GET LONGER STAY VISAS! – STAY FOR CHEAPER – EXPLORE A NEW CULTURE
It’s difficult to think of a better way to see the world. As location independents, we take our office wherever we go, enabling us to work from anywhere (provided there is internet access, of course).
A location-independent job means we can check in with our clients or boss at any time and enjoy the freedom of creating our own schedule.
It’s not as simple as it sounds, though. Each country has its own limits on how long visitors can stay, so the ability to adapt and “go with the flow” is just as important as a high-speed connection.
If you choose your location wisely, you’ll find that some countries allow you to extend your visit beyond the typical ninety days.
Find below our list of the top 10 countries who permit stays of between five months and a year, and in some cases, indefinitely.
The food, culture, and year-round summertime weather in Argentina is reason enough to stay for extended periods of time. Argentina’s cost of living is affordable, and visa laws make it possible to stay for six months or more. After the first three months, you’re required to leave the country for at least one day (day trip to Uruguay, anyone?) and can then return to Argentina for another three months.
Georgia offers a rich, multicultural living experience at low cost. Its location makes it an ideal spot for travel, with easy, affordable, direct access to many European and Asian countries. Georgia’s visa laws allow many visitors to stay without a visa for up to a year. After one year, and if you’re able to provide documents to certify your professional qualification(s), or if running a freelance business, you may qualify for a Freelancer Residence Permit, entitling you to stay in Georgia for up to five more years, one year at a time. After five years, the option of permanent residence becomes available.
If you’ve got your location-independent heart set on South America, Chile is definitely a location to consider. It has an active start-up culture and plenty of coffee shops and co-workspaces to choose from. Visa laws in Chile allow stays of up to 90 days without a visa. After that, leave the country and return on the same day to start a new 90-day period. Visitors have been known to do this over and over again, extending their stay indefinitely. Alternatively, apply for a tourist visa extension, which will enable you to remain in Chile for a full six months without having to leave the country.
SAR CHINA, HONG KONG OR MACAU
Internet censorship still affects the entire nation, but China’s special administrative regions, such as Hong Kong and Macau, are not as affected and are more or less autonomous. In fact, Hong Kong is reported as the world’s most connected place. The incredible culture, food, and unique quality of life make Hong Kong and Macau very popular among location independents, even considering the above-average cost of living. China’s visa laws are relatively friendly; visitors can apply for extended visas that permit stays of up to 6 months.
Mexico has many beautiful cities to choose from. New Mexico, Puerto Vallarta (the Silicon Valley of Mexico), and Guadalajara are popular choices. The rich, historical cultures, incredible cuisine, and low costs of living (not to mention the gorgeous weather) make Mexico a popular destination among location independents. Mexico’s visa laws permit travelers to stay in the country for up to six months.
Estonia (known as the ‘Silicon Valley of Europe’) is a bit ahead of the game when it comes to visa laws. Just this year, the country implemented a digital nomad visa, permitting stays of up to a year. Apart from its tech prowess, though, the country offers beautiful coastal views, stunning medieval architecture, and a low cost of living.
Estonia is part of Europe’s Schengen zone, which means you can travel to many other European countries during your stay, a lot like how you’d travel from state to state in the USA.
OTHER EUROPEAN COUNTRIES
If you’re a location independent dreaming of staying in Europe for an extended period of time, it is possible, but you will be required to move around every three months. After living for up to six months within Europe’s Schengen-zoned countries, you can then travel to a country outside of the Schengen area, such as Bulgaria or Croatia, to, in essence, “re-start” your European stay limit. Rinse and repeat, and continue to bounce around Europe indefinitely.
Expect a unique, multicultural experience that affords living comfortably below budget, especially in smaller cities such as Udaipur, Jaipur, Jodhpur, Goa, and Kerela. The beautiful and diverse landscape, spectacular Indian cuisine, and cheap accommodation ($250 – $300 for a 2/3-bedroom apartment) make India the ideal spot for budget-conscious location independents who want to save a good deal of their income. India has implemented an electronic visitor or business e-visa system, available to citizens of most countries. An e-visa is valid for two months at a time and can be used twice a year. Alternatively, apply for a six-month or one-year business visa.
Known as the destination among digital nomads, Bali (Indonesia) has become very popular for its affordability, beaches, and culture. Visitors may apply for a 60-day visa, which can be extended three times for thirty days each, for a total stay of up to five months. There is also the option of applying for a multiple-entry visa, valid for one year.
Panama is a clear choice for many location independents, with its tropical climate, sandy beaches, and affordable accommodation. Panama City, in particular, is a popular expat destination, and considering the currency is the US Dollar, many remote workers from the USA find Panama an ideal spot for transitioning into the FDN lifestyle. Co-workspaces and remote-work-friendly spots are plenty amidst the city’s historic architecture and along the waterfront boulevard. Stay for up to six months, after which you’ll be required to leave the country but are able to return through another six-month visa.
IMPORTANT – WORKING AND TOURIST VISA LAWS
Conduct research beforehand about the country’s visa and tax laws as they relate to earning an income. There are some countries that will not permit work on a tourist visa, but if you’re a digital nomad registered as a freelancer in your home country, or if you’re employed by a remote-friendly company, most countries won’t mind that you’re earning an income while you’re sitting in their coffee shops or lying on their sandy beaches. If you are concerned, opt for countries that welcome FDNs, such as Estonia and Georgia that issue freelance-specific visas.
There are countries, though, that have strict rules concerning tourist visas and extended stays in their country. Consider a business or alternative type of visa instead if the country you are traveling to strictly prohibits FDN work while on a tourist visa. Hopefully, in the near future, all other countries will catch on and offer location independent visas.