attracting young remote workers.

But what freelancer visa is right for you?

Key Takeaways

  • Freelancer visas allow freelancers, self-employed individuals, and entrepreneurs to live and work in a foreign country legally.
  • Requirements and application processes vary depending on the country you’re interested in.
  • Do your research and understand the requirements and application processes for each country you’re interested in.

Disclaimer: This blog post may contain affiliate links. Keep in mind that I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you when you click my links and make a purchase. However, this does not impact my opinion in any way. I only promote brands I believe in and products that I use and love myself. I try my best to keep things fair and balanced to help you make the best choice for you.

Understanding the Freelancer Visa

If you’re a freelancer, self-employed, or an independent contractor, you may be interested in exploring the world while working remotely. Fortunately, many countries offer freelancer visas, which allow you to work and travel legally.

A freelancer visa is a type of visa that permits individuals who are self-employed or run their own businesses to travel to different countries while working remotely.

It is also known as:

  • Remote Work Visa
  • Digital Nomad Visa
  • Self-Employed Visa
  • Entrepreneurship Visa
  • Independent Contractor Visa
  • Long-term Residency Permit
freelancer visa

To obtain a freelancer visa, you need to meet certain requirements, which vary from country to country. Some countries require you to have a minimum income, while others require you to have health insurance or a specific skill set. It’s essential to research the requirements of the country you’re interested in before applying for a freelancer visa.

One of the benefits of a freelancer visa is that it allows you to work legally in a foreign country.

This means you won’t have to worry about breaking any laws or facing legal consequences. Additionally, a freelancer visa can provide you with access to local resources, such as coworking spaces, networking events, and business support services.

A freelancer visa can be an excellent option for freelancers who want to explore the world while working remotely. However, it’s important to do your research and ensure that you meet the requirements of the country you’re interested in before applying.

Freelancer Visas in Europe

If you’re a freelancer or digital nomad looking to work in Europe, there are several visa options available to you.

Here are some of the most popular options to consider:

Germany Freelancer Visa

Germany is a great place to work remotely, and they are very welcoming to freelancers. The German Freelancer Visa allows you to work as a self-employed individual in Germany. To be eligible, you must prove that you have enough financial resources to support yourself and that your work will benefit the German economy.

Estonia Digital Nomad Visa

Estonia was the first country in the world to offer a digital nomad visa. The Estonia Digital Nomad Visa allows you to work remotely in Estonia for up to a year. To be eligible, you must have a location-independent job, be able to support yourself financially and have health insurance.

Spain Freelancer Visa

Spain offers a self-employed visa that allows you to work as a freelancer in the country. To be eligible, you must have a business plan and prove that your work will benefit the Spanish economy. You must also have health insurance and enough financial resources to support yourself.

Portugal D7 Visa

The Portugal D7 Visa is a residence permit that allows you to live and work in Portugal as a self-employed individual. To be eligible, you must have a source of income and be able to support yourself financially. You must also have health insurance and a clean criminal record.

Czech Republic Zivno Visa

The Czech Republic offers a Zivno Visa that allows you to work as a freelancer in the country. To be eligible, you must have a business plan and prove that your work will benefit the Czech economy. You must also have health insurance and enough financial resources to support yourself.

Croatia Digital Nomad Visa

Croatia offers a digital nomad visa that allows you to work remotely in the country for up to a year. To be eligible, you must have a location-independent job, be able to support yourself financially and have health insurance.

Malta Self-Employed Visa

Malta offers a self-employed visa that allows you to work as a freelancer in the country. To be eligible, you must have a business plan and prove that your work will benefit the Maltese economy. You must also have health insurance and enough financial resources to support yourself.

Freelancer Visas Outside Europe

If you are a freelancer looking for opportunities outside of Europe, there are several countries that offer freelancer visas. These visas will allow you to legally work and reside in the country for a specified period.

Here are some of the countries that offer freelancer visas:

UAE Freelancer Visa

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) offers a freelancer visa that allows you to work as a freelancer in the country for up to three years. To be eligible, you must provide proof of your professional experience and financial stability. You will also need to apply for a residence permit and a work permit.

