Empowering the Freelance Economy

Sri Lanka to issue digital nomad visas. Here’s what we know so far

Mirissa is just one of the locations to consider residing in Sri Lanka.. Photo by Oliver Sjöström (Pexels)
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Sri Lanka, a tourist hotspot for people of all ages, will soon issue digital nomad visas, according to regional reports. Here’s what we know so far about the visa requirements

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Sri Lanka is a beautiful island country in South Asia that is already popular with freelancers and will quickly become a popular destination for digital nomads. The country offers a low cost of living and great weather.

Here’s what we have learned so far:

  • Valid Passport – Your passport must be valid for 6 months or more to enter Sri Lanka
  • Work Remotely – You must work remotely as an employee, business owner, or freelancer earning income from abroad
  • Minimum income requirement – The minimum income requirement is US$2,000. You must deposit this minimum amount into a Sri Lankan bank account
  • Visa cost – US$500. This will also cover the visas of a spouse and dependents
  • International Health Insurance – You must have international health insurance with coverage in Sri Lanka for the duration of your stay 

Places for digital nomads to consider living or visiting in Sri Lanka:

  • Colombo: The capital city of Sri Lanka, Colombo is a bustling metropolis with a lot to offer digital nomads. There are plenty of coworking spaces, cafes with good WiFi, and affordable accommodation options. Colombo is also home to a large expat community, so you’ll be sure to find people to connect with.
  • Galle: A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Galle is a charming colonial town located on the southern coast of Sri Lanka. It’s a great place to work remotely if you’re looking for a relaxed atmosphere with plenty of history and culture. Galle also has a good selection of coworking spaces and cafes.
  • Mirissa: A popular beach town on the south coast, Mirissa is known for its beautiful beaches and surfing. It’s a great place to work remotely if you want to be close to the beach and have plenty of activities to enjoy outside of work.
  • Weligama: Another popular beach town on the south coast, Weligama is known for its laid-back atmosphere and friendly locals. It’s a great place to work remotely if you’re looking for a quiet place to focus on your work.
  • Dikwella: A small town located on the east coast, Dikwella is known for its beautiful beaches and surfing. It’s a great place to work remotely if you want to be away from the hustle and bustle of the city.

Things to consider

When choosing a place to live in Sri Lanka, it’s important to consider the cost of living, access to healthcare, and the availability of beautiful tourist spots. Here is a brief overview of each factor:

  • Cost of living: The cost of living in Sri Lanka is very affordable, especially when compared to other countries in Southeast Asia. Some freelancers live on a budget of $1,000 per month, including accommodation, food, transportation, and entertainment. However, to be granted a digital visa you will need to bring in double this.
  • Access to healthcare: The healthcare system in Sri Lanka is generally good, however, it is a very stretched public system. However, there are hospitals and clinics in all major cities. You can also find English-speaking doctors and dentists in most places. However, you will need private healthcare insurance to be granted a digital nomad visa.
  • Beautiful tourist spots: Sri Lanka is home to many beautiful tourist spots, including beaches, mountains, temples, and ancient ruins. You can easily spend your weekends exploring the country and taking in the sights and sounds.

Here are some additional tips:

  • Get a local SIM card for your phone so you can have access to affordable data and calls.
  • Learn a few basic Sinhala phrases so you can communicate with locals right away.
  • Be aware of the monsoon season, which runs from October to April.
  • Be respectful of local customs and culture so read up before you go.
  • Check the availability of coworking spaces and cafes with good WiFi.
  • Do the research and enquire on expat forums about the safety of any areas you may be considering residing or visiting. Also, read local newspapers many of which are in English.
  • Join expat forums to access quick tips and guidance. Here is one available on Facebook. Others include Expat.com and InterNations.

The Freelance Informer will report on any more developments on the Sri Lankan digital nomad visa application process as more news develops. Sign up for our newsletter to not miss out.

Useful links

Residence/Work Visa – High Commission of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka in the United Kingdom (srilankahc.uk)

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