Affordable countries for freelancers and bootstrappers from developing countries

Phi Phi by Evan Krause
Phi Phi Islands by Evan Krause

Many freelancers and bootstrappers often find themselves in a situation where they want to change the setting. I was in that situation myself just a couple of years ago as a Kazakhstan passport holder.

Sure, there are many countries you probably can go to on a tourist visa but chances are, you’ll still be limited in the amount of time you can spend in a country.

Now, this list is more of a low-budget friendly. There are solutions like Thailand Elite Visa which costs ~$15-60k depending on the validity period but for most freelancers from third world countries, it’s just too much.

Here is a budget-friendly list for those who bring in as low as $500/month.

Thailand

Shelter helps freelancers, employees of foreign companies, startups, and employers with a salary of $2500/month to establish themselves in Thailand for a $375 monthly fee and a low 3% tax rate. A good option compared to other solutions.

Hand To Hand Combat helps you get a 12-month educational visa for self-defense lessons without learning the Thai language for around $1500. That would be a grey area type of solution for workers unlike the Shelter but it’s a good option nonetheless.

Poland

Twój Startup is one of the ways to establish yourself in Poland on a work permit. It obligates you to reside in Poland for 90 out of 180 days. As a plus, you get a 9% tax rate as an IT professional. The salary requirement overall is quite low at ~$880/month. Not bad for Schengen access.

Mexico

Mexico has to offer a temporary resident visa for those who have at least $25k in a bank account as a yearly balance, or $1500 in monthly income in the last six months.

Argentina

For foreigners with a monthly income of $420 (ARS30k), Argentina can offer a temporary resident visa that can be renewed for up to 3 years. It’s family-friendly and leads to citizenship.

United Arab Emirates

GoFreelance helps you establish yourself in Dubai as a freelancer. The overall cost is around $2200 with a residency visa for 3 years. See more in their FAQ.


I hope you find this list useful. As a follow-up, introduce yourself to the list of online banks and EMIs where you can open an account remotely. A perfect fit for freelancers from developing countries.