The Digital Nomad VISA Situation, Explained! [Blog Guide]
This one is long time comin! As always, this is meant to be a discussion, not a lecture so, share your tips & tricks!
And of course, this video applies for USA Passports and other major countries like Canada, Singapore Australia, UK, nearly all European countries, Korea, Japan, etc.
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- What to know before visiting
- Tips for living as a Digital Nomad
- Best spots to go and eat
- and more!
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Check which countries your Passport gets Visa free on arrival on the Passport Index.
The main two philosophical points I want people who ask me to understand is: 1) there is NO limit to the amount of time you can be a tourist in this world, and 2) there is no limit to the number of times you can visit a country as a tourist (that I know of).
So, as a digital nomad, or someone who "slow-travels" a lot, its just a matter of renewing the tourist visa when it comes time. This can be done via a flight or bus to another country, then go back if you want.
Here are the 10 Points I make in the video:
Top 10 things to know
1 - There’s no limit to travel! There's no law against being a full-time tourist. Ano no limit to the # of times you can visit a country.
2 - There’s no laws against working remotely! As long as ur not working for a local company, aka doing business there - ur not technically working in that country. Working remotely is just working virtually in another place.
3 - Thailand: You get 30 days free on arrival without having to do anything. To extend by another 30 days, bring $60 (1,900 THB) with your passport to the immigration office, take a queue number, and they stamp you in a matter of hours. Located here in Chiang Mai and here in Bangkok. The Extension forms are there, as well as a place to make 1 copy of your passport, and take passport head photos. So you just need bring your passport and money (or ATM card).
4 - Vietnam. Before going, you MUST Pre-Apply Online for the 30 or 60 days Tourist Visa on Arrival, and pay a small fee online, like under $100. I've used Visa4Vietnam.com multiple times.
5 - Indonesia (Bali) – You get 30 days free on arriva without having to do anything. If you want 60 days, you must tell them opon on arrival, and pay a small fee, like under 100. Paid on arrival via the arrival form.
6 - VISA RUNS! The day before your visa is up, I FLY to some country. Or you you BUS to nearest border (I call this a 'border run').
7 - Places to Fly: Round trip flights around Southeast Asia can be around $200 or less. To places like Saigon, Bangkok, Laos, Penang Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur, Hong Kong, Singapore, Taipei, Bali. Even Korea or Tokyo for not that much.
8 - Where to Bus: Round trip day busses around Southeast Asia between Vietnam, camboda, Thailand , Myanmar and Laos for as cheap as $100 round trip, including any arrival Visa fees such as the small fee on arrival at Myanmar and Cambodia.
- Bangkok: Day bus to Myanmar
- Chiang Mai: Day bus to Myanmar
9 - The details can change from time to time , and can be slightly different depending on your passport. So do your own research, but it’s not rocket science.
10 - Check below for a more tips & recommended resources!
Share your tips in the comments & I'll add them!
Extra points to consider:
- Immigration does have the right to refuse tourists on arrival who they suspect as 'having no money and may be seeking work'. (Beg-backers?) I believe this is the main concern of most countries.Same situation as tourists visiting the US. Even when pre-applying for 3-month or 6-month tourist visas for Thailand, proof of a bank statement at least $1000 is required (I think thats the #, could be more).
An world traveler once told me in the comments... "If some immigration asks me why I travel so much, I tell them: Because I have money and I like to Travel!" ... Simple as that! I found that refreshing.. It's key to understand the philosophy that there's no limit to amount you can travel, as long as you have money.
- Tip: Keep proof of having at least $1000 in your bank account, like on your mobile app. I have heard of only ONE singular first hand story of immigration randomly asking someone to show proof of $ in his bank account upon arrival at the airport back from a visa run. For whatever reason, he wasn't able to show this, and they sent him back on a flight to Malaysia.
- Pre-applying for tourist visas: This is done my bringing (or mailing) your passport to a Thai (or Vietnam or Indonesia etc) embassy, along with the application form for an extended Tourist Visa. For example, before initially coming to Chiang Mai in 2014 we sent our passports in the mail with the filled out application for 6-month tourist visa to the LA Thai Embassy. They process it and mail it back to you in a couple weeks. This is an option that will basically require you to do less visa runs. Same basic process for most countries.
More to come! Share your tips & I'll add them!