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Digital nomadism is one of the fastest growing travel trends in the world. Today, there is an estimated 32 million digital nomads traveling the world, and has not gone unnoticed.
Countries are capitalizing on cultural change and vying to become the next hotspot for these top-earning traveler dollars.
58 countries around the world now offer some form of digital nomad visa. These visas and residence permits allow certain remote workers to stay legally for long periods of time.
Searches by term “nomadic visa” has increased by a staggering 2,400% in the last five years, according to the trend-tracking site Exploding Topics.
To meet the growing demand, longtime European favorites like Portugal, Spain and Greece have jumped into the fray with their own digital nomad visas.
Sounds too good to be true, right? Well, it could be.
These European coastal destinations seem like a haven to work in, but their visa processes are notoriously long, expensive, and unpredictable. Many digital nomads have faced serious obstaclesincluding almost year-long waits entangled in red tape, sometimes only to be ultimately turned away for little reason.
So what’s left for digital nomads who want to settle in Europe without the hassle, the wait, and the risk?
Here are three of the easiest, cheapest and fastest European digital nomad visas for remote workers right now:
Hungary has gained popularity among digital nomads in the last three years. In fact, the Hungarian capital of Budapest is now in the The world’s five most popular cities for creative digital nomadsaccording justpress.
It’s easy to see why digital nomads flock to Budapest.
Here, rich history meets modern multicultural society in a charming and walkable city like no other. Blazing-fast Wi-Fi (average 171 mbps landline, 57 mbps mobile) and abundance of coworking offices and cafes don’t hurt either. No wonder he has a 92% approval rating on Nomadlist!
Budapest is also a spectacular base for regional and international travel.
Budget airlines like the Hungarian-owned Wizz Air connect Hungary to Europe and Asia for pennies; Furthermore, the city is an important railway hub. Nomads can take a cinematic alpine route through Vienna and on to Paris, or a historical adventure on the Silk Road through Bucharest to Istanbul.
Budapest is also the Third cheapest capital in the world for digital nomads, according to SoloPress. A comfortable monthly budget here is €1,300.
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Sold in Budapest yet? So I have good news. Hungary has the easiest digital nomad visa in Europe right now.
Technically, this process involves a D-type entry visa, then a residence permit, not a specific ‘digital nomad visa’.
After applying in person at the nearest Hungarian embassy and paying a one-time fee of €100, applicants typically obtain their entry visa in just 30 days. Once in Hungary, digital nomads apply online for a type of temporary residence permit called a ‘White Card’.
White Card holders can stay for up to one year with an option to renew. However, most digital nomads choose to stay less than 183 days to qualify for a tax-free stay in Hungary.
To receive a Hungarian digital nomad entry visa, you must:
- do at least €2,000/month of income
- Being a partner or shareholder of a foreign company
- Show that your work is totally remote
- Prove that you have accommodation in Hungary
- Demonstrate that you are financially stable and insured
With a laid-back island lifestyle, stunning beaches, and easy access to spectacular destinations like Sicily and Tunisia, what’s not to love? Malta is a true paradise for remote workers.
Digital nomads in particular are drawn to Malta for its year-round sunshine, high quality of life and business-friendly tax policies.
English is one of Malta’s two official languages and the euro is the local currency.
Internet in Malta ranks among the 35 fastest connections in the world, averaging 98 mbps fixed speed and 53 mbps mobile speed. Beyond coworking spaces and fantastic cafes, there are entire digital nomad villages to live and work in Malta.
The digital nomad community here is one of the most established and active in the world, thanks in part to Malta’s new quick and painless digital nomad residence permit.
What makes the Malta digital nomad visa so easy? The application is completed entirely online in just a few minutes and has an approval rate of almost 90%.
First, applicants submit their documents and pay a fee of €300 online. Most applicants receive an approval letter in principle within 30 business days. Proof of housing and insurance is then required to obtain a final approval letter. Finally, the residence card can be collected in 2-3 weeks in person for €27.50.
Digital Nomad Residence Permit holders can stay in Malta for 1 year, with the possibility of renewal for a maximum of 3 years.
To be eligible for the Malta Nomadic Residence Permit, you must:
- win at least €32,400/year (or €2,700/month) from your telework
- Being employed, self-employed or owner of a foreign company with clients outside of Malta
- Demonstrate that you work fully remotely “using telecommunications technology”
- Prove you have accommodation in Malta
- Have health insurance and travel insurance.
Of game of Thrones from favorite Dubrovnik to perfect Split, Croatia’s coastline feels truly ripped off a movie screen. But how about the opportunity to live and work there, hassle-free?
In fact, of nomad has named Croatia the ‘most loved’ digital nomad hub in Europe this year!
Now that Croatia has joined the EU Schengen Zone, it’s a more attractive option than ever for digital nomads. best of all, Croatia’s digital nomad visa approval rate is 97%.
This process has two parts. First, a variety of entry visa options; then a temporary residence permit.
Digital nomads can apply completely online. Alternatively, they can choose to apply in person at a Croatian embassy or consulate in their home country or at a local police station once in Croatia.
Passport holders from visa-free countries such as the United States, United Kingdom, and Australia generally prefer to apply online for a digital nomad temporary stay permit (Residence of digital nomads).
Once your temporary stay is approved, you must arrive in Croatia within 30 days (if you are not already there), find your accommodation, and register your address and biometrics with the police within 3 days of arrival.
The total cost to apply for and receive your green card is just $168 if you apply from your home country embassy, or $93 if you apply directly with the local Croatian police. With this permission, digital nomads do not pay taxes in Croatia.
Croatia’s one-year residence permit is the the perfect choice for digital nomads who want to explore a country before moving and need a short-term base in the EU. (If you want to reapply, you will have to leave Croatia and wait 6 months.)
For quality, digital nomads need:
- monthly income of €2,540, EITHER one year of income (€30,472) sitting in your bank account
- Proof of fully remote work for a foreign company or your own company registered outside of Croatia
- Proof of insurance and financial stability.
- Clean Federal Criminal Record Check
traveler alert: Don’t forget travel insurance for your next trip!
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com