The destinations welcoming digital nomads, from Anguilla to Estonia

·8-min read
bermuda - Getty
bermuda - Getty

Work from home is once again the Government message to all those that can do so. Six months into a remote office set-up, the prospect of relocating (laptop in tow) to somewhere or warmer, quieter, or simply less familliar is ever-more enticing.

A clutch of schemes aimed at, or suitable for, remote workers have popped up over recent months. The latest addition is from the Caribbean island of Anguilla, while a group of freelancers and entrepreneurs in Bali are petitioning the Indonesian government to introduce a specific "digital nomad" visa.

Many existing or proposed schemes have been created to plug the financial losses of curtailed tourism. Moving overseas at this time should of course be treated with caution (as with all travel during the pandemic). But, for those in a situation that could allow them to pack up their lives for a few months to a year, what are the options? We take a closer look below.

Anguilla

What’s the offer?

This “Covid-free” 35 square-mile British Overseas Territory of white sand beaches is opening to individuals and families for tourism and remote work. Individuals and families can apply to live and work on Anguilla for up to 12 months. Those who are successful will have to pay between $1,000 (£781) for a three-month stay as a single person to $1,500 (£1,172) for a family of four. Longer-term stays of three to 12 months will cost $2,000 (£1,562) individually or $3,000 (£2,344) for a family of four.

Entry requirements for tourists are stringent in Anguilla, and this extends to its remote working offer. An application must be updated with negative Covid-19 test results 3-5 days before arrival, when you reach the island you will be tested upon arrival, then again after 10 days. A ten-day quarantine is mandatory with a negative test required for an end to this.

The cost of application includes insurance, which covers Covid-19 medical costs and full hospitalization, doctors’ visits, prescriptions and air ambulance.

Visitors need to specify their accommodation at the point of applying to visit. All accommodation (including private rentals) need to have met specific criteria for hosting. Anguilla’s tourism board is due to publish a full list of approved places. Anguilla is on the UK's travel green list.

What would a long-term stay be like?

Weekends could be spent lounging on one of Anguilla’s 33 beaches, developing your watersports skills (sailing, snorkelling, kiteboarding and paddleboarding are on the menu) and lapping up spa treatments.

As it stands, taking the ferry from neighbouring St. Maarten is not an option. British visitors can fly to Antigua and connect with a local carrier, such as Trans-Anguilla.

Where to apply: ivisitanguilla.com

koh phi phi - iStock
koh phi phi - iStock

Thailand

What’s the offer?

Thailand could be an option for a briefer stay (with an option to extend) under the country’s special tourist visa that will allow visitors to stay for up to 90 days (beginning with 14 days of quarantine). Once the initial stay has been approved, these visas can be renewed twice, potentially allowing for nine months in the country. However, as it stands, entry and re-entry to the country is tricky, as Chris Schalkx, a travel writer currently based in Thailand, has described. If there’s a chance you would need to return quickly or frequently to the UK, Thailand is certainly not the most suitable option on this list.

The Thai government is expected to issue just 1,200 of these visas each month. Thailand has been added to the UK's list of travel corridors.

What would a long-term stay be like?

Thailand is a favourite among remote workers, with beautiful landscapes to explore – from frenetic cities to tranquil islands – and a low cost of living. But the backpacker-style freedom promised pre-coronavirus is, clearly, no longer a given – international flights from Thailand are much limited compared to before the pandemic, for example.

The country has been less affected by Covid-19 than many European nations. To date, it has recorded just over 3,500 cases of the virus.

Where to apply: immigration.go.th

Bermuda

What’s the offer?

Bermuda is on the UK’s list of travel corridors, so you can visit without facing quarantine on your return. The Bermuda work from home certificate launched on August 1, offering a chance to stay in the country for up to a year. It is open to remote workers, self-employed ‘digital nomads’ and university students engaged in remote learning. An application costs $263 (£200).

