Visa for Digital Nomads in Latin America

The nomadic lifestyle has been gaining traction for more than a decade for freelancers working in the digital sector. The pandemic and rapid digitization of companies made this lifestyle attractive also for professionals hired by companies.

I myself have a couple of friends who decided to pack a motorhome and go from Argentina to Alaska at the end of 2022 (“Sobrerotas” project on Instagram and YouTube for those interested in learning about the project). They currently work for the private sector, in the home office model, which gave them the opportunity to anticipate this nomadic lifestyle and now they are going to move from their apartment to the van, even before starting the trip.

I also assisted a team manager from one of the largest companies in the technology services sector with a heartwarming issue. The company has adopted the home office model 100% of the time and their employee wants to keep the job and set up residence in different countries. The bottom line is that it is still a sore point because it involves immigration, pension and tax issues, which can be quite complex for companies, but we are certainly on the right track when it comes to visas.

At the end of the day, what is it like to be a digital nomad?

For those who have made it this far and are not yet familiar with the concept, Wikipedia defines it as “an individual who leverages technology to perform the tasks of their profession remotely and, by not relying on a fixed base to work from, drives their lifestyle in a nomadic way.”

What is it and what is the importance of a Digital Nomad visa?

The immigration legislation of each country is more than a set of rules and bureaucracies to regulate the residency of foreigners in countries. It plays an extremely important and strategic role in the economic development of each nation.

The idea of a visa for digital nomads arose with the opportunity to promote countries or markets as hubs for digital and technology startups, thus attracting skilled labor to the country. And this idea was strengthened during the COVID-19 pandemic, where some countries also identified the opportunity to grow economic activities and tourism by opening borders for professionals.

Eligibility for each program may vary, but generally involves the need for an employment contract outside the host country; being self-employed in a registered company outside the host country; being self-employed with regular income and contracts with clients outside the host country;

However, these categories vary by country.

The most common requirements are: Ability to perform your work remotely, using “digital” means, i.e., a laptop computer and having an Internet connection; having a minimum salary (monthly or annual or, for some programs, in the form of savings in a bank account). The amounts required vary considerably from country to country.

Most countries require health insurance; some require proof of no criminal record.

Which countries are popular in the Latin American region?

Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Bahamas, Bermuda, Monserrate, Curaçao are the countries that currently follow this modality. Costa Rica is also working to implement this modality.

As a good Brazilian, I could not fail to mention my country. Although Brazil does not intend to implement this modality at the moment, there is the possibility of residency for nationals of most member countries and some members of the Mercosur Agreement and bordering countries. They are: Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela. This type of Residence Permit allows nationals of these countries to reside and work legally in Brazil, initially for two years, requiring proof of nationality and certification of absence of criminal record.

Like everything else in this new world we live in, the work routine is also changing and expanding its “frontiers”. Personally I really like this new world, freer and full of possibilities and adventures. If you want to talk about these possibilities, please contact me.