Global Visa Alternatives to the H-1B Visa

As noted in our April 1, 2024 Client Alert, the Fiscal Year (FY) 2025 H-1B cap random lottery has concluded. Multinational companies have the option of sponsoring the highly talented individuals that weren’t selected in the lottery for work permits at their overseas offices. Standard work permit options include intracompany transfer and local hire possibilities.

Another attractive option for your consideration is one of the many digital nomad and remote work visa options that have become available over the course of the past couple of years. These visas are temporary in nature with validity periods of about six months to two years on average, so should only be considered as short-term visa option abroad while a longer-term U.S. immigration strategy is contemplated. They are generally appropriate for remote work to an entity outside of the destination country only.  This is a plus for U.S. employers who wish to hold onto their talent as remote workers abroad, while they consider longer term work visa options in the United States or at an overseas branch office. Beneficiaries of digital nomad visas generally cannot accrue the necessary time that is required to qualify for the L-1 intracompany transfer visa back to the United States. If a L-1 intracompany transfer option is desired as a future U.S. immigration option, please consider one of the standard temporary employer-sponsored work and residence options at a branch office overseas instead.

In addition to guaranteed work for an overseas employer, applicants generally also need to show proof that they will earn an income over a specific minimum threshold; health insurance that will cover the full duration of the applicant’s stay abroad; and proof that they have a clean criminal history. Processing times vary according to country and average anywhere from one week to several months. Application procedures also run the gamut of easy online application forms, to extensive review by a country’s immigration authorities.

When considering whether to pursue a digital nomad visa, be aware of the landmine of possible tax, labor law, social security, and privacy law issues that should be reviewed. It is extremely critical that you additionally contact tax, employment, privacy, and corporate counsel to discuss these additional implications of having an employ work abroad as a digital nomad. Immigration and tax laws in particular do not always go hand-in-hand, so it is particular important to conduct this separate due diligence so that you do not inadvertently run into any surprises after the fact.

This Client Alert is an update on a sampling of the Digital Nomad visa options available today. Please find below, overviews on Digital Nomad visa options in countries including Barbados, Bermuda, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Dubai (United Arab Emirates), Estonia, Greece, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Montserrat, Mexico, Portugal, South Korea, and Spain.  There is also a brief overview on remote working in Canada.

Please contact your attorney at McCown & Evans LLP for further assistance.

Digital Nomad Visa Options


In June 2020, Barbados introduced its 12-month Barbados Welcome Stamp, for remote workers who will earn at least $50,000 USD a year, working remotely for a non-Barbados entity. The application costs $2,000 USD for individuals and can be filed online at the following link: . The estimated processing time for the visa is approximately seven business days.  This is a renewable visa.


Bermuda introduced a one-year Work From Bermuda Certificate in August 2020. It is available to individuals who will work remotely in Bermuda for non-Bermudan entities.  There is no minimum salary requirement that is connected to this visa, but applicants must be prepared to provide proof of steady employment over the one-year period. Beneficiaries of this permit must promise not to work for any employer in Bermuda. The application process is straightforward and available online at the following link: The estimated government processing time for the Work From Bermuda Certificate is five business days. The permit is renewable on a case-by-case basis only. The government filing fee is $275 USD. The government of Bermuda provides FAQs on this program here:


Brazil offers a one-year Digital Nomad Visa called VITEM XIV. This permit can be renewed for another  year. Applicants must provide proof that they have a foreign, non-Brazil employer and that they will have enough money to live in Brazil. As part of the application process, applicants must additionally provide proof of a clean criminal background, and health insurance that will cover their stay in Brazil, along with other requirements. Applications should be filed at Brazilian consular posts or in Brazil through the MigranteWeb System. The average processing time for these visas is five business days to adjudicate, and cost 120 EUR in government fees.


Canada does not have a Digital Nomad Visa as a separate visa category; however, individuals who intend to work in Canada as digital nomads for a foreign, non-Canadian employer, may enter Canada for up to six months as visitors and work for their foreign employer while on Canadian soil. They will not receive any Canadian social security number as a visitor and may not work for any Canadian employer without first applying for a visa. For further information, please see the Canadian government’s updated policy on digital nomads at:

For employers considering Canada as a viable option for its employees due to its geographic location vis-a-visa the United States, please consider work permit options such as the intracompany transfer work visa or Labor Market Impact Assessment based work visas. For further details, please contact your attorney at McCown & Evans LLP.


