Visa options for digital nomads in Europe

 ETIAS for Canadians
ETIAS for Canadians
Digital nomads are individuals who leverage technology to perform their jobs from anywhere globally, embodying a shift in traditional work structures towards location independence.
Digital nomads in Europe

Digital nomads are individuals who leverage technology to perform their jobs from anywhere globally, embodying a shift in traditional work structures towards location independence. This lifestyle, referred to as digital nomadism, has seen a significant surge in popularity recently due to advancements in connectivity and a global shift towards remote work. As Europe emerges as a popular destination for this community, understanding the array of visa options is crucial to navigate the continent’s various legal landscapes. This knowledge not only ensures compliance but also maximizes opportunities for exploring Europe’s rich cultural diversity. The rise of remote work has led to an increase in the number of Digital nomads in Europe, taking advantage of the continent’s rich cultural heritage while maintaining their professional commitments.



Visa-Free Countries in Europe for Canadian Digital Nomads

Digital nomads in EuropeDifferent countries have varying visa regulations that Digital nomads in Europe must comply with to avoid legal complications. Digital nomadism offers the freedom to work anywhere, and Europe’s cultural richness makes it an attractive destination. However, visa requirements can present obstacles. This section provides an overview of visa-free countries within Europe for Canadian digital nomads, with emphasis on the Schengen Area’s limitations, along with the maximum stay duration, permissible activities, and entry requirements in these countries.

Schengen Area and its Limitations

The Schengen Area, a 26-country zone within Europe, offers visa-free travel to Canadians for short stays. However, these stays are limited to 90 days within a 180-day period, presenting limitations for digital nomads intending longer stays. Working during these stays can also be legally complicated, requiring careful adherence to regulations. Digital nomads in Europe often share their experiences online, helping newcomers navigate the unique challenges and joys of living and working abroad.

Overview of Visa-Free Countries for Canadians

Aside from the Schengen Area, several European countries permit Canadians visa-free stays, often extending beyond the Schengen’s 90-day limit. These countries may also offer more flexibility in terms of permissible activities, including work. Entry requirements generally include a valid passport and sometimes proof of sufficient funds or return travel plans. Note that starting 2024, travel to Schengen countries will also require an ETIAS (European Travel Information and Authorization System) authorization, even for visa-free travel.



Long-Term Visa Options for Canadian Digital Nomads in Europe

While short-stay visa-free travel is convenient, Canadian digital nomads seeking longer stays in Europe often need to explore long-term visa options. These visas enable extended residency and work, crucial for fully embracing the nomadic lifestyle. Here, we delve into the specific long-term visa options available in Germany, a popular destination among the digital nomad community. Exploring visa options for Canadian digital nomads in Europe has become an important part of planning for Canadians seeking to embrace the digital nomad lifestyle.


Germany offers a unique visa tailored to the needs of freelancers, including digital nomads. Known as the Freelance Visa, it allows recipients to live and work independently in Germany. Requirements for this visa include proof of sufficient income, health insurance, and a portfolio of work, among others. The application process, although thorough, is typically straightforward. The Freelance Visa offers substantial freedom in terms of permissible activities but does come with limitations – namely, freelancers must predominantly work with German clients. Understanding these nuances can help Canadian digital nomads make an informed decision about their European journey. The Germany freelance visa for digital nomads is an attractive option due to its relative flexibility and the country’s excellent infrastructure.

Czech Republic

Digital nomads in EuropeIn the Czech Republic, a popular option for digital nomads is the Živnostenský List, or Trade License, coupled with a Long-Term Visa. The Zivno allows for self-employment in various trades, including those suitable for digital nomads. To apply, proof of accommodation in the Czech Republic, a clean criminal record, and sufficient financial resources are required. It’s worth noting that the process may take several months.

The Zivno and long-term visa combination offer several benefits, including access to local healthcare. However, a primary restriction is the requirement to physically stay in the country for most of the visa duration, limiting the nomadic lifestyle. It’s important to weigh these factors before embarking on the Zivno path. The Czech Republic trade license visa is a popular choice among digital nomads due to its allowance for self-employment across a range of trades.


