Dr. Julia-Sophie Ezinger
DO YOU REALLY NEED A VISA TO WORK REMOTELY FROM ANOTHER COUNTRY?
Many of us have heard about Digital Nomad Visas, freelancer visas or remote work visas. They keep changing and (nearly) every day a new country announces an update or a new visa regulation for nomads. Therefore we are extremely thankful for bloggers like nomadgirl.co and Expert Vagabond for keeping us up to date on that. However, there is one thing we and our customers keep wondering:
Are we digital nomads? Can you even be a a digital nomad when you are employed in a company? What about corporate taxes when you are on a digital nomad visa?
In this post we want to shed some light on this. Let’s start from the beginning. Why should you even care about visa? The reason is simple - there are a set of problems with visa for remote workers and digital nomads that one has to consider:
most of them are only valid for 30-90 days
it is prohibited to use a tourist visa while working remotely - this may lead to legal actions against the employee and the employer
often they depend on nationality other than residency (or the employer's residency)
Now that we understand the basics, let’s answer the first important question:
1️⃣ First check: Is the visa valid for me?
Some of the special visas for digital nomads and remote workers explicitly exclude people that are not self-employed (see for example Cayman Islands). However, most are open for both independent business owners and remote workers in terms of employees (see for example Romania, Iceland, etc.). Therefore please be careful with choosing your destination country and visa type! You can also sign up for our Newsletter here and get a free list of all currently available Digital Nomad Visas including an indication if it is available for employees and/or business owners.
2️⃣ Second check: Are you planning on doing any business within the country?
If so, please don’t 😉 Most of those special “work from anywhere" visas are set up for individuals that are not working with local clients or for local companies. You wouldn’t believe how many people tell us “well, it’s okay because I am visiting clients while I am there anyway” or “I am also involved in a local project”. This is super cool, but it’s mostly not the right thing to do (obviously there are exceptions like for example Germany's Aufenthaltserlaubnis für selbständige Tätigkeit) on a Digital Nomad Visa. Also please make sure you are not employed by a local company!
3️⃣ Third check: Taxes
A visa enables a person to stay or/and work (depending on the visa type) legally in a country for a certain period of time. However, funny story: Visa regulations are not always in line with local tax regulations. This means that staying in a country for longer than a certain amount of days might trigger tax events for the employee and the employer even if the employees are in the country with a digital nomad visa and in theory would be allowed to stay even longer (see e.g. Greece). As you can imagine, while this might not be the intention at all, digital nomad visas and the relating digital registration in a country’s database are also enabling an easier detection of permanent establishments for the authorities.
If after all of those checks and considerations, your head isn’t spinning completely, you can now start the REAL process of application 🎉 Depending on where you wish to go, this can either be a lengthy and complicated process (like for example in Germany), or a super easy and welcoming experience (like e.g. Georgia). Important to know for employers: Some of the visa can be requested by the employer on their employees behalf. However, most of them have to be requested and processed by the employee themself.
If all of this is just too complicated, know that rhome has all of this covered. We combine the single-person visa requirements depending on nationalities and residencies with the local permanent establishment regulations and Double Taxation Agreements and give green or red lights for the particular trip. However, we also assess many other risks in our case-by-case assessments.
Therefore, don’t be fooled by nomad visas any longer! We make sure all requirements are in line and employees can embark on a save and compliant remote work trip. Log in here and create a trip to find out more: dashboard.rhome.world