As work outside of the office becomes more normal, people are starting to wonder if working remotely in another country is an option.
Working abroad would give employees an exciting opportunity to experience a different culture, explore new places, and challenge themselves in ways that may not be possible back home.
That said, there are a lot of factors that come into play when considering working abroad.
In this article, we’ll discuss working remotely in another country and the tools needed to help employees succeed abroad.
Keep in mind that this guide is from an American point of view.
While some of the principles discussed may apply to other countries, it’s important to research the laws of your home country and the country you want to visit.
What should you consider before working remotely in another country?
Can you work remotely from another country?
Below are some questions to ask yourself if you’re interested in working remotely abroad.
1. Does my occupation allow me to work remotely?
A remote job allows you to work anywhere but at the office.
Below is a list of career paths that let you work remotely:
- IT/software development
- Web design
- Graphic design
- Data entry
- Virtual assistants
- Digital content creation
You can also check with your HR department to see if your company has a remote work policy in place.
Covid has changed many companies’ policies to continue having partial remote work.
If your job allows for remote work, then going abroad might be an option.
Check out this video on the best remote jobs:
2. Does my company have an office located outside of the US?
If the company you work for (or want to work for) has a physical office in a different country it implies that the company knows something about the immigration process, and local laws, and can help with the moving process to make working abroad easier.
The company might also provide resources to help you adjust to the transition, such as a translator, valuable information about the area, or assisting you in finding living accommodations.
3. Are there any visa requirements?
Different types of visas allow you to work abroad during a certain timeframe.
Depending on the visa, you might need a sponsorship, work permit, contract, or proof of activity to show that you are there for work and not travel.
Each country has different visa requirements to enter and work abroad.
Be sure to look into the country you’d like to work in and their visa requirements for more details.
That said, let’s look at some of the visa options below:
a. Working Holiday Visa
This visa is typically for young adults (between the ages of 18 and 30) and allows them to work and travel in a foreign country for a limited time (usually 6-12 months).
b. Business Visa
A Business Visa allows you to conduct business activities such as attending meetings, conferences, and negotiating contracts in various countries.
c. Skilled Worker Visa
A Skilled Worker Visa is for an individual with a specialized skill or qualification who wants to work in a foreign country.
d. Freelance Visa
Some countries offer visas specifically for freelancers or self-employed individuals who want to work remotely from the country.
e. Digital Nomad Visa
Some countries have introduced a visa for remote workers, also known as digital nomads. The Digital Nomad Visa is for those who wish to work from another country.
A digital nomad is anyone who is self-employed or acts as an independent contractor when working with foreign businesses.
Remember that each country and visa has different requirements, so look into which best suits your situation.
It’s important to research the immigration policies of the country you want to work in and consult with an immigration attorney to avoid any legal issues.
4. How will I comply with taxes?
The US is one of only two countries that tax its citizens regardless of location.
This policy, also known as Citizenship-Based Taxation (CBT), means you must file and pay taxes even while living abroad as a US citizen.
Some considerations include the following:
- If you will be considered a tax resident
- Your overall worldwide income
- The Foreign Earned Income Exclusion
- Tax treaties to avoid double taxation
- If there will be universal health insurance or if you need to obtain insurance yourself
It’s in your best interest to consult with a tax professional familiar with US tax laws and the laws of the country you want to work in to avoid any legal trouble.
Can a US Citizen working for a US company work remotely in another country without any tax implications in the new country?
Remote workers that are employed by a US-based company and working remotely abroad cannot work without having to pay taxes.
If you’re employed by a business that has offices around the world, you can likely live and work in any country in which the company is licensed to do business.
The tax deducted from your payroll will reflect the country in which you’re living and working remotely.
What are the best tools for working remotely in another country?
1. A reliable internet connection
A secure and fast internet connection is the most important tool for working remotely.
No matter where you’re working abroad, you want to ensure that you can effectively carry out your tasks.
2. Communication tools
When working remotely from another country, staying in touch with your supervisor and coworkers is essential.
Virtual company tools such as Skype, Slack, or Zoom will let you communicate with your team and keep up with projects.
3. Virtual mailing address
One of the biggest drawbacks to working abroad is controlling your mail back home.
This can be a major problem if you need to receive important documents, such as tax forms, legal notices, or business contracts.
While your mail can be forwarded and shipped internationally, the cost will add up.
A virtual mailbox is an effective solution that provides you with a virtual address in the US.
Instead of being sent to your permanent resident address, mail will be sent to a secure scanning facility. From there, you will be able to digitally access your scanned mail on your MailMate account.
