Digital nomads are living life as they explore the world while earning their daily expenses and savings for family back home. One particular continent many internationals visit is in Asia, especially in Southeast Asia, which is a preferred destination. Why?
It isn’t only because of these countries’ lower cost of living, but also because of the spectacular sceneries, historical attractions, and welcoming people! I know you’re ready to head to any Asian country to start exploring while working, but wait a minute – Do you have the travel requirements to do so?
If you’re planning to stay for the long-term, you’ll need a digital nomad visa in Asia. This permits you to stay for longer periods and allow you to perform your work duties. This is because there are travel restrictions a tourist visa has, from the length of stay down to what you are able to do there (AKA no-work!)
So, what Asian countries have digital nomad visas to permit you to stay in the country longer? Read on to find out the different digital nomad visas you can apply for!
Digital Nomad Visa in Asia: What Are Your Options?
When talking about digital nomad visas in Asia, the continent isn’t as advanced compared to Europe. It might be difficult staying in Asia for longer, as many digital nomads would use tourist visas or visa runs, or other non-work visas to live and earn. While this is great, it isn’t legal and has its risks, which is why I break down your options to work in Asia within the country’s law.
You can work anywhere you want in Asia, but you have to be wary about the visa restrictions!
There are two main categories in visas and its corresponding visa types under it:
Work and Stay Allowed
Thailand Board of Investment Company
There are Board of Investment Companies in Thailand like COOffice or Iglu who would hire you and take care of any work permit requirements. Your clients will be charged from these companies and you’re paid a salary, with take-home pay of 70% after fees and taxes.
- To get this work permit, you’ll, need a degree with at least two years of experience in the field, or at least five years of experience working in the field
- To plan on working in tech or digital fields like design, marketing, or software development
- Earn $2,500 a month
- Over 22 years old
- Willing to work for at least one year
The Malaysian Tech Entrepreneur Program
For those who have technology businesses or are about to found one, then Malaysia offers a program for entrepreneurs. You get to have a five-year residency here, though you’ll require a business plan outlining the business opportunity, funding, and projected income. You will also need at least $12,000 available funds to prove you can support yourself as you work on the business.
The Malaysian “My Second Home” Visa
This is another program providing a renewable ten-year multiple-entry residency visa or a residence permit. For this visa, those under 50 years old will need to have assets of at least $120,000 and an offshore income of about $2,500 a month. You will also need to deposit at least $72,000 in a one-year fixed deposit in one of the Malaysian banks.
Malaysia-Labuan Company Work Permit
If you would like to live in Malaysia and have an office in Labuan, the Malaysian government has the Labuan Company Work permit. This permit allows you to set up your company while you and your family are granted a two-year renewable multi-entry work visa. A huge plus with this work permit is that you only get a 3% corporate tax.
When applying, you will need a business plan and a paid-up capital of $60,000 for the business. This permit is a good option for freelancers, finance professionals, internet marketers, consultants, and the like.
For those who just began a private limited company and meet these requirements, you might be eligible for Singapore’s Entrepass.
- The company has a government-recognized venture capitalist funding that’s at least $100,000
- The company is part of a recognized SG incubator
- You have relevant business experience, network, and a strong track record running successful companies.
- You hold intellectual property that’s registered with an approved national IP institution
- You have research agreements with a research institution, or from the Singaporean Institute of Higher Learning
- You have investment track records or extensive records in senior positions from large corporations
Cambodia EG or EB Business Visa
Cambodia also offers work permits and visas, though the Cambodian government is still not clear on this, with rules changing regularly. Because of this, it’s best that you keep up from social media and to contact Cambodia’s Immigration office.
Japan Work Visa
Japan offers work visas for various types of skilled workers, with various types that have differing requirements, based on experience and education. Such working visas only accommodate those with a higher level of professional knowledge and skills, as well as diplomats, future business owners, among other types of workers.
Long Stay Allowed (No Work Allowed)
Besides work visas that allow you to work on your business and stay for the long-term, there are other visas you can avail, which allow you to stay longer compared to tourist visas. But take note that you aren’t supposed to work with these visas, though man digital nomads are still able to, depending on their line of work.
- Thailand Study Visas, where you can sign up for self-defense classes or other educational programs with flexible scheduling
- Thailand Elite Residence Program is those who are able to pay the one-time fee of at least $16,000 for a multi-entry five-year residence visa
- Indonesia’s Sosial Budaya Visa is for visiting family and friends, requiring an invitation from the Indonesian sponsor. This is valid for six months, though you can extend it to 30 days at a time four times.
- Cambodia Retirement Visas are an option even for those who aren’t 55 years old. If you’re under 55 years old, you need proof of income, with $1,000 a month being a good start.
- Philippines long-Stay Visitor Visa Extension is easy to avail, as most foreigners receive a 30-day visitor visa, then apply for a long stay visitor visa extension that’s valid for six months, then renewed.
- Philippines’ Special Retirees Visa is for retirees who would like to retire in the country or create an investment. This is great for its special tax and concessions, though there are different requirements for this.
While you aren’t technically supposed to work on these visas, it’s still possible for freelancers to do so and stay for longer.
Wrapping It Up
Many digital nomads call Asia home for a reason, from its cheaper costs down to the welcoming feel to it, with the beaches and tropical weather being a huge bonus. But remember, you have to get a visa beforehand, especially when staying for the long-term for remote work. With a digital nomad visa in Asia, you’ll be able to travel to different countries on the continent, staying there for a minimal fee.
Hopefully, my list of the available digital nomad visas in Asia helped you out. If you would like to learn more about the specific visas, feel free to visit the country’s consul or immigration website and ready for your trip of a lifetime. Good luck!
Do you have any questions or want to share your insights on getting a digital nomad visa in Asia? Share your experiences and tips below, your thoughts are much appreciated!