Bali is part of the Lesser Sunda Islands, one of the 17,000 islands that make up Indonesia’s archipelago. Indonesia, especially Bali has been a popular tourist destination for decades. Over 6 million tourists visit The Land of the Gods each year for the sun, sea, and sand, its sheer natural beauty, and exotic beach resorts but with the new digital era, a new kind of crowd seeks refuge in Bali, especially Ubud.
These foreign travelers are digital nomads looking to make Bali their new home base while working remotely. Currently, remote workers can enter Indonesia and Bali holding a tourist visa or a temporary work permit. This scenario is about to change as the government found a way to attract digital nomads for a longer period of time.
In 2021, the Indonesian government announced the arrival of a new Indonesian digital visa that will remain valid for 5 years. The goal of the five-year digital nomad visa is to attract higher-spending travelers and digital nomads who have already proved to have a great impact on the local economy.
Tourism Minister Sandiaga Uno was happy to announce the news and also added that despite being able to stay in the country for half a decade, digital nomads will not have to pay any taxes now. Not only will this boost the local economy, but it has also motivated the government to take other steps toward improving Southeast Asia’s largest economy after the pandemic.
What are the benefits of the Bali digital nomad visa?
The fine details about the special five-year visa are still processing. But Minister Uno explained that while in the past, anyone who stayed in the country for longer than 183 days, including digital nomads, were considered tax residents whether they were receiving income from abroad or Indonesia, with the new digital visa, digital nomads who earn overseas will not be paying taxes at all.
It is worth noting that while other countries like Germany, Malta, Croatia, and the Czech Republic allow digital nomads a stay of no longer than 2 years, Indonesia’s digital nomad visa is one with the longest term of 5 years. Details about a possible digital nomad visa extension haven’t been confirmed yet.
How will Bali benefit from digital nomad visas?
Indonesia, especially Bali, along with the rest of Southeast Asia, are some of the top destinations for digital nomads and remote workers, so it is just smart to try and revive its tourism after the pandemic.
Minister Uno said that now when Covid-19 cases are low and booster doses are administered, Indonesia is allowing fully-vaccinated visitors to enter the country without testing or quarantine requirements.
In April 2022, tourist arrivals jumped 500%, reaching a high of 111,000, the highest monthly tally since the pandemic. These numbers only encouraged the government to take further steps like promoting Bali’s spiritual getaways and booming tech scene, improving ecological tourism, hosting sporting events, adding more frequent flights, and along with the new 5-year digital nomad visa, they hope to bring 3.6 million overseas visitors back to Indonesia. For Indonesians, this means the possibility of over 1 million job openings.
“Now with the pandemic handled and all the ministries getting involved and cooperating from the health side to the immigration office, we believe that this is an opportune time to relaunch this idea,” Tourism Minister Sandiaga Uno continued discussing the new digital visa.
Uno told that now the three S which were the sun, sea, and sand will be replaced with new three S: serenity, spirituality, and sustainability, to try and get even better quality and better impact on the local economy.
Essentially, the new digital nomad visa is meant to lure longer-staying visitors now when the pandemic is handled, and there are no travel restrictions and stringent border controls.
What are the requirements for Bali digital nomad visa?
Remote workers who want to stay in Bali will need to have a digital nomad visa. While the launch date and specific details and requirements are yet to be announced, we can’t say for a fact what the requirements will be or whether travel insurance, health insurance, and minimum income will be part of the application procedure.
In the meantime, digital nomads who want to move to Bali can only do a little research on the requirements needed for digital nomad visas from other countries that already have established this kind of visa and keep updated on Indonesia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ official website for other travel requirements.
What visa do I need to stay in Bali in the meantime?
While waiting on the five-year visa launch date, remote workers can enter, stay and work in Indonesia with the following types of visas:
- Free Visa. 169 countries are visa exempted and are allowed a stay for up to 30 days. There is no possibility to extend the stay.
- Visa on Arrival (VoA). 60 countries can apply for an Indonesian visa directly at designated Indonesian border crossing points.
- Social Budaya Visa. This type of visa is the most common, but due to its nature, it is often misused by foreigners. The only requirement is a sponsorship letter, and it can be issued within a day through a visa agent. Technically, this visa is for the purpose of visiting Indonesian family and friends, but it is widely used by foreigners who live in Bali. The visa is valid for 60 days with the possibility to extend it four times for a period of up to 30 days.
- Tourists Visa. A tourist visa for Bali is for all travelers who are not visa-exempted. It lasts for 30 days and can be extended for another 30 days. You can apply for a tourist visa at the Indonesian Embassy or pick it up at the airport and extend it at any immigration office in Indonesia.
Is Bali an expensive destination for digital nomads?
Known for its spiritual retreats, sandy beaches, and gorgeous weather, Bali has become one of the top digital nomad destinations in the world, and with the five-year visa attracting long-term travelers, it will only get better.
While in the past, Bali used to be heaven for anyone earning an overseas income of $1500 plus, today, that salary won’t suffice. Monthly expenses have gone up, reaching a high of up to $2500 per person, and families sharing rental costs are able to save a lot more than single tenants. If your income is over $3000, you can live a happy life in Bali, go diving, get massages and yoga classes, and maybe even save a little bit.
With the new digital nomad visas, remote workers can work and live in Bali tax-free, which is an additional step toward a better quality of life on the island.
All remote workers looking to stay and work remotely in Bali will soon be allowed a stay of five-year digital nomad visa. This visa will not only allow long-term travelers to spend half a decade enjoying the beauty of the island and work from wherever it pleases them, but they can do that while not paying any taxes too.
The launch date hasn’t been confirmed yet, but in the meantime, remote workers can enter and stay in the country holding other types of visas, including a tourist visa, multiple entry visa, visa on arrival, and Social Budaya visas.