16 Best Countries for Digital Nomads from Southeast Asia

16 Best Countries with Long-Term Visas for Digital Nomads (Updated 2021)

Travel slowly, work remotely — sounds awesome, yes?

If there’s anything that this work-from-home new normal has proven, it’s that many office tasks can actually be accomplished from anywhere. While some companies have already been doing a remote work setup even before the pandemic happened, there are others considering shifting to this in the long-term as well. Now more than ever, living as a digital nomad — whether through remote or freelance work — has become quite an alluring idea. After all, wouldn’t it be great to travel at your own pace while earning moolah? (In other words: limited vacation leaves, who?) 

At the same time, it’s no secret that many countries that heavily rely on tourism have been heavily impacted by the pandemic. So, in an effort to revive their economy, some destinations have taken to offering long-term-stay visas to attract remote workers all around the globe. Some of these cater to digital nomads of all kinds, whereas others have more specific classifications. Some come at a heftier price, while others are relatively more affordable.

Without further ado, here are the best countries for digital nomads from Southeast Asia that you might want to consider (temporarily) moving to. We know that deciding the best option can be tricky, so we’ve included some of the key factors that you need to know before applying and booking a one-way ticket. 

Also read: 18 Career Paths That Will Open You Up to Travel Opportunities

Asia

1. Dubai – United Arab Emirates

countries for digital nomads

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Yes, we know we said ‘countries for digital nomads’ instead of just ‘cities,’ but this one’s a special case. Last October, Dubai launched its one-year virtual working programme that permits remote workers, as well as their families, to stay in this glamorous oasis-slash-megalopolis. With this, aspiring digital nomads (and their families) will get access to telecoms, utilities, and schooling options. 

Income to prove: US$5,000 (S$6,747.75) monthly

Visa application cost: US$287 (S$389.39) per person

Average monthly cost of living: د.إ3,490.26 (S$1,282.37) per person, rent not included

Average broadband internet speed: 88.35Mbps

Climate: Subtropical desert, with mild winters and hot, humid summers

For the complete requirements and process, click here.

2. Georgia

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Got Georgia (as in the country, not the state) on your mind? Granted, it’s one of the more underrated destinations, yet those who have been there would rave about the fascinating mix of medieval and futuristic attractions! If you’re curious to see these, then why not apply for the Remotely from Georgia program? It allows remote workers from 95 countries, including Singapore and Malaysia, to live in and work there for at least a year — without even applying for a visa!

Income to prove: US$2,000 (S$2,700) monthly

Program application cost: Free

Average monthly cost of living: ₾1,308 (S$537.53) per person, rent not included

Average broadband internet speed: 32.24Mbps

Climate: Subtropical on the coast and in the western plains; continental or temperate in the central and eastern inland areas; year-round winter in alpine regions

For the complete requirements and process, click here.

Europe

3. Estonia

countries for digital nomads

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Did you know that Estonia is actually the first country to cater to remote workers? Back in 2014, they created an e-residency program that lets foreign entrepreneurs license an EU-based online business. And then last August, the country launched its official Digital Nomad Visa for foreigners who own a location-independent business and/or work remotely for a company based outside of Estonia. You can apply for either Type C (up to 90 days) or Type D (longer than 90 days).

Income to prove: €3,500 (S$5,576.53) monthly

Visa application cost: €80 (S$ 127.46) for Type C; €100 (S$ 159.33) for Type D

Average monthly cost of living: €1,400 (S$2,230.76) per person, rent not included

Average broadband internet speed: 65.79Mbps

Climate: European continental, with warm and dry summers and fairly severe winters

For the complete requirements and process, click here.

4. Spain

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You’ve probably already heard that Spain is one of the easiest countries to migrate to. But if that feels like too much of a commitment for now, then why not try out their Self-Employment Visa first? This one allows you to live there while carrying out freelance work or professional self-employment activities. Just like with most countries for digital nomads, this visa is valid for one year but can be renewed if all the conditions are still met.

