Overview of the Most Popular Visas and Residence Permits in Europe: From Digital Nomad to Investor

Attracting nomads, investors, specialists, and startups brings many benefits to countries. Recently, Europe has been actively attracting talent, which fuels competition between countries. More and more new relocation programs are emerging. Let’s look at the most popular ones. Program conditions may vary depending on the country, but we will cover the general principles and conditions that are most commonly encountered.

Digital Nomad Visa:

What is a Digital Nomad Visa?

A Digital Nomad Visa allows foreigners to move to a country and work remotely, earning income from abroad.

  • Extension: Possible.
  • Duration: Usually from 6 months to 3 years.

Benefits for the Country

This program attracts talented professionals who spend money and pay taxes, helping the country’s economy without taking local jobs.

Who is it for?

Perfect for freelancers, IT specialists, online business owners, and anyone who can work remotely.

Requirements

You will need to prove you have a stable income, have health insurance, and can work remotely.

Features

With this visa, you cannot work for local companies, but you may receive tax benefits. It also allows freedom of movement between countries offering similar conditions and can help in obtaining permanent residency or citizenship.

Startup Visa:

What is a Startup Visa?

A Startup Visa is for entrepreneurs who want to start and develop innovative businesses in a new country.

  • Extension: Possible with successful startup activities.
  • Duration: From one to three years.

Benefits for the Country

This visa promotes innovation, creates new jobs, attracts investments, and enhances the country’s international image.

Who is it for?

Ideal for ambitious entrepreneurs ready to start an innovative business abroad with growth potential and investment attraction.

Requirements

You will need to present a clear business plan and proof that you have enough funds to implement it. Sometimes, support from local business incubators or the government may be required.

Features

It is issued for a limited period but can be extended if everything goes well. You can also bring your family. Later, you may even apply for permanent residency.

Innovator Visa:

What is an Innovator Visa?

An Innovator Visa is for experienced entrepreneurs looking to launch a business in the UK that will bring innovation to the market.

  • Extension: Possible if the business is successful.
  • Duration: Usually up to three years.

Benefits for the Country

This visa attracts talented entrepreneurs who can create jobs and strengthen the country’s economic competitiveness.

Who is it for?

If you have a unique business idea and are ready to invest in the UK economy, this visa might be an ideal option.

Requirements

You need to present a clear business plan, an innovative idea, sufficient funding, and support from an accredited body.

Features

You can only engage in the business specified in your visa application.

Global Talent Visa:

What is a Global Talent Visa?

A Global Talent Visa is for highly skilled professionals in science, engineering, humanities, medicine, digital technology, and the arts who want to work in the UK.

  • Extension: Can be extended or lead to permanent residency.
  • Duration: Usually up to five years.

Benefits for the Country

It attracts leading global experts, strengthens innovation, and addresses skill shortages.

Who is it for?

If you are a leader in your field and can prove your achievements, this visa is designed for you.

Requirements

You need to get endorsement from a recognized organization and provide evidence of your outstanding achievements.

Features

This visa opens doors for career growth, transition to permanent residency, allows you to bring your family, and does not require a sponsor from an employer.

Golden Visa:

What is a Golden Visa?

A Golden Visa program allows obtaining a residence permit through significant investments in the country’s economy, including real estate and business.

  • Extension: Not always required, often issued for a long term.
  • Duration: From several years to indefinite.

Benefits for the Country

Stimulates economic growth by attracting foreign investments and creates jobs.

Who is it for?

If you are ready to invest a substantial amount in the economy (business or real estate) of another country, a Golden Visa might be your option.

Requirements

You will need to invest a minimum required amount and have health insurance.

Features

With a Golden Visa, you get freedom of movement within the Schengen Area, access to local education and healthcare services, tax benefits, and even the possibility to apply for citizenship in the future.

Blue Card:

What is a Blue Card?

The Blue Card is a work residence permit that allows highly skilled professionals from non-EU countries to live and work in Europe. It is similar to the Green Card in the USA but for Europe.

  • Extension: Possible if you maintain employment.
  • Duration: Usually from one to four years.

Benefits for the Country

Attracting talents in specific fields promotes economic and technological development in EU countries and improves international competitiveness.

Who is it for?

To get a Blue Card, you need to find a suitable job in the EU. The salary must be above the average for the country, confirming your high qualifications. Higher education or equivalent professional experience is required.

Requirements

You must have higher education or equivalent experience, a job offer with a salary above the average, and verified professional qualifications.

Features

With a Blue Card, you can not only work but also live in an EU country with your family. After a certain period, you can even apply for permanent residency. The card also allows travel and work in other EU countries, making it very convenient for professionals seeking an international career.

Student Visa:

What is a Student Visa?

A Student Visa is for foreign students to study at educational institutions abroad.

  • Extension: Can be extended to complete your studies.
  • Duration: Depends on the length of your study program.

Benefits for the Country

Foreign students bring additional revenue through tuition and living expenses and are an important part of cultural exchange. They can become qualified specialists contributing to the local economy or even stay to work in the country after graduation.

Who is it for?

If you dream of studying abroad—whether at a college, university, or professional courses—a Student Visa is for you.

Requirements

To obtain a Student Visa, you need to be enrolled in an educational institution, have sufficient funds to cover tuition and living expenses, and have health insurance.

Features

In some countries, you can work a certain number of hours per week. After completing your course, there is often an opportunity to stay to look for a job or continue your studies, opening doors for your future career.

Freelancer Visa:

What is a Freelancer Visa?

A Freelancer Visa allows you to live and work in another country as a self-employed individual or for various companies from anywhere in the world.

  • Extension: Depends on the country’s legislation.
  • Duration: Usually from 1 to 3 years.

Benefits for the Country

This visa attracts skilled professionals who can contribute to the economy through their spending and taxes without taking local jobs. They also bring new ideas to local businesses.

Who is it for?

Designed for specialists who can prove their income and client base allow them to fully support themselves. Ideal for those who can work remotely over the internet, such as designers, writers, programmers, and consultants.

Requirements

To obtain this visa, you need to provide proof of a stable income and a client base. Health insurance is also required, and sometimes business registration in the host country.

Features

You can bring your family with you, and it facilitates extension upon successful activity.

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