What Is A Digital Nomad Visa?

The world is a global village. No matter which part of the world you are in, technology progressively enables us to carry out our work. Never before in the history of mankind has it been easier to work remotely. We are literally one click away from our jobs.  

Digital nomad visas are permits for one to engage in gainful work whilst residing in a foreign country. Just like tourist visas they are easy to acquire; the main advantage of possessing a digital nomad visa over a tourist visa is that the former allows one to have a longer stay.

A digital nomad visa enables the applicant to work freely during their stay in a country provided they don’t join the local labor market i.e they cannot compete for jobs with the natives and work independently from those who hire locally. 

 Digital Nomad working with a Laptop in a Cafe
Digital Nomad working with a Laptop in a Cafe

So what are the requirements for a digital nomad visa? Which countries in Africa offer a digital nomad visa? What are you entitled to as a digital nomad? Are digital nomad visa holders required to pay tax? Read on to find out all you need to know about digital nomad visa.

What Are The Requirements For A Digital Nomad Visa?

First and foremost, one is encouraged to apply for a digital nomad visa only if they plan to stay in the foreign country longer than the time permitted with a tourist visa. A tourist visa typically lasts for a duration of three months whilst the digital nomad visa is valid for 1 year or more. The application process varies depending on the policies and regulations of the issuing country. Some allow eligible citizens to apply via an online portal whereas others require applicants to submit their application through an embassy or consulate. That being said, digital nomads being a quite recent profession, the digital nomad visa requirements vary from country to country. 

For example;

Estonia Digital Nomad Visa Conditions: Be older than 18. Have flexible work time so that you can work remotely. Be an employer, partner, or shareholder of a company registered outside Estonia. Be a freelancer or consulting services to companies and clients abroad, and you must have a contract with them. Prove that you are a freelancer or a digital nomad. Verify that you are financially stable and that your monthly salary or income is at least €3,500.

For your information: There are different types of digital nomad visas. Most of which are specifically tailored for digital nomad visas. There are others though not initially meant for digital nomads but are still applicable to the profession. Digital nomad visas include: Digital Nomad Visa or Remote Work Visa. Freelancer or Self-Employed Visas. Long-Stay or Temporary Resident Visas. Working Holiday Visas.

Warning: A digital nomad visa does not allow one to apply for or be hired by a local company. For you to be issued with a Digital nomad visa, one must prove that they are indeed remote workers and are able to support themselves financially. 

Which Countries In Africa Offer A Digital Nomad Visa?

Passport Template Example
Passport Template Example

As described above, a digital nomad visa allows one to reside in an area for a significantly longer period of time than the tourist visa . Like the rest of the world, Africa has not been left behind in embracing this change. There are countries in the continent that allow people to reside and work within its borders as digital nomads. Countries that offer a digital nomad visa include: Cape Verde/Cabo Verde, Mauritius, Seychelles and South Africa.  

Tip: Once a country passes laws and policies which approve the digital nomad visa program and recognize digital nomads, the country begins to be referred to as an e-state. 

For your information: Cape Verde/Cabo Verde’s digital nomad visa program has been active since May 2021. Mauritius digital nomad visa program has been active since November 2020. Seychelles digital nomad visa program has been active since April 2021. South Africa’s digital nomad visa program is still pending. 

Source: Countries offering a digital nomad visa (https://iamaileen.com/digital-nomad-visa-countries/)

What Are You Entitled To As A Digital Nomad?

The career of a digital nomad, like any other kind of work, has certain perks that one gets to enjoy: 

  1. Remote working – Digital nomads are exempt from the restriction and confinement to a physical pace which people in other careers are accustomed to.
  2. Free internet – In some e-states, digital nomads need not worry about the cost of internet as the whole country has a secure, fast and reliable internet connectivity 
  3. E-residency card – Countries like Estonia issue digital nomads with an e-residency card. This card is issued by the government and allows one to access the country’s e-government services and business space. It is also a compulsory requirement during the online verification process. 
  4. Flexible schedule – A digital nomad is free from the traditional working hours of the corporate. He or she determines when they will sign in to work and clock out. 
  5. Off days – Since one is working at their discretion, they also have the power and control over their calendar. Whenever they feel, they might be in need of a break or in case they feel unwell, then they can take a break without forwarding their request for approval. 
  6. Dress code – Digital nomads get to decide their wardrobe for work. They get to dress in whatever they feel comfortable in.
  7. Zero transportation costs – Digital nomads have the option of working from where they wake. In their industry, where you discharge your duties from is of no consequence.
  8. Healthy working environment – Going by the fact that digital nomads work in isolation, the probability of them clashing heads with fellow co-workers is non-existent. Every digital normal has the luxury of being at his or her personal pace and not having to worry about their physical boundaries being crossed.

Are Digital Nomad Visa Holders Required To Pay Tax?

Taxes are a government’s main source of revenue. Digital nomads pay tax to the country of tax residence as decided by their place of initial residence or usual stay. Basically, the digital nomad’s permanent physical address is located in his country of residence. This however does not mean they are always exempt from additional local taxes of the foreign country they are in since different countries and/or states have different tax laws and policies. 

There are countries with special programs such as the six-month- to two-year programs which allow people earning money abroad to live and work without paying local tax. These exemptions are put in place to cushion digital nomads while at the same time market the country as a premier digital nomad destination. 

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