The 10th of June, Estonia’s Riigikogu (the unicameral parliament of Estonia) approved the Digital Nomad Visa. This groundbreaking event means Estonia has become one of the first countries in the world to create a VISA that allows remote entrepreneurs, nomads and even tourists to work and do business in Estonia. Yes, without being residents of Estonia.

Why is this such a big deal?

One of the greatest advantages of having a company thanks to the e-Residency program of Estonia is freedom. Estonia understands digital nomads and, unlike other countries, actively encourage people to access the Estonian business system while pursuing a location independence lifestyle, without ever living or visiting Estonia.

In the world of the future, physical borders and limitations will lose their significance, and the businesses that will thrive will be those who think and act globally.

The digital nomad VISA is a big step in that direction. It brings the future to the present and allows entrepreneurs to work (as freelancers or even employees for foreign companies) without residing in Estonia.

This is also particularly relevant in the current scenario, with the COVID-19 pandemic forcing institutions and organizations to look for digital alternatives and new workflows in which online services and digitalization can play a vital role. In the words of Mart Helme, the Minister of Interior:

“The digital nomad visa will strengthen Estonia’s image as an e-state and give Estonia a more influential voice on the international level. It will also facilitate the export of Estonia’s e-solutions, which is particularly important in recovering from the current economic crisis”.

How and when can you apply?

Digital nomads, like applicants of other types of VISAs, will be subject to the general requirements for issuing a Digital Nomad VISA. That implies, among other things, that your background will be checked, and you will have to provide some information to the authorities before it gets approved.

According to the Ministry of Interior, the digital nomad visa program will be implemented gradually. In the first stage, foreigners will need to prove that they are digital nomads to apply for the VISA. In the future, digital solutions will be developed for combining Estonia’s other e-state solutions, particularly e-residency, with the digital nomad visa. This is a very exciting perspective, combining the possibilities of the e-Residency program to power the identification and information request process of the VISA in a completely digital, online framework.

A program offered via a reliable service provider is planned for the future. According to preliminary estimates, initially a maximum of approximately 1,800 people a year could apply for a digital nomad visa.

Note: we will update this post as soon as we have more specific details about dates and procedures.

Conclusion

The Digital Nomad Visa is another great step from Estonia towards location independence and remote work. Approved recently by the Estonian parliament, it allows anyone to work and do business in Estonia, without being physically resident in the country.