What is the change? Estonia is planning to introduce a “digital nomad” visa that would allow individuals to work online from Estonia for one year as well as make trips to the Schengen area for up to 90 days.

What does the change mean? The visas would be a good option for telecommuters and other digital workers who can work from anywhere in the world.

  • Implementation time frame: Anticipated 2019.
  • Visas/permits affected: Digital nomad visa.
  • Who is affected: Non-EU nationals whose work is primarily online and not location-specific.
  • Business impact: Companies allowing nomadic (“wherever, whenever”) work may benefit from the visas. Also, other countries considering more innovative immigration policies may be able to cite Estonia’s “digital nomad” visa in pushing for a version of their own.

Background: The new visa, which is expected to debut sometime in 2019, is being developed in conjunction with Jobbatical, an Estonian company that matches job seekers with digital jobs.

BAL Analysis: This is an innovative type of visa for the growing numbers of online, borderless workers in the globalized economy. Immigration compliance has been a bar to these types of arrangements to date, so this move by Estonia places the country at the forefront of immigration innovation, especially for the high-tech industry. The move could prompt other countries to follow suit in seeking to resolve the immigration challenges faced by companies that want to adopt more flexible work practices.    

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group. For additional information, please contact your BAL attorney.

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