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South Africa officially launches the long-awaited Digital Nomad Visa



South Africa Officially Launches Digital Nomad Visa

Welcome to the digital nomad visa family, South Africa! As of March 28, 2024, South Africa officially became the fourth African country to offer a digital nomad visa.

This latest entrant into the digital nomad visa fold is not without controversy, however. Draft rules for South Africa’s immigration regulations were submitted to the public for feedback in February, but the final changes that came into effect were ultimately identical to the draft rules. This led to criticism that the Home Secretary did not take into account any public comments.

The new South African digital nomad visa, categorized as a visitor visa, can be issued for up to three years, provided the applicant works for a foreign employer and earns a minimum of ZAR 1 million ($53,600).

Critics of the new visa object to the fact that visa holders are not required to register with the South African Revenue Service (SARS) if their visa has a period of less than six months within a year. Since this tax exemption is not covered by the current Income Tax Act (ITA), the law would need to be updated, leading to even more legal issues.

South Africa

Other issues include the treatment of digital nomad software products. New changes to South Africa’s Copyright Bill allowed universities and other institutions to copy software without paying the makers of these products. Finally, it remains unclear whether freelancers can apply for the digital nomad visa and whether the minimum annual salary requirement of ZAR 1 million is a net or gross amount. These are all important concerns and it appears that none of them were taken into account between the draft and the eventual enactment of the law.

Other countries in Africa that offer a Digital Nomad Visa

If South Africa’s new visa issues for digital nomads seem way too complicated or the required salary sounds too high, digital nomad visas from three other African countries are also available.

Cape Verde is the easiest digital nomad Visa gateway to Africa, which only requires proof of a bank balance of $1,500 for the past six months, along with passport and insurance documentation.

Mauritiuson the other hand, requires applicants to earn $1,500 per month and be from a list of 114 countries.

Namibia is the third African country to offer a digital nomad visa, but you can only stay for six months and must earn $2,000 per month.

With 54 countries in Africa and only four that currently have digital nomad visas, the African continent is only just getting started in the digital nomad space, but it will certainly have much more to offer in the future. Regardless of which African country you choose, as we have seen with the concerns raised about the South African visa, it is important to do your homework and contact a tax representative to ensure you meet meet the requirements and be prepared for the implications of moving to a new country! And finally, we wonder: which African country will be the next to welcome digital nomads?