Teaching English online is a popular option for TEFL qualified teachers as it comes with greater freedom than you would typically get working for an on-site school or language center. Many teachers prefer the convenience of working from their own home and the flexibility of deciding for themselves exactly when they work and for how long. However, teaching English online can also be done from any location with a good internet connection, which allows you to travel from place to place or stay in one location of your choice.
Remote working has now become mainstream and several countries have begun issuing digital nomad visas which allow you to stay long-term even though your work is with English students that can be located anywhere in the world. If you dream of living on an exotic island, in a major world city, or anywhere else in between, there is probably a digital nomad visa out there to suit you. Below is a brief overview of the most popular destinations for teaching English online with a digital nomad visa.
Visa length: Up to 60 days
Although Indonesia is yet to issue long-term digital nomad visas, Bali is still a popular option for a shorter stay thanks to its laid back vibe, low cost of living, and beachside lifestyle. Most nationalities are issued a 30 day visa on arrival at the airport for $35 and this can be extended once for a further 30 days (also $35). Once your two months are up you can either move onto another destination or simply leave the country and get a new visa on your way back into Bali.
Visa length: Up to 90 days
Vietnam is a relative newcomer on the digital nomad scene, but it is already a popular option for remote workers due to the lifestyle on offer. You can base yourself in a thriving city such as Ho Chi Minh or Hanoi, or head to one of many beachside towns located on the country’s east coast. Business visas are available online for one month, three months, or even a full year for American passport holders (although you will still need to leave the country every three months). You can apply for the visa in advance and then pick it up on arrival in the country.
Visa length: Up to 180 days
Colombia is another up and coming country in the digital nomad field and its close proximity to the USA and Canada means its popularity is likely to grow quickly. Other attractions include the low cost of living, lively nightlife, and the warm climate. Most nationalities are able to obtain a 90-day tourist visa on arrival which can then be extended for a further 90 days from within the country. Currently you are unable to stay any longer than 180 days in any one year on a tourist visa, but this is still a lot longer than you can get in most countries worldwide.
Visa length: 6 to 12 months
Although you might not have considered Georgia when planning your trip, it is certainly worth considering as it is the first country on this list to offer a dedicated digital nomad visa. When you also throw in the affordable cost of living, amazing natural beauty, and the vibrant local nightlife, you should start to see why we recommend Georgia. The relatively new ‘Remotely from Georgia’ visa allows citizens of 95 foreign countries to stay for up to 360 days. You will be liable for local taxes during your stay and you will need to prove a minimum monthly salary of US$2,000.
Visa length: Up to 12 months
The new digital nomad visa for Croatia is a real game changer as it allows teachers, including non-EU nationals, the chance to stay in Europe for up to a year with tax exemptions thrown in. The only downside is there are several requirements you need to meet in order to qualify, such as proof of remote work, a health insurance policy, a police background check, and a house rental agreement. Providing you can meet the criteria you can choose from some amazing destinations including the beautifully preserved medieval city of Dubrovnik and Split, a seaside city that is popular with tourists and expats alike.
Visa length: Up to 12 months
If the north of Europe is more to your taste you might want to take a look at Estonia, a modern and welcoming country on the Baltic Sea. Estonia was one of the first countries to introduce a dedicated digital nomad visa aimed at remote workers from foreign companies and if you are eligible you can stay for up to a year. The requirements for the visa are less stringent than many other countries, although the minimum monthly income of around €3500 might be a little too steep for many online English teachers.
Visa length: Up to 12 months
Thailand needs little introduction to most seasoned travelers and it is unsurprisingly popular with long-term and short-term remote workers. If you want to enjoy the spectacular beaches, great climate, delicious food, and traditionally warm welcome, you have a couple of visa options to explore. You can obtain a 60-day tourist visa from your local Thai embassy or consulate which can then be extended in-country for a further 30 days. Another popular option is an Education Visa that allows a stay of one year. To get this option you will need to sign up for lessons with a school that is recognized by the Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Thai language lessons and Muay Thai classes are the most popular options.
Also read: Do you need a degree to teach online?
Visa length: 2 years or more
Located in the far west of Europe, Portugal is rapidly becoming one of the most popular remote working destinations in the region since it introduced the D7 Passive Income Visa that allows visitors to stay in the country for up to two years. If your stay in Lisbon, Porto, or the Algarve proves to be a hit it is possible to change the visa for a three-year Residency Permit on completion of the initial two years. Requirements include a clean criminal record and proof of income exceeding the national minimum wage which currently sits at around €600 per month.
Visa length: Up to 2 years
Costa Rica has long been one of the most popular teaching destinations in Central America and the creation of a long-term digital nomad visa has further increased its popularity. The initial visa is good for one year as long as you can prove a steady income of at least $2,500 per month. The visa can then be extended for a further year. And if that isn’t easy enough for you, you don’t have to apply in advance. Simply enter the country on a standard 90-day tourist visa and then convert it to the nomad visa from within the country.
Visa length: Up to 4 years
The convenient location of Mexico close to the USA and Canada makes it a popular choice with TEFL qualified teachers, particularly as the visa options are very attractive. Many nationalities are given a six month tourist visa on arrival that can then be renewed by simply crossing a border to another country. A temporary resident visa is also a good option as it is valid for up to four years. To be eligible for this option you will need to prove an income of at least $1,620 per month over the previous six months or evidence of a lump sum over $27,000.
Also read: How to make an online teaching demo?