Portugal’s new digital nomad visa just made working remotely from a European beach easier
When you think "digital nomad," you might immediately think about tropical destinations.
But the trend has also been growing in Europe, and Portugal just announced a new digital nomad scheme that will open for applications this month.
The government confirmed last week that from Oct. 30, workers from any countries that aren't part of the European Union or European Economic Area can apply for the remote work and residency visa.
Proof of tax residency, employment details, such as a contract, and evidence of workers' income will be required.
Applicants will also need to be earning at least four times as much as the Portuguese national wage. That is currently 822 euros ($798), so the minimum monthly income for digital nomads would be around 3,288 euros.
Digital nomads are choosing Europe
The digital nomad community is growing quickly in Europe, with more and more countries creating specific visas for foreigners to work in them remotely. Croatia, Iceland and Greece are among those who already offer this style of visa, while others like Spain are planning on launching them soon.
Portugal is already a top destination for working and living abroad. Beaches, cities and mountains — the small country of 10 million has all of it. And combined with a cheaper cost of living compared to many European nations and the U.S., it has become popular among expats.
Around 7,000 Americans were living in the southern European country at the end of 2021, according to the most recent data released by the Portuguese Immigration and Borders Office. Overall, the percentage of foreigners living in Portugal is at an all-time high.
Research has suggested that Portugal is the third safest country in the world for digital nomads, the country came ninth in a ranking of the healthiest countries for those working and living abroad and digital nomad platform Nomad List ranks Lisbon, Portugal's capital, as the top destination based on feedback from its community.
Visa options in Portugal
The favorable ranking came despite Portugal not having an official digital nomad visa to date. Options have included the D7 visa, which was designed for retirees but used by people of all ages wanting to live and work abroad. Anyone can apply for it as long as their income is above the local minimum wage, but it does require holders to stay in the country for a certain amount of months each year.
Another (much more expensive) alternative is the Golden Visa. In exchange for investment of at least 350,000 euros which must be held for at least five years, Portuguese residency can be gained. Holders of the Golden Visa only have to stay in the country for a week each year to keep their status.
Criticism about these programs has been widespread: Some argue that they, especially the Golden Visa, could be used as a way to "buy" citizenship, while others are mostly concerned about the influx of foreigners driving up prices for locals.