Depending on your citizenship, it can be easy or tough to enter and stay long-term in various countries. Since we’re US Citizens, we’ve done the research on how long we can stay in various nations and have compiled a list of several countries with a generously lengthy visa duration for both Americans and other nationalities.
If you work remotely as a freelancer or digital nomad, you are allowed to stay on a tourist visa as long as you don’t take local clients — otherwise you need a business visa. We’ve noted the difference in our top picks list. Be sure to read our post on how to become a location-independent world citizen, if you haven’t already, as there are many more things to know before you go.
Of course for US Citizens, in Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa and the US Virgin Islands you don’t need a visa or even a passport to live and work there indefinitely. But EU countries, as lovely and wonderful as they are, will ban you from ever visiting again if you stay longer than 90 days within a six month period (without stacks of paperwork to request longer visas). Yet there are many great options all around the planet for people wanting to live a location-independent lifestyle.
At the time of this writing (May 2019), the following is what our research has turned up.
countries in which you can stay for at least 6 months on a tourist or easily-obtained business visa
Click the name of the country to go to their government website regarding more detailed visa information before you plan your trip.
As location-independent digital nomads, our Tinkertown Top 5 Picks are:
Republic of Georgia - 365 days upon arrival to enter, reside, work and study without needing to obtain either a visa or residence permit. The Rep. of Georgia has the world’s most lengthy visa granted to citizens of the most countries without condition (98 nationalities) and many more with minimal requirements (50 countries). And all you have to do to renew is leave the country for a few days before returning, to get another year. Georgia requires health insurance, which can be inexpensively obtained—about $50 USD per month—through their e-insurance portal). Foreign nationals may buy and sell real estate in the country. It costs about $18 USD to register a simple application form with the Public Service Hall to become an independent entrepreneur allowed to start a business there.
Vietnam - US Citizens have particularly easy access to a 12-month multi-entry business visa. The only difference in obtaining the right to stay and work for a year versus a 30-day single entry tourist visa is a higher fee and sending in a signed form and your passport via mail instead of an online application. The simple one-page business visa application cost us $180 USD per person to process and only took a few days to get back in the mail to a US address. You don’t need to describe your business or submit further paperwork to obtain this visa. With it you can lease property, take local clients, get a job, start a business (with further paperwork), and open a bank account—things you cannot do on a tourist visa.
Russia - US Citizens can get a three-year multi-entry tourist or business visa to Russia through a visa processing service. This allows for up to 181 days per entry. The visa must be applied for before entering the country and costs from $300 USD per person.
United Kingdom - For many nations, the UK gives a six-month Standard Visitor visa for £95, which allows travel throughout England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland as long as you have pre-booked an onward ticket. This visa can instead be multiple entries for up to two, five, or ten years for higher fees, with 180-days allowed per entry. You cannot conduct business other than those allowed within the Visitor Rules without applying for a more elaborate visa. If you’ve got funds to support yourself and endorsement from a UK higher education institution or a business with a history of supporting UK entrepreneurs, you may be able to apply for a Start-up visa, if you’re planning to start a small business there.
Mexico - Entry for 180 days is granted to US Citizens Canada, Japan, the United Kingdom, any European Schengen Area countries and members of the Pacific Alliance without a visa upon arrival for tourism or business. After those six months you may exit Mexico and re-enter immediately to be given another 180 days, which may be renewed indefinitely this way.
Other great options include…
No advance visa required, one is issued upon arrival:
Albania - One-year for US Citizens without a visa. A longer residence permit may be requested at the regional office of the border and migration authority, in-country, before expiration of the entry visa. Otherwise you can leave for at least 90 days to renew for another year.
Svalbard - Administered by Norway, you may live indefinitely in this independent archapelago without a visa if you can prove you have enough money to afford the expensive and remote area, and really like cold weather.
Bahamas - 240 days for citizens of the US, UK, Canadian, and several South American nations provided you show you can support yourself for eight months there and have an onward ticket booked. To extend you’ll be required to apply at the Department of Immigration once in-country.
Peru - 183 days for US, UK, Canadian citizens and others. Extensions for tourists are usually not approved. Note that a yellow fever vaccination is recommended.
Armenia - US Citizens and many other nationalities are free to enter for up to 180 days. Applying ahead of time can result in a one-year multi-entry visa for tourism, business, professional interest, medical treatment, etc.
Canada - Entry for 180 days is granted to US Citizens, unless you have a felony or DUI on your record. Other nationalities may need a visa. No work with local clientele is permitted without a work visa. Before expiration of your visitor visa, it can be extended for a fee of $100 CAD.
Jamaica - 180 days for US Citizens, various lengths for other nationalities without a visa.
Panama - 180 days as long as you have an onward ticket, at least $500 in cash, credit or bank statement and no criminal convictions. This length of time is strictly enforced.
We know there’s no shortage of countries that allow entry for 90 days which can be easily renewed by leaving and immediately returning. Or countries that allow longer stays with more paperwork. But for the sake of length—and staying on topic—we’ll get to that in another post. Happy nomading!in