Income to prove: €1,075 (S$1,713.24) monthly

Visa application cost: Starts at €205 (S$326.71) depending on your citizenship

Average monthly cost of living: €900 (S$1,434.34) per person, rent included

Average broadband internet speed: 137.21Mbps

Climate: Mediterranean climate, with hot, dry summers and mild yet rainy winters

For the complete requirements and process, click here.

Also read: 8D7N Itinerary Around Spain: Barcelona, Valencia and Madrid

5. Portugal

countries for digital nomads

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Another one of the easiest countries to migrate to that also offers digital nomad visas is Portugal. Here, you have two options: A Temporary Stay Visa that’s valid for less than a year with multiple entries; or a Residency Visa that allows you to stay for two years and also serves as a pathway to permanent residency. Both visas are valid for those self-employed individuals, freelancers, and even those living on passive income. 

P.S. — On the island of Madeira, there’s even the newly launched Digital Nomads Village! How cool is that?

Income to prove: €665 (S$1064.42) monthly

Visa application cost: Starts at €75 (S$120.05) depending on your citizenship

Average monthly cost of living: €1,408 (S$2,253.69) per person, rent included

Average broadband internet speed: 91.77Mbps

Climate: Mediterranean climate, with hot, dry summers and mild yet rainy winters

For the complete requirements and process, click here.

6. Germany

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In Germany, there’s a freelance residence permit called the Aufenthaltserlaubnis für selbständige Tätigkeit. (Yep, we try saying that out loud without pause.) Though, for the sake of brevity, most refer to it as the Freelance Visa, and it has a validity period of anywhere between six months and three years. The most commonly given one is good for one year, but you can definitely reapply if you wish. 

As its name suggests, this permit is for self-employed individuals planning to live and work there on a relatively long-term basis. By ‘self-employed,’ this could either mean a freelancer (Freiberuflich), or a business owner (Gewerbetreibende). Just keep in mind that the occupation for which you received your visa must remain your main one throughout your stay. 

Bank account balance to prove: ~€4,000 (S$6,376.03) 

Visa application cost: €100 (S$159.40)

Average monthly cost of living: €860 (S$ 1,370.85) per person, rent included

Average broadband internet speed: 85.73Mbps

Climate: Typical European continental, with warm, dry summers and cold, cloudy, and snowy winters

For the complete requirements and process, click here.

8. Czech Republic

countries for digital nomads

The Czech Republic has a long-term visa that’s commonly referred to as the Zivno Visa. Essentially, it’s an abbreviation for ‘Zivnostenske opravneni,” which means a visa based on your Zivnostenské opravneni: the Czech word for a trade, freelancing, or business license. Just like the digital nomad visa equivalent in Germany, this is also for those who wish to move to the country as either a freelancer or business owner. It’s valid for one year, but as part of the application requirements, you’ll have to prove a set accommodation in order to qualify.

Bank account balance to prove: 124,500Kč (S$7,501.17)

Visa application cost: 2,500 Kč (S$150.63)

Average monthly cost of living: 17,900Kč (S$1,078.64) per person, rent included

Average broadband internet speed: 51.04Mbps

Climate: Typical European continental, with warm, dry summers and cold, cloudy, and snowy winters

For the complete requirements and process, click here.

Also read: 10 Airbnbs in Prague That Deserve Your Attention

8. Croatia

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Early in 2021, Croatia made waves when they announced a special residence permit for digital nomads. Although, do take note that the country’s legislation has a specific definition for “digital nomads,” which are those living outside of the EU and working through communication technology for a company (whether their own or not) that is not registered in Croatia. 

Anyway, this digital nomad visa is available for different lengths of time, with a maximum of 12 months, and it cannot be extended. To renew, you’ll need to wait six months after the expiry of the previous visa. 

Income to prove: 16,907.50 kn (S$3,567.40) monthly

Visa application cost: 420 kn (S$88.62) if submitted to a Croatian embassy or consulate

Average monthly cost of living: 7,841 kn (S$1,657.34) per person, rent included

Average broadband internet speed: 65.8Mbps

Climate: Mediterranean climate in coastal areas; European continental climate in inland areas

For the complete requirements and process, click here.

