New Long-stay Visas For 2021

Nick Nomi

Senior Contributor

Working from home is now more popular than ever, and forecasts predict that when the pandemic is over, a considerable amount of people will opt to move a chunk of their office time to the home.

And so with that, the question becomes: where is home? Of course, the idyllic islands of Mauritius and Bermuda may seem a lengthy commute, but with a year to wait until one has to return (or move on), an office on the beach and an easily navigable application process, the choice between returning to the office, or changing lifestyles could well become a question of health and convenience weighed up against the status quo, for remote workers. But island life isn’t for everybody, and as of 2020, long-stay visas, digital nomad visas, premium visas and the like have popped up across the world — on islands boasting sun, sand and colourful marinas, and in countries with thousands of years of visible human history painted across every landscape. 

“Covid Safe” Mauritius

With lofty claims such as “…silky sand beaches, tropical lagoons, the lush greens, the warmth and friendliness of locals, all in a COVID-safe destination”, Mauritius’s new premium travel visa grants remote workers (and retirees) an opportunity to prolong their adventures for 12 sun-drenched months and to luxuriate in an environment that has barely seen 500 cases of Covid 19. But the draw isn’t just about fleeing the more stricken parts of the world for a dreamy paradise, rather it’s an opportunity to explore the stunning islands, lagoons, forests and beaches of Mauritius at a slow pace. To indulge in languid days in the sun, commute-free and without the need to move on… for 12 months at least. And of course, the initiative hopes to aid those local businesses badly affected by the pandemic. Requirements for the application are elementary: health insurance, proof of long-stay plans and a condition that travellers cannot enter the local workforce along with a declaration that one’s principal source of income is from any other country. 

Commute To Bermuda

Launched in August 2020, Bermuda’s One Year Residential Certification program, grants self-employed workers and students the opportunity to work from the island for twelve months, with unlimited entries and exits permitted. And with sumptuous 5-star resorts perched across those beautiful pink sand beaches, residential lets with swoon-inducing ocean views and the delightful little Hamilton to explore, Bermuda becomes a particularly attractive choice for travellers from America’s East Coast, just a 3-hour flight away. Like Mauritius the requirements for entry are simple enough: health insurance and the means to support oneself alongside a modest fee for the visa itself, and proof of college enrolment, if one plans to study.

Digital Nomad Visas in Estonia

If the idea of living shoeless on the sand doesn’t attract, then perhaps Estonia’s newly introduced Digital Nomad Visa will be of greater appeal. One of very few of its kind within the EU (Germany, Portugal, Spain and the Czech Republic have similar options), the visa allows successful applicants to take up residency in Estonia, exploring baroque palaces, colourful Russian Orthodox cathedrals and the vibrant nightlife of Tallinn and Tartu between work requirements. With the UK abandoning freedom of movement, the visa could be of particular use to British remote workers looking for an easy way to spend 12 months in Europe, but it will be of equal use to travellers from across the channel when travel restrictions are lifted.

Nomadic Georgia

A more adventurous option perhaps, but Georgia has long seen growth as a bit of a hotspot for digital nomads, and this new long-stay visa hopes to help the country reopen its borders slowly and safely to stimulate the economy and bring travellers back, not for a short stay, but six months or more. The visa is aimed at freelancers and the self-employed and has a few stipulations such as a minimum monthly income and a 12-day quarantine on arrival, but otherwise offers quite a simple (and quick) application process. It’s unclear whether one will be able to reapply for the visa once it runs out but with so much to see from stunning Tbilisi to the pastoral prettiness of the Caucasus Mountains and wine-rich Kakheti, “six months or more” may well not suffice.

Take The Office To Barbados

The 12-month Barbados Welcome Stamp Visa was introduced in June as a reaction to drastically lowered tourism numbers on the island, tempting tourists who might usually travel for just a week or two to extend their stays for a whole year while working remotely, making the necessary two-week isolation on arrival seem trivial. But Barbados is pitching theirs to a much wider market than others. The press release boasts of office spaces for businesses of all sizes, good schools and a millennial-friendly lifestyle, as well as villas straddling the water’s edge and budget accommodation in town if that’s too pricey. Generally speaking, anyone willing to pay the 2000 USD visa fee is welcome, and if you want to bring the family or the entire office, that’s okay too. And why not? The world is in a strange place. Mix things up, do some trading or write an article under a palm tree, eat some Cou Cou and fried fish while watching the sunset. Escape the city, explore the sea, and plan nothing for another year.... but this time, on your terms.

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