23.1.2024
MIGR
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The planned introduction of a temporary residence permit for digital nomads

The Ministry of the Interior has prepared the proposal of Act Amending and Supplementing the Foreigners Act ("ZTuj-2I"), which, among other things, envisages the introduction of a temporary residence permit for digital nomads, which is supposed to encourage the arrival of digital nomads in the Republic of Slovenia (hereinafter: "RS"). Who exactly are digital nomads, what are the main reasons for the introduction of this permit and what is the envisaged regulation?

1. Digital nomads

Digital nomads, also called “cross-border remote workers”, are individuals who perform their work with the help of communication technology, so they are not tied to a specific work location. As the trend of  working from an “independent” location continuous to grow and a wide range of activities and professions are becoming compatible with digital nomadism (e.g. professions related to the IT field, marketing, and sales, etc.), the number of digital nomads has been increasing in recent years.

Some European countries have already introduced special visas intended for digital nomads, as among them Estonia, Hungary, Portugal, and Croatia. Following the example of the latter, due to the structural and substantive similarities of the acts, the Ministry of the Interior has prepared the proposal of ZTuj-2I[1].[2]

2. Reasons for introducing a temporary residence permit for digital nomads

Most digital nomad schemes were established in other countries after 2020 in response to travel restrictions resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.[3] According to the findings of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), countries should introduce special visas or temporary residence permits for digital nomads mainly due to the economic benefits related to the (high) local consumption of digital nomads, to attract and promote innovative and mobile talent, and to reduce the potential abuses of short-stay tourist visas by digital nomads.[4]

In the RS, the Strategic Council for Digitalisation (hereafter: “SSD“) made similar findings. Namely, according to the findings of the SSD, the regulation of the status of digital nomads is expected to increase the flow of knowledge and experience, raise revenues to the state budget and strengthen the recognition of the RS.

Encouraging the arrival of digital nomads is also one of the commitments of the Government of the RS from the Coalition Work Programme 2022 – 2026[5] and the Government’s Strategy – Digital Slovenia 2030[6]. The introduction of a temporary residence permit for digital nomads therefore represents the realisation of one of the commitments of the Government of RS.

3. The proposed definition of a digital nomad and the anticipated conditions for issuing a temporary residence permit for a digital nomad

According to Article 2 of the proposal of ZTuj-2I, a digital nomad is defined as:

“a non-EU foreigner who is employed, performs works or performs work as a self-employed person remotely via communication technology at a business entity established outside the Republic of Slovenia, which is not entered in the business register of the Republic of Slovenia, and does not derive income or directly conducts sales or provide services in the Republic of Slovenia.”

The temporary residence permit for digital nomads is intended for foreigners from third countries that are not members of the European Union (hereinafter: “EU”). This is because citizens of EU Member States do not require a special permit to reside in the RS. [7]

A digital nomad applying for a temporary residence permit must not perform work for a business entity established in the RS, which is entered in the business register of the RS and does not derive income or directly conducts sales or provide services in the RS. This is important as the foreigner would otherwise (also) need a work permit, and not just a temporary residence permit in RS. Foreigners from third countries do not have the right to free access to the labour market in the RS.[8]

According to the proposal of ZTuj-2I[9], in order to obtain a temporary residence permit for a digital nomad, the foreigner will have to prove that:

  1. is employed, performers work or performs work as a self-employed person remotely via communication technology at a business entity established outside the RS, which is not entered in the business register of the RS, and does not derive income or directly conduct sales or provide services in the RS,


    The applicant will be able to prove this condition by submitting an employment contract, a work contract or proof of self-employment and a declaration from the employer or, in the case of self-employment, a declaration from the foreigner that he/she is working remotely via communication technology.

  2. has sufficient means of subsistence for the duration of his/her stay in the country, monthly at least twice the average net salary in the RS,


    The applicant will be able to prove this condition by means acquired through work, with rights from work or insurance, or with means in an account opened with a bank or savings bank in the RS or abroad.

  3. holds a valid travel document that is valid for at least three months beyond the period of intended stay in the RS,
  4. has adequate health insurance covering at least emergency medical services in the territory of the RS.

In addition, there should be no grounds for refusing the issue of a residence permit[10].

4. Estimated duration of a temporary residence permit for a digital nomad and its renewal

According to the proposal of ZTuj-2I, a temporary residence permit for a digital nomad should be issued to the applicant for the duration of an employment contract or a contract concluded for the performance of work, but for no longer than one year. According to the proposal of ZTuj-2I, it will no be possible to renew the permit, however, the foreigner will be able to apply for a new permit again after six months from the expiry of the validity of the issued permit.