Colombia offers a Digital Nomad visa, which allows remote workers to work remotely for their foreign employers for up to two years. Applicants will need to show that they have confirmed employment with an employer abroad, and that they will earn a minimum salary that is calculated based on the average salary earned by Colombian citizens. For further information, please visit:

Costa Rica

Costa Rica offers a one-year Digital Nomad Visa called “Visa V” to remote workers who earn a monthly salary of at least $3,000 USD (or $4,000 USD a month for those with families). The visa is extendable for another year under certain circumstances. For further information, please visit:


Croatia is currently offering Digital Nomad visas that are valid for up to one year and is not extendable. This visa is available to individuals who will work remotely for non-Croatian entities, hold valid health insurance in Croatia, and will earn a salary that is at least 2.5 times the average monthly net salary for the prior year, according to the Croatian Bureau of Statistics, or have access to a minimum of 2,870 EUR per month available in a bank account. Qualifying individuals also must not be convicted of any crimes. Work for a Croatian entity is not permitted. Information regarding this visa is available at:


Remote workers earning at least 3,500 EUR a month after taxes and are employed by an employer abroad can be eligible for a Digital Nomad Residence Permit in Cyprus. This Residence Permit is available for up to one year and is extendable for another two years. For further information, please see:

Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Dubai introduced a one-year Virtual Work Residence Visa in October 2020.  It is available to individuals who can prove remote employment for a one-year period. This visa is extendable. The government filing fee is $287 USD. Qualifying individuals must have passports that are valid for at least six months, health insurance with coverage in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and proof of employment with their non-UAE employer (such as an employment contract) that confirms remote employment for a period of at least one year at a salary of at least $5,000 USD a month and health insurance coverage for the duration of their stay in Dubai. Further information is available at:


Estonia was one of the first countries in the world to offer a Digital Nomad Visa. The Estonian Digital Nomad Visa is valid for one year and is available to remote workers who will carry out work remotely for a non-Estonian company online. The application form is available online at: Further information is available at: The average processing time for these visas is three to eight weeks.


Hungary officers a White Card – Residence Permit to Digital Nomads. This residence permit is available to third country nationals who have confirmed employment with an employer overseas, and who can complete their work digital in Hungary for their employer abroad. This permit is not appropriate for work for a Hungary entity. Applicants must show that they earn at least 3,000 EUR a month, proof of a place to stay in while in Hungary, and proof of health insurance. For further information, please visit:


Iceland is offering a Digital Work Visa of up to 180 days in duration to remote workers who will work remotely for a foreign company or for themselves. This permit cannot be changed into a more permanent status in Iceland. Successful applicants must show that they earn at least ISK 1,000,000 a month in salary, health insurance to cover their stay, and in some instances, a clean police record. For further information, please visit:


Italy introduced its Digital Nomad Visa in April 2024. It is valid for up to one year and allows the beneficiary of the visa to work remotely in Italy for a foreign company or as a freelancer. Successful applicants for the Digital Nomad Visa will earn at least three-times the minimum annual salary in Italy of approximately 28,000 EUR a year. Applicants must show that they have adequate health insurance to cover their stays in Italy, proof of one-year accommodation in Italy, and a declaration of no criminal history for the past five years. The Italian Digital Nomad visa is more difficult to secure than Digital Nomad Visas offered by other countries because there is a requirement that applicants provide proof that they are highly skilled workers. This is established by showing that one has a three-year university degree, five years of relevant professional experience, or three years of relevant professional experience for managers and specialists in the information and communication sectors. The documentation concerning professional experience must be certified as authentic through the legalization process.  Applications should be submitted at Italian consular posts and can take anywhere from one-to-three months to process.


Greece’s Digital Nomad Visa program is available to remote workers who earn at least 3,500 EUR a month after taxes. Non-E.U. citizens must provide proof of health insurance that will cover their stays in Greece. The visa is available initially for up to two years and renewable for two additional years. Applications should be lodged at Greek consular posts. The average government processing time for these visas is 10 days but varies slightly according to consular post. For further information, please visit:


Japan has introduced a new 6-month Digital Nomad “NOMADO” Visa to citizens of 49 countries with which Japan has both a visa waiver agreement and a double taxation treaty. Requirements include annual earnings of at least 10,000,000 JPY (the conversion rate fluctuates but is approximately $68,000 USD) a year working for a non-Japanese employer. This visa is not renewable and cannot be converted into a residence permit; however, applicants may re-apply for another digital nomad visa in the future once they spend at least six months outside of Japan.  Applicants must hold their own health insurance to cover their stay in Japan. Accompanying family may travel to Japan with the visa holder. Applications are filed with the Immigration Bureau in Japan. Processing times are currently unavailable due to the new nature of the work visa.


