Estonian digital nomad visa finally starts to get implemented

The Estonian parliament on 3 June adopted amendments to the current laws to create a digital nomad visa that would allow people to come to Estonia as a tourist and at the same time continue working for a foreign employer or as a freelancer independent of location; starting from 15 July, people should finally be able to start applying for the new visa.

According to the newsletter of the Estonian Police and Border Guard Board, the bill became a law on 1 July, but its implementation acts have not so far become valid. “Presumably, people can start applying [for the visa] from 15 July 2020; should this date change, we’ll inform of this additionally,” the police said in the newsletter.

The new digital nomad visa is meant for people who work remotely and therefore travel around to different countries. “The digital nomad visa will enable foreigners whose work doesn’t depend on their location to work in Estonia. It can be issued both as a short-term (C-type) or a long-term (D-type) visa,” the newsletter asserted.

The Police and Border Guard Board also pointed out that when applying for the digital nomad visa, the general visa conditions are applicable. “Even though [digital nomadism] is a form of tourism, it’s not classical tourism, because of working for a company based abroad.”

One of the first countries to create a digital nomad visa

People can apply for the digital nomad visa at an Estonian embassy or directly at the Police and Border Guard Board. “The Police and Border Guard Board will decide on the issuing or declining to issue a long-term visa within 30 days from receiving the application.”

According to the Estonian interior ministry, Estonia is one of the first countries in the world to create a digital nomad visa.

Digital nomadism is a way of life that enables people to travel the world and at the same time work remotely. The main areas where digital nomads work are ICT, finance, and marketing. Digital nomads use telecommunications technologies to earn a living and, more generally, conduct their life in a nomadic manner. They work remotely from foreign countries, coffee shops, public libraries, co-working spaces or recreational vehicles.

A digital nomad. Photo by Shutterstock.

At the time of adopting the amendments, the Estonian interior minister, Mart Helme, said the digital nomad visas were subject to the general regulation of issuing visas and no digital nomad will get an automatic right to gain the visa – their backgrounds will be checked as thoroughly as all the other visa applicants.

The country is predicting a maximum of 1,800 people a year would apply for the digital nomad visa.

The cover image is illustrative. Photo by Mimi Thian/Unsplash.com

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