As long as you have internet access, you can receive your US mail from anywhere in the world.
The reverse is true, too. If you’re a longtime expat in Japan, and need access to your Japanese mail while you are away from your Japanese residence for a prolonged visit home, services Shoeboxed’s Japanese MailMate branch is able to help you manage your Japanese mail entirely online as you travel.
4. Time zone tracker
When working remotely in another country, there will likely be multiple time zones to keep track of.
Using a time zone tracker, such as World Time Buddy, will let you see multiple time zones at once to help you schedule meetings with remote colleagues in other countries.
What are the best countries to work remotely?
You’ve decided to work abroad and you’ve got the tools to do it, but with so many countries, you’re not sure where to go!
If you want to work while you explore the world and aren’t limited to any specific place on the globe, these 5 countries are hot spots for remote workers.
Portugal offers remote workers digital nomad visas, which is great if you’re just looking for a long getaway without having to change your permanent address.
The subtropical climate and ocean views make working remotely in Portugal a luxurious and peaceful experience, and the locals are often bi-lingual or multi-lingual, with English being one of the most common languages spoken.
Portugal’s digital nomad visa is good for up to 1 year, so you can spend all the time you want exploring the sights and enjoying delicious seafood.
- Income requirement of €2,800/month.
- No criminal history.
- Proof of accommodation for your stay.
- Health insurance.
Primary languages spoken
Spain is another popular destination for digital nomads and offers a digital nomad visa for remote work.
The visa lasts for 1 year but can be extended for up to 5 years of blissful remote work in Spain’s Mediterranean climate.
Work, enjoy the sights, and indulge yourself with the finest Spanish cuisine in the country’s most popular cities like Barcelona, Madrid, and Granada.
- Income requirement of €2,160/month for 1, €2,970/month for 2 (spouse), €3,240/month for a family of 3, and €3,510/ month for a family of 4.
- Proof of your status as a remote worker (degree, 3 years of work experience, or professional certificate).
- Full health insurance for all travelers.
- No criminal record.
Primary languages spoken
Romania introduced its digital nomad visa in 2021 which gives remote workers from all over the world the opportunity to work in the country for up to 1 year.
If all of the work requirements are met, digital nomads are permitted to extend their stay for another year to enjoy the rich history, explore castles, and experience traditional Romanian villages and culture.
- Income requirement of €3,700/month.
- Proof of employment.
- Tax history.
- Full coverage health insurance.
- No criminal record.
- Proof of accommodation during your stay.
Primary languages spoken
If you want to experience island life, working remotely in Barbados might be right up your alley.
Beautiful Barbados offers the Barbados Welcome Stamp, a 1-year digital nomad visa. The locals primarily speak English, so the language barrier should be minimal for US workers.
Swim in the crystal clear oceans, work on the sandy beaches, and improve your mood by soaking in the sun at this tropical getaway.
- Must work independently or for a registered business outside of Barbados.
- Minimum income requirement of $50,000/year.
Primary languages spoken
Not interested in the tropics? Experience mild summers and glistening winter wonderlands with Estonia’s digital nomad visas.
Estonia offers 2 work visa options for remote workers:
- Type C Digital Nomad Visa
- Estonia D Visa
The Type C visa will allow you to stay in Estonia for up to 90 days (or roughly 3 months), while the Estonia D Visa extends your trip to 1 year.
These visas give you plenty of time to venture out into Estonia’s century-old forests, walk along rocky beaches, and visit the towering castles and ornate churches rooted in Estonia’s history.
- Income requirement of €3,504/month.
- Proof that you are a digital nomad.
- Employment contract with a company registered outside of Estonia.
- Proof of accommodation.
- Proof of full coverage health insurance.
Primary languages spoken
Check out this video to explore more countries to work in as a digital nomad:
Frequently asked questions
Portugal, Spain, Romania, Barbados, and Estonia are among the most popular countries for remote work.
There are many reasons why your company may not allow working abroad.
Company policies, regulations, financial restrictions, and security measures can all be factors that influence where employees are allowed to work.
Working remotely while on a tourist visa is a legal gray area as it depends on the country’s laws that you’re traveling in, but, in general, most countries prohibit work on a tourist visa.
Working remotely in another country can be an exciting opportunity. See if your company allows remote work and explore your options.
Study up on the laws related to working in another country before you make the move, and if you have any questions, consult a professional, your supervisor, or the HR team.
Tammy Dang is a staff writer for Shoeboxed covering productivity, organization, and digitization how-to guides for the home and office. Her favorite organization tip is “1-in-1-out.” And her favorite app for managing articles and deadlines is Monday.com.
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