There is no proper USA digital nomad visa at the moment, but there exist viable alternatives for remote workers eager to explore the country’s dynamic cities and beautiful landscapes.
Let’s have a look at these different options and see how to legally become a digital nomad in the USA.
USA Digital Nomad Visa – Key Points Explained
Let’s cut straight to the chase : there isn’t a USA digital nomad visa yet. But this doesn’t close the doors for aspiring remote workers.
Instead, you’ll find a whole range of alternative visa options. Each of them comes with their own set of requirements and limitations, but all will allow you to legally remote work in the USA.
Let’s have a look together at these options and highlight their applicability for digital nomads.
Is It Hard To Get Digital Nomad Visa For USA ?
Unlike other countries with dedicated digital nomad visas, where the process is straightforward and tailored to remote workers, the U.S. requires a more nuanced approach.
But don’t let this potential complexity be a deterrent.
In fact, it actually opens up a realm of possibilities that might better suit your needs and circumstances compared to the one-size-fits-all approach of standard digital nomad visas.
Digital Nomad Visa USA Types
Even if there is no US digital nomad visa at the moment, several visa types should be able to ease your process of becoming a digital nomad in the USA.
The H visa category is broad and tailored towards people with specialized skills or qualifications.
It includes :
- H-1 Visa : targeted at professionals with a college degree or relevant work experience, valid for three years.
- H-2A Visa : for agricultural workers on a seasonal or temporary basis, valid for up to one year.
- H-2B Visa : for non-agricultural temporary workers, also valid for up to one year.
- H-3 Visa : focused on individuals seeking specific training programs, excluding certain fields like medicine.
Tourism and Visit Visa (B-Visas)
B-Visas are suitable for short-term visits.
- B-1 Visa : for business purposes.
- B-2 Visa : Ideal for digital nomads who focus on tourism, holiday, social events or short-term courses. It’s valid for up to 10 years but limits the stay to a maximum of 6 months per visit.
Visa Waiver Program
This program allows nationals from some countries to enter the US for up to 90 days for business or tourism without a visa.
It requires an e-passport and enrollment in the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA).
The H-1B visa is designed for specialty occupations requiring specialized knowledge and a bachelor’s degree. It’s a work visa for people employed by a US company, valid for three years and extendable to six.
For digital nomads, the B-2 Tourism visa usually stands as the most suitable choice. It offers the flexibility and duration most conducive to a digital nomad lifestyle.
USA Digital Nomad Visa Requirements & Eligibility
The requirements vary depending on the visa type, but here’s a general overview for B-2 tourism visa for working remotely from USA :
- Valid passport : must be valid for at least six months beyond the intended stay in the USA.
- Non-immigrant visa application : completed form DS-160.
- Application fee : receipt of payment for the visa application fee.
- US bank account : you have to open a US bank account, which requires two forms of identification (e.g., passport and driver’s license) and a W-8Ben form, to be done in-person in the USA.
- Financial self-sufficiency : no minimum income requirement, but be prepared to show you have sufficient funds for your stay.
- Accommodation : no proof required but be ready to provide an address or booking confirmation if asked by US Customs and Border Protection.
- Health insurance : not a mandatory requirement for digital nomad USA, but advisable for travel.
USA Remote Work Visa Income Requirements
Unlike many countries with specific digital nomad visas that stipulate clear income thresholds, the United States does not enforce standardized minimum income requirements for remote work visas.
This is particularly relevant for visas like the B-2 Tourism Visa, which is the most used by digital nomads.
You won’t be required to prove a minimum income level ; however, you might have to prove financial self-sufficiency at the borders.
So keep with you a proof that you have enough funds to support your stay without engaging in local employment.
Apply For USA Digital Nomad Visa With These Documents
Here’s a checklist of what you’ll need to apply to the USA digital nomad visa equivalent :
- Valid passport : must be valid for at least six months beyond your planned stay in the USA.
- Non-immigrant visa application form : completed Form DS-160 confirmation page.
- Visa application fee receipt : proof of payment for the application fee.
- Photograph : a recent photo that meets the visa application requirements.
- Proof of financial self-sufficiency : evidence of sufficient funds to support your stay in the USA.
- Accommodation details : not mandatory, but you might be asked for an address or booking confirmation at the border.
- Travel itinerary : if applicable, demonstrate the purpose of your visit.
USA Digital Nomad Visa Application Process Step By Step
Wishing to apply for digital nomad visa programs ?
Here’s a step by step guide for foreign nationals.
Step 1 : Gather All Documents Required
This includes a valid passport, a clear copy of it and a color photo meeting the specified size requirements (between 22 mm and 35 mm).
Depending on your case, additional documentation might be needed to demonstrate the purpose of your trip, intent to depart the U.S. after your stay and your financial capability to cover trip costs.
Step 2 : Complete the Application Form
Fill out the Non-immigrant Visa application, form DS-160, online here.
You’ll have to create an account, provide detailed information and print the confirmation page once completed. Ensure all information is accurate.
