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Digital Nomad Visas: How South Africa Has to Get This Right


Andreas Krensel


October 20, 2022


12:45 PM

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When South Africa implements a Digital Nomad Visa, they need to get it right! In this article, we outline what a Digital Nomad Visa is, the standard international requirements and trends, and what South Africa should be doing in order to launch their best visa option possible.

What is a Digital Nomad and a Digital Nomad Visa?

A Digital Nomad is a person who earns a living working online in various locations of their choosing rather than a fixed business location.

Digital Nomad Visas are a permit type that allows the applicant to work remotely in a foreign country. In the digital age we currently find ourselves in, this is an attractive prospect for many workers, especially those in the technology sector.

The Digital Nomad Visa usually requires you to work for a company outside of your host country.

Numerous countries have introduced this visa type, and countries offering the opportunity have experienced an injection of foreign investment into economies due to this. For the applicant, the visa allows you to explore other countries, without having to go through the rigorous process to obtain a long-term visa.

A History of the Digital Nomad Visa

Two years ago, Estonia paved the way in immigration by introducing the first Digital Nomad Visa. Now, in 2022, numerous European countries have followed suite, notably Croatia, Greece, Malta, and more, with Italy, Latvia, Portugal, and Spain in the process of adding their own.

What Trends Do We See in Digital Nomad Visas Offered?

Length: Since the concept is relatively new, there is no industry standard for the length of a Digital Nomad Visa. Estonia and Croatia offer one year, Greece is offering one year initially and then a possible additional two years, and Spain is planning to offer three years initially with a two-year renewal. We can see the trend is becoming to lengthen the duration of the visa, and have foreign workers stay in the country for far more extended periods of time.

Salary Requirements: While each country is very specific about this figure, we are seeing an increase in the salary qualification for the visa. This makes sense, as governments want Digital Nomads to be spending their earned money on the host country’s economy.

Qualification Requirements: Much like the question of salary, the qualification requirements differ from country to country. However, the trend is becoming toward the more highly skilled and qualified applicant. Certain countries also look more favourably to applications in certain sectors, like the fintech industry.

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Does South Africa Have a Digital Nomad Visa?

Sadly, not yet. The President of South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosa, said in his February 2022 address to the nation that South Africa will offer this visa in the future, and is working closely with the Department of Home Affairs on the new legislation that would be required.

Why Would the Digital Nomad Visa be a Good Fit for South Africa?

South Africa is highly attractive as a country, due not only to the beautiful scenery and lovely Southern Hemisphere weather, but also to its time zone (UTC+2) being so well aligned with those of Western Europe.

To be a possible destination for a Digital Nomad, South Africa would need to make its Digital Nomad Visa as attractive, if not more attractive, than countries like Italy and Croatia. This would mean having a longer visa length, lower salary and qualification requirements, and allow the applicant to be accompanied by their spouse and/or dependents.

As mentioned before, talks began in February 2022. But the longer it is not released, the further the country falls behind the immigration trends of the world, having already found itself two years behind when it comes to Digital Nomads.

IBN and Digital Nomad Visas

At IBN, we already offer Digital Nomad Visa services to Mauritius, titled the Mauritius Premium Visa. When South Africa does launch a Digital Nomad Visa, we will be first out the gate and ready to assist all applicants wanting to live and work in our beautiful country.

Until then, we will keep all readers and clients informed and up to date on all immigration news!

👉 Want to speak to an expert regarding your immigration needs? Contact us!

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