Digital Nomad Visa South Africa | What You Need to Know (2024)


If you’re thinking about taking the plunge and heading for South Africa along your digital nomad journey, chances are you’re wondering about your visa. Luckily, you’ve landed in the right place for all there is to know about your digital nomad visa for South Africa.

There’s no doubt that the COVID-19 pandemic changed the way the world functions, and with that came an entirely new community of global remote workers.

While many countries worldwide welcomed the influx of remote workers, South Africa stood on the sidelines until a discussion on introducing a digital nomad visa began in 2021.

So, where exactly does South Africa sit on the digital nomadic spectrum, and what do you need to know about getting the correct visa? Let’s take a deep dive into what you can expect from South Africa’s remote worker visa.

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Digital Nomadicy and Its Place in South Africa

As South Africa is still working on implementing a digital nomad visa, the country is no stranger to remote working individuals. But what exactly do digital nomad visa holders look like in the country?

At the core of living a digital nomadic life lies the effective use of technology and communication tools needed to work and explore the world. Global juggernauts in digital nomadism make this an easy-to-achieve feat.

The question is – does South Africa?

The government’s proposed plans to create a more feasible landscape for digital nomads involve easier accessibility, upgraded infrastructure, and an open invitation to the remote workers of the world.

Pair that with a thriving local community of remote working professionals and an expanding host of coliving and coworking businesses, South Africa shapes up to contend with the best.

Working Remotely in South Africa | Digital Nomad Visa Overview

For quite some time, South Africa has especially been on the radar of the digital nomad community. Still, without regulatory implementation of a remote working visa, being a successful digital nomad in Africa seemed to be only wishful thinking.

In April 2022, the government of South Africa officially announced that digital nomads from around the world would soon be able to apply for and receive a digital nomad visa.

More than two years later, let’s look at what we know about the digital nomad visa implemented only recently and how you can start planning your next nomadic excursion to the country.


Does South Africa Offer a Digital Nomad Visa?

The golden question is, does South Africa offer a dedicated digital nomad visa yet? The short answer is yes. While preparations for the visa’s rollout have been ongoing for some time, South Africa officially launched the long-awaited digital nomad visa. 

Published in the official gazette on the 20th of May 2024, individuals who work remotely in the country can apply for a digital nomad visa.

Given the country’s broad visa category spectrum, which now includes digital nomad visa regulations, getting into and living as a digital nomad in South Africa is now more achievable than ever before. 

You can currently apply for three visas, which enable eligible foreign nationals to work as remote workers in South Africa.

First up is the South African Visitor’s Visa. Think of this as a basic tourist visa, with the exception that if you enter the country on this visa, you are allowed to remain within the country for up to 90 days for tourism or business.

Note: Upon entering the country on a visitor’s visa, you must indicate the purpose of your visit to an immigration official, and that declaration restricts you. At the time of writing, stating remote work as the purpose of your visit is legally allowed.

Quick Tip: Check out this list of exempt countries from these visa regulations.

If you plan to stay for more than 90 days, we suggest you apply for a Temporary Residence Visa, also known as a Business Visa. This allows you to work, create a business, or invest in South Africa over an extended period. Processing time for this visa is usually about four weeks.

Finally, foreign employees can now officially apply for the South African Digital Nomad Visa. As of 20 May 2024, the local government published regulations regarding the validity, eligibility, registration, and application of the visa.

Bottom line: With the introduction of the remote work visa for South Africa, it should be your go-to choice. Below, we’ll run through the visa essentials, the application processes, and more.


Essentials To Know About South Africa’s Digital Nomad Visa

As the buzz around South Africa’s proposed remote work visa is at a high, we’ve compiled this concise rundown of what fundamentals you need to be aware of:

  • Salary and employment requirements: To be eligible, you must earn a minimum of $55,000 (R1,000,000) annually from an employment contract not connected to South Africa.
  • Family Inclusion: Based on statements released by the Department of Home Affairs, family members can possibly join the primary visa holder.
  • Medical Insurance: Like other countries, South Africa requires visa holders to have comprehensive medical insurance.
  • Visa Duration: The validity duration for the remote work visa is one year, with possible extensions. 
  • Tax Consideration: Introduced as an amendment to the visa, should you stay and work in South Africa for more than six months in a 36-month period, you will need to register with the South African Revenue Services (SARS). This means you would be required to pay income tax. For help with tax registration, visit the SARS website.

Note: For stays under six months, you can apply for tax exemption directly from the South African Revenue Service.


Document Requirements to Get a Digital Nomad Visa in South Africa

Aside from the above, what does the documentation you’ll need to obtain a digital nomad visa for South Africa look like? You’ll be required to provide the following:

  • Valid Passport: Your passport must be valid for at least three months from the intended arrival date in South Africa.
  • Proof of Accommodation: You must provide evidence that you have arranged suitable accommodation for your stay. This can be a lease agreement, hotel booking confirmation, or a rental/Airbnb reservation.
  • Health Insurance: Submitted alongside the official application form, you’ll need to provide all documentation required to prove that you have sufficient health insurance coverage.
  • Proof of Income: Documentation as part of an income requirement will validate your income, as you will need to meet a sufficient minimum income as per regulations. These can take the form of bank-certified copies of your bank statements, typically spanning three to six months.
  • Proof of Employment: Should you arrive in South Africa already employed, you’ll need to provide an employment contract or any other documentation that verifies your employment status.

