In its earliest days, working remotely evoked images of beach waves foaming on white sand with a mountainous backdrop, a laptop on the lap, recliner, and a cocktail in hand.
And then, remote work slowly started becoming mainstream and the home office replaced the picturesque image. But the pros of remote work ensure that you still can embark on an adventure and work from destinations once reserved for costly summer holidays.
Now that you’ve found and landed a remote job, it’s time to make the best of it.
We’ve compiled a list of beach-sporting destinations that have established visa frameworks that specifically cater to digital nomads. Let’s dive in (pun most definitely intended!)
Anguilla (British Overseas Territory)
A true paradise on Earth, Anguilla is a Caribbean Island settled for thousands of years, yet inhabited by only 14,000 people. Since English is the most widely spoken language and wi-fi is everywhere, working remotely on its white-sand beaches should be a breeze. Both USD and ECD are accepted currencies nearly everywhere. Caution: try not to bump into any Hollywood stars while there. After all, Chuck Norris once called Anguilla home.
How to apply for a special digital nomad visa in Anguilla?
Try to keep in mind the entry requirements beyond the application, because some countries’ nationals will need an additional visa for entry. Here’s a list of those countries.
This relocation might run you about USD 2,000 to get there, so be sure to have some savings on hand.
Antigua and Barbuda
Unlike Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda has stricter income requirements that not everyone will be able to meet, but its dedicated Digital Nomad Residence (NDR Visa) will allow you to stay for 2 years and then extend your stay each time. Basically, the main requirement is that you make USD 50,000 or more per year to be eligible. But do be sure to have some ECD on hand to pay for things on the island(s).
Antigua and Barbuda are actually two separate islands that function as a single country, but worry not - while Antiguan Creole differs from the barbudan accent, Standard English is widely spoken. But hey, that means you can choose not one, but two magical islands to call your home for 2 years or… well, forever? And yes - you can bring dependents with you!
How to apply for an NDR Visa?
Their amazingly straightforward website will provide all the information on conditions and application documents you will need, after which you can apply here.
Ok, this one is a little more complicated, but look at it. Just look. I mean, Google it. Of course Aruba is worth featuring on this list, though its One Happy Workation initiative is quite restrictive except for a few countries’ passport holders and is a program designed to grant a 90-day stay. So it’s really like a workation rather than a true remote work destination where you can relax the clock.
The upside of this initiative is that it won’t cost you more than a vacation would, especially because Aruba is not a cheap destination to begin with.
Australia isn’t only a picturesque destination with ridiculously gorgeous beaches but a huge country with a variety of landscapes and animal species unique to the humongous island. And while Australia sports a dose of restrictiveness when it comes to which passport holders are eligible for its First Working Holiday visa, as well as the length of the stay vs employer, if you do fit the requirements, you’ll be able to quickly find yourself staying in the country for 12 months as a remote worker.
There’s a caveat, though: You should not work for the same employer for more than 6 months.
How to apply for the First Working Holiday visa?
Enticing enough? Apply here.
Long story short, Barbadians know what’s up. Barbados Welcome Stamp is a program designed to accommodate digital nomads (and families!) for a stay of up to 12 months with a possibility of extension with 2 conditions only: make 50,000 dollars a year and work for an employer based outside of Barbados. But if you’ve managed to negotiate your remote salary, you may want to give Barbados a chance. And who doesn’t want to work from a coral island formed by volcanic activity that evokes exactly the images from the beginning of this article?
How to apply for the Barbados Welcome Stamp?
Easy. Seriously, the application is super brief. But it will cost you. If you’re going alone, the fees will run you about 2,000 dollars, while bringing family will jump the price to 3,000.
Bermuda (British Overseas Territory)
No, not the Bermuda triangle. Bermuda - the group of low-forming volcanic islands… ok, wait, that sounds scary. Think of it this way: choose from the most beautiful beaches in the whole wide world on one of Bermuda’s seven main islands and work from there. If you are from the EU, the US, UK, or Canada, you can “convert” your tourist visa easily. If you aren’t, you’ll need a work visa.
