The nomadic lifestyle is in fashion, with a growing number of people enticed by the prospects of moving around the world freely, exploring different countries and learning new things about themselves. This factor nowadays defines one’s quality of life more than a residence in a fancy neighbourhood, a cool car or an expensive suit. Unlike the previously fashionable downshifters, digital nomads are not keen to abandon their career prospects and reduce their income just for the sake of living a relaxed life by the ocean. They use modern technologies, particularly mobile communication services, to work remotely from any location worldwide that currently interests them. All they need is electricity and a stable Internet connection. This and much more is available in Estonia, and you can read about it on our blog.
In August 2020 Estonia introduced a special visa for such people, called simply the Digital Nomad Visa (DNV). This visa allows you to live in Estonia and work remotely from here for one year, with an option to prolong it for two years. Why would a nomad need a visa? The main advantage of having such a visa is that it legalises the digital nomad status, removing any legal ambiguity derived from working in different countries on a tourist visa.
Another important advantage for digital nomads from non-EU countries is that they can now enter the Schengen Area in Europe and stay here for a whole year. So Estonia can be used as the base country for going to other parts of Europe whenever needed. Just make sure you remember the 90/180 rule for your legal stay in the Schengen Area. To ensure that everything is mathematically correct, use this calculator.
Why is Estonia issuing DNVs?
Just as any country, Estonia cares about its revenue: the more digital nomads arrive from other countries, the more money the local economy gains.
How to determine whether you are a digital nomad eligible for the DNV in Estonia?
You can apply for the Digital Nomad Visa in Estonia if:
1. Your work does not depend on your location
2. You can continue working with the aid of telecommunication technologies
3. You have an employment contract with a non-Estonian company, you work for a company of your own that is registered abroad or provide services to foreign clients as a freelancer
4. Your monthly earnings over the last 6 months amounted to at least 3,504 euros before tax
5. You have proper medical insurance that will cover your medical expenses in Estonia.
If the aforementioned criteria apply to you, then feel free to apply for the Digital Nomad Visa in Estonia! You can do so online or visit the nearest Estonian embassy.
What is needed to apply for the Digital Nomad Visa
1. Fill in the online application.
2. Schedule an appointment in the nearest Estonian embassy or consulate and bring the documents proving that you comply with the requirements for the digital nomad status.
3. Wait for 30 days as your application is being processed.
If you are already legally in Estonia, for instance, you came here as a tourist, fell in love with the country and want to extend your stay here, you can apply for the DNV at any branch of the Police and Border Guard Board. You need to make sure there is enough time for the authorities to process your application so that your stay here does not become illegal in the meantime.
- The state fee is 80 euros for the short-term C-visa (180 days) and 100 euros for the long-term D-visa (365 days).
- As at the time this article was written (October 2021), you can only apply for the D-visa. Learn more about this from the migration consultants of the Police and Border Guard Board. There is nothing for you to worry about as they are friendly and respond quickly.
Details about the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions are available here.
What else do you need to know about the Estonian Digital Nomad Visa?
Staying in Estonia with the DNV does not entitle you to apply for permanent residence or Estonian citizenship. The DNV is not a residence permit, it only gives you the right to stay in the country temporarily.
What if you want to bring your family here?
Once you are granted the DNV in Estonia, your spouse and children aged 18 and under can apply for a visa on the same terms and conditions. For instance, if the primary applicant requests the long-term D-visa, their spouse and children must also apply for this visa.
Estonian e-Residency or DNV?
In 2014 Estonia launched the e-Residency programme that is not the same thing as the new Digital Nomad Visa. In fact, they serve very different purposes: e-Residency is for persons residing abroad who wish to establish a company in Estonia and use local digital services without actually moving to this country.
With the Digital Nomad Visa you are still registered as a person who works and is active in your country or permanent residence, but you can live in Estonia for as long as you continue working.
It is also important to consider taxation. In the context of taxation legislation, an e-resident is a non-resident. Therefore in the Republic of Estonia, that person is only required to pay taxes on the income gained in this country. If an e-resident does not stay in Estonia and does not gain any income here, operating exclusively in other countries, they pay taxes in the country where they currently reside and gain income. Estonian e-Residency does not automatically make you exempt from paying taxes in another country.
Taxation of the Estonian Digital Nomad Visa holders is different from that. If you spend more than 183 days in Estonia within one year with your DNV, you have automatically deemed a tax resident of this country and must pay taxes to the Republic of Estonia. You can learn more about this on the website of the Tax and Customs Board. If you cannot find an answer to your question, feel free to send your query to the board’s consultants: email@example.com.
NB! A small reminder for Estonian employers: the Digital Nomad Visa does not provide a legal basis for hired work in Estonia.
From nomad to resident
You are already residing in Estonia with the Digital Nomad Visa and would like to stay here for another year or two? You have a good chance of achieving this if you got the DNV, applied for the D-visa and now have a potential employer who is prepared to confirm to the Police and Border Guard Board that they intend to hire you. You can read about applying for a residence permit on our blog.
If you are looking for work in Estonia we will gladly help you with that and become your first friends in this country!
If you are an experienced IT specialist and dream about living in Estonia, a modern and prosperous European country, please contact us! Our professional recruiter will answer all your questions and provide detailed information about moving to Estonia, finding work and starting a new life here. E-mail address for enquiries and CVs – firstname.lastname@example.org.
Last updated at: 25.01.2022