Remote work culture is flourishing today with numerous companies worldwide adopting 100% remote or hybrid work policies. Empowered with the choice to work from anywhere, many are choosing the digital nomad lifestyle. Countries like the UAE are supporting virtual working programmes with remote work visas, thus widening the opportunities. Becoming a digital nomad in Dubai is quite easy as the city is among the fastest-growing hubs for digital nomads. This article will delve into what makes Dubai an ideal choice for digital nomads and the details of Dubai’s virtual working programme.
Table of Content
- What is Digital Nomad?
- What are the Benefits of Being a Digital Nomad?
- Why Dubai is An Ideal Choice for Digital Nomads?
- Popular Workspaces for Digital Nomads in Dubai
- UAE Digital Nomad Visa: Everything you Need to Know
- What is the cost of a Digital Nomad Visa in Dubai?
- Does Dubai Tax Digital Nomads?
- Six Tips for a Successful Digital Nomad Life
- Can Anyone Be a Digital Nomad?
- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)
What is Digital Nomad?
A nomad is someone who does not have a permanent home; they live by travelling from place to place. By extending this definition, we can say that a digital nomad is a person who works remotely from wherever they want. They travel to different locations and use places like co-working spaces, cafes, beaches, mountains, and anywhere to do their work. They don’t work in an office setup or on a strict 9-5 schedule.
What are the Benefits of Being a Digital Nomad?
Many prefer the digital nomad lifestyle because it offers more freedom compared to the traditional work culture. One can balance both travel and work perfectly, which is a big dream for a lot of people. To no longer have to wait for your retirement to travel the world, doesn’t that sound like a great deal?
Five benefits of being a digital nomad are:
1. Greater satisfaction
A digital nomad lifestyle allows you to have more time doing the things you like, such as exploring new places, learning a new language or cuisine, etc. When you do things that you enjoy, you feel more satisfied with your life. This reflects in the quality of your work.
2. More productivity
A monotonous work environment can hamper productivity. On the other hand, when you are working in new surroundings every day, you feel refreshed and motivated. The new air can make you more productive and focused. Productivity software like clock in clock out apps can help you stay on track and be effective with your time.
3. Build resilience
Embracing new experiences every day brings with it some challenges. When you learn to work through these challenges, you build resilience. That makes you more adaptable and better prepared to deal with things.
4. Improved creativity
Diverse experiences make your mind more creative. When you work as a digital nomad, you are exposed to several new things which help you develop creative ideas.
5. New relationships
Wherever you go, you meet new people and create connections with them. You get to be a part of different cultures and form amazing bonds that will fill your life with values.
Why Dubai is An Ideal Choice for Digital Nomads?
Most digital nomad communities agree that Dubai is an ideal location for digital nomads. Several factors contribute to this opinion, such as quality infrastructure, safety, taxes, living conditions, etc. Let’s explore the benefits of becoming a digital nomad in Dubai.
Today, one of the first concerns of digital nomads when choosing a location is the safety and covid resilience of the place. Dubai shines in this aspect as the way it dealt with the pandemic and continues to do is outstanding. Strict sanitization and sterilization process, efficient covid tests, quarantine rules, and insistence on wearing masks make Dubai a safe place to choose among the covid concerns.
Travelling to Dubai is cost-effective, with flight tickets available at low prices. Moreover, Dubai has a large number of hotels with various budgets. So, whatever your budget may be, you will be able to find a great place to stay. Also, travelling within the city doesn’t burn a hole in your pocket either. Local taxi services like Careem and Dubai metro make it easy for you to travel cost-effectively.
Since digital nomads will be working remotely, internet connectivity is an absolute must for them. Inconsistent wifi strength is an issue that most locations have. In Dubai, you can be assured of having a strong wifi connection. So, you will have no problem attending meetings or collaborating online. For digital nomads, this is an essential factor that makes them choose Dubai for work.
Dubai promises a wide range of experiences. You will never run out of activities in Dubai. From working on the beachside to exploring shopping malls, restaurants, and outdoor activities, Dubai offers a lot. So, you will have a diverse travel experience and feel enriched.
Dubai is well known as the land of opportunities. For digital nomads, the city gives great options to explore their interests, learn new things, and even check out new career options or side hustles.
