Digital Nomads & Remote Workers in Bali

Living the Dream

It is the dream of many, to pack bags, and come to Bali in order to leave behind the old life and settle on this beautiful island. A dream, that thousands of self-employed digital nomads and remote workers have made come true in recent years. The digital nomad life style is attractive; “working online and living on a tropical island, getting paid to a bank account outside of Indonesia, not paying any taxes, having clients from all over the world.” There are several factors that give rise to the “digital nomad phenomena” in Bali. 

Bali is a favourite choice for Digital Nomads – for good reasons

Remote working for another company in general boomed because of the covid restrictions and more and more companies allow their workers, or even encourage them to work from “anywhere”. And studies show, that workers are very open to the idea of breaking the chains of an office job at home and would, at least for a few months per year, would consider to somewhere else. Furthermore, websites such as freelancer.com, guru.com and others, have made it much easier for freelancers to find jobs and handle projects, regardless of where they live. This lead to a rising number of “self-employed digital nomads” finally able to make a living and create a stable income. 

And then there is Bali as a destination – this magical island offers a very convincing and attractive package of tropical life style, quality of live, reasonable costs of living, vibrant communities, tolerance, and millions of things to do and explore.

Amazing – but…

However, relocating to Bali and choosing the life as a self-employed digital nomad, or settling here as a remote worker, is not that simple due to tax implications, visa regulations and medical insurance coverage. You will encounter enthusiastic individuals, “influencers”, communities, and dedicated websites & apps, who boldly promote the “digital nomad life” while naively or deliberately overlooking the details and potential traps that are still existing today. They make it seem, as if there are no laws to follow. That might work for a while, and for some, but this can turn into a nightmare rather quickly. The problem is, that Indonesia, FOR NOW, has no real solution, legally and fiscally for welcoming remote workers and digital nomads. It is still a grey area.

The good news is, that the government is indeed working on a solution and is working on a 5 years Visa for digital nomads and will also clarify the fiscal obligations, probably by defining that any income made OUTSIDE of Indonesia won’t be taxed. Sandiaga Uno, the Tourism Minister of Indonesia, has confirmed that Indonesia is working on a Visa for digital nomads.

The 5 years Digital Nomad Visa is not yet available! Best option for now is the B211A Visa. 

The Indonesian government is indeed recognising that Bali could become a major hub for the “digital nomads”,  and that this growing segment could  greatly contribute to the Balinese economy.  

If you consider to relocate to Bali, the two main pillars to build your foundation on, are the visa or residency that you hold, and understanding the tax implications that come with it.

Important to Know

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Visas & Residency Permits

A Visa or a residency permit is always connected to 3 key questions

  • Where are you from (nationality)?
  • How long will you stay?
  • What will you do here?

If you stay less than 60 days, the Visa on Arrival is an option for the nationalities that can receive it. (more info on VoA here)

If you are an investor then setting up a proper company and sponsoring an investor KITAS is the way to go.

If you get employed by a local company then you would need to get sponsored for a KITAS (work permit & temporary residency) by that company and can only work for that company within the job scope you are hired for.


So let’s assume you are not a tourist, not an investor, not getting a job here, and you wish to stay longer than 60 days – a digital nomad,
a self-employed freelancer or remote worker who would stay in Bali for several months or longer and also make an income while working for clients or a company OUTSIDE of Indonesia.

The Visa that the government suggests for that purpose is the B211A Visa which is 60 days valid initially, and can be extended twice for an additional 60 days each, giving you a total of 180days, without needing to leave the country. After these 180 days, you could apply for a B211A Business Visa ONSHORE (while in Indonesia), and also extend this twice. We can assist you with the Visa application and register online via our website.

The B211A needs an Indonesian entity as a sponsor. This company basically vouches for you AND invites you. This Visa does not allow you to work in Indonesia for somebody in Indonesia and you can not get paid in Indonesia. 

HOWEVER, do take note that now for those who are eligible for Visa on Arrival (VoA) are able to apply the same purposes one would use the B211A Visa for, such as tourism, government duties, business talks, purchasing goods, meetings, as well as transiting.

Paying Taxes in Bali?

As we have pointed out above, you cannot be paid in Indonesia or work with an Indonesian company as a client.

The “classic digital nomad”, works and lives in Indonesia, yes, but they offer freelance services to clients outside of Indonesia, get paid abroad.  They don’t have a legal structure (company and tax number) and have no working permit (Investor KITAS etc). Therefore they are at risk of violating quite a few laws and regulations if they would work for clients in Indonesia.

The “remote worker” who is employed officially abroad and also still works for that company while in Bali is a much clearer case and less critical than being a self-employed digital nomad in relation to income.

In both scenarios the “nomad” would technically have to declare their taxes in the country they are still officially registered as a citizen. Of course, Indonesia cannot and would not control that. 

More info on Tax Liability in Indonesia (by KPMG)

Where to stay in Bali as a Digital Nomad

The strongest digital nomad communities can be found undoubtably these days in Canggu and Ubud – also Sanur and the south around Uluwatu (west coast of Bukit) become more popular due to increasing prices in Canggu and Ubud for accommodation.

Beautifully designed co-working spaces and co-living facilities can be found nowadays all over the island – and the number is growing.

This is what you should not do

As a Digital Nomad, DON’T…

  • blindly trust other nomads or agencies without double checking what kind of “visa solutions” they offer you
  • get a “Fake” employment KITAS from one of the many agents. Technically this type of KITAs is connected strictly to this company and the type of work they applied the KITAS for. And it has income tax implications.
  • get an Investor KITAS with the help of an agent, if you are not really an investor in that company. Some agents offer this service and make you a shareholder of an existing company. But an Investor KITAS comes with restrictions AND you are liable on many levels – legally and fiscally. Not a good idea and the immigration officers are more and more checking on those agents and their clients get into trouble.
  • work for Indonesian companies or entities without being actually employed
  • get paid in Indonesia
  • become a yoga teacher, DJ, life coach, interior designer, facilitator running retreats and workshops in Bali while getting paid and only having a B211A or Visa on Arrival. Again, you are not allowed to make any money here.

Selection of some of the Best Co-Working Places in Bali

Co-working spaces in range from cafes and restaurants where digital nomads are welcomed to sit and work to places that are highly customised to cater to the needs of remote workers, from private meeting rooms, complimentary coffee, super-strong internet, cloud services, community networking, and consulting for start-ups. Whatever the setting, these hubs are just the place to find like-minded people and dive into the vibrant digital nomad scene in Bali.

TOP

ZIN Cafe Canggu

Park23 Creative Hub

Tropical Nomad Coworking Space

B Work Bali

Selection of some of the Best Co-Living Places in Bali

Living in modern villas may have its perks, but lodging together and sharing the life with a tight-knit community can be even better. Not only does a shared space allow you to easily socialize, it also allows you to be able to connect and share ideas with people of different backgrounds you might have never met otherwise.

Shashvata Bali

Canggu Hype

The Kamare

Asanaya Suites