Also read: 20 Budget Destinations in Europe You Should Visit

9. Iceland

countries for digital nomads

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Ever dreamt of staying for months in Iceland to catch the Northern Lights… while also not having to leave work? Yup, it’s now possible with their Work in Iceland program, which gives long-term visas to remote workers that’s valid for up to six months. Recipients may also bring along their spouse, children under the age of 18, and/or cohabiting partner. The only catch is that you’ll need to have a passport that doesn’t require a tourist visa for Iceland. 

Income to prove: 1,000,000Íkr (S$10,581.44) monthly if solo; 1,300,000Íkr (S$13,0151.73) monthly with companion/s

Visa application cost: 7,800Íkr (S$82.54) 

Average monthly cost of living: 415,271Íkr (S$4,401.71) per person, rent included

Average broadband internet speed: 85.73Mbps

Climate: Cold and windy maritime climate, with short summers and long winters

For the complete requirements and process, click here.

Also read: 8 Airbnb Homes in Iceland for When You Finally Make That Trip

10. Norway

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Another Nordic country that’s ideal for living as a digital nomad? Norway, which also happens to be among the happiest countries in the world! Foreign remote workers and freelancers can stay there for up to two years through the Independent Contractor Visa. However, there’s a caveat: You have to be self-employed with a contract to work on a project with a Norway-based client.

Income to prove: €35,719 (S$57,084.86) annually

Visa application cost: €600 (S$958.90) 

Average monthly cost of living: 10,835kr (S$1,728.73) per person, rent not included

Average broadband internet speed: 118.20Mbps

Climate: Marine climate in western areas with comparatively cool summers and mild winters; continental climate in eastern areas with warm summers and cold winters

For the complete requirements and process, click here.

Also read: My Journey on Norway’s Incredible Flåm Railway

Africa

11. Mauritius

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Feeling like going beyond the usual and expected? Well then, the East African country of Mauritius just might be the right choice for you! It’s the newest addition to the growing list of countries for digital nomads, having introduced its Premium Visa late in October this year. Aside from remote workers, this visa is also open to visitors, retirees, and parents with children studying in Mauritius. In a nutshell, it’s for those who wish to live in the country for up to a year, as long as they do not enter the Mauritian workforce during this period. 

Average monthly cost of living: Rs26,540 (S$897.83) per person, rent included

Average broadband internet speed: 22.70Mbps

Climate: Tropical maritime climate, with relatively little seasonal variation in temperatures

Application requirements and processes will soon be released here.

The Americas

12. Mexico

countries for digital nomads

While Mexico‘s Tourist Visa allows you to stay in the country for up to six months, there’s also the Temporary Resident Visa for those who wish to stay longer. The latter is good for one year and can be renewed annually for another three years — so that’s a maximum of four years! Its main advantages over the Tourist Visa include being authorised to open a Mexican bank account, legally register a vehicle, and freely leave and reenter Mexico throughout your stay. 

Like with others, the Temporary Visa allows you to work during your stay, as long as you are not hired by a company based there. And, of course, you’ll have to prove your financial capability.

Income to prove: US$1,945 (S$2,616.80) monthly over the past six months; or at least US$32,400 (S$43,590.96) overall account balance

Visa application cost: Mex$4,271 (S$ 282.86) per year

Average monthly cost of living: Mex$1,890 (S$125.17) per person, rent included

Average broadband internet speed: 42.12Mbps

Climate: Tropical climate with a rainy and dry season, and relatively little seasonal variation in temperatures

For the complete requirements and process, click here.

Also read: 46 Essential Spanish Phrases for Your Next Vacation

13. Barbados

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Yes, there’s more to Barbados than its beaches and, well, being the homeland of Rihanna. Thanks to the 12-Month Barbados Welcome Stamp, it’s also one of the ideal countries for digital nomads. As the name suggests, it lets you work remotely in this sunny island country for up to a year… and even bring your family along! You can also apply for renewal, if you happen to enjoy your stay and wish to extend it. 

