The Digital Nomad Visa And Your Prenup

Dec 31, 2023 | Immigration, Prenuptial Agreements

Imagine this: You and your new spouse jet off to the enchanting country of Portugal for your honeymoon. The trip is a dream for any newlywed couple, but here’s the plot twist – you decide to extend your stay and make Portugal your new home. Wait, what? How is that even possible? Enter: the digital nomad visa; that’s your ticket to making this surprising plot twist a reality! But wait, what about your prenup? How does that work for a person living as a digital world nomad with no real place to call home? We dive into this relatively new phenomenon below! 


What is the digital nomad visa? 

In our post-COVID world, many things have changed, including where you can legally live as an American citizen. COVID increased the availability of remote work in the US, leading foreign countries, such as Portugal and Costa Rica, to open up their borders to Americans (and other foreign nationals) with those remote jobs. It’s like a work visa, but the work is located in a country other than the country you are applying to live in. Every country has its own requirements for the visa, but typically, there is some type of baseline salary you’ll need to make to qualify, among other things. It’s an amazing opportunity for Americans!

Some of the most popular destinations include Portugal, Spain, and Italy, but that’s not all–-there are over 50 different countries that offer this type of visa nowadays! So, take your pick; there’s a country for everyone. But don’t forget to check out each country’s visa requirements since they are not all created equal. You may not qualify for every single one! 


Can I still get a US prenup if I live on a digital nomad visa?

Yes! But here’s where it gets a bit tricky: whether or not your prenup will be enforced in a foreign country is up for determination. This is because prenups are generally created with a specific country’s laws in mind. For example, what goes into a Canadian prenup is slightly different than what goes into a U.S. prenup. Heck, even state to state can vary in terms of what legally needs to be included in the agreement. So, if you end up living long-term in a foreign country, and you bring your US-laws-based-prenup to a court in your new home country to enforce it in a divorce, it is unclear whether or not that court will enforce it. 


Examples of how this might work in real life

Let’s walk through some examples of how this might look, depending on your digital nomad lifestyle. 

Scenario 1: You plan to eventually go back to the US 

Picture this: you’re living it up overseas with your boo for a handful of years, but you plan on going back to the US after you get your fix of international travel. You get your prenup squared away in your home state, California, and then you’re off to Europe. By year three of living abroad, you’re sick of all the croissants and lack of ketchup with fries, so you head back to Cali. You live with your spouse in the US for a few more years but eventually hit a roadblock in your marriage. You decide to divorce. You enforce your CA-based prenup in a CA divorce court. You’re good! There shouldn’t be any issues with enforcing your prenup as it pertains to your travels and digital nomad visa. 


Scenario 2: You live on the digital nomad visa for years and eventually file for foreign citizenship 

You are living it up overseas with your boo after executing your California prenup. You’re on year five of your visa in Portugal when you decide to file for permanent residence. After a little paperwork and some blood, sweat, and tears, you’re an official Portugal citizen. You buy property and live happily ever after in Lisbon. That is, until marriage trouble strikes. You and your partner had a good run, but you decide to call it quits. Assuming your US marriage is accepted in Portugal, you go to get your official divorce in a Lisbon court and ask to enforce your California prenup to split up assets. What happens next is unclear, which is why you’ll need to speak with a Portuguese lawyer to figure this out. 

Should I just get a foreign prenup, then? 

Sure, you can, but the problem persists: whether or not it will be upheld in any other country other than the original country it was created in is unclear. Many times, US courts will uphold foreign prenups, but not every time. It’s still a relatively gray area of law that can be state-dependent and dependent on your specific situation. Plus, let’s say you get your prenup in Portugal and then move to Spain and get divorced; whether or not your Portuguese prenup is enforceable in Spain is a question for a Spanish/Portuguese attorney! However, if you plan to move to Portugal, and live there forever and ever, then it may be your best move to get a Portuguese prenup. 


The bottom line

Having a prenup is a great investment in your future and in your marriage. There are tons of perks to getting a prenup. But it may be confusing on how to approach a prenup if you are moving abroad on a digital nomad visa. There is no right answer that will apply to everyone. We always recommend speaking with an attorney, especially in such a gray area of law, such as this! Fret not; HelloPrenup grants you exclusive access to special pricing offered by vetted attorneys in select states. Unlock the opportunity to ask about prenups on the digital nomad for only $99 through our Q&A with an attorney service offering. Sign up for your HelloPrenup account today to get started!

You are writing your life story. Get on the same page with a prenup. For love that lasts a lifetime, preparation is key. Safeguard your shared tomorrows, starting today.
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