Minister of Public Security, Tiran Alles, has taken swift action following Cabinet approval of a groundbreaking visa scheme aimed at attracting a key segment of the tourism industry. The newly approved visa program, known as the “Digital Nomad Visa” (DNV), offers applicants a one-year visa at a cost of $500, with the possibility of renewal contingent upon the demonstration of a monthly income of at least $2,000, which must be routed through the Sri Lankan banking system. The DNV also extends to the visa holder’s spouse and dependents.
This initiative reflects a proactive response to the evolving landscape of remote work, where people increasingly opt for online businesses and the freedom to work from anywhere with an internet connection. Several factors, including technological advancements, flexible work-life balance, global connectivity, and changing work norms, have driven this shift.
The proposal for this forward-thinking move was championed by Minister Tiran Alles and successfully received Cabinet approval.
It’s worth noting that many countries in the region and worldwide have introduced similar Digital Nomad Visa programs to attract a unique type of tourism. For example, Germany offers a freelance visa tailored for self-employed individuals, Malaysia has its “DE Rantau Nomad Pass” with the same monthly income requirement of $2,000, and New Zealand has its “Working Holiday Visa” with a proof of $2,700 in funds. Norway’s Digital Nomad Visa spans two years and requires a monthly income of $3,140, while Portugal’s version initially lasts for one year, extendable up to four years, with a monthly income requirement of $2,950. Spain’s Digital Nomad Visa necessitates a monthly income of $2,215.
Thailand’s Digital Nomad Visa has a unique requirement of an annual income of $80,000 and grants a 10-year stay. Additionally, numerous other countries, including the United Arab Emirates, Taiwan, Seychelles, Romania, Saint Lucia, Panama, Montserrat, Namibia, Mexico, Mauritius, Malta, Latvia, Iceland, Grenada, and Hungary, have introduced similar Digital Nomad visas or programs with the aim of stimulating their tourism sectors by attracting remote workers and digital nomads.
By actively promoting and effectively implementing these initiatives, Sri Lanka aims to position itself as an enticing destination for remote workers, freelancers, and digital nomads. This strategic approach is expected to harness their economic contributions, strengthen foreign exchange reserves, and boost the overall economy. It will also diversify the country’s revenue streams, reducing vulnerability to external economic fluctuations and contributing to long-term economic stability.