Japan is welcoming digital nomads

Japan has been a popular location with holiday makers for a long time. Recently it surpassed Indonesia as the number one holiday destination for Australians.

Many travelers who visit Japan have considered the possibility of staying longer, working remotely and immersing themselves in the local culture. However, it has been challenging for digital nomads to legally work and reside in the country until recently.

The Japanese government has introduced a digital nomad visa that allows eligible individuals to work and live in Japan. This article will discuss the eligibility criteria for the visa and help you determine whether it is the right option for you.

Visa Overview and Eligibility Criteria

Japan’s digital nomad visa allows remote workers and self-employed entrepreneurs to stay in the country for up to six months.

This visa is aimed at individuals who can work from anywhere and are interested in calling Japan their home for a while.

To be eligible for the visa, applicants must be employed by an overseas company, or be a freelancer or online business owner with overseas clients.

In addition, applicants must earn offshore income that is equivalent to at least 10 million Japanese yen, which is approximately USD 66,000.

You must be a citizen of a country that has both a tourist visa waiver agreement and a double taxation agreement with Japan. Fortunately, this applies to about 50 countries.

To check if your country has a visa waiver agreement with Japan, go here.

To check if your country has a double taxation agreement with Japan, go here.

Also, note that you must have private health insurance to be accepted for the visa.

The visa is not only for solo travelers. Applicants can also bring their spouse and children along with them, provided that they also have health insurance.

It’s worth noting that the visa is not renewable, so once your visa time is up, you will have to leave the country. On the bright side, you will be eligible to apply for a new digital nomad visa and return to the country again after being out of the country for 6 months.

Does Japan tax digital nomads?

When traveling to Japan on this visa, most people will be considered as non-resident taxpayers and will only be taxed on income sourced from Japan.

However, if you have spent time in Japan before, you may be classified as a non-permanent resident taxpayer and receive different tax treatment.

If you’re wondering why it is a requirement for your country to have a tax treaty with Japan, it’s to simplify taxation matters. If you’re liable for tax in Japan due to your deemed Japanese tax residency status, there will likely be some tax relief available in the form of a foreign tax credit.

International taxation is a complex field. Talk to us if you would like advice regarding your personal tax situation.

Japan Mount Fuji
Mt Fuji, Japan

Who is the Japanese Digital Nomad Visa good for?

The visa is suitable for established business owners, freelancers, and remote workers. However, the relatively high income requirement of JPY 10 million might be unattainable for many aspiring digital nomads and remote employees who don’t earn enough.

It is unfortunate because while Japan is not right at the cheap end for cost of living, it certainly doesn’t require $66,000 to live there.

For those who do meet the income requirement, Japan will attract digital nomads and remote workers who are looking to experience working and living in one of the more developed Asian countries.

This would be quite a different experience compared to the more traditional digital nomad hotspots in Asia such as Thailand and Bali.

The visa will suit those who are looking for a relatively short commitment, being for just six months.

Are there other visa options for digital nomads?

If you find that the income requirement is too high or the six-month term is not suitable for your needs, there are many other options available to you.

Japan offers a 90-day tourist visa to most nationalities. However, it is important to note that tourist visas are not intended for people who want to work while they are in the country.

If you are able to secure a job offer from a Japanese company, you will be eligible for a work visa that will allow you to come to Japan and live like a local.

Japan also offers a working holiday visa to countries that have mutual agreements with them. If you’re between the ages of 18 and 30, you can apply for this visa in many cases.

For those interested in a digital nomad visa in a similarly developed East Asian country, the South Korean Workation Visa is worth considering.

Thailand and Malaysia also have digital nomad visa options available if you’re looking for a destination further south.

Next steps

We are always excited when a country introduces a new digital nomad visa. There is a high demand from remote workers and entrepreneurs who want to experience life in other countries and earn an income while doing so.

This new digital nomad visa from Japan is a welcome addition to the current visa offerings in Asia.

If you need more information on living, working, doing business, or paying taxes in Japan or any other country in Asia, please feel free to get in touch.

Thanks for reading.