The pandemic has proved challenging for digital nomads, people who travel the world working remotely. With countries closing their borders and air travel heavily restricted, working abroad has become extremely difficult if not totally impossible for Americans.
But there are exceptions. Some countries are welcoming working travelers, including Americans, back again despite the pandemic.
Antigua and Barbuda
Remote workers earning at least $50,000 per year can live and work on the islands of Antigua and Barbuda for up to two years through the country’s Nomad Digital Residence program. The cost to apply is $1,500 for a single applicant, $2,000 for a couple and $3,000 for a family of three people or more.
“Visa holders will be able to travel into and out of the country as they wish for the period of the visa, but will have to maintain accommodation in the country,” the program’s website states. It also notes that “applicants are not allowed to work for any entity of any kind in Antigua and Barbuda, nor to derive any income from any entity in Antigua and Barbuda.”
Entering Antigua and Barbuda requires a negative coronavirus test result received within one week of arrival, and all arriving passengers will be monitored for up to 14 days to ensure they do not develop symptoms.
The Emirati city of Dubai launched a remote-work program that allows employed people making a minimum of $5,000 per month to live and work remotely in the city for up to one year. “Tourism has reopened in Dubai thanks to safety and hygiene management across the city — with open access to hotels, restaurants, theme parks, beaches and shopping malls,” according to the Visit Dubai program’s website.
A visa fee of $287, international medical insurance and a valid passport with six months validity remaining is required to apply. Americans entering Dubai must provide a negative coronavirus test result and are subject to airport health screenings, according to the U.S. Embassy in the United Arab Emirates.
The Cayman Islands tourism department will allow remote workers who make over $100,000 annually, couples who make a joint $150,000 annually, and couples with children who make $180,000 together annually, to stay in the country for up to two years when they acquire a Global Citizen Certificate. In addition to the salary requirement, applicants must have a valid passport, a reference from a bank, a letter of employment from a company outside of the Cayman Islands, and proof of health insurance coverage. The program also charges an application fee of $1,469.
“Global citizens can begin their day with a stroll along Seven Mile Beach, snorkel with stingrays in the clear waters of the Caribbean during lunch,” Visit Cayman Islands said in a news release announcing the program. “Not to mention, remote workers have the unique opportunity to truly immerse themselves in the wonders of island life in the Cayman Islands.”
The small island of Aruba launched its One Happy Workation program in September. The remote-work visa allows U.S. visitors to stay up to 90 days by booking a package-stay program at a participating hotel, villa or condominium.
Applications are not required to book a participating stay, according to the Aruba tourism board’s website, and depending on the property chosen, “program amenities will include special rates, complimentary WiFi, breakfast, all-inclusive food & beverage options and more.” All U.S. nationals with a valid passport for their stay are able to book a “workation” with a participating property. You can browse the options, which range from hotel rooms to apartments, on the One Happy Workation website.
Launching on Aug. 1 after years of development, the Republic of Estonia’s digital nomad visa will allow foreigners to stay in Estonia for up to a year.
Applicants must have a gross monthly salary of 3,000 euros (about $3,530) or more from a remote work job to be considered for the visa, which is an extension of Estonia’s e-Residency program for foreign entrepreneurs.
“We saw that there was kind of a lack of opportunities for [digital nomads], so we wanted Estonia to solve the problem,” Ott Vatter, the managing director of e-Residency, told The Washington Post. “Estonia aims to be the hub for these kinds of new entrepreneurs that we see trending globally."
Since the Estonian Parliament authorized the program in June, international applicants mostly from the United States, Canada, Russia and Asia completed the online request for either a Type C short stay visa, or a Type D long stay visa.
At this time, Estonia is not allowing Americans to visit the country for tourism, but they are allowed in for the purpose of work or study. On arrival, foreigners must self-quarantine for 14 days.
Shortly after reopening its borders to international travel, Barbados launched a program that allows visitors, including Americans, to stay on the Caribbean island visa-free for up to one year.
Called the “Barbados Welcome Stamp,” the program was created to bring remote workers to the country.
“The aim is to attract remote workers, with a bill to be introduced in Parliament by the government that will remove the local income taxes that normally kick in after six months,” The Post reported.
The online application fee is $2,000 for individuals and $3,000 for families. Applicants must certify they earn an annual income of $50,000 or have the means to support themselves during their time in Barbados.
Those traveling to Barbados for remote work or pleasure during the pandemic must follow new travel protocols.
On July 16, the country of Georgia announced a new program for foreigners to work remotely from the country.
“Georgia has the image of an epidemiologically safe country in the world and we want to use this opportunity,” the country’s minister of economy, Natia Turnava, said in a statement. “We are talking about opening the border in a way to protect the health of our citizens, but, on the other hand, to bring to Georgia citizens of all countries who can work remotely.”
Applicants must provide proof of employment and give their consent to self-quarantine for 14 days to be considered for the program. Applications should be available soon.
American travelers are not allowed into Georgia at this time unless they’re granted a long-term visa of at least six months, traveling for business with a special permit or are the spouse of a Georgian citizen.
Travelers from the United States are allowed to visit Jamaica. However, the entry requirements vary depending on their home state.
All Americans must have an approved Travel Authorization ahead of their trip, or they won’t be allowed to travel to Jamaica.
At this time, visitors from Florida, Arizona, Texas and New York are classified as high-risk states by the Jamaican government and are required to provide a proof of negative covid-19 PCR tests from an accredited lab to receive a travel authorization.
People who identify as business travelers in their Travel Authorization application will be given a test for the novel coronavirus on arrival to Jamaica.
“We have worked with IATA to ensure that it is a part of the airline check-in protocols that if you’re coming to Jamaica you have to produce this authorization,” said Donovan White, Jamaica’s director of tourism.
White says that while most travelers are given a 30-day visa on arrival, they can apply for a longer stay visa to enjoy more of what Jamaica has to offer digital nomads.
“There’s so much history and folklore around Jamaica. Anyone who is a nomad traveler … will be able to write a storybook about spending an extended time in Jamaica,” White said.