Stipulations for applicants include evidence of employment with another or your own company (registered outside of Bermuda) or evidence of enrolment in a university, and showing substantial means or a continuous source of annual income

For those who are approved (a process completed in five business days), the 12-month period begins on the date the certificate is issued; those that wish to stay for longer can request for a renewal.

What would a long-term stay be like?

Bermuda is not the option for those looking to save. However, if costs are not a worry, you will be greeted with pink-tinged sand beaches (coloured by crushed coral from the surrounding reef), year-round sunshine, vestiges of British culture (think traditional pubs and afternoon teas) and ample watersport opportunities.

Buses are infrequent on the island, and taxis are fairly expensive. That said, Bermuda is just 21 square miles and you can rent an electric car, scooter or bicycle (longer-term leases come with discounts). The capital, Hamilton, is the base for buses and ferries.

Tbilisi - Getty
Tbilisi - Getty

Where to apply: forms.gov.bm

Georgia

What’s the offer?

Georgia’s remote worker visa scheme will allow international visitors to work from the country (for themselves or a foreign company) for an indefinite period. You apply through an online form and will need to provide confirmation of employment and consent to undergo 14 days of quarantine on entering the country.

Bear in mind that Georgia does not feature on the UK’s travel corridor list and is still included in the Foreign Office advice against all but essential travel.

What would a long-term stay be like?

Those who prefer to while away weekends immersed in mountain views or history would be well-catered for. In the capital, Tbilisi, delights include the sixth-century Anchiskhati Basilica, the Sioni Cathedral and streets lined with quaint wooden houses. There’s also a rich selection of hiking trails (best tackled in spring or early summer), over mountains and through valleys.

Tbilisi's public transport network includes a subway, regular busses and mini buses. The country's rail system connects the main cities and smaller towns.

Where to apply: geoconsul.gov.ge

Barbados

What’s the offer?

The Barbados Welcome Stamp allows visitors to work remotely on the island for up to a year. It comes with a charge of £1,590 ($2,000) per person, or £2,385 ($3,000) per family. Applicants must show they have health insurance in place and must have an annual income of at least £39,760. It should take a week to receive a response to an application.

Barbados is included on the UK’s quarantine-free travel list. Arrivals to Barbados are required to take a PCR antigen test for Covid-19 within 72 hours of their visit and to present a certificate confirming that they are Covid-19 negative.

Travellers that arrive without having been tested will be checked for the virus at Barbados airport.

What would a long-term stay be like?

Barbados enjoys warm weather year-round with an average temperature of 27C. June saw the start of hurricane season, which runs to December and brings rain. However, Barbados is among the Caribbean islands least affected by hurricanes. It is hit, on average, by one hurricane every 20 years. Barbados is included on the UK’s quarantine-free travel list. 

At 21 miles long and 14 miles wide, Barbados offers plenty of sea-based pastimes, including snorkelling, scuba diving and surfing. Its hilly interior is filled with Anglican churches and botanical gardens.

You could spend your weekends wandering Tallinn's old town - Getty
You could spend your weekends wandering Tallinn's old town - Getty

Where to apply: barbadoswelcomestamp.bb

Estonia

What’s the offer?

Estonia’s ‘digital nomad visa’ allows foreign nationals to work remotely in the country for up to a year. Applicants must show evidence that they are earning at least €3,504 (£3,184) a month. They must also be employed with a company registered outside of Estonia, conduct business through a company registered abroad or work as a freelancer for clients mostly outside of Estonia.

What would a long-term stay be like?

Helpfully, Estonia was added to the UK’s travel corridor list on July 28, meaning you can return home without having to quarantine. Tallinn offers up a maze of cobbled streets and a Unesco-listed centre filled with opulent public buildings and pastel-coloured houses. Beyond the capital, the countryside is underpopulated, with miles of forests, fields and wetlands to explore.

Free public transport was introduced for residents of Tallinn in 2013, this was extended to much of the country from 2018. By 2019, buses were free in 11 of 15 of Estonia’s counties (for residents).

Where to apply: e-resident.gov.ee

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