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Complete guide to obtaining a South Africa digital nomad visa, the required documents, the application steps, and FAQs

In the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, South Africa also suffered a significant decline in tourism. The government is now seeking to reactivate the economy by offering a digital nomad visa in order to regain some of the losses suffered. Despite being announced in April 2022, this visa has not yet become active.  

The purpose of this article is to give you a quick overview of what we know so far about the digital nomad visa, so you can start preparing for your trip to South Africa.

Benefits of Working as a Digital Nomad in South Africa

The benefits you could have while working as a digital nomad in South Africa are:

  • Affordable living expenses. South Africa is quite affordable. A family of four members can expect to spend 1,913.25$ (31,405.14R) per month without rent, and a single person per month can spend 549.71$ (9,023.29R) without rent.
  • Unique food. South Africa’s cuisine has been influenced by Dutch, Malay, French, and others as well. The food is unique, sophisticated, and flavorful. Some of the most popular foods include braai (barbeque), vetkoek (fried doughnuts stuffed with minced meat), bobotie, and many more.
  • Breathtaking landscape. For many years South Africa has been a destination for tourists because of its breathtaking landscape. South Africa offers something for everyone. There you can see golden savannah, deserts, stunning coastlines, and enormous gaping gorges. In addition, you get to see animals such as giraffes, lions, rhinos, and elephants. 
  • Diverse people. People in South Africa are culturally diverse, consisting of populations from different tribes. For instance, Zulu, Xhosa, Sotho, Tswana, Tsonga, Swazi, and Venda tribes. South Africans are extremely warm, patient, friendly, and creative. In South Africa, you will get the chance to explore many cultures and learn new languages. 

How to Apply for a South Africa Digital Nomad Visa?

The application procedure is not official yet. However, you might anticipate similar steps to achieve:

  1. Prepare the documents you need. You can find the list of the documents you might need in the section “Requirements for South Africa Digital Nomad Visa”.
  2. Make an appointment with the South African embassy. You should find the nearest South African mission or consulate abroad or any office of the Department of Home Affairs and make an appointment with them. 
  3. Submit the application at the South African embassy. At the appointment, you should submit the required documents. Make sure to be on time. 
  4. Pay the fees. As of now, there is no information about the visa’s cost. We will update this article as soon as new information is available from the South African government.
  5. Wait for approval. No details have been released regarding how long it will take to process a digital nomad visa in South Africa.

Moreover, depending on your nationality, you might need a visa to enter South Africa.  

Note: Unfortunately, the application process is not open yet. As soon as the steps are confirmed, this page will be updated. 

Requirements for South Africa Digital Nomad Visa

The documents required to apply for a South Africa digital nomad visa are:

  • A valid passport. Your passport needs to be valid for three months on arrival. 
  • Proof of accommodation.  You must have a lease, a hotel booking, or a rental agreement to prove your accommodation.
  • Health insurance.  You need health insurance that is designed especially for digital nomads working remotely.
  • Proof of income.  There is a rumor that the income requirement will be $3000. To prove your income, you can use bank statements. 
  • Proof of employment. To prove your employment, you need to submit your employment contract or any other document that proves your self-employment. 

Note: The list of the documents will be updated when more information is available. 

How Long Can I Work in South Africa as a Digital Nomad?

The validity of the South Africa digital nomad visa is three months to one year. 

Processing Time For A Digital Nomad Visa in South Africa

No details have been released regarding how long it will take to process a digital nomad visa in South Africa.

How Much Does the South Africa Digital Nomad Visa Cost?

The fees for the South Africa digital nomad visa at the moment are unknown. 

Paying Taxes as a Digital Nomad in South Africa

Individuals in South Africa are liable for taxes if they work in South Africa or own a business there. Moreover, South Africa has a resident-based tax system; tax residents are liable to pay taxes, whereas non-residents such as digital nomads are liable to pay taxes on South African-sourced income. The income tax rate is:

Up to R(South African Rand)226,000 18% of taxable income
R226,001 to R353,100 R40,680 + 26% of taxable income above R226,000
R353,001 to R488,700 R73,726 + 31% of taxable income above R353,000
R488,701–R641,400 R115,762 + 36% of taxable income above R488,700
R641,401–817,600 R170,734 + 39% of taxable income above R641,400
R817,601–R1,731,600 R239,452 + 41% of taxable income above R817,600
R1,731,601 and above R614,912 + 45% of taxable income above R1,731,600

What Visa Can You Apply for at the Moment?

US citizens can travel to South Africa visa-free if they decide to stay for less than 90 days. For non-US citizens, there are other countries as well that are exempt from visa applications. In addition, if you decide to stay for more than 90 days, you have to apply for a Temporary Residence Visa. 

Digital nomads that want to stay for more than 90 days can apply for the Temporary Residence Visa, also known as the Business Visa. A business visa is granted to individuals who want to work, create a business, or invest in South Africa. The processing time for the business visa is about four weeks.

Alternative African Countries with Digital Nomad Visa

Until the South Africa digital nomad visa is available; you can check these other African countries that offer digital nomad visas:

  • Cabo Verde digital nomad visa. As of December 2020, Cape Verde has implemented their digital nomad visa. Known as the “Remote Working Cabo Verde” program, it allows remote workers to stay for up to six months with the possibility of renewing their visa.
  • Mauritius digital nomad visa.  Mauritius’s digital nomad visa, also known as Premium Visa, valid for one year and can be renewed. 
  • Seychelles digital nomad visa. Seychelles’s digital nomad visa is called the “Workation Retreat Program” and has been active since April 2021. Furthermore, it is valid for one year and can be renewed for six months.
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