Mexico Remote Worker Visa

Mexico offers a remote worker visa that allows you to work remotely from the country for up to two years. To be eligible, you must provide proof of your income and health insurance. You will also need to apply for a temporary resident visa.

Norway Freelancer Visa

Norway offers a freelancer visa that allows you to work as a freelancer in the country for up to six months. To be eligible, you must provide proof of your professional experience and financial stability. You will also need to apply for a residence permit and a work permit.

Georgia Digital Nomad Visa

Georgia offers a digital nomad visa that allows you to work remotely from the country for up to 12 months. To be eligible, you must provide proof of your income and health insurance. You will also need to apply for a residence permit.

Japan Freelancer Visa

Japan offers a freelancer visa that allows you to work as a freelancer in the country for up to one year. To be eligible, you must provide proof of your professional experience and financial stability. You will also need to apply for a residence permit and a work permit.

Antigua and Barbuda Nomad Digital Residence

Antigua and Barbuda offer a nomad digital residence program that allows you to work remotely from the country for up to two years. To be eligible, you must provide proof of your income and health insurance. You will also need to apply for a residence permit.

Barbados 12 Month Barbados Welcome Stamp

Barbados offers a 12-month welcome stamp that allows you to work remotely from the country. To be eligible, you must provide proof of your income and health insurance. You will also need to apply for a residence permit.

Bermuda One-Year Residential Certificate

Bermuda offers a one-year residential certificate that allows you to work remotely from the country. To be eligible, you must provide proof of your income and health insurance. You will also need to apply for a residence permit.

Mauritius Premium Visa

Mauritius offers a premium visa that allows you to work remotely from the country for up to one year. To be eligible, you must provide proof of your income and health insurance. You will also need to apply for a residence permit.

Cabo Verde Independent Work Visa

Cabo Verde offers an independent work visa that allows you to work as a freelancer in the country for up to two years. To be eligible, you must provide proof of your professional experience and financial stability. You will also need to apply for a residence permit and a work permit.

Brazil Freelancer Visa

Brazil offers a freelancer visa that allows you to work as a freelancer in the country for up to two years. To be eligible, you must provide proof of your professional experience and financial stability. You will also need to apply for a residence permit and a work permit.

Romania Self-Employed Visa

Romania offers a self-employed visa that allows you to work as a freelancer in the country for up to one year. To be eligible, you must provide proof of your professional experience and financial stability. You will also need to apply for a residence permit and a work permit.

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Visa Application Process

Once you have determined the country where you want to work as a freelancer, you need to apply for a visa. The freelancer visa application process varies by country, but generally, you will need to follow these steps:

  1. Check the visa requirements: Visit the embassy or consulate website of the country where you want to work to learn about the visa requirements. You will need to determine the type of visa you need and the documents you need to submit.
  2. Gather the required documents: The required documents may include your passport, visa fee, cover letter, paperwork, letters of recommendation, background check, proof of accommodation, and proof of health insurance. Make sure you have all the necessary documents before submitting your application.
  3. Fill out the application form: You will need to fill out the visa application form accurately and completely. Double-check all the information before submitting the form.
  4. Submit your application: Submit your application to the embassy or consulate. You may need to make an appointment to submit your application in person.
  5. Wait for a decision: The embassy or consulate will review your application and make a decision. The processing time varies by country, so be sure to check the estimated processing time on the embassy or consulate website.
  6. Collect your visa: If your visa application is approved, you will receive your visa. You may need to collect your visa in person from the embassy or consulate.
  7. Check the visa validity: Check the validity of your visa before traveling. Some visas may have a limited validity period, so make sure you plan your travel accordingly.

Overall, the freelancer visa application process can be time-consuming and stressful. However, if you follow the requirements and submit all the necessary documents, you should be able to obtain your visa and start working as a freelancer in your desired country.

Freelancer visa

Financial Considerations

As a freelancer looking to work abroad, it’s important to consider the financial implications of your move. In this section, we’ll cover two key areas: understanding tax obligations and banking for freelancers.

Understanding Tax Obligations

When working as a freelancer, it’s essential to understand your tax obligations in your country of residence. Depending on where you’re based, you may be required to pay taxes on your income, file tax returns, and obtain a tax ID.

