I’m really happy to announce that Estonia will start taking applications for its long-awaited Digital Nomad Visa on 1 August!
Estonia has already transformed the way a country serves people beyond its borders through programmes such as e-Residency. Now with the Digital Nomad Visa, Estonia is transforming how people in the world choose to work.
Digital nomads and remote workers have long faced ambiguity when working while they travel, often skirting the law by working while visiting a country with a tourist visa. While other countries like Costa Rica, Mexico, Portugal and the Czech Republic have introduced visas for digital nomads, so far these have primarily targeted freelancers.
In contrast, the new Estonian Digital Nomad Visa (DNV) covers a broader range of digital nomads — in addition to freelancers, it also allows teleworking from Estonia if the person has a foreign employer or is a partner in a company registered abroad. This is great news for location-independent entrepreneurs around the world as it provides a legitimate way to live and work here for up to a year.
We’re particularly excited here at e-Residency as it could provide a great new opportunity to e-residents to come to Estonia to live and work and get to know the digital nation even more in person.
Applications for the DNV open on 1 August at Estonian Representations that handle visa applications or at a Police and Border Guard office in Estonia.
This blog post contains detailed information about the eligibility requirements, application process, and links to useful resources so that you can start preparing your applications.
For more information about applying:
- Visit the Digital Nomad Visa webpage: e-resident.gov.ee/nomadvisa and subscribe to our newsletter for updates
- Read our blog article on some of the frequently asked questions about the DNV
- Follow e-Residency on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn for the latest news on the DNV
Who is eligible for a Digital Nomad Visa?
The intention behind the DNV is to attract talented people from around the world to Estonia, who can work independent of location and timezone.
From Tartu to Tallinn, in the bogs, through the forests, and on the beaches, there is an exciting startup scene and rich ancient culture and landscapes here waiting to be discovered and explored by diverse entrepreneurs and global citizens, no matter where you are from or what sector you work in.
The base requirement for this special new teleworking category of visa is that you can work location-independently using telecommunications technologies, essentially that you’re a ‘digital nomad’.
In addition, you will need to prove that you fit under any one of the three following categories:
- You work for a company that is registered in a foreign country and you have a contract of work with that company;
- You conduct business activity for a company that is registered in a foreign country and of which you are a partner/shareholder; or
- You offer freelance or consulting services mostly to clients, whose permanent establishments are in a foreign country, and with whom you have contracts.
Some e-residents may qualify under categories one or two if they work for a foreign employer or run their own business that is registered abroad. For e-residents who are running their business through an Estonian company, e.g. as a freelancer or solopreneur serving clients predominantly in foreign countries, they can also take advantage of the DNV under the third category.
The other important eligibility requirement to be aware of is the income threshold, which is meant to evidence how you will support yourself during your time in Estonia. An applicant must provide evidence of their income during the six months preceding the application. Currently, the monthly income threshold is €3504 (gross of tax).
There are no eligibility restrictions based on your country of origin or the sector in which you work.There is also no cap on the number of applications or visas issued.
Currently, due to COVID-19, there are restrictions on travelling to Estonia for citizens of certain countries. Estonia’s foreign representations will only accept applications for short-stay visas and long-stay visas from third-country nationals who are allowed to enter Estonia according to the order of the Government.
It is therefore important to read the latest information on travel to Estonia on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs website before making an application for the DNV.
How to apply for the Digital Nomad Visa?
Applications open on 1 August at Estonian Representations that handle visa applications (or if you are already legally in Estonia, you can apply at a Police and Border Guard office).
The first step is to carefully read the eligibility requirements set out above.
If you meet the eligibility requirements, the next step will be to complete the visa application form. The form will be available online soon.
The DNV is subject to standard rules and procedures for issuing visas to stay in Estonia, including as they relate to making the relevant visa application, having a valid travel document, paying the state fee for a visa application, having adequate health insurance and financial resources, and passing a background check.
When applying for a DNV, you can apply for either an Estonian long-stay visa (D-visa) or a short-stay visa (C-visa), depending on your planned period of stay. Applications can be made in English, Estonian, or Russian. The state fee for a D visa is €100 and for a C visa is €80.
The main difference for the DNV in contrast to other visas to Estonia is that, in addition to the standard visa application procedures, you will need to provide information and documents proving your eligibility as a digital nomad. That is, you will need to provide:
- documents certifying that you can perform your work duties independent of location and that you use telecommunications technology in the performance of these duties;
- documents certifying that you continue to work either: for a foreign-registered employer, for a foreign-registered company in which you have a shareholding, or as a freelancer or consultant mainly providing services to clients with a foreign establishment according to a contractual relationship;
- documents certifying your income during the six months preceding the application and which indicate the amount, regularity, and sources of the income; and
- a description of your study and professional life course.
Examples of documents proving the facts referred to the first two points above are:
- a written explanation of the applicant regarding the intention to use the visa for teleworking;
- a written confirmation from the employer that the applicant is able to perform work duties remotely;
- an employment contract or other contract showing your obligations to your employer or company;
- a certificate from the competent authority of the state of location of the applicant concerning the payment of mandatory state or local taxes or social security contributions in the state of location;
- a certificate from the competent authority of the state where the company is located, which shows the name, location, field of activity, your participation in the company and information concerning the legal representatives of the company; or
- any other documents which prove these facts.
Once you have completed the application form, print a copy and sign it and gather copies of all required supporting documents. Submit your application at your nearest Estonian Embassy or Police and Border Guard office — and don’t forget your supporting documents!
The relevant administrative authority with whom you make your application will review your application in full and conduct thorough background checks like they would for any visa application to Estonia. This process will take at least 15 days.
NO person is automatically eligible for a DNV and their application and background will be checked as carefully as for any other visa applicants.
Successful applicants will be notified when they need to visit an Estonian Embassy or Police and Border Guard office to verify their identity and pick up their DNV.
The DNV is a brand new initiative for Estonia and there are still issues being discussed and worked out. We will update you as details are decided and more information comes to hand.
We look forward to welcoming you to Estonia soon!