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Bali's new digital nomad visa means foreigners can live and work in Indonesia tax free

Remote working from Bali will soon be easier thanks to Indonesia’s new digital nomad visa.
Remote working from Bali will soon be easier thanks to Indonesia’s new digital nomad visa.   -   Copyright  Peggy Anke
By Rebecca Ann Hughes

Indonesia is trying to entice more remote workers to the country with a new digital nomad visa.

The visa hopes to incentivise digital nomads to work from popular tourism destinations like the island of Bali.

Indonesia’s tourism minister Sandiaga Uno said the new permit was part of a move away from sunseeker tourism towards a more sustainable model.

What do we know about Indonesia’s new digital nomad visa?

The planned digital nomad visa will be valid for five years. It will allow remote workers to live in the country tax-free, as long as their income derives from businesses based outside of Indonesia.

The special permit is designed to be a simple solution for foreigners wanting to work in the Asian country. A more streamlined application process and a greater frequency of flights to the archipelago aim to lure employees with work from anywhere policies.

The five-year visa would become the longest digital nomad visa available compared to other countries.

As yet, guidelines on when and how you can apply for the visa have not been announced.

Current visas for remote workers in Bali

Bali is already a favourite destination for remote workers with its warm climate and low living costs. But current visa rules don’t facilitate long-term stays.

At the moment, digital nomads can apply for a temporary visa to work from Indonesia. Options include the Visa on Arrival (VoA), which is valid for 30 days, the tourist visa, which can be renewed to last a total of 60 days, or a business visa that can be extended to 180 days.

Visitors staying longer become local tax residents requiring them to pay Indonesia’s tax rates on earnings from overseas.

In 2021, an idea for a digital nomad visa was already in the works but plans were derailed when the pandemic forced the island to close borders and restrict visitors.

Bringing sustainable tourism to Bali

The remote working visa comes as part of a push for a different kind of tourist in popular destinations like Bali.

“In the past, the three S was: sun, sea and sand. We’re moving it to serenity, spirituality and sustainability. This way we’re getting better quality and better impact to the local economy,” Uno told Bloomberg.

The minister said the country hopes to see 3.6 million overseas travellers returning to the country next year. The digital nomad visa along with a greater emphasis on eco-tourism and spiritual retreats aims to bring higher spenders who stay longer.