The Baltic region is unquestionably emerging as a sought-after European destination, and within it lies Latvia – an enchanting country with plenty to tempt potential residents, including scenic landscapes to explore, enticing food and culture to indulge in, and the added perk of being one of Europe’s most affordable places to reside.
While this already makes it an appealing choice for any digital nomad seeking a new place to settle, the best bit of all is that Latvia also provides a visa specifically tailored to facilitate those looking to make this transition.
What Is a Digital Nomad Visa?
The trend of becoming a ‘digital nomad’ is rapidly gaining popularity. In fact, according to DemandSage, the number of digital nomads soared to 35 million in 2023 – a figure expected to grow even further in the coming year.
Digital nomads are individuals who can live away from their country of permanent residence by working remotely. With the help of technology, this lifestyle enables them to embark on the adventure of living abroad while maintaining a sustainable income.
A digital nomad visa is what comes into play to facilitate this to happen. Not all countries offer such visas, and those that do will have varying eligibility requirements that must be met before it is granted. If eligible, individuals may reside in the host country for a specified length of time under the status of a digital nomad visa.
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Why Choose Latvia as a Digital Nomad?
If you haven’t contemplated Latvia as your next digital nomad haven, now is the time to seriously consider it. Despite its modest size, this country presents a plethora of offerings for enthusiastic nomads, ranging from captivating natural landscapes to historically rich and picturesque cities.
Beyond its visual and cultural appeal, Latvia offers plenty of practical benefits that can significantly benefit any digital nomad embarking on a professional journey abroad.
To begin with, Latvia boasts access to one of the fastest internet speeds in the EU, as reported by LSM. Reliable high-speed internet is crucial for any digital nomad, making Latvia’s success in this regard a highly attractive advantage.
This rapid internet connectivity is complemented by a variety of coworking spaces across the country, an essential resource for nomads who lack a traditional office setting. In its capital Riga, some of the best include Double9, Workland Telegraph and Hamann Coworking.
Beyond its coworking spaces, Latvia’s major cities, including Riga, Daugavpils and Liepāja, also feature unique architecture, a lively nightlight and enough cultural attractions to keep any nomad busy.
Finally, perhaps one of the most enticing aspects is that any nomad can enjoy the benefits of living in Latvia without straining their budget.
According to Numbeo, the average cost of living is an impressive 19.7% lower than in the United Kingdom. Monthly living expenses, excluding rent, hover around £600. Considering that rent is, on average, 64.6% lower than in the UK, any additional rental payments shouldn’t pose a significant financial burden.
Latvia’s Digital Nomad Visa
A digital nomad visa was introduced by the Latvian government in early 2022. If its eligibility requirements are met, this visa offers nomads the opportunity to reside in the picturesque Baltic country for up to two years.
These requirements to qualify for this visa are as follows: If you are self-employed or a freelancer, your business must be registered with an Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development country (OECD). As an employee, you must work for a company registered in an OECD country.
Foreign nationals meeting these criteria are eligible to apply for Latvia’s digital nomad visa. The application process, typical for such visas, requires applicants to submit specific documents. This includes a valid passport and health insurance, proof of employment demonstrating either that you’re employed by a company in an OECD country or that your company is registered in an OECD country, and proof of income at least 2.5 times higher than Latvia’s minimum wage.
Being relatively cheap to apply for, this digital nomad visa is initially valid for one year. However, for those who find themselves enamoured with life in this hidden Baltic gem, an extension for another year is possible.