Income to prove: US$50,000 (S$67,282.25) annually

Visa application cost: US$2,000 (S$2,691.29) for individuals; US$3,000 (S$4,036.93) for married couples/families

Average monthly cost of living: Bds$1,500 (S$1,003.04) per person, rent not included

Average broadband internet speed: 56.9Mbps

Climate: Tropical monsoon climate, with a rainy and dry season, and relatively little seasonal variation in temperatures

For the complete requirements and process, click here.

14. Bermuda

countries for digital nomads

Bermuda is another Caribbean nation that recently joined the digital nomad visa squad. With their One Year Residential Certification, you can work and/or study remotely for a year. That said, it’s open to remote workers, self-employed entrepreneurs, and even university students with only online classes. Oh, and if you have children coming along, you can also enroll them in a local school. While you are not entitled to a renewal of this certification, you can still file another application after a year. 

Income to prove: N/A; Enough to support

Visa application cost: US$263 (S$353.92) per person

Average monthly cost of living: BD$3,025  (S$4,069.83) per person, rent included

Average broadband internet speed: 73.60Mbps

Climate: Subtropical climate, with relatively fewer hurricanes and storms compared to other Carribean nations

For the complete requirements and process, click here.

15. Dominica

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Dominica is an English-speaking island in the eastern Caribbean. It’s also quite the off-the-beaten-path destination, since you’ll need to take a sea ferry or a connecting flight from nearby countries (like Puerto Rico, Guadeloupe, and Martinique) to get there. Nonetheless, their Work in Nature Extended Stay Visa is available for foreign remote workers aged 18 and above who wish to live there for up to 18 months! Those planning to bring their families along can opt for the country’s program that encourages children to attend a local school. 

Income to prove: US$50,000 (S$66,379.50) annually

Visa application cost: US$100 (S$132.76) 

Average monthly cost of living: EC$2,206 (S$1083.19) per person, rent not included

Average broadband internet speed: 41.46Mbps

Climate: Mostly tropical rainforest climate, with some areas bordering on a tropical monsoon climate 

For the complete requirements and process, click here.

16. Costa Rica

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And last but definitely not the least, we have Costa Rica. Not only did the country recently reopen its borders to all travellers, but it’s also visa-free for several Southeast Asian countries! Though, if you’d like to stay (and work) there for more than the allotted 90 days, you can apply for the Rentista Visa, which grants temporary residency for up to two years, with an option to extend. 

Rentista Visa holders can either work on their own (as long as they’re not employees of a Costa Rica-based company) or establish a business. They’ll also be eligible to apply for permanent residency after three or more years — without having to renounce their previous nationality! 

Income to prove: US$2,500 (S$,3364.72) monthly for the next two years; or US$60,000 (S$80,753.40) deposit in a Costa Rican bank

Visa application cost: US$250 (S$336.47) per person

Average monthly cost of living: ₡704,902 (S$1,549.94) per person, rent included

Average broadband internet speed: 37.72Mbps

Climate: Mostly tropical climate, with select highland areas having temperate climate; relatively fewer hurricanes and storms compared to other Carribean nations

For the complete requirements and process, click here.

Also read: 10 Items That Will Make Your Digital Nomad Life A Whole Lot Easier

Okay, we get how exciting this list of countries for digital nomads must be. But before you reach for your passport and start filling out application forms, how about checking this website for COVID-19 travel protocols first? At the end of the day, we’re all about travelling responsibly — pandemic period or not. 

Alternatively, are you planning on doing this only when it’s completely safe again? Well then, you might want to read up on how to effortlessly make friends during your working holiday. Or, better yet, have you already tried living as a digital nomad in one of these countries before? Go ahead and tell us all about it!

About Author

Marcy Miniano
Marcy Miniano

A fast-talking caffeine-dependent wordsmith, Marcy has never been one to shy away from sharing a good story or two. If she’s not in a quiet coffee shop somewhere, she enjoys spending afternoons in a museum or art gallery — whether it’s around Metro Manila or a foreign city she’s visiting. She wishes to retire in a winter village someday, so she can fulfil her lifelong dream of wearing turtlenecks all year round and owning a pet penguin.

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