Similar to Barbados, you must not work for an employer based or legally present in Bermuda, but unlike Barbados, you won’t be faced with an income minimum.
How to apply for Work from Bermuda Certificate?
Again, this one is easy, too. Use this application form to get started. The application fee will run you an odd 263 dollars, which is also significantly less than the Barbados Welcome Stamp.
Hint: Cost of living in Bermuda is insanely affordable, making it a serious remote work destination to consider.
Let’s be real here - while Cayman Islands have a dedicated program known as Global Citizen Concierge to facilitate great conditions for remote workers, not everyone can prove they make more than 100,000 dollars a year. But, just in case you do, do consider this Caribbean destination known for amazing diving, sunrise and sunsets.
Oh, and yes - if you are bringing a partner, your income will have to exceed 150,000, while bringing a dependent along with a spouse will have to be accompanied with an income exceeding 180,000 dollars. But that does mean that you can bring your family along, which isn’t the case with every destination.
How to apply for Global Citizen Concierge visa?
Find all the information along with the application here. Don’t forget to ready 1,463 dollars for the application fee, and 500 dollars for each dependent should you bring any along.
Bye, bye Caribbean, hello East Africa! Unlike the above nations and territories (with the exception of Australia), Mauritius is an island nation of some 1 and a half million people and arguably the most remote-work friendly place on this list because it’s so easy to apply, there are almost no restrictions except working for an entity not based in Mauritius, and it’s completely free. Yes, you can also bring dependents. You can apply online or while in the country, and you’ll be able to work from there for a whole year.
Mauritius is literally known as a paradise island with its breathtaking beaches and lagoons, untouched nature for unforgettable hiking trips, and really attractive cost of living (roughly 32% lower than the U.S. and 28% lower than the U.K.). What’s there not to love?
How to apply for Mauritius Premium Visa?
Literally as easy as ABC - book a flight, apply online, get approved, book accommodation and do a PCR test, and voila.
Montserrat (British Overseas Territory)
I’ll shamelessly admit that I’ve never heard of this place until commencing research to compile this piece and make your dreams of old-school remote work a reality, but this is probably the most weirdly gorgeous place ever.
The north of the island is one of the areas largely unaffected by a huge volcanic eruption that actually destroyed parts of the island. But in some strange twist of events, this temperamental volcanic island is probably as gorgeous as it is due to its volcanic activity. You’ll find black sand beaches (yes, black sand!), and breathtaking mountains that look like they’ve emerged from another planet and not this very Earth’s soil.
Montserrat is a safe place for foreigners, and like many other Caribbean islands, its population uses ECD as a currency and speaks English.
How to apply for the Montserrat Remote Work Stamp?
You’ll need to prepare 500 dollars for your own application, or 750 for a family of 3. If your family is bigger than that, you’ll need to add an additional 250 dollars per person.
Pastéis de Nata a.k.a Portugese custard tarts…
oh wait, this is about most remote work-friendly destinations.
Yes, Portugal is ridiculously beautiful, and if you’re from Europe, or are working for a remote employer that prefers you to stay in a close-by time zone, look no further than Portugal. But Portugal is also home to Pastéis de Nata and we must not neglect that crucial fact!
(If you’ve never tried them, you have not lived. Go take your first breath now)
Portugal does not have a specific remote work visa program like the destinations above, but one can argue it provides way more flexibility with the visas it does offer - especially for non-EU individuals. D7 Visa & Residence Permit is the closest thing to a remote work visa, though it is known for everything but. D7 is totally available to non-EU individuals, and on top of that, after 5 years in the country, you’re also granted citizenship.
Aside from a pretty sweet residency deal, you can also benefit from the Non-Habitual Residence tax program or even the Simplified Regime.
How to apply for D7?
Fill out and print out the application form and collect all the necessary documents. Once that’s done, you will need to physically submit and pay 83 euros for the application processing (together with proof of financial independence, min. 600 EUR a month, independent travel and medical insurance, and criminal background check) to a Portugese Embassy or Consulate near you.