Popular Workspaces for Digital Nomads in Dubai
As mentioned earlier, the latest trend of remote working is rapidly increasing all over the world, especially in Dubai. Do not worry about finding a perfect spot for your work. Dubai has lots of co-working spaces and cafes that host digital nomads. Enjoy your work and experience all the luxuries that the city offers you. Let’s check out the best workplaces for digital nomads in Dubai.
1. Arrows and Sparrows
Arrows and Sparrows is not only a famous spot for a healthy breakfast but also an apt space for digital nomads to work during weekends. The long open hours at Arrows and Sparrows are a plus to get your work done.
2. ICON Bar & Lounge
ICON Bar & Lounge is situated at the heart of Dubai Media City and is one of the famous spots for digital nomads. It provides a spacious area downstairs for all remote workers.
3. Brothaus Bakery-Bistro
Who doesn’t love to work in a peaceful space having a delightful coffee? Brothaus Bakery is one of a kind and open to all digital nomads from Saturday to Wednesday, 7.30 am to 11 pm. Creativity starts when your mind is free and relaxed, and this place is perfect for that.
4. Cafe Rider
A perfect space for digital nomads and coffee lovers, Cafe rider has an excellent environment with workspaces, free Wifi to get connected with anyone. Enjoy a cup of Cappuccino while working for your companies abroad.
5. A4 Space
Are you looking for a perfect setting to collaborate and complete projects? A4 space provides free Wifi, comfy chairs, and a book library which is open to everyone. A4 Space, a coworking bar, welcomes digital nomads from Saturday to Thursday, 10 am – 7 pm.
6. Roseleaf Cafe
Meet your work targets daily in the greenery at Roseleaf Cafe. It is a perfect workplace for all the digital nomads which is open from 8 am to 8 pm.
7. City Walk Cafes
Set up your own workstation according to your choices at City Walk Cafes. City Walk Cafes has free Wifi and is an apt place for all remote workers.
QWERTY, a workspace in the heart of Dubai Media City is open from Sunday to Wednesday (6.30 am – 10.30 am and 12.30 till midnight) for all digital nomads. You also get a chance to reach out to various other digital nomads who work here on a daily basis.
9. Nadi Al Quoz
Nadi Al Quoz is ideal for all digital nomads who love working in comfy swinging benches, hanging beds etc. It is open on all days from 10 am to 7 pm.
10. The Beach
Love working in the open? The Beach at JBR provides free Wi-Fi for digital nomads. If you are looking for a calm and serene place like the beach, you can set up your workspace there.
UAE Digital Nomad Visa: Everything you Need to Know
Do you want to stay in Dubai and work for companies abroad? Now, work from Dubai or any other emirate for companies in other countries with a UAE digital nomad visa. The Remote Working Visa Scheme is a novel initiative launched by the Dubai government in March 2021. This allows people of all nationalities to live and work in Dubai or any other emirate while enjoying the same rights and privileges as the residents.
Obtaining a digital nomad visa is relatively easy and is valid for one year, with an annual renewal plan. If your application is approved, you will get a residential ID which grants you access to all benefits like telecoms, schooling, utilities, etc.
Eligibility Criteria for Obtaining a Digital Nomad Visa
Anyone looking to apply for the UAE digital nomad visa should meet the following requirements:
You must have a minimum income of $60000 per year.
A valid passport with at least six months validity.
A valid employment proof from the current employer or proof of ownership of a company with a $60000 salary/income per year.
A valid travel insurance with healthcare coverage.
The cost of a digital nomad visa is $611, which is inclusive of the application fee of $287, processing charges, medical insurance premium and Emirates ID.
Documents Required for UAE Digital Nomad Visa
Below are the documents that you should keep ready before applying for the visa:
Properly filled online visa application form.
A valid passport or a document of travel with a minimum of six months validity.
A digital passport-size photo with white background (45mm x 35mm).
Accommodation reservation (either a lease agreement or a hotel booking) during the UAE visit.
International medical insurance that specifies the region of visit with valid health coverage.
If you are bringing your family, their passport and health insurance papers should also be submitted.
For business owners, the proof of ownership of the company (it must show that you are running the company for a min. of one year, with an annual income of $42000) and 3 months’ bank statement.
For employees, proof of employment with a one-year agreement with the employer with an average annual salary of US $42000, three months’ bank statements and the previous month’s pay slip.
Documents proving your working status as a remote employee.
Procedure to Obtain UAE Digital Nomad Visa
The application process for the digital nomad visa starts when you enter the website of the General Directorate of Residency and Foreign Affairs. But before you start, keep all the above-mentioned scanned documents ready.
