Sri Lanka is a hotspot for digital nomads who roam around the world and work online. This island country will soon introduce a special visa for freelancers who want to work online during their stay in Sri Lanka. Read this article to find out more about the new Digital Nomad Visa for Sri Lanka
Travelling the world as a digital nomad
Digital nomadism is a relatively recent phenomenon. Digital nomads are people who make a living by working digitally and are therefore not tied to a particular location. Sometimes they work for one employer in particular, but most digital nomads are actually freelancers who work for several clients. Therefore, they decide how much, where and when they work. This makes it possible to work from the farthest corners of the world, as long as there is an internet connection.
A visa for digital nomads
Visas are generally issued for specific travel purposes (tourist visas, business visas, work visas, visas for family members and so on). This also applies to Sri Lanka. Tourists and business travellers may apply for an ETA, which allows a short stay in Sri Lanka. Those who want to live in Sri Lanka may apply for the so-called residence visa instead.
However, there is usually no visa that really matches the travel purpose of digital nomads. In fact, to apply for a work permit, travellers usually need to be sponsored by an employer from the destination country. Tourist visas don’t fit their needs either, since they usually don’t allow to work in the country one is travelling to. As a consequence, the demand for a specific visa for digital nomads is growing. Sri Lanka is answering this need by introducing the Digital Nomad Visa.
Who is the Digital Nomad Visa meant for?
To qualify for the Digital Nomad Visa, applicants must earn at least 2000 USD per month, which must be deposited in a Sri Lankan bank account. However, the visa does not allow working for a company or client in Sri Lanka, so the income must come from foreign clients or a foreign employer.
The Digital Nomad Visa is initially valid for 12 months. You may apply for this visa for yourself and your family members at the same time, and the total cost is 500 USD. Those who intend to stay longer in Sri Lanka may extend the validity of the visa one year at a time. For extensions, one must still meet the income requirements.
Working from Sri Lanka with an ETA
Since 2012, Sri Lanka offers an e-visa for tourists and business travellers, namely the ETA Sri Lanka. In recent years, digital nomads have used this visa to travel to Sri Lanka and work from there. However, working from Sri Lanka with an ETA is officially not allowed. Thanks to the new Digital Nomad Visa there will finally be a clear option for travellers who want to stay in Sri Lanka (for the long term) and work online for clients in other countries.
Discovering Sri Lanka with an ETA
If you are still unsure about spending one whole year in Sri Lanka, you may travel there for a stay of (up to) 30 days with an ETA Sri Lanka. You can easily apply for the ETA online via this website. This travel authorisation costs € 79,95, which is significantly cheaper than the Digital Nomad Visa's 500 USD. Moreover, the ETA requirements are less strict. For instance, applying for an ETA does not require you to open a Sri Lankan bank account or to have a certain income.
ETA Sri Lanka online application