Japan Rolls Out Coveted Digital Nomad Visa, Snubs India!

Japan is rolling out a coveted new visa program tailored specifically for digital nomads from March 2024. The much-anticipated ‘digital nomad visa’ will enable location-independent workers and entrepreneurs from select countries to legally live and work remotely from Japan for an extended period of up to 6 months.

However, in an unexpected move, India does not feature among the 49 nations whose citizens are eligible to apply for this long-term visa. This has come as a major disappointment for scores of Indian digital nomads hoping to get the coveted chance to experience living and working from exotic Japan.

As per the new visa policy announced, applicants with an annual income of at least 10 million Japanese Yen (approximately $68,300) and able to work remotely can stay in Japan without needing a local job. All residents of the European Union, the United Kingdom, Norway, Iceland and countries like Turkey, Armenia, Moldova, Ukraine, Georgia, Serbia and the UK are eligible to apply.

India’s exclusion from the list of eligible countries has come as a surprise since it has Friendly relations with Japan. The two countries also have a tax treaty signed in 1990. One speculation is that Japan may be prioritizing countries that attract more digital nomad traffic currently. However, India has a fast-growing community of location-independent workers and entrepreneurs who could contribute to Japan’s economy. So while disappointing for Indian remote workers now, there remains hope that India may open its doors to them in Japan’s digital nomad visa program in the foreseeable future.

For now, Japan is expected to receive a deluge of applications from digital nomads based in Europe and America when the visa application window opens in March. As per industry estimates, the global digital nomad population stands at a staggering 35 million currently.

The Japanese digital nomad visa allows multiple entries during its 6 months validity period. Visa holders can relocate to any part of Japan and work online without needing to find a local job. The visa also covers dependents allowing digital nomads to bring along their family.

All applicants however need to have mandatory health insurance for themselves and dependents for the entire duration of their stay in Japan under the visa program. Japan approved the plan to issue digital nomad visas after a survey revealed that most remote workers wanted to stay beyond the 90-day limit permitted currently.

The country has reportedly received requests to expand the duration of stay from many digital nomads and location-independent entrepreneurs who wished to experience life in Japan for longer periods.

The visa will now permit eligible digital nomads and remote working professionals from permitted countries to stay for up to 6 months on each visit. Longer stays may also be possible by applying for extensions in due course.

Japan’s digital nomad visa comes with relaxations allowing remote workers to operate globally without being employed by a local Japanese company. The visa primarily targets entrepreneurs, IT professionals, and digital content creators who can work remotely from any global location.

Over 60 countries currently have some form of digital nomad visa in place. Among Asian countries that have rolled out digitally-focused visas earlier are Sri Lanka, Indonesia and Malaysia.

South Korea offers the most generous term of 2 years whereas Taiwan grants a 3-year visa to digital nomads with the possibility of eventually applying for permanent residency.

While Japan’s 6-month validity may seem modest in comparison, it offers sufficient flexibility whether remote workers wish to immerse in Japanese culture or focus on global business operations.

Despite leaving out major Asian economies like India and China for now, Japan’s digital nomad visa policy represents its progressive approach toward location-independent workers. With relaxed remote work norms permitting stays across cities, Japan has laid out the red carpet for enterprising digital nomads from select countries.

For citizens of the 49 eligible nations, the Japanese visa offers the golden chance to live out their dreams of ensconcing Japanese culture, food, natural beauty and famed hospitality – all while working.

Stay tuned for our comprehensive guide on how to apply and make the most of Japan’s new digital nomad visa once it goes live in March 2024!

Pranav Das
Pranav Das

I’m Pranav Das, Indian Travel blogger & Reputation Management Expert by profession and lover of world cultures, languages, souls, mountains, oceans, and wild spaces.

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