a sunset over a beach

Being a ‘digital nomad’ is all the rage these days, with countries looking to attract long term visitors, rather than millions of travelers in weekender, ‘micro trip’ bursts. While many have talked about launching ‘remote work’ visas, Dubai has actually done it. If you’re going to be on Zoom calls all day, and are tired of the work view outside your window, Dubai has a new option for you.

For a fee of $287, health insurance and a few extra, plus a little bit of red tape, you can remote work from Dubai, UAE for up to a year, enjoying life as a local.

Dubai Virtual Remote Work Visa Program

The new visa program allows visitors to take up housing, access schools, telecom, utilities and more. Vitally, the new ‘remote work’ visa removes the grey areas around working remotely while traveling. You’re officially allowed to. You absolutely can’t get a job in Dubai with the new visa, but you can continue to work self employed or for your employer abroad.

With average winter temperatures around 26° Celsius or low 80’s Fahrenheit, and gorgeous waters all around, not to mention desert excursions and exquisite food from all over the world, Dubai really doesn’t sound too bad right now. There’s no personal income tax in Dubai, either.

So, who can apply for the Dubai visitor visa?

You’ll need confirmable income of at least $5,000 USD per month, with a letter from your employer confirming at least a year on your contract. You’ll also need to supply your last three months of bank statements and last month’s pay slip.

If you’re self employed, aka own or run your own business, Dubai’s new ‘remote work’ visa requires the same $5,000 average in recent monthly income, and you’ll need to show you’ve owned the company for more than a year. It’s ok if one month is below the $5,000 threshold, as long as the three month recent average is above $5,000 per month.

You can add your name to the list for further information on the Dubai Tourism website, which explains the exact process for application. Be sure to factor in the cost of healthcare for a year before deciding to apply, since there’s no refund if visas are denied.

a sunset over a beach

Dubai and Covid-19

Dubai, and flag carrier Emirates have been ahead of the game with covid-19 protocols. Emirates was the first airline to require pre-flight covid-19 testing from all passengers and Dubai requires a negative covid-19 test before departure for all travelers. Emirates also added €150,000 of complimentary covid-19 coverage for all travelers.

The UAE is among the world’s safest countries, and has reopened most hotels, dining, shopping and other attractions with considerable covid-19 protocols in place. There’s no shortage of stunning accommodations both in the city and around its edges, with more luxury hotels per capita than just about anywhere else, as well. Just get used to using a VPN, since not all content will be available in country.

If you’re tired of using fake sunny backgrounds to fuel your work calls, or need a change of pace from covid-19 lockdowns, this new virtual remote work visa program from Dubai is a pretty attractive out. You’re just a plane ticket and a few document scans away…

Gilbert Ott

Gilbert Ott is an ever curious traveler and one of the world's leading travel experts. His adventures take him all over the globe, often spanning over 200,000 miles a year and his travel exploits are regularly...

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  1. Cheek of them, with the non refundable health premium payment, if the visa is denied! How is that moral?
    Same with Thailand making all the prepayments for hotels now non refundable for that first 50 tourists turned back mid trip in the air! Unreal.
    Still, if you meet the criteria, it’s a wonderful idea. Long stay with a pool, kitchen, and nice local restaurants.

  2. I would suggest people really do their homework on LIVING in Dubai before going for this.
    Cost of living is astronomical (for any kind of comforts foreigners may want)
    You will need to lease a car, or have a good budget for Uber
    Alcohol only to be consumed in licensed hotels. You cannot just buy it in a shop without a home license.
    There’s a reason they are desperate for people – expat jobs are falling by the wayside, and no tourists, so nobody is there spending money. People who lived there had huge salaries to keep them afloat based on Dubai packages. Going there with your budget from another country for a normal life – good luck!

  3. I fail to understand why anyone would want to visit Dubai, let alone live there for a whole year.

    1. Maybe because it’s one of the few countries where they are giving priority to stopping the pandemic, rather than playing with geopolitics, therefore one can get a vaccination for real there.

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