Digital nomad visas – Costa Rica, Barbados, and Malta

Are you part of the next generation of digital nomads?

If you want to spend longer in one place and have higher standards of living, this guide is for you.

Do you prefer the term Digital Nomad or Location Independent? Whatever your preference, the desire for people to work remotely has increased over the last few years. This is partly due to the recent COVID pandemic and the inevitable changes this brought.

Many countries have caught on to this new wave and have created or updated their visa options.

But which country is best for YOU? What are the requirements? Where do you have to pay taxes? And, is the wifi going to be fast enough? So let’s dive straight in and take a look at our top 6 destinations. Here we look at Costa Rica, Barbados and Malta. Stay tuned for the next installment, where we will look at Estonia, Dubai and Croatia.

Costa Rica

Costa Rica’s Stay for Remote Workers and Service Providers allows eligible non-Costa Rican nationals to work remotely from within the country for one year. Costa Rica is one of the most popular places for digital nomads and expats alike. It has beautiful beaches, an excellent living standard, and a slow pace of life. Plus, on top of that, remote workers will soon also enjoy special tax benefits.

Pros

No income tax for up to 2 years
Low fee and small income requirements
Strong expat community and infrastructure

Cons

Internet might be spotty
Documents to be translated to Spanish
Deposit for the ticket back home, 12/month bank statements and affidavit

Cost: $190, non-refundable
Minimum annual income: $36,000
Required: Private health coverage and travel insurance

Barbados

Barbados was one of the first countries to offer the remote visa program back in June 2020. The Welcome Stamp visa is designed for employees and self-employed digital nomads, who want to explore the Caribbean island and take advantage of 12 months with no personal income tax.

Pros

You pay ZERO income tax for a year
Flexibility to arrive in Barbados even up to a year after approval
Pretty good fibre optic internet coverage, good healthcare, and climate

Cons

Visa fees are high, but they are payable after approval
Only 1-year visa but there is a possibility of extension
The cost of living is generally pretty high

Cost: $2,000 for single person, non-refundable
Minimum annual income: $50,000
Required: Private health coverage or travel insurance

Malta

The beautiful Mediterranean island of Malta is an excellent place to catch the sun all year long. Work remotely and enjoy great internet speeds! Malta’s Nomad Residence Permit is a one-year-long permit for non-EU nationals, that comes with 1-year income tax exemption (but not for everyone).

Pros

Aside from Maltese, English is the official language
Strong internet connection speeds and great coverage
Low compliance risks, i.e., you pay your tax at home

Cons

High cost of living
The pollution levels are one of the worst in Europe
Not available for people without tax residency
Might be soon added to tax blacklists
Some issues with scams and corruption

Cost: $350, non-refundable
Minimum annual income: $36,000
Required: Private health coverage or travel insurance

Still not sure which location is best for you? There are over 49 destinations worldwide which offer a digital nomad visa in one form or another. It all depends on your individual circumstance and of course, personal taste. So give one of them a try, after all they say travel does broaden the mind.


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An alternative traveller and digital designer. Travelling full time with her 2 cats and constantly searching for adventurous means of transport and other ways to live a sustainable lifestyle.