Step 3 : Schedule an Interview
After submitting the form, schedule an interview at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in your country.
Of course you can choose a different embassy or consulate, but it’s always better to select one in your country of residence.
Step 4 : Attend the Interview
Attend the scheduled interview. Ensure you’re on time and prepared with all required documents.
The interview is a critical step where visa officials assess your application and intentions.
Step 5 : Visa Outcome and Collection
If your visa is approved, you will leave your passport with the embassy or consulate.
They will then mail it back to you with the visa. Yes this can feel scary, but this is just how it works.
Renewal Process Digital Nomad Visas In USA
If you wish to extend your B-2 tourist visa, then this involves a process similar to the initial application.
You must reapply and fill out again the Non-immigrant Visa Application (form DS-160) and schedule another interview at a U.S. embassy or consulate.
The renewal process requires the same documentation and proof of ongoing eligibility.
How Long Is Digital Nomad Visa For USA Valid For ?
The validity of a digital nomad visa USA if you use alternatives like the B-2 tourist visa, varies on individual circumstances and the discretion of the U.S. immigration authorities.
The B-2 visa can be issued with a validity of up to 10 years and allows for multiple entries, but the length of each stay is determined upon arrival by U.S. Customs and Border Protection, with a maximum limit of six months per visit.
Bear in mind the actual stay period granted can be less than the maximum.
Cost Of Digital Nomad Visa USA
The visa fee for the B-2 visa as well as the B-1 visa is set at $185. Yes, this fee remains consistent, but it’s actually cheaper than many digital nomad visas.
Also note that the visa fee is not refundable, and that there might be some additional in regards to your individual circumstances.
USA Digital Nomad Visa Tax To Expect
The US digital nomad visa comes with specific tax obligations. As a digital nomad in the USA, you are subject to federal income tax, and sometimes state taxes.
If you’re earning income while on a digital nomad visa, you’ll have to file an annual tax return with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
If you are self-employed, there’s an additional self-employment tax, comprising 12.4% for Social Security and 2.9% for Medicare.
How Long You Wait To Get USA Digital Nomad Visa
Well this will all depend on the specific U.S. Embassy or Consulate handling the application.
Usually, the processing time ranges from as short as 70 business days to as long as two years !
This is why we would advise you to apply well in advance of your intended travel date.
But not to worry, if you choose the B2 visa as your specific digital nomad visa for the USA, then the timeline ranges from 2 weeks to 2 months.
Bringing Family With You
If you’re entering the USA on a visa suitable for a nomadic lifestyle in America, like the B-2 Tourism Visa, then your family members can apply for the same or a related visa category.
Each family member will have to submit an individual application and meet the standard visa requirements. They will for example have to prove ties to their home country and financial stability.
Cost Of Living In USA
The cost of living in the USA depends on the region and lifestyle choices.
Major cities like New York and San Francisco are known for their high living costs, especially in terms of accommodation and dining, but smaller towns and rural areas offer more affordable living options.
Here are some examples of what to expect to pay while in the USA.
|900 to 1200 € / $990 to $1320
|From 100000 € / From $110000
|80 to 200 € / $88 to $220
|70 to 100 € / $77 to $110
|20 to 30 € / $22 to $33
|200 to 300 € / $220 to $330 /month/pers
|8 to 12 € / $9 to $13
|Around 20 € / $22 per 100 km
|Around 2 € / $2,20 per trip
|Around 3 € / $3,30 per km
|40 to 60 € / $44 to $66 per day
|Around 100 € / $110 per domestic trip
|70 to 100 € / $77 to $110
|20 to 30 € / $22 to $33
|Museum / attractions
|5 to 15 € / $5,50 to $16,50
|20 to 70 € / $22 to $77
You can also check the Cost of Living in the USA here.
Is There Digital Banking In USA
Yes, the USA is at the forefront of digital banking. Thanks to their focus on convenience and efficiency, many banks like Bank of America and HSBC provide comprehensive online banking services.
You’ll also find numerous apps for managing expenses, budgeting and even investing.
These tools are particularly useful for digital nomads who need to manage their finances on the go and will perfectly complete your collection of apps for business travel.
Which VPN Works Best In USA For Digital Nomads ?
As a digital nomad in the USA, you might want to seek a reliable VPN.
Well, NordVPN really stands out as a top choice thanks to its excellent privacy options, fast connection speeds and useful add-ons like Threat Protection, destined to block ads and harmful websites.
We absolutely love NordVPN’s double encryption and extensive server network, which are great to enhance the security of your internet connection.
Popular Digital Nomad Hotspots (Cities) In USA
Most digital nomads choose the USA to settle for a few months, and here are the best hotspots they usually choose:
- New York City, New York – Or the Big Apple, is a top destination if you’re holding a USA digital nomad visa. The city’s choice of coworking spaces, its tech scene and multi-cultural experiences make it an ideal hotspot for digital nomads.
- San Francisco, California – San Francisco is renowned for its tech-centric atmosphere, so it’s a favored choice for the digital nomad USA community. You will for sure love the city’s innovative spirit, its scenic beauty and tech hubs. Don’t forget that Silicon Valley is nearby ! Here, high living costs are largely balanced by the city’s inspiring environment.
