Bali aims to become a place for digital nomads and expats working remotely with the launch of a tax-free visa. Photo / Peggy Anke Wu, Unaplash
The Indonesian resort island is hoping tourists will stay longer and attract more remote workers with the launch of a new, temporary visa that invites travelers to live and work tax-free.
The renewed B211A visa allows teleworkers to dial in from Denpasar for up to six months.
The “digital nomad” visa originally proposed by Tourism and Creative Industries Minister Sandiaga Uno earlier this year was passed this week.
This enables up to 180 days of digital work for offshore companies, for visitors from New Zealand, Australia and other nationalities.
It is understood that a long-term digital visa has been proposed for stays of up to five years.
After a difficult pandemic in Indonesia’s tourism hub, Uno hoped this new visa regime could attract over three million travelers next year.
The ministry hopes this could create another 4.4 million jobs across Indonesia.
The current temporary visitor visa allows foreigners to both travel and work – as long as they “do not oversee any manufacturing activities”. [Indonesian] producer/seller as a regular activity”.
As anyone in downtown Seminyak cafes can attest, there are already plenty of laptops open for Zoom meetings and online work on the beach fronts.
A co-working space in Canggu, on the outskirts of Denpasar, says business is booming. Hundreds of visitors had been drawn by the appeal of working by the pool.
“Last year we had about 3,000 bookings,” said Genesis Creative Manager Putu Sudiarta.
In an interview with ABC News, she said the new visa would be a game changer for service companies.
Currently, travelers from visa-free countries like New Zealand are granted 30-day tourist visas. Wi-Fi surfers must leave the country at least once a month to stay within their visa deadlines.
However, this has been quite a gray area so far.
There have been high-profile expulsions of Western expatriates who have been found to have breached their visa requirements.
American Kristen Gray was expelled from Bali in 2021 for allegedly breaking the rules and running a business advising other foreign tourists on visa applications and selling books about life in Indonesia as a digital nomad.
The Indonesian government found that she was working illegally without the proper permit.
Since January, there have been 3000 applications for the B211A digital nomad visa.
The prerequisite for the application is proof of assets in the form of a bank statement of at least 2000 US dollars or proof of onward travel within 180 days. Currently, applicants are also required to provide proof of vaccination in order to enter Bali on the visa.