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Working Remotely from Abroad (what you need to know)

Working remotely from abroad scares the crap out of many people. 

So much so that some freeze and never leap.

It could be fear of the unknown. The dreaded “what if” holding them back. 

But that’s all it is, a first step. 

Just like when you were learning to ride your bike, one day, you took a deep breath and pushed off on your own, didn’t you?

Or, it could be a lack of knowledge.

Both are valid reasons to stall, but neither should stop you from living your life.

By this post’s end, you`ll know what you need to know about working remotely from abroad, like Visa requirements, health insurance, taxes, and essential cultural differences. 

All you need is a free spirit! 

And when those combine, the world becomes your playground.

Visa and immigration requirements

Depending on where you’re going and for how long, you might need a work visa or permit. 

For example:

The visa and immigration requirements for American freelancers working in Asia or Europe will vary depending on the country you plan to work in and the length of your stay. 

Here are some general guidelines to consider:

Temporary stays 

To work in Europe for short periods (up to 90 days), you can enter as a visitor and work without obtaining a work permit. However, you must meet the requirements for a visitor visa, which may include having sufficient funds to support yourself during your stay and a return ticket to your home country.

Longer stays

You’ll need a work or residence permit to work in Europe for extended periods. The process for getting either varies by country, so research the specific requirements for the country you plan to work in.

A digital nomad visa 

Digital nomad visas enable you to live and work in a country for an extended period, often up to 3 to 5 years.

Digital nomad visas are new and only available in some countries; you`ll need a minimum income level and savings to get one. 

It’s important to note that digital nomad visas differ from traditional work visas or residence permits. They’re more flexible and allow remote workers to live and work in a specific country for an extended period without committing to a particular job/employer or pay taxes in that country.

Health insurance

When working abroad, it’s essential to make sure you have adequate health insurance coverage. Depending on your situation, you can use your existing policy, or you may need to purchase a new international one.

Some things to consider when choosing a health insurance plan.

International Coverage

Ensure your health insurance plan provides international coverage, as you’ll be living and working abroad. And check your policy covers you for both in and outpatient care. 

Medical evacuation coverage 

Consider getting a plan that includes medical evacuation coverage, covering the cost of transporting you to a suitable medical facility if necessary.

Overall, it’s essential to research your health insurance options and choose a plan that meets your needs. Don`t be afraid to ask questions and clarify any uncertainties you may have before you purchase.


You’ll need to consider how to pay taxes while working remotely from abroad. And it’s essential to understand your tax obligations and stay compliant with the laws of the country you’re living in and the country you’re earning income.

For example:

If you’re a US citizen working abroad, you’ll still pay US taxes on your income. However, you may claim a foreign tax credit or exclusion on your tax return, which can help to reduce your tax liability. 

Here are a few things to consider with taxes for US citizens working abroad:

Foreign earned income exclusion

If you meet specific requirements, you may exclude a certain amount of your foreign-earned income from your US taxable income. To qualify, you must be present in a foreign country or country for at least 330 full days during 12 consecutive months.

Foreign tax credit 

If you pay foreign taxes on your income, you may claim a credit for those taxes on your US tax return, reducing your overall tax liability.

Self-employment tax 

If you’re self-employed and working abroad, you’ll still be required to pay self-employment tax on your income. However, you may claim a deduction for your self-employment taxes on your US tax return.

It’s important to note that the tax considerations for US citizens working abroad can be complex. Refer to the IRS website for more information or consult a tax professional.

Cultural differences

It’s essential to be aware of cultural differences when working abroad to adapt to the local way of life and not unintentionally offend anyone.

Some things to consider regarding cultural differences:

Communication styles 

Different cultures may have different communication styles, such as how they greet each other, the amount of eye contact they make, or the amount of personal space they expect. 

Be aware of these differences and try to adapt your communication style to suit them.

Business customs

Different cultures may have different customs and expectations regarding business meetings, negotiations, and other business interactions. You should research the business customs of the country you’re working in.

Social norms

Different cultures have different social norms, such as how people dress, eat, or interact with each other.

They might sound trivial, but getting these social interactions right can be the difference between being given a warm meal and bed for the night or being shown the door. 


Show respect for the culture and customs of the country you’ll be working in. Be open to learning about their traditions, and avoid making assumptions or judgments based on your cultural biases.

I have seen people get into very sticky situations because of an unintentional lack of respect. And saying, “I didn’t know,” isn’t a suitable excuse.


Like most freelancers, you can spend many happy crises free years working remotely from abroad.

However, that’s because we’ve prepared and are ready for any eventuality. 

So, don`t take a chance; get adequate healthcare, don’t overstay your visa, pay your taxes, and avoid insulting anyone.

Do those, and you’ll have a blast.

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