Living as a digital nomad is one of the most exciting lifestyles in the modern world. Thanks to technological advancements and the miracle of wifi, you can work from anywhere as long as you have a laptop and an internet connection. While some jobs require you to stay in one place, many jobs allow you to work outside of an office, whether at home or abroad.
Why Work in Estonia?
Because more people now work outside the office, many countries are beginning to offer opportunities for people to visit and work. One of these countries is Estonia, one of the hottest new destinations for digital nomads, online freelancers, and people whose occupations don’t require going to an office.
If you're an American citizen looking to live and work abroad, one of the most exciting options is a digital nomad visa in Estonia. This visa will allow you to tap into this small country's rapidly growing tech ecosystem — and its beautiful countryside. If you've been considering applying for a digital nomad visa in Estonia, here's what you need to know about the process.
How To Apply for a Freelance Visa in Estonia
When it comes to applying for a visa, there are a few steps that you need to take. They are straightforward and won’t be too difficult to handle for most people that are familiar with online work:
- Review the eligibility criteria, and make sure that you can qualify to begin with.
- Fill out the application form at the website. Make sure you print it out and sign it after completion so it can be fully processed.
- Pay the fees associated with the visa application process; they are 80 euros for a short stay, and 100 euros for a long-term stay.
- Make an appointment with the nearest Estonian embassy or consulate so that you can turn in your application for a visa. Make sure that you bring copies of any of the required documents.
After you complete your entire application, it will be reviewed within around 30 days, and then you will know whether or not you are eligible for residency in Estonia.
Especially compared to many other countries in the world, this is one of the easiest ways to get a visa within the EU.
Eligibility for a Freelance Visa in Estonia
When it comes to applying for a freelance visa in Estonia, there are a few different things that you need to be aware of. Various eligibility criteria need to be met, as well as multiple processes you must go through when applying for the visa.
To be eligible for a Digital Nomad visa in Estonia, you need to meet the following requirements:
- You can work no matter where you are, so long as you have an internet connection and a computer.
- You have active business contracts with a company or companies outside of Estonia and have stable and reliable work as a freelancer or independent contractor.
- You can provide evidence that you have met the minimum income threshold for at least six months before applying. The threshold is currently 3504 euros gross.
While these requirements may seem pretty hard to achieve for beginning freelancers, they are achievable for people who have been working as digital workers long enough.
If you are interested in becoming a digital nomad who can meet these requirements, ensure you can sustainably work remotely over a long period.
Why Is Estonia Such a Great Place for Digital Nomads?
If you are considering applying for a digital nomad visa in Estonia, there is much to like about the country. The cost of living is reasonable, the quality of life is high, and people are generally welcoming of digital nomads.
The internet speeds are fast enough that you won't be frustrated working remotely (the average speed is 45 Mbps). There's plenty of good food, coffee shops with free Wi-Fi, and many craft breweries with happy hours during which they serve up local beer on tap and wine at half price or less.
Friendly people are everywhere, too — you'll find them waiting on tables at restaurants and serving drinks at bars as well as sitting next to you while having lunch at home or getting groceries after work at the grocery store down the street from where they live.
The weather can be unpredictable, but if it's warm enough outside, it may not matter much since there's always something fun around town. Things like festivals celebrating Estonia's rich cultural heritage starting each weekend throughout summertime make visiting Estonia even more enjoyable.
Estonia is a great place to live. The country has a lot of history, and the people are friendly, especially in the capital city of Tallinn. There are also lots of things to do there, including visiting museums or taking a boat tour through the old town.
What Is a Freelance Visa?
A visa is a permit that allows you to travel to a foreign country. There are different types of visas for other purposes, such as work and tourism. You can get a visa for a specific country or multiple countries, depending on what you'll be doing while traveling.
The Estonian government offers a specific visa for digital nomads, which allows you to live and work in Estonia. You can also travel throughout the Schengen Area, provided that you hold a valid passport from an EU member state or another country with an agreement with the EU (such as Canada).
To qualify for an Estonian digital nomad visa and be able to work remotely in Estonia, you must first meet specific requirements. You must have been accepted into the country as a self-employed individual and prove that your business plan is viable.
This means showing that there is demand for your services, you have enough money to pay yourself at least €1,300 per month (to cover rent/food), and making sure that you have health insurance coverage that will allow you to stay in the country legally while earning money online.
Additionally, if you are applying from outside of Europe, then it's essential that you also prove possession of an EU residence permit before applying for this type of Estonian visa.
What Is a Digital Nomad?
A digital nomad is someone who works remotely. This can include freelancers, entrepreneurs, and full-time remote employees of companies with offices worldwide. What defines a digital nomad is that they are not tied to a desk or location — they're not required to be in an office eight hours per day and five days per week for 40 hours per week (or whatever your company's standard schedule might be).
A digital nomad is free from these constraints because of the liberating power of technology. With laptops and smartphones that let you connect online wherever you go, there's no longer any reason for people to stick close together as they used to when jobs were only available locally or regionally.
Being a digital nomad means having the freedom to work from anywhere. Finding that perfect place can take some time, but everything else falls into place once you do. You no longer have to worry about money or where your next paycheck comes from because your income is always waiting for you when it’s time for another adventure.
You can work as a freelancer in many fields as a digital nomad. Here are some typical jobs that digital nomads do:
- Freelance work
- Freelance writing and editing (copywriting)
- Freelance design and graphics design (graphic design)
- Programming for websites, mobile apps, and desktop software (software development)
- Data analysis for businesses or organizations (business analyst)
If you're interested in working abroad on an official visa program, it's important to note that other requirements may differ from country to country.
With the digital nomad visa, Estonia is putting itself in a position to be a prime destination for entrepreneurs, freelancers, and remote workers. If you’re interested in applying for this visa, we recommend doing so through the official site of the Estonian government.
If you would like to trial life as a digital nomad in Europe, consider first applying for an ETIAS. On an approved ETIAS, you can visit your EU country of choice for up to 90 days, per 180 day period, while working on your business. This will enable you to have the flexibility to try living in a few different EU countries before selecting your ideal location.
EU travel authorization rules frequently change but you can keep yourself informed by following the current ETIAS requirements.