South Korea launches digital nomad visa

Detail of South Korea flog with woman working on laptop in a coffee shop

By Moustafa Daly

South Korea, the fourth largest Asian economy, launched a digital nomad visa valid for one renewable, officially called Workcation Visa.

The visa is available to investors starting Jan. 1, 2024, and is open to foreigners with “sufficient income,” albeit the government hasn’t named a minimum threshold. The minimum wage in South Korea is equivalent to $1,500 per month; the digital nomad visa is expected to be north of this figure.

To qualify, applicants must provide payroll records, proof of employment, proof of health insurance valid in South Korea, and a certificate showing a clear criminal record from their home country or country of residence. They must be at least 18 years old and have one year of experience in their work field, at minimum.

Applicants can elect to include their dependents, for whom they’d have to submit documents attesting to their relationship.

South Korea is joining the global competition for talent and funds

The announcement thrusts South Korea into the increasing global competition for talent and funds, which has driven many countries worldwide to launch variations of digital nomad visas to attract remote workers.

In Southeast Asia, South Korea is second to Indonesia in launching a digital nomad visa. Singapore and Hong Kong, while they don’t have digital nomad visas, offer other routes that can be used by digital nomads to gain lawful residency.

Aside from the digital nomad visa, South Korea also has a residency-by-investment program launched in 2010 that remains out of reach for many as it entails a minimum investment of above $1 million. Retirees aged 55 and older can get the visa for an investment of approximately $230,000. The program, as per media reports, has primarily been utilized by Chinese applicants.

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