Malaysia has introduced a Digital Nomad visa called the DE Rantau Digital Nomad Pass. This is a Professional Visit Pass (Pas Lawatan Ikhtisas PLIK) that is available for stays of three to 12 months and is renewable for another 12 months. Remote workers who are employees of foreign companies, and freelancers/independent contractors are eligible for this permit. Application requirements include a CV, last three months bank statements and tax returns, proof of a contract or employment contract that is valid for at least three months, a letter of good conduct, educational documentation, and medical insurance that is valid in Malaysia. For further information, see:


The Caribbean country of Montserrat offers a one-year Montserrat Remote Work Stamp to qualifying individuals who wish to work in Montserrat remotely for a non-Montserrat based entity. To qualify, individuals must earn at least $70,000 USD a year and hold valid health insurance for Montserrat. The application for these visas is available at this link: The estimated processing time is seven business days. The government filing fees start at $500 USD for single applicants. FAQs for the permit are available at:


Mexico has a Digital Nomad Visa (Visa de Residente Temporal por Solvencia Economica) that is available to remote workers for a duration of one year initially, and then extendable for up to three years.  Applicants can apply for this visa at a Mexican consular post with details regarding economic solvency, including either proof of a monthly income that is equal to the general minimum wage in Mexico City (approximately $2,600 USD a month) for the past six months or proof of approximately $45,000 USD minimum average bank balance over the past 12 months). The estimated processing time varies according to the consular post but takes about two weeks on average.


Portugal offers the D8 category Digital Nomad Visa to non-E.U. citizens who wish to work remotely for a non-Portuguese company from Portugal. The visa is available as a Temporary Stay Visa, valid for up to one year, or as a Residence Visa, which is valid initially for two years, and extendable for another three years.  Successful applicants for the Digital Nomad Visa will have an employment contract or services agreement for an entity based outside of Portugal and will earn at least four times the minimum Portuguese monthly salary per month (i.e. a minimum of approximately 3,040 EUR a month). Applications are filed with a Portuguese consular post that has jurisdiction over the applicant’s place of residence. Once in Portugal, the visa is converted into a residence permit. As is the case with Digital Nomad Visas that are offered by other countries, applicants must submit proof of health insurance, a clean criminal record, proof of adequate accommodation, and proof of the minimum required salary to be paid by the non-Portuguese employer (or non-Portuguese clients, in the case of freelancers). Families may accompany Digital Nomad Visa holder to Portugal. For further information, please see: .

South Korea

South Korea has introduced a Workcation (F1D) Visa for individuals who are age 18 or older and will earn annual salary that is at least double the Korean Gross National Income per capita of the previous year (approximately 5,100 EUR after taxes per month) for a non-Korean company. This visa is available to individuals who have worked for a foreign company for at least one year. It is not available for employment with a Korean company or for any work that will result in profit by a Korean entity or person. The visa is available for one year and can be extended for another year.  Short-term visitors to South Korea may change status from visitor to the Workcation Visa holder status without leaving the country. Applicants who are outside of South Korea should submit their applications to the South Korean Consulate that has jurisdiction over their place of residence.  Additional application requirements include health insurance of at least 70,000 EUR to cover their stay in South Korea. Documentary requirements include a passport, apostilled criminal records for every country in which the applicant has resided for the past five years, three months of recent bank statements, employment verification, income tax returns. Family members are authorized to accompany the main Workcation visa holder to Korea.


Spain offers one-year digital nomad visas to non-EEA citizen professionals to work in Spain remotely for their non-Spanish employers or as self-employed individuals for. Qualifying individuals must have a university degree or at least three years of experience in their field of employment. Successful applicants also earn at least 200% of Spanish minimum wage (approximately 25,700 EUR a year). As part of the application process, applicants will need to provide proof of their educational credentials, proof of employment, no criminal history for the past five years, and have health insurance that will cover their stays in Spain. For further information, please visit:

Many other countries also offer digital nomad options.  Please contact your McCown & Evans attorney for further information on these global visa options.