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Estonia to be one of the first countries in the world to create a digital nomad visa

10. June 2020 - 9:06

The Riigikogu today approved digital nomad visa related amendments, pursuant to which Estonia is one of the first countries in the world to create a digital nomad visa. The Estonian digital nomad visa allows people to come to Estonia and stay here as a tourist, while continuing working for a foreign employer or as a freelancer, independent of location.

Digital nomadism is a lifestyle which allows combining travelling all over the world and teleworking over the Internet. The main areas of activity in digital nomadism include information and communication technology, finance, and marketing.

“The digital nomad visa will strengthen Estonia’s image as an e-state and give Estonia a more influential voice on the international level. It will also facilitate the export of Estonia’s e-solutions, which is particularly important in recovering from the current economic crisis,” said Minister of the Interior Mart Helme.
Estonia as a country renowned for novel technological solutions is an attractive country of destination for digital nomads on the international level. Digital nomads will create significant added value for Estonia, as they diversify the Estonian ICT community while consuming the local goods and services, thereby having a positive impact on local business.

The minister added that digital nomads will be subject to the general requirements for issuing visas, and minimising the risks of misuse was taken into account in developing the amendments. No digital nomads will have the right to obtain a visa by default and their background will be checked as thoroughly as in the case of other visa applicants.

The fact that digital nomads do not fall under classical employment rules makes it difficult for them to come to Estonia and choose purposeful grounds of stay in Estonia. Digital nomads value Estonia’s start-up ecosystem, access to the European Union market, the high level of English language skills, and the e-residency programme.

The digital nomad visa programme will be implemented gradually. In the first stage, foreigners who themselves prove that they are digital nomads can apply for a visa. In the future, solutions will be developed for combining Estonia’s other e-state solutions, particularly e-residency, with the digital nomad visa. A programme offered via a reliable service provider is planned for the future. According to preliminary estimates, the maximum of approximately 1,800 people a year could apply for a digital nomad visa.

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