Estonia is at the forefront of digital innovation, famously introducing the e-Residency program. This program doesn’t confer visa rights but provides a digital identity allowing one to manage an EU-based business online. For digital nomads seeking long-term stays, Estonia also launched the Digital Nomad Visa, enabling a stay of up to one year.

Benefits of the e-Residency and Digital Nomad Visa include access to the European market and the ability to manage a company remotely. However, these don’t equate to tax residency or rights to permanent stay. To apply, one needs to demonstrate that they can work independently of location, and the majority of their work is conducted online. The process takes several weeks and requires a visa application fee.


Spain offers a variety of visa options, but one particularly suited to digital nomads is the Non-Lucrative Visa (Visa de Residencia No Lucrativa). This visa allows foreigners to reside in Spain without engaging in any local professional activity, making it an ideal option for remote workers or freelancers earning income from non-Spanish sources. The Spain non-lucrative visa for digital nomads offers an appealing pathway for those wishing to live in Spain without engaging in local professional activities.

To qualify, applicants must provide proof of sufficient financial means to support themselves without needing to work locally. This usually includes bank statements, investment documents, or evidence of regular income from overseas. In addition, applicants must have private health insurance that provides full coverage in Spain.

While the Non-Lucrative Visa permits a stay of up to one year, with the possibility of renewal, it does come with certain limitations that digital nomads need to be aware of. For one, you’re not allowed to work for a Spanish company or do business with local clients. Another key consideration is the tax implication: if you stay more than 183 days in a calendar year, you may be considered a tax resident. As always, it’s recommended to consult with a legal professional when planning your stay.



Freelancer Visa Programs in Europe

Digital nomads in EuropeEurope offers a myriad of freelancer visa programs, offering digital nomads from around the world the chance to legally live and work in vibrant cultural environments. Each program has its unique features, requirements, and considerations. Here, we will look at the options provided by France and the Netherlands, two nations increasingly appealing to digital nomads due to their high-quality life, robust infrastructure, and openness to remote work. Many digital nomads find that a Freelancer Visa Europe offers a beneficial pathway to living and working across multiple European countries.

As mentioned above, ETIAS will be necessary in order to travel to Europe after next year. After submission, your ETIAS application will be checked through different security databases, including Interpol, Europol, and Schengen Information System (SIS).


France offers a long-stay visa known as “Profession Libérale,” ideal for freelancers and independent professionals. The application process requires a business plan, proof of professional qualifications, and sufficient funds to support oneself. A significant advantage is that it allows holders to live and work legally in France. However, the visa process can be complex and lengthy, and it requires renewals every year for the first three years. Furthermore, visa holders may be subject to French taxation.


The Netherlands offers the “Kennismigrant” or Highly Skilled Migrant Visa, which allows digital nomads to live and work in the country. This visa, however, requires an employment contract with a recognized sponsor in the Netherlands, which may not suit all digital nomads. The advantages include access to a highly connected and English-friendly environment. Limitations include its reliance on an employer or sponsor, making it less flexible for freelancers who may want to work with clients from various countries.



Visa Application Tips for Digital Nomads

The flexibility of working remotely has allowed Digital nomads in Europe to balance their professional obligations with the chance to explore various cities, cuisines, and cultures across the continent. The visa application process can often seem daunting, especially for digital nomads who frequently cross borders. Here are a few strategies to streamline the process and maximize your chances of success.

Firstly, thorough research is essential. Every country has its unique visa requirements and regulations, so understanding these is crucial. Visit official government websites and credible resources to gather accurate information.

Next, gather necessary documentation well in advance. This often includes a valid passport, proof of financial sustenance, travel insurance, accommodation arrangements, and sometimes a criminal record check. Remember that these requirements can vary. With the advent of digital technology and remote work, the concept of a Digital Nomad Visa Europe has garnered significant interest among the remote working community worldwide.

A strong motivation letter can bolster your application. This document should clearly state your purpose of visit, planned activities, and assurance of adherence to visa conditions. Make it compelling but concise.

Sometimes, visa applications can get complicated, especially for long-term visas. Don’t hesitate to seek professional help if needed. Immigration lawyers or consultants can provide valuable guidance.

Finally, maintain robust financial records. Proof of sustenance is a common requirement for visas. Regular income statements, savings, investments, or any other financial assets can serve this purpose. Remember, preparedness is key to a seamless visa application process.

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