After a year of sheltering in place, we’ve gotten the itch- the itch to pack up our bags and explore somewhere new. You may have even wondered what it would be like to move to a new country, learn a new language, and have your morning coffee with a new view, but weren’t sure where to start.
Moving abroad is becoming a possibility within reach as many companies adopt flexible policies and embrace remote-first work. Governments are beginning to adapt to the changing ways of working as well. A few progressive countries are setting up visas specifically for people who would like to explore a new way to live and work. Here at Whereby, we are lucky to have a few members on our team who started a life in a new country on these programmes.
It’s important to dream big and imagine yourself exploring new cities and cultures beyond the usual tourist spots. With short vacations, tight timelines can mean prioritizing the most popular restaurants and historical sites, but there is so much more to a place than this. The idea of immersing yourself in the culture, people, and flavours of an island, or embedding yourself in the excitement and food of an European city can become more than a romantic notion.
Exploring cities for a longer period of time is a blessing that was once out of reach for most people - but the opportunities to relocate are growing.
In recent years, countries in Europe and islands in the Caribbean are opening their doors and making it easier for remote workers who can support themselves to call their countries home.
To name a few: Antigua & Barbuda began offering the digital nomad visa pre-pandemic, that allows remoters to dance and play in their 365 beaches for up to 2 years! Just last year, Estonia released their digital nomad visa that allows digital nomads and entrepreneurs to travel and stay in their country for up to a year. A brand new digital nomad experience just launched this February in a small Portuguese island called Madeira to help bring exposure, income, and support to their population. Dubai has joined the list with their new 1 year remote working programme visa.
If you’re looking for a long-term stay in another country, it can be helpful to hear from people who have been there. Here are a few words of wisdom for our teammates who are utilizing these programmes for remote working:
The Czech Republic offers a freelancer visa called the Zivnostensky List which allows you to support yourself as an entrepreneur in the country for at least a year and can be extended.
- "Prague’s emerging tech community makes it a hidden gem for those looking to break into tech - but it is super important to get professional experts to guide you through the entire relocation process,”
“Like many places, paperwork is a necessary evil and communicating in the local language is critical for every government office and experience you will face. While the process wasn’t exactly ‘easy’, the benefits have been more than worthwhile. The location of the Czech Republic makes it easy to travel to neighboring cities like Berlin, Vienna, and Krakow!” Germany also has a very similar visa type to the Czech Republic so be sure to do your research on the current application process.
If you are American, you are legally allowed to stay for up to 90 days in the Schengen zone to quench your wanderlust before considering a big move. For Europeans, moving within the EU is relatively uncomplicated, but for another Wherebyrd escaping the European winter was worth a move to the other side of the world.
- "After living in Sweden for a few years, I decided to write my thesis in Indonesia while working remotely. There is currently no Indonesian visa that is a perfect fit for a ‘digital nomad,’ but if you are currently looking into relocating to Bali, be a little patient. The Indonesian government wants to make it attractive for remote workers to be based here for a few months and is just drafting a new visa."
There are quite a few options for a legal extended stay:
- Visa on arrival (60 days) - enabling you to extend for a maximum of 2 months. After two months you need to leave the country. A lot of expats use this option to fly to Kuala Lumpur or Singapore for 1-2 nights and re-enter Bali afterward.
- Social visa (6 months) - is a visa that allows you to remain 6 months in the country with a single entry. (Meaning you can travel in Indonesia, but once you leave the country, your visa won't be valid anymore.)
- Business visa (usually one year) - allows you to evaluate whether you want to set up a business; however, it doesn't allow you to earn money within Indonesia. With this visa, you also need to go on a visa run every 60 days.
- Kitas (usually 1 year) - legally enables you to set up a business in Indonesia and earn money in the country. You don't need to leave for visa runs and will be given basic health insurance and a bank account.
As more governments open up new options for remote workers, there will be more and more opportunities for you to experience the lifestyle of different places in the world. When one decides to relocate to another country it is important to embrace the culture and the people there. Out of respect, learning their language is a great way to make new friends and learn about how other cultures do things their way.
Relocating can be an isolating experience if you don’t plan ahead and push yourself out of your comfort zone. Joining a remote company before you leave your home can be a great way to mentally keep a sense of routine and create friendships before the big move.
Whereby has grown to 80+ employees, living and thriving in 30+ countries around the world - and we’re hiring. Although our methodology is “borderless”, we’re still bound by the legalities of the world, so for now, we do not sponsor or obtain visas or right to work for employees unless it is required for business, privacy, or security purposes.
If you have the legal right to work in the United Kingdom, USA, or Norway you can enter employment with us and receive all of the statutory benefits those countries have to offer. If you have the right to work in a country offered by Oyster or Remote.com (Employment of Record businesses) and you’d like to be employed, read more about how we approach contracts, visas and right to work on our open handbook.
*Please verify with the official site for the latest information for requirements and details based upon your passport/nationality.