In Brief

Estonia launches ‘digital nomad visa’ scheme to attract remote workers

The Baltic state is aiming to beat Covid recession while boosting status as a ‘bureaucratic innovator’

The Estonian government is hoping to boost the country’s Covid-hit economy with a new visa scheme that ministers say “will strengthen Estonia’s image as an e-state”.

The small Baltic state is home to just 1.3 million, but hopes to increase its working population by offering a “digital nomad visa” targeting non-European remote-working employees or freelancers. 

Applicants for the scheme must show they are making at least €3,504 (£3,174) per month and “provide evidence, such as client lists, which prove their professional role”, reports Politico.

If successful, so-called digital nomads will be able to remain in Estonia for 12 months, as well as getting the green light for up to 90 days of travel across Europe’s borderless 26-country Schengen Area.

The plan should boost Estonia’s “growing credentials as a bureaucratic innovator” while “closing a legal loophole” that previously meant many remote workers could not legally work in the countries they were visiting, the news site adds.

Ruth Annus, head of the Interior Ministry Department, told Politico that Estonia was “unique” in offering “a tailor-made visa for the digital nomad community”.

“Digital nomads also use services which are taxed in Estonia, and we believe they create diversity and enrich the community,” she said.

Minister of the Interior Mart Helme added: “The digital nomad visa will strengthen Estonia’s image as an e-state and give Estonia a more influential voice on the international level.”

Lonely Planet notes that “forward-thinking” Estonia has already introduced an e-residency programme allowing entrepreneurs to “access the government’s digital services and start a business within the European Union” without needing to be present in the country.

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