It follows from the explanatory note to Article 28 of the proposal of ZTuj-2I that the reason for the inability to renew the temporary residence permit for a digital nomad is that digital nomads are highly mobile and reside in a particular country only for a certain short period of time (e.g. for the summer season) and that such an arrangement is also known in the Republic of Croatia[11]. Therefore, if a digital nomad wishes to continue residing in the RS, he/she will be able to apply for a further temporary residence permit with a different purpose of residence. Such uncritical transfer of the Croatian regulation, which takes into account the interest of digital nomads to reside in Croatia during the summer season, onto the Slovenian one seems incomprehensible. While it is true that a foreigner will be able to apply for a further temporary residence permit with a different purpose of residence, these purposes are limited to employment or work, family reunification, study and training, performing voluntary work and other valid reasons. A digital nomad who maintains employment abroad may not meet the conditions for a temporary residence permit for the other available purposes.

5. Family members of the holder of a temporary residence permit for a digital nomad

A foreigner who obtains a temporary residence permit for a digital nomad will be able to unite family members immediately respectively without any limitation regarding their residency in the RS and the validity of the permit.[12] Furthermore, it is anticipated that the family member of a foreigner who has obtained a temporary residence permit for a digital nomad will be issued a certificate of the submitted application for a first temporary residence permit due to family reunification. This will enable them to reside in the RS until a final decision on the application is made.[13]

The proposal of ZTuj-2I was submitted for inter-ministerial coordination and in review to the Office of the Government of the Republic of Slovenia for Legislation (“SVZ“) in December 2023. Comments on the proposal of ZTuj-2I may be submitted until 26 January 2024. In the light of the foregoing, the regulation presented above may still be changed.

[1] The proposal Act Amending and Supplementing the Foreigners Act (ZTuj-2I), EVA: 2022-1711-0027, is available at the following URL (in Slovene): https://e-uprava.gov.si/si/drzava-in-druzba/e-demokracija/predlogi-predpisov/predlog-predpisa.html?id=14656 (available on 19 January 2024).

[2] Cf. the proposal Act Amending and Supplementing the Foreigners Act (ZTuj-2I), EEA: 2022-1711-0027, Explanatory note to Article 28, p. 39.

[3] Migration Policy Debates, no. 27, July 2022: Should OECD countries develop new Digital Nomad Visas?, available at: https://web-archive.oecd.org/2022-07-22/638329-MPD-27-Should-OECD-countries-develop-new-Digital-Nomad-Visas-July2022.pdf (available on 19.1.2024), p. 1.

[4] Cf. the proposal Act Amending and Supplementing the Foreigners Act (ZTuj-2I), EEA: 2022-1711-0027, Explanatory note to Article 28, p. 39.

[5] The Coalition Work Programme 2022 – 2026 is available at the following URL (in Slovene): Coalition-Deal-2022-2026-Programme-Part-18.5.2022.pdf (available on 19 January 2024).

[6] The Government’s Strategy – Digital Slovenia 2030 is available at the following URL (in Slovene): https://www.gov.si/assets/ministrstva/MDP/Dokumenti/DSI2030-potrjena-na-Vladi-RS_marec-2023.pdf (available on 19 January 2024).

[7] Under the current regime in ZTuj-2, EU nationals can enter and stay in the RS without registering their residence for 90 days from the date of entry. If he/she wishes to stay in the territory of the RS for more than 90 days, he/she must register his/her residence before the expiry of the 90-day residence period.

[8] According to Article 6(1) of the Employment, Self-employment, and Work of Foreigners Act (in Slovene: Zakon o zaposlovanju, samozaposlovanju in delu tujcev, Official Gazette of the Republic of Slovenia, no. 91/21 as amended, the “ZZSDT“), the right to free access to the labour market means that a foreigner can be employed, self-employed or work in the RS without consent to a single permit or EU Blue Card or without a seasonal work permit.

[9] Cf. the proposal Act Amending and Supplementing the Foreigners Act (ZTuj-2I), EEA: 2022-1711-0027, Article 28.

[10] From the first, second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, tenth, eleventh and twelfth indent of Article 55 of ZTuj-2.

[11] Cf. the proposal Act Amending and Supplementing the Foreigners Act (ZTuj-2I), EEA: 2022-1711-0027, Explanatory note to Article 28, p. 39.

[12] Cf. the proposal Act Amending and Supplementing the Foreigners Act (ZTuj-2I), EEA: 2022-1711-0027, Article 21(1), p. 12.

[13] Cf. the proposal Act Amending and Supplementing the Foreigners Act (ZTuj-2I), EEA: 2022-1711-0027, Article 21(1), p. 13.