Portugal introduces new visa targeted at digital nomads

Portugal has become the latest country to introduce a work visa specifically for the digital nomad.

The scheme will be launched on Saturday (24 September) for freelancers and remote workers who want to stay in the country for up to five months, according to the online guidebook Portugalist.

The visa is aimed at citizens of non-EU/EEA countries or Switzerland who would usually work from home.

British citizens fall under this category as the UK is no longer an EU or EEA country following Brexit.

The visa is being touted as an ideal way for digital nomads to escape the winters that can drop into sub-zero temperatures. In comparison, winters in Portugal are mild and temperatures can reach as high as 20C – although there can be some heavy rain.

Those needing to make phone calls or online meetings can also benefit from Portugal having the same time zone as the UK.

<p>The streets of Portugal's capital Lisbon </p>
The streets of Portugal’s capital Lisbon (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Previously, digital nomads and remote workers could apply for such a work permit under the D7 visa scheme that is aimed at retirees and “passive income” earners – but that wasn’t deemed to be a reliable route for working professionals.

Approval for the new digital nomad visa is subject to meeting criteria that includes an applicant meeting minimum income requirements, having a certain amount in savings, and having no criminal record.

People interested in applying are advised to enquire at their closest Portuguese consulate for the full list of the most up-to-date requirements.

The new visa scheme has been launched after the Portuguese government approved amendments to immigration law in July.

Ministers said they had wanted the “possibility of granting a visa for temporary stay and residence to professionals who work remotely, outside national soil, whether working for an employer, liberal occupations or entrepreneurs.”

Ana Catarina Mendes, a Cabinet minister, commented: “Portugal is a country for immigration. Every year, we receive thousands of immigrants, seeking opportunities in our country.

“A country that wishes to welcome immigrants as it wishes its emigrants to be welcomed, too.”

When launched, Portugal will join the dozens of countries around the world – including at least eight in Europe – that offer visas specifically for digital nomads.

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