Income Requirements for a South African Digital Nomad Visa

Now, on to the income requirement you’ll need to adhere to when applying for and retaining your remote working visa for South Africa. This raises two critical questions. Why, and how much?

Firstly, from what is already publicly known, the income requirement will be set to ensure that you, as a digital nomad, possess the financial stability to sustain yourself while in the country. Currently, this is $55,000 (R1,000,000) per year.

While it may seem that this number was plucked out of thin air, the government has detailed that this benchmark considers the cost of living in the country. The Department of Home Affairs also juxtaposed the amount against other popular digital nomad destinations worldwide.

It’s important to note that this income, for now at least, must be from employment or businesses that originate and operate outside of South Africa. While this seems like an odd regulation, it’s in place to ensure that the country’s local job market remains undisturbed.


How to Apply for the Digital Nomad Visa in South Africa

When applying for a South African digital nomad visa, the following step-by-step process has been suggested and recommended to any prospective nomad looking to enter the country:

  1. Documentation preparation: Your first step is gathering all your required documentation. This includes your passport, proof of accommodation, health insurance coverage specific to South Africa, and most recent bank statements
  2. Visa Application Form: Complete it fully and ensure all fields are filled out correctly.
  3. Verify your passport: To be safe, make sure your passport has a minimum of three months left before expiry, although we recommend a minimum of six months, with at least two empty visa pages.
  4. Secure your accommodation: This is a crucial step required by the South African government. Find your ideal accommodation and request an official confirmation to present to immigration.
  5. Get your medical insurance: Obtain international health insurance, which is tailored to remote working in South Africa, comprehensive, and without any pandemic exclusions.
  6. Do a financial solvency test: Check that you have a recent three to six-month bank statement that indicates your name as the account holder. It also needs to show your current account balances and the issuance date.
  7. Make an appointment at your nearest South African embassy: Locate the closest South African embassy or consulate to arrange an appointment for submission. Alternatively, find a Department of South African Home Affairs office nearest to you.


Being A Digital Nomad in South Africa: What’s The Big Deal?

With all that said and done, what’s the big deal about being a working nomad in South Africa?

With its awe-inspiring landscapes and unique ecosystems, South Africa is (pardon the pun) a pretty picture. As for the attractive value it holds for you as a digital nomad, South Africa offers a melting pot of cultures second to none and a highly envious cost of living for foreigners.

Benefits of Choosing South Africa as Your Remote Work Hub

Here are some benefits you can look forward to when you have your Digital Nomad Visa for South Africa:

  • First is the climate. South Africa doesn’t beat around the bush regarding astounding weather, as the coastal, interior, and northern regions each deliver distinct and enjoyable weather.
  • Secondly, the country goes above and beyond to deliver a vibrant urban lifestyle worthy of its European or Western counterparts. Who could pass up experiencing the effortless blending of modernity and tradition in Cape Town or the hustle and bustle of Africa’s economic heart, Johannesburg?
  • Of course, we can’t mention South Africa without talking about its natural crown jewels. Within Cape Town lies Table Mountain, while further into the country, you’ll find the Drakensberg Mountains. And let’s not forget the Kruger National Park in its northernmost province hosting the Big Five.


Popular Digital Nomad Hotspots in South Africa

In a country as vast as South Africa, there are a few cities that you can choose to base yourself in, each with its unique flair.

  • Cape Town: Undeniably the first point of reference for most international travelers, Cape Town is a digital nomad playground. Offering exquisite weather, pristine beaches, iconic nightlife, and mindblowing natural attractions, Cape Town is the best place to visit at any time.
  • Johannesburg: As the golden child of South African cities, Johannesburg knows no equal. Boasting a bustling financial district, Sandton, artistic neighborhoods such as Braamfontein and Maboneng, and the refined suburbs of Houghton, there’s always a place to live and work around every corner.
  • Durban: No other coastal city is as lively as Durban in the Kwa-Zulu Natal Province. Dazzling beachfront areas meet an eclectic urban jungle where cultures come together. Here, you’ll find some of the country’s premier retail options and pioneering businesses.


Frequently Asked Questions | Digital Nomad Visa South Africa

While we covered a lot of the need to know’s about South Africa’s remote working visa, here are some more questions you might have.

Do Digital Nomads Pay Tax in South Africa?

Currently, South Africa runs on a resident-based tax system, and the intricacies of digital nomads have been revealed to include a tax system. Should you only be in the country for less than six months, you can apply for tax exemption. However, if you stay in the country for longer than six months in a 36-month period, you will be taxed on your income.

Where is The Best Place for Digital Nomads in South Africa?

The jury on this is still out, but Cape Town comes out on top for its effortless combination of various alluring elements. Hosting some of the best restaurants in the country, unparalleled international connectivity, and a landscape of retail, entertainment, and nightlife offerings, basing yourself in the Mother City is a no-brainer.


Wrapping Up Your Guide to South African Digital Nomad Visas

There you have it — a full rundown of what to expect from South Africa’s Digital Nomad Visa. Offering an excellent low-cost hub to explore the rest of Africa while ensuring your continuous connection to the international community, South Africa sits waiting for eager remote workers.

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