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There is a class of residence (but not work) permits (non lucrativa / non-working / visitor / retiree) for people with stable income sources outside of the country. This kind of residence permit should be perfect for people with remote jobs who want to stay for more than 3 months in a country they like, but don't have relatives or a job there. However, it's hard to find a lot of info on this topic, except for Spain: 1,2.

Judging from those articles, there are plenty of hidden obstacles (like you need to sign the lease before you get the permit; and what to do with it if you're refused?).

Or in Cyprus, you should apply for residence permit ("pink slip") on the place, so it's not clear how you apply for long term visa to get there. And after you apply for a permit, there is a several months waiting period - what if your visa expires? Should you leave or stay?

So, are there countries where it's actually straightforward to get a visa and then a temporary residence permit for a person with remote job or passive income?

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    This is a pretty broad as this is truly a nation-by-nation thing. In general, the concept of 'remote working' is still not well received or considered by most countries, especially as there isn't a lot clarity or establishment of just what the economic benefits are for the host country. There are some special requirements for retirees in many countries, but I suspect that doesn't apply to you. – ouflak Dec 18 '16 at 14:00
  • @ouflak yes, but I'm more frustrated about a lack of clear application scenario. E.g. Cyprus definition for "visitor" fits remote worker quite well: "Third country nationals [...] provided that they have sufficient financial resources for their maintenance originating from abroad". – modular Dec 18 '16 at 17:32
  • @ouflak I agree that probably there is no single expert who can answer my question - this is why I asked it online, so hopefully multiple people can collaborate on answer. – modular Dec 18 '16 at 17:37
  • @alkar I don't know Cyprus law but it's possible, likely even, that another article or statute simply forbids working as a visitor. So fitting the definition is not all there is to it. So income from abroad typically means retirement or investment income, not income from work. – Relaxed Dec 19 '16 at 10:17
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I'm not sure what you want exists in any county. If you are living and working there, they will want to tax you.

Despite what you might have found in a random site (link broken), it doesn't exist in Spain. None of the valid forms of visa applies to you; if you are working while in Spain, regardless of who is paying you and where they are, you need a worker visa in Spain.

The closest option would be "Visado de residencia y trabajo en el marco de prestaciones transnacionales de servicios" which means that you work for a foreign employer while in Spain, but it is your employer who has to request it, and there is a limited list of accepted reasons. Other visa types are self employed, working for a Spanish employer or self sufficient. The latter means that you have enough means to sustain yourself and dependants while in Spain without the need to work at all, wich is not the case here.

Links from Spanish government sites (in Spanish)

List of valid visas at the Spanish consulate in Lima

Requirements for remote foreign workers

  • Thanks, I fixed the links. You seem to be right about Spain. Non-profit visa prohibits "engaging in any type of lucrative activity", so if I apply I'll have to be not completely honest. Even managing a business (as opposed to being remote employee or contractor) should be considered a "lucrative activity". – modular Dec 19 '16 at 10:34

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