Japan’s New Visa for Digital Nomads: How It Stacks Up Against Other Countries

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japan's new visa for digital nomads how it stacks up against other countries

Japan is set to introduce a new visa system for digital nomads, or remote workers who travel and work online, in March 2024. The visa will allow digital nomads to stay in Japan for up to six months, without having to obtain a work visa or a sponsor. The visa will also enable them to bring their spouse and children with them, as long as they meet certain conditions.

The visa is part of Japan’s efforts to attract more foreign talent and innovation, and to boost its economic growth and consumption. Japan hopes that digital nomads will contribute to the local communities and industries, and will promote the country’s culture and tourism.

The Requirements

To be eligible for the visa, digital nomads will have to meet the following requirements:

  • They must be citizens of one of the 49 countries and regions that have visa-free entry and double-taxation agreements with Japan, such as the US, Canada, the UK, Australia, and Singapore.
  • They must work remotely as employees or freelancers for entities established outside of Japan, and must not engage in any local economic activity.
  • They must have an annual income of more than 10 million yen (about US$68,200), and must provide proof of their income and tax status.
  • They must have health insurance coverage for the duration of their stay in Japan, and must provide proof of their insurance policy.
  • They must have a clean criminal record, and must provide a certificate of good conduct from their home country.

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The Comparison

Japan’s new visa system for digital nomads is one of the latest and most generous in the world, as it offers a longer and more flexible stay than most other countries. According to a survey by a US travel firm, more than 50 countries have issued or are planning to issue digital nomad visas, with varying terms and conditions.

Some of the countries that have similar or better visa options for digital nomads than Japan are:

  • South Korea: South Korea offers a two-year visa for digital nomads, which can be extended for another two years. The visa requires a minimum income of US$2,000 per month, and a proof of health insurance and accommodation. The visa also allows digital nomads to work for local companies, as long as they pay taxes in South Korea.
  • Taiwan: Taiwan offers a three-year visa for digital nomads, which can be converted to a permanent residency after five years. The visa requires a minimum income of US$33,000 per year, and a proof of health insurance and accommodation. The visa also allows digital nomads to work for local companies, as long as they pay taxes in Taiwan.
  • Estonia: Estonia offers a one-year visa for digital nomads, which can be renewed for another year. The visa requires a minimum income of €3,504 (about US$3,900) per month, and proof of health insurance and accommodation. The visa also allows digital nomads to work for local companies, as long as they pay taxes in Estonia.

Some of the countries that have worse or more restrictive visa options for digital nomads than Japan are:

  • Thailand: Thailand offers a six-month visa for digital nomads, which can be extended for another six months. The visa requires a minimum income of US$2,000 per month, and a proof of health insurance and accommodation. The visa also requires digital nomads to work for a designated list of companies, and to pay taxes in Thailand.
  • Portugal: Portugal offers a one-year visa for digital nomads, which can be renewed for another year. The visa requires a minimum income of €600 (about US$670) per month, and a proof of health insurance and accommodation. The visa also requires digital nomads to register as self-employed, and to pay taxes and social security in Portugal.
  • Barbados: Barbados offers a one-year visa for digital nomads, which can be extended for another year. The visa requires a minimum income of US$50,000 per year, and a proof of health insurance and accommodation. The visa also requires digital nomads to pay a fee of US$2,000 for individuals or US$3,000 for families.
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