In some countries, you may be required to register as self-employed or set up a company to work as a freelancer. In others, you may be able to work as a sole trader without registering a business. It’s important to research the tax laws in your country of residence to understand your obligations fully.

You may also need to consider your tax obligations in the country where you’re working. Some countries require you to pay taxes on income earned within their borders, even if you’re not a resident. Again, it’s essential to research the tax laws in the countries where you plan to work to avoid any legal or financial problems.

Banking for Freelancers

When working abroad as a freelancer, you’ll need to consider your banking options carefully. You may need to open a bank account in your country of residence to receive payments from clients. Some countries require proof of a minimum monthly income to open a bank account, so research the requirements before you move.

You may also need to consider the fees associated with international money transfers. Some banks charge high fees for international transfers, which can affect your earnings. It’s worth shopping around to find a bank that offers low fees and favorable exchange rates.

Best Banking for Freelancers

Wise

Wise is the best way to get paid in multiple currencies. Wise makes it easy to receive funds into your local bank account from international sources

Finally, you may need to obtain a tax ID or register with the local tax office to open a bank account. Again, it’s essential to research the requirements in your country of residence to avoid any issues.

Health Insurance Requirements

When applying for a freelancer visa, you will likely be required to show proof of health insurance coverage. This is to ensure that you are able to cover any medical expenses that may arise while you are in the country.

The specific requirements for health insurance coverage will vary depending on the country you are applying to.

It is important to note that most health insurance is a year-long commitment, so you will need to carefully consider your options before choosing a plan. You will want to make sure that the plan you choose provides adequate coverage for your specific needs, and that the monthly premiums fit within your budget.

Alternatively, you can opt for a digital nomad-friendly health insurance like SafetyWing which you can purchase at an affordable daily or monthly rate.

Best Digital Nomad Insurance

SafetyWing

With basic coverage averaging just $5-10 USD per day, enjoy peace of mind with a plan from SafetyWing!

In addition to health insurance, you may also be required to show proof of other types of insurance coverage, such as liability insurance. Again, the specific requirements will vary depending on the country you are applying to.

Overall, it is important to carefully review the visa application requirements and make sure that you have all of the necessary documentation before submitting your application. This will help ensure that your application is processed quickly and efficiently and that you are able to obtain the freelancer visa that you need to pursue your career goals.

Freelancing in Tech and Design

If you are a tech or design freelancer, you have a lot of opportunities to work remotely and travel the world while still earning a living. In this section, we will discuss the specifics of freelancing in tech and design.

Tech Freelancers

As a tech freelancer, you have the advantage of being able to work from anywhere with an internet connection. This means you can work from home, a coffee shop, or a beach in Bali. You can also work for clients around the world, as long as you have the necessary skills and experience.

Some popular tech freelance jobs include web development, software engineering, and data analysis. If you have experience in any of these fields, you can find plenty of remote job opportunities on freelance platforms like Upwork, Freelancer, and Fiverr.

Design Freelancers

Design freelancers can also work from anywhere with an internet connection. However, they may need to collaborate with clients and team members more closely than tech freelancers. This means they may need to be available for video calls and emails during regular business hours in their clients’ time zone.

Some popular design freelance jobs include graphic design, UX/UI design, and product design. If you have experience in any of these fields, you can find plenty of remote job opportunities on freelance platforms like Fiverr, Behance, Dribble, and 99designs.

freelancer visa

Freelancing in Media and Marketing

If you are a freelancer in the media and marketing industry, you will be happy to know that there are several countries that offer freelance visas for remote workers like you.

If you’re a travel content creator like a travel blogger, travel writer, travel journalist, travel vlogger, or even a travel influencer, this will apply to you. So, if you write for travel magazines or other online publications like I do, then you have plenty of options when it comes to living and working abroad.

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These visas will allow you to live and work in the country for an extended period, usually up to a year or more.

One such country is the United Arab Emirates (UAE), which has a free zone called Dubai Airport Free Zone Authority (DAFZA) that offers a freelance permit for media and marketing professionals. This permit allows you to work as a freelancer in the UAE without the need for a local sponsor. To apply for this permit, you need to provide proof of your professional experience, educational qualifications, and a valid passport.

