In an endeavour to increase economic activities in the country, Namibia has launched a new visa for remote workers, commonly referred to as digital nomads. The Namibia Digital Nomad Visa (DNV), an initiative of the Government of the Republic of Namibia, invites foreign professionals, who are location independent and self-sufficient, to live, work and travel hassle-free in Namibia for a period of up to six (6) months. The visa can be applied for with immediate effect and Namibia is ready to welcome applications by digital nomads to the country.
According to data compiled by the Harvard School of Business, globally, approximately 47 countries offer Digital Nomad Visas to allow location independent workers to legally work from those countries.
The requirements for these visas differ from country to country in terms of the length of the visa, the level of proof of income required, the cost of the programme and so forth. The NIPDB engaged in a diligent desk review to ensure that the standard of the Namibia Digital Nomad Visa is world class, valuable to digital nomads and serves the best interests of Namibia. Moreover, the convergence of these professionals will spark new connections and have the potential to build new enterprises for #NamibiaToTheWorld.
Speaking at the launch, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Chairperson at the NIPDB, Nangula Uaandja shared that the NIPDB exists to unlock opportunities that will enable a better quality of life for all Namibians. In simple terms, NIPDB sees its mandate as that of facilitating employment opportunities whether it be self employment or otherwise and eventually solve the triple challenges of unemployment, poverty and inequalities, a message that is entrenched in the prosperity vision of His Excellency, Dr Hage Geingob, President of the Republic of Namibia.
“We have identified that there is an opportunity to attract and gain economic benefit from people who want to work, live and travel in Namibia, without absorbing Namibian jobs. After discussion with our colleagues at the Ministry of Home Affairs, Immigration, Safety and Security, it was agreed that the existing legislative framework offers an opportunity to leverage this proposed instrument, which presents a good potential for Namibians to thrive,” stated Uaandja.
The new visa, which will be available to freelancers or people working remotely for companies outside of Namibia, offers an easy process for foreign nationals to live and work in Namibia. To qualify, aspiring digital nomads are expected to submit the following documents, amongst others:
- A complete visa application form
- A six (6) month bank statement
- A letter of motivation from the NIPDB
- Proof of sufficient funds/income to be self-sufficient in Namibia
- Proof of medical insurance and/or comprehensive travel insurance
- A certified copy of a passport
- Motivation and declaration that the individual is either self employment or has an non-Namibian employer and will be working from a Namibia base but earning revenue
from outside the country.
While representing the Ministry of Home Affairs, Immigration, Safety and Security, Director of Immigration, Nehemia Nghishekwa expressed satisfaction over the launch of the visa and affirmed that the Ministry will collaborate with the NIPDB and relevant stakeholders to ensure successful implementation of this new initiative. “We understand that our systems and processes need to be modernised and respond to the current demands and in this regard we are currently refining our digital infrastructure to enable applicants to complete their entire application and payment process online. While we complete that process in the next two to three months, we are looking forward to start welcoming and processing applications by the first remote workers, through the current systems and processes, with immediate effect.” added Nghishekwa.
The Namibia DNV presents an opportunity to diversify and transform the Namibian business ecosystem and contribute to the economic development of the country, by attracting talented individuals who can inject foreign currency into the country. Additionally, Namibians must anchor themselves into and create value chains by rendering various professional services, solving problems unique to digital nomads, attracting traffic to the hospitality and tourism industry as well as fostering an environment to share knowledge between local and international professionals.
Technology aided, location independent work has risen in popularity over the years. However, following the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, people have started to appreciate and embrace remote working as a reality. In this vein, many countries whose tourism sectors have been affected negatively due to a reduction in global travel, began offering specific visas to remote workers such as Digital Nomad Visas.
This new visa permits professionals to leverage their remote positions to allow them to live in and travel to holiday destinations and hotspots for months at a time. According to 2021 statistics by A Brother Abroad, there are approximately 35 million digital nomads worldwide, who contribute a global economic value of USD 787 billion.