A growing number of countries have been launching Digital Nomad Visas (DNVs), with competition resulting in lower income thresholds and easier requirements for applicants.
Namibia recently joined this list – and it’s a fairly attractive option…
Looking for a change of scenery and epic outdoor adventures in Africa?
If wildlife safaris, dune-boarding and hot air balloon rides over the desert sound like your thing, then Namibia might be just the place for an extended remote working stint.
Bordered by South Africa, Botswana, Angola, and the Atlantic, Namibia has a population of just over 2.5 million people. The country is home to dramatic landscapes, friendly locals, and vast open spaces – not to mention natural attractions like Dune 6 at Sossusvlei.
While the country is both appealing as a travel destination and very affordable – it scores a “2/7 – Very Affordable” in the Sovereign Cost of Living Index – it’s never featured much in the pages of Sovereign Research.
But the recent launch of the Namibian Digital Nomad Visa program makes Namibia an interesting option if you can work remotely.
The program requirements at a glance
The program, introduced by the Namibia Investment Promotion and Development Board in mid-October, offers remote workers the ability to live in the country for up to six months.
The visa is only issued once within a 12 month period, i.e. the applicant can only apply again for a new one in the next 12 month cycle.
Surprisingly, Namibia managed to beat neighboring South Africa to market in successfully launching their program. This makes Mauritius, with their Premium Visa program, one of Namibia’s closest regional competitors. However, Cape Verde and Seychelles have DNV programs as well.
Mobile internet speeds in the country, while not fast, are adequate (22.2 Mbps/s). And while you may wish to base yourself in or near Windhoek, the country’s capital, a trip to the quaint coastal town of Swakopmund is highly recommended.
As with most other Digital Nomad Visa programs, you won’t be allowed to get a local job in Namibia.
And another downside of the Namibian program – you are NOT able to apply on the basis of savings only.
The income requirements, however, are reasonably low, starting at just $2,000 per month for solo applicants. (More on this topic below).
And while there has been no formal communication from the Namibian authorities in terms of how Digital Nomads will be treated tax-wise, you should expect to fall into the Namibian tax net if you spend more than 183 days per year there.
On the bright side, Namibia is home to a territorial taxation system. Only income sourced from within the country is generally taxed by Namibia.
Regardless, speaking to a knowledgeable tax practitioner on the ground is advisable if you are planning on spending more than six months per year there…
What will you need to apply?
In order to qualify, you’ll have to meet the following requirements:
- INCOME REQUIREMENTS: If you’re applying as a single person, you’ll need to show that you are earning a stable income of at least $2,000 per month. To add a spouse to your application, you’ll need to prove earning an additional $1,000 per month.
And for every dependent child you wish to bring with you, you need to prove earning an additional $500 per month. So for a family of four, you’ll need to prove earnings of $4,000+ per month.
- POLICE CLEARANCE: As with many other Digital Nomad Visas – with the exception of Colombia – you’ll need to obtain a police clearance certificate from your country of origin or present residence.
- MEDICAL CERTIFICATE: You’ll have to submit a certificate of health, including a radiology report.
- HEALTHCARE COVERAGE: You will be required to have health insurance in Namibia to cover you for the entire period of the visa’s validity.
- BANK STATEMENTS: The Namibian authorities require six months worth of bank statements to prove your financial situation and earnings.
- ADDITIONAL SUPPORTING DOCUMENTS: You’ll need to submit copies of your academic qualifications, as well as a letter from your current employer, confirming your plans and authorizing you to work remotely. And if you’re applying as a family, you’ll also need to submit marriage and birth certificates.
Your completed application form and supporting documentation can be mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org. You’ll also be required to pay a visa application fee of $62 on arrival in the country.
Boasting reasonable financial requirements, a low processing fee and a simple online application process, Namibia’s Digital Nomad Visa should get a fair amount of traction. Having said that, the amount of paperwork involved is not trivial. Many other countries don’t require health checks, and some don’t require a police clearance either.
But considering that Namibia’s cost of living is generally lower than that of South Africa, the country could be an excellent option for remote workers seeking outdoor adventures and thrilling experiences on a shoestring budget.