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    $54,000 to Live in South Africa as a Digital Nomad. Here’s What the New Law Says

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    South Africa recently announced the enactment of the Second Amendment of the Immigration Regulations, introducing the Digital Nomad Visa. This strategic move aims to revitalize the nation’s economy by attracting self-employed digital nomads and remote workers. Effective from March 28, 2024, the Second Amendment seeks to create opportunities for individuals to work remotely from South Africa. Here’s a comprehensive overview of the key points and requirements of the South Africa Digital Nomad Visa:

    South Africa Digital Nomad Visa — Key Points Explained

    According to the new law, here’s a concise overview of this visa which will allow working remotely from South Africa:

    • Minimum Salary and Employment Requirement: Applicants are expected to earn at least ZAR 1 million per year ($53,631) from employment not connected to South Africa.
    • Inclusion of Family Members: South Africa aims to be competitive by possibly permitting family members to join the primary visa holder.
    • Medical Reports: The new law requires comprehensive medical reports for visa holders. The previous requirement for a “radiological report” has been eliminated. However, there is now a necessity for children under the age of 12 and pregnant women to present a medical report.
    • Duration of the Visa: The digital nomad visa may be granted for a period of up to 12 months.
    • Tax Considerations: Tax obligations vary depending on the duration of stay. Those staying for less than six months within a 12-month period are exempt from registering with the South Africa Revenue Service.

    South Africa Digital Nomad Visa Requirements & Eligibility

    Here is a list of the requirements and eligibility criteria you need to meet in order to apply for the South Africa digital nomad visa:

    • Minimum Salary: Applicants are expected to earn at least ZAR 1 million per year ($53,631) from employment not connected to South Africa.
    • Employment Requirement: The salary must originate from employment outside of South Africa.
    • Police Clearance Certificate: Recent discourse suggests the possible requirement of a police criminal record check, probably from the past five years. Certificates must not be older than six months at the time of submission.

    South Africa Remote Work Visa Income Requirements

    To ensure that digital nomads possess the financial stability to sustain themselves while in the country, there is an anticipated monthly income threshold of $53,631 per annum. Also, the source of this income must be from employment or businesses that operate outside of South Africa.

    Apply For South African Digital Nomad Visa With These Documents

    Here is a list of all the documents required to apply for the South Africa digital nomad visa:

    • Valid passport
    • Proof of accommodation
    • Medical Reports
    • Proof of income
    • Proof of employment

    South Africa Digital Nomad Visa Application Process Step By Step

    Not sure about how to apply for a South Africa digital nomad visa? Here’s a guide detailing every stage of the application:

    • Prepare all necessary documents
    • Visa application form
    • Passport verification
    • Secure your accommodation
    • Obtain medical insurance
    • Financial solvency proof
    • Submission & wait

    Renewal Process Digital Nomad Visas In South Africa

    The South Africa digital nomad visa is renewable after the expiration of the 6 months visa or 12 months as the case may be. If you wish to extend your stay, you must ensure your documentation remains up-to-date and provide evidence of continued remote employment or self-employment.

    Tax Considerations for Digital Nomad Visa Holders in South Africa

    Understanding tax implications is crucial for digital nomads considering South Africa as their remote work destination. Here’s a simplified guide to help navigate tax responsibilities:

    Tax Residency Status:

    Digital nomads are typically tax non-residents in South Africa. This means they are subject to income tax only on income earned from a South African source.

    Tax Liability on South African Source Income:

    Digital nomads are liable to pay income tax on any income earned from a South African source. This typically includes income generated from services rendered within the borders of South Africa.

    Tax Exemptions under Double Taxation Agreements (DTAs):

    Most double taxation agreements (DTAs) provide relief from paying taxes in both the home country and South Africa. To qualify for DTA relief:

    a. The digital nomad must work for a non-resident employer.

    b. The nomad must be present in South Africa for less than 183 days in a 12-month period.

    c. The costs of remuneration should not be borne by a permanent establishment the employer has in South Africa.

    Tax Filing Obligations:

    Digital nomads earning more than ZAR 1 million ($53,631) per year are required to submit tax returns. This requirement is specified by the South African Revenue Service (SARS) annually.

    Potential Corporate Tax Implications for Foreign Employers:

    Employers of digital nomads may face corporate tax liabilities in South Africa if their remote employees trigger a taxable presence (permanent establishment) in the country.

    Charles Rapulu Udoh is a Lagos-based lawyer, who has several years of experience working in Africa’s burgeoning tech startup industry. He has closed multi-million dollar deals bordering on venture capital, private equity, intellectual property (trademark, patent or design, etc.), mergers and acquisitions, in countries such as in the Delaware, New York, UK, Singapore, British Virgin Islands, South Africa, Nigeria etc. He’s also a corporate governance and cross-border data privacy and tax expert. As an award-winning writer and researcher, he is passionate about telling the African startup story, and is one of the continent’s pioneers in this regard.

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