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These 2 Hugely Popular Asian Countries Are Launching Digital Nomad Visas But There’s A Catch  

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Asia is becoming increasingly popular for digital nomads looking to embrace new cultures while taking advantage of lower crime rates and lower costs of living.  

There are currently more than 35 million digital nomads working around the world, and that number is only growing.  

View of a town in South Korea

Many governments are keen to attract digital nomads and the benefits often bring to their economies. These 2 hugely popular Asian countries are joining many others and launching digital nomad visas.  

But there’s a catch: 

Digital Nomad Visa In Japan 

Japan has long been a popular destination for digital nomads drawn to its unique blend of modern living and culture.

In response to this Japan has finally introduced its own digital nomad visa and the program is expected to start by the end of March.  

remote working at the foot of mount Fuji

Applicants from 49 countries, including the U.S., will be eligible to apply for the visa, and you can use this both if you’re a remote worker or if you’re self-employed.  

But this isn’t a digital nomad visa that will work for everyone.  

The big catch is that to be eligible for the six-month visa for digital nomads you will need to have an annual income of 10 million yen ($68,300) or more, which excludes a huge percentage of digital nomads who aren’t earning enough to be eligible for the visa.  

You will also need to have your own private medical insurance in place, though visa applicants can travel with their spouses and dependent children.  

Fushimi Inari-taisha Gate(Fushimiinari-taisha) to heaven, Kyoto, Japan

Contrary to popular belief, Japan isn’t an expensive country to live in, and the cost of living isn’t as high as you might think. One report found that the average cost of living in Japan is 46% less expensive than the average cost of living in the U.S.  

With that in mind it is surprising that the earning threshold for the new digital nomad visa is so high. And no doubt disappointing for those would-be nomads in Japan who don’t meet the earning threshold.  

Digital Nomad Visa In South Korea  

South Korea is soaring in popularity with travelers and has also announced plans to launch its own digital nomad visa.  

Haedong Yonggungsa Temple in Busan, South Korea

The South Korean digital nomad visa will allow nomads to stay in the country for up to 2 years which is 4 times longer than the Japanese visa.  

Just like the Japanese digital nomad visa the main drawback of the Korean digital nomad visa is the prohibitively high income requirements nomads will have to prove they meet.

Each nomad will need to prove they earn an annual income of over 84.96 million won ($65,000) to be eligible for this visa.  

south korea at night

That figure is a whopping 2 times the gross national income per capita with the cost of living in South Korea being lower than the cost of living in the U.S.

Again, these figures are both surprising and disappointing to those digital nomads who don’t meet the earning requirements.  

Other requirements for this new visa include having private health insurance as well as written proof of your employment status and a clean criminal record check.  

Why Japan And Korea?

Japan and Korea are the two most popular tourist destinations in Asia right now. Both boast areas of outstanding natural beauty, rich historical attractions, and appealing modern cultures.  

colorful signs in Akihabara Tokyo Japan.

From Korean K Pop to Japanese Manga, both cultures have entered the zeitgeist in the U.S. and their pop culture is what attracts so many younger tourists and digital nomads.  

For digital nomads, both countries are incredibly safe and convenient and boast high-speed internet connections. They are affordable, clean, and dynamic.  

Tokyo was revealed to be 2023’s fastest-growing destination in the world for digital nomads experiencing a 369% increase in nomads in the country with Korea coming close behind.  

K Street Gangnam Seoul Korea

U.S. travelers can stay in both Japan and Korea for up to 90 days (or 3 months) with a regular tourist visa, so if you don’t meet the high-income requirements to secure a digital nomad and stay on a longer-term basis, then both destinations are still well worth visiting and exploring in the shorter term as part of your digital nomad adventure.  

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