Another country that offers a freelance visa for media and marketing professionals is Germany. The German freelance visa allows you to work as a freelancer in Germany for up to three years. To be eligible for this visa, you need to provide proof of your professional experience, a business plan, and sufficient funds to support yourself during your stay in Germany.

If you are a digital marketer, you may want to consider applying for a freelance visa in Estonia. Estonia offers a digital nomad visa that allows you to work as a freelancer in the country for up to a year. To apply for this visa, you need to provide proof of your professional experience, a valid passport, and sufficient funds to support yourself during your stay in Estonia.

freelancer visa

Living as a Freelancer

Living as a freelancer can be an exciting and rewarding experience. You have the freedom to work from anywhere in the world, set your own schedule, and choose your own clients. However, there are some important things to consider before embarking on this lifestyle.

Cost of Living

The cost of living can vary greatly depending on where you choose to live as a freelancer. Some cities, like Berlin and Prague, have a lower cost of living compared to other European cities. However, it’s important to factor in the cost of housing, food, transportation, and other expenses when choosing a location.

Anmeldung and Residency Permits

If you plan to live in Germany for an extended period of time, you will need to register your address with the local authorities through a process called Anmeldung. This is important for obtaining a residency permit, which allows you to legally live and work in the country.

Other countries may have similar requirements for obtaining a residency permit or white card. It’s important to research the specific requirements for each country before you arrive.

Working Holiday Visas

Some countries offer working holiday visas, which allow you to work and travel for a set period of time. These visas are often available to young people between the ages of 18 and 30.

If you plan to work as a freelancer while on a working holiday visa, it’s important to research the specific requirements and restrictions of each country.

EU Passport and E-Residency

If you hold an EU passport, you have the right to live and work in any EU country without a visa. You may also be eligible for e-residency in Estonia, which allows you to start and run a business remotely.

freelancer visa

Frequently Asked Questions

What countries offer freelancer visas?

Several countries offer freelancer visas, including Germany, Estonia, Spain, the Czech Republic, and Portugal. These visas are designed for digital nomads and self-employed individuals who want to live and work in a foreign country. Each country has its requirements and application process, so it’s important to research the specifics before applying.

What are the requirements for a self-employed visa?

The requirements for a self-employed visa vary depending on the country. In general, you will need to provide proof of income, such as tax returns or bank statements, and demonstrate that you have a viable business or source of income. You may also need to provide proof of health insurance and a criminal background check.

Which country has the best tax system for freelancers?

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, as tax laws and regulations vary widely from country to country. However, some countries, such as Estonia, offer favorable tax rates for self-employed individuals and digital nomads. It’s important to consult with a tax professional or do thorough research before deciding on a country to live and work in.

What is a nomad visa and how does it work?

A nomad visa, also known as a digital nomad visa or freelance visa, is a type of visa designed for self-employed individuals and digital nomads who want to live and work in a foreign country. These visas typically allow individuals to stay for an extended period of time, usually up to a year or more, and work legally in the country. The application process and requirements vary depending on the country.

How can I obtain a freelancer residence permit?

To obtain a freelancer residence permit, you will need to research the requirements and application process for the specific country you want to live and work in. In general, you will need to provide proof of income, health insurance, and a criminal background check. Some countries may also require you to have a certain level of education or work experience.

Is it legal to freelance on a tourist visa?

Freelancing on a tourist visa is generally not legal. Most countries require individuals to have a work visa or residence permit in order to legally work in the country. If you are caught freelancing on a tourist visa, you could face fines, deportation, or other legal consequences. It’s important to research the visa requirements for the country you want to work in and obtain the appropriate visa before starting work.

Start Working Abroad

Developing a freelance business plan is an essential step in building a successful freelance career. It can help you clarify your goals, target market, competition, marketing strategies, and financial projections. It can also help you secure financing, attract clients, and stay focused on your objectives. If you plan to work as a freelancer abroad, you may also need a freelance visa, which requires meeting certain requirements and complying with local regulations.

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