- Austin, Texas – Austin’s vibrant tech scene and laid-back lifestyle attract many digital nomads who are looking for a good balance between work and play. Known for its live music and eclectic culture, Austin is also way more affordable compared to other major cities. The number of coworking spaces is also growing more and more.
- Miami, Florida – If you’re looking for a tropical climate and booming startup scene, then you’ll love going to Florida. The city’s blend of beach life and urban living is great to find balance. Miami’s connectivity to Latin America and its dynamic nightlife also are additional draws.
- Boulder, Colorado – Never heard of this town before ? For digital nomads who love outdoor adventures, Boulder offers a tech-friendly environment and easy access to nature. The city focuses on health and wellness and also boasts a thriving startup ecosystem.
Are There Coworking Communities In USA
Wishing to work remotely in the USA while joining a digital nomad community and network with other digital nomads ?
Here are the cities that attract digital nomads the most.
New York City, New York
In New York City, coworking spaces are growing more and more numerous.
The Farm SoHo and WeWork, for example, are real hubs for digital nomads with a digital nomad visa in USA. All of them cater to different styles and professions.
Seattle is renowned for its dynamic tech scene and entrepreneurial spirit.
The city is home to numerous coworking spaces that are designed to support the needs of remote workers and digital nomads.
The Cloud Room, The Pioneer Collective… All of these spaces often host community events and workshops.
Denver is the best place in America to mix urban and outdoor lifestyles. A great choice if you value both work and nature.
Here again there lots of coworking spaces like Expansive Trinity Place or Creative Density Coworking, all of them with the Rocky Mountains as a backdrop. A refreshing and inspiring environment !
Is USA Safe For Digital Nomads ?
Thanks to its well-established infrastructure and stringent law enforcement, the USA is actually a pretty safe destination for remote workers.
Of course you’ll have to be cautious with picky theft and traffic, but not more than in any European country.
If you’re on a USA digital nomad visa, stay informed about local safety norms and practices and make sure you only visit safe cities and districts.
Remember to also subscribe to travel insurance as US healthcare is one of the more expensive in the world. Don’t hesitate to compare SafetyWing and World Nomads to choose the most suited for you.
Final Pros & Benefits
Chief among all the benefits of such a visa is the flexibility and freedom to work from anywhere, be it the bustling streets of New York City or the relaxed landscapes of the West Coast.
This flexibility fosters a better work-life balance and the opportunity to explore diverse cultures and environments.
Let’s add to that the USA’s robust infrastructure and the numerous coworking spaces and you can make sure your productivity will be maintained.
Few Drawbacks To Have In Mind
The prospect of a USA digital nomad visa comes with many advantages but there are also a few drawbacks to consider:
- The lack of a specific digital nomad visa means you’ll have to reach other visa categories, and this may lead to complex legal and tax implications.
- Also bear in mind that the cost of living in major cities is higher than in many other countries.
- Finally, take into account the vast size of the country and varying regional cultures. You’ll probably have to adapt !
3 Alternative Countries With Similar Requirements We Recommend
Wishing to work remotely from a foreign country ? Not fully convinced by the U.S. ?
Here are some other options with digital nomad visas.
While lacking a specific digital nomad visa, Canada offers alternatives.
The Self-Employed Scheme allows self-employed individuals to live and work, particularly suitable for those in creative professions.
Also, the Startup Visa Scheme is designed for entrepreneurs seeking to establish a business in Canada.
Mexico’s digital nomad visa, officially known as the “temporary residence visa,” allows remote workers to live and work in the country for up to 4 years, without employment with Mexican companies.
While not explicitly labeled as a digital nomad visa, it serves the same purpose.
Panama’s visa for remote workers is increasingly popular among professionals seeking an extended stay.
The application process is straightforward, and the visa allows for a nine-month initial period, with the option to renew for an additional nine months.
Tailored to remote workers, this visa provides an ideal setting for both work and exploration.
Can I work remotely from USA as a digital nomad ?
Yes, you can work remotely from the USA as a digital nomad as long as you apply to appropriate visa categories.
Can I work from anywhere in the USA as a digital nomad ?
Yes, digital nomads in the USA can work from anywhere within the country, even in Alaska !
Is remote work allowed on a B1/B2 visa in the USA for digital nomads ?
Yes if you work for a foreign company, but the B1/B2 visa does not permit remote work for a U.S. company as a digital nomad.
What are the best cities in the US for digital nomads ?
Top cities for digital nomads in the US include New York City, San Francisco, Austin, Miami, Los Angeles and Boulder.
The USA doesn’t offer a specific digital nomad visa, but alternatives exist, like for example the B-2 visa which provides a pathway for remote work.
In major cities like Washington, Los Angeles, Boston or Miami, you’ll enjoy prime digital nomad hotspots and very lively nomad communities.
But for that, you’ll have to apply for the visa that suits your situation the best.