North Macedonia is an intriguing Balkans destination that many digital nomads may overlook when searching for digital nomad visas in Europe. North Macedonia may launch a new digital nomad visa this year, although there is no specific timeline. The country looks like a wonderful low-cost hub for digital nomads interested in exploring a unique part of Europe. Although the details are not finalized, the country may launch the visa in 2023. Digital nomads can begin looking into this program to know what to expect when living in North Macedonia.
North Macedonia is one of the cheapest countries in Europe for digital nomads
LIVING IN NORTH MACEDONIA
North Macedonia is a very appealing destination for digital nomads looking for a low-cost destination with many natural attractions. North Macedonia lies in the northern part of the traditional area known as Macedonia and occupies around 40% of this area, while Greece and Bulgaria occupy the remaining area. This country is under the radar of most digital nomads, as other countries in the region plan to join the EU sooner, and some already have established digital nomad visa programs. Macedonia has been a candidate for EU membership since 2005 and realistically may be a member of the EU by 2030, behind other countries like Montenegro, which should be joining the EU in 2025, and Croatia, which joined the European Union in 2013 and adopted the Euro in 2023.
This Balkans country is an excellent destination for expats searching for a safe, low-cost destination with plenty of interesting natural attractions. North Macedonia is generally a safe place to live, with limited political risks, and could be an intriguing destination for digital nomads looking for a location in Europe that is off the beaten path.
Internet: One issue to consider when deciding whether you want to live in North Macedonia is the relatively slower internet speed. The average download speed for fixed internet connections in Macedonia is 32.57 Mbps, below the global average. Regional peers like Croatia and Montenegro have comparatively faster internet, so these options could be better if this is a deal breaker for you.
Nature: North Macedonia is a relatively unknown paradise for those looking for charming outdoor destinations. The country has many lakes with views of the mountains, four national parks, waterfalls, and caves. It is also easy to navigate the country, which is only around 10,000 square miles, around the size of Vermont and slightly smaller than Vancouver Island.
Low cost of living: North Macedonia is likely one of the cheapest countries in Europe for digital nomads. The country’s minimum wage is only around €290/month ($313 USD/month), which is well below that of many European countries. Digital nomads who want to spend less than $1,000 USD/month and save money should choose North Macedonia to achieve their goals.
Getting Around: North Macedonia borders other countries such as Serbia, Bulgaria, Greece, and Albania, which makes regional travel easier. You can fly to over 50 destinations directly from North Macedonia, and many countries are a short bus or train ride away. This country is an acceptable place to be based if you are interested in exploring Europe.
North Macedonia has a lot of natural beauties to explore with your future digital nomad visa
DIGITAL NOMAD VISA UPDATES
North Macedonia is one of several Balkan countries discussing a digital nomad visa, but it has not yet implemented it. This visa may be available soon, as the government announced its plans to launch it in February 2021. However, this plan has been delayed. At the moment, most tourists can only visit for 90 days or have to apply for a short-term residency that is not designed for digital nomads.
There is no indication that the government will have an online application process like other countries, so you may have to apply at an Embassy. The United States has one embassy and three consulates, and there is one embassy and one consulate in Canada.
The closest visa at the moment is the Type D Visa, which is a general temporary residence permit provided for students, volunteers, researchers, or other groups. People applying for this visa need to provide documents like
- Passport information
- Passport-sized photos
- Proof of accommodation in Macedonia
- Criminal background check
- Health insurance
- Work permit or other work information
If you think you could qualify for the Type D Visa, this could be a good option while you wait for more clarity on the digital nomad visa.
Taxes: Although details are not final, the initial outlook is favourable, as Macedonia’s tax rate is low. Macedonia charges a 10% flat tax rate on personal income, which is not terrible, especially if you are no longer a tax resident in your home country. Some countries decide not to make digital nomads pay taxes, even if it's just during the first 12 months, but it is unclear which route Macedonia will take.
Related content: The Basics Of How To Get A Second Passport Or A Second Residency
Lake Ohrid and Ohrid City, Macedonia
LONG-TERM OPTIONS ARE HAZY
North Macedonia may be a difficult country to navigate if you are interested in long-term residency. It is also unclear how long digital nomads will be able to stay on this visa and if the visa will change if North Macedonia becomes a member of the EU. Based on current information, North Macedonia only looks best for those who want to spend a year in the country.
Expat Money will continue to follow updates on this development, as this digital nomad visa may be released sometime in 2023. Living in North Macedonia offers a balance of attributes that can make it a wonderful place to live as a digital nomad. North Macedonia has some stunning nature, low living costs, and beautiful cities, and it is near other top European tourist spots like Greece. However, the outlook is hazy if you want to stay in North Macedonia for longer than one year. Other residency programs are difficult, and you may not be able to extend this visa easily.