Many people nowadays dream of a life of work and travel. And some even take the plunge into the deep and pack their backpack and move abroad to work remotely on projects while digging their feet in the white sand of a gorgeous beach at the same time. But is working as a Digital Nomad legal?
It depends. You can be a Digital Nomad in your own country and that is totally legal. Working as a Digital Nomad within the Schengen Zone or European Borders and being a passport holder of one of the EU countries is completely legal also.
But as soon as you need a visa, your legal status can become questionable. Tourist visas do not allow people to work in a country during their stay. Yet, there are regulations in immigration laws that leave gaps. And as a Digital Nomad, you can use those gaps in your favour.
Tourist Visa, for pleasure only, that means not for work
It is hard to decipher all the immigration laws in the world. So many countries, so many different rules. While most countries strictly forbid to work on a tourist visa and. most visas are handed out with the remark: Not for business, for pleasure only, you can work legally in many countries on a tourist visa, if………you do not work for a local company or clients.
So having your clients worldwide, technically does allow you to work on a tourist visa.
But don’t get too excited yet! You really have to check whether or not that counts for your country as well. I know it counts for many countries, but not all. And although you are allowed to work within that one grey area of the immigration law, you never tell that you do so. You always enter the country for work.
The discussion you will have with an immigration officer to explain that you will work but not for local clients or a local company will probably get your visa denied. So always say you are in a country to enjoy yourself and discover the country.
Not many immigration officers know the total concept of the immigration law and the grey areas, for them it is black or white” you either work, or you are a tourist. And it is the tourist visa you want. For that is mostly free or very affordable.
Digital Nomads often operate in a grey area of the Immigration law
Many countries are aware of the uprise of the digital nomads and therefore allow people with laptops to enter without questions asked, as long as you meet the (financial) requirements of a tourist visa.
But problems may occur when you go for your extension. They will be more strict on outbound tickets and financial requirements.
There are a few countries in the world that will not allow you to extend your visa.
To be future proof for Digital Nomads visiting the country for an extended period of time, some countries work on or already have, special visas for digital nomads. Some come with a tax number and tax requirements.
It is wise to know the requirements of your visa when you plan to visit a country and choose wisely.
Do you have questions about the Digital Nomad life?
I can help you, I offer you an option to chat with me about my lifestyle. I can share with you what you need and what it takes to become a nomad and how life on the road is. We can chat or video call through WhatsApp or Messenger. I will be happy to talk to you.
Jeanette, a Dutch female nomad, started to travel the world at the age of 17. Walker of beaches, shell searcher and iPhone photographer. Writer and owner of two websites
Currently, she lives in Mexico.
She is an emigration coach and works online.
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