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Dubai's Remote Work Visa: Simplified Residency Process Attracts Digital Nomads

Dubai's Remote Work Visa: Simplified Residency Process Attracts Digital Nomads
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Katherine Wang, originally from China, used to live in Bali, Lisbon, and Montenegro before deciding to settle in Dubai. She has been living and working as a digital nomad in Dubai for three years now.

Digital nomads are professionals who work while traveling to different places. They often work in shared offices, cafes, or libraries. Being a digital nomad means having the flexibility to work from anywhere you want.

Currently, more than 50 countries worldwide offer visas for digital nomads, and Dubai is a popular choice. It offers a one-year virtual working program that allows you to live and work in the city.

“The unique thing about Dubai is that it’s full of life. Here, you get to meet people from literally everywhere from the world, and you experience different cultures,”

Wang, who is in her 30s said, added:

“Everything is accessible – imagine you can even have fuel delivered to you so there is no need to go to the petrol station. Dubai keeps bringing surprises to its people and residents with new developments and projects.”

‘It’s a lifestyle’

Digital nomadism is a lifestyle attracting not only tech-savvy workers but everyone and anyone.

David Hefron, originally from Seatle, USA, came to Dubai in 2022 to become a digital nomad and has stayed here since. As a travel and food blogger, he described the Dubai lifestyle as vibrant and inspiring.

“I really enjoy the great connectivity of Dubai – that about 80 per cent of world’s population live within 8 hours flight from here. The fact that it has the biggest and best airport in the world, just makes travelling less tedious. Even when I’m not travelling, Dubai has so many places to discover, and you will still be able to taste all different cuisines from the world,”

added the 40-year old blogger.

Not actually new

The idea of being a digital nomad isn't new. It originated from a book by Tsugio Makimoto and David Manners, published in 1997. However, it gained popularity during the pandemic when many had to work remotely, enjoying the freedom to work from anywhere and flexible schedules.

During the pandemic, companies adopted remote work or working from home (WFH) policies. This allowed people to spend more time with family and avoid commuting.

After the pandemic, the idea of working from different locations became more popular. Many are now interested in pursuing this lifestyle.

Various nomads

Digital nomads come in various forms. Some are remote workers for companies that allow them to work from different locations or from home. They follow a fixed schedule and receive a regular income. Others are freelancers, business owners, or entrepreneurs who have the flexibility to set their own hours and are paid based on their projects or contracts.

Among the 50 plus countries offering virtual working visas, the most popular ones include Indonesia, Mexico, Costa Rica, Estonia, Georgia, and Spain. Dubai joined this list with its virtual working program launched in October 2020. It quickly rose to the top due to its favorable policies, infrastructure, and world-class connectivity.

How much does a visa cost?


As per information from visitdubai.com, the virtual working program visa is valid for one year and provides remote workers with access to all standard services available to Dubai residents. The total cost is $611 (Dh2,240), which includes application fees, processing costs, pre-application medical exams, and Emirates ID.

Qualified applicants can easily apply for the visa by following the requirements and documentation outlined on the website.

Benefits of being a digital nomad


Flexibility is a major advantage for digital nomads, but they also emphasize the importance of work-life balance. With reduced or eliminated commutes, workers save time and effort for other activities.

The freedom to work from anywhere allows for travel and exploration of different destinations worldwide, immersing in local cultures and experiences.

In Dubai, you can wake up to a Bedouin desert view surrounded by Oryx, or enjoy sunrise yoga with a soothing island breeze not far away.

Other benefits include meeting new people and encountering inspiring ideas from various places, developing new habits, learning languages, and experiencing personal growth.

But there are potential drawbacks


Before deciding to become a digital nomad, it's important to consider a few potential drawbacks. Unless you have a stable job that allows remote work, most digital nomads rely on freelance or project-based work, so you need to ensure you have a reliable income source to sustain your lifestyle.

Katherine Wang, who is an online business consultant, advises,

"I have built up extensive experience and connections that enable me to secure income from a diverse client base. I don't recommend anyone to quit their job unless they are fully prepared financially and mentally for this lifestyle."

"Another important consideration is how to stay productive and focused," she added. "Without a traditional office environment and interactions with colleagues, some may find themselves wasting time on social media. Therefore, creating and sticking to a work schedule is crucial."

Immerse in local culture

Another challenge faced by many digital nomads is limited social interaction, which can lead to feelings of loneliness. To overcome this, it's recommended to immerse oneself in local culture and overcome language barriers.

Having lived in various locations, Wang suggests reaching out to communities or engaging with coworking spaces. She says,

"There are various cafes and communities in Dubai that host coworking days for remote workers. You should check out their updates and events on their social media pages."

Wang emphasizes,

"Dubai is a great place to start your digital nomad journey. It offers a straightforward process, accessible policies for applicants, and there are excellent communities for remote workers to connect with like-minded peers."

News Source: Khaleej Times

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