Register yourself on the website and create a username and password.
Click on the service ‘Golden Visa’, download and fill out the online Visa application form without any mistakes. Remember that a representative from the program will contact you based on the details.
All the submitted documents and applications will be reviewed by the General Directorate of Residency and Foreign Affairs. Also, you will be notified about the fees to be paid and the mode of payment.
Make the required payment for the visa.
You will have to wait 30-60 days for your visa processing. Once approved, you will get a notification via email or phone.
Now you can travel to Dubai on your new digital nomad visa. Once you reach there, you have to do a medical check-up.
You have to take the medical results to any one of the specified offices for biometrics.
Once biometrics is complete, you will get the official stamp on your passport.
You will be notified about your Emirates ID or residency card via SMS from the Dubai government. Once received, you can start your life as a digital nomad in Dubai.
Procedure for UAE Residents:
UAE residents can file their applications for digital nomad through AMER service centers. Here are the steps to be followed.
Go to your nearest AMER center.
Hand over all the relevant documents to the AMER employee.
Pay the required fees.
Submit the application.
What is the Cost of a Digital Nomad Visa in Dubai?
Digital nomad visas in Dubai cost $611, including application fees ($287), Emirates ID, pre-application medical exam and processing fees.
Note: Your application will not be approved just because you have paid the processing fees. Any extra charges levied will be based on:
- Your country of citizenship
- Required application service
- Whether it is an application from UAE or abroad.
Does Dubai Tax Digital Nomads?
No. In Dubai, digital nomads don’t have to pay income tax. Once you become a digital nomad, you are entitled to all the rights of a UAE resident which means you are also exempted from personal income tax.
Six Tips for a Successful Digital Nomad Life
A digital nomad lifestyle is an exciting one, without any doubt! But to do it successfully, there are some things you need to prepare. We will give you some helpful tips for living the digital nomad life.
1. Budget planning
To ensure that you don’t overspend and can live comfortably, you need to prepare a budget. Take into account your living expenditure, work-related expenses, accommodation cost, leisure activities etc. Create a budget and stick to it.
Before choosing the location you plan to stay, research the neighborhood. Check if there are public transport stations, hospitals, shops, etc. nearby. Ensure the neighborhood is safe for you.
3. Internet connectivity
Ensure that you choose a location where there is a stable internet connection. Make use of devices like cell phone boosters and mobile hotspot strengtheners to sort out any connectivity issues.
Try to learn the basics of the language of the place you choose. It will help you a lot. If you both speak the same language, great. Otherwise, make use of Google Translate to communicate.
5. Backup plans
You are going to a new place, where you probably don’t know anyone. So, it’s best to create backup plans in case of emergencies. What are you going to do if your salary doesn’t get credited? What happens if your work laptop stops working? Have backup plans for all scenarios.
Digital nomad communities like NomadList can help you find fellow nomads. They will have a lot to share, such as tips to improve productivity, apps that help to get control of tasks like google calendar time tracker, best locations, cost-effective hotels, etc. You may even be able to connect with other nomads in your same location.
Can Anyone Be a Digital Nomad?
If you are someone who is bitten by the travel bug and would like to keep your job as you travel, being a digital nomad is a great option for you. Freelancers mostly choose the digital nomad lifestyle as they have no “company commitments”. You can be a digital nomad if you are a full-time employee too, just make sure you prove to the managers that you are capable of handling both work and travel.
Some common job roles that go well with the digital nomad lifestyle are marketing, writing, teaching, editing, designing, software development, recruiting, and accounting. That doesn’t mean it’s limited to just these jobs. If you are a project manager and can handle a project remotely while travelling, go ahead, take the plunge! In the end, it’s all about how confident you are about pulling it off.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What is a Nomad Visa?
A Nomad visa is a legal authorization that allows its holders to work independently or remotely during their stay in a country. They can be easily obtained by providing account statements and invoices. Based on the country, it can be applied online or submitted in person at the embassy or consulate.
Is Dubai a Good place for Digital Nomads?
Yes, Dubai (a smart city) provides the best infrastructure for nomads to work remotely. Along with connectivity and safety, the quality of living conditions makes it an ideal place for digital nomads. Furthermore, according to the 2022 Savills Executive Nomad Index, Dubai is the third best digital nomad destination on the planet. It meets all five criteria for being an ideal remote working location, such as internet speed, quality of life, climate, air connectivity, and prime rents.