Digital Nomad Bali Guide (2023)
Bali has one of the best digital nomad scenes in the world. You will be working alongside interesting and creative people while experiencing Indonesian culture and all of the other amazing things the island has to offer. There are different options for short, mid and long-term accommodation and plenty of co-working hubs and cafes to work from. Bali is a very social place where there are many people open to making new connections, both social and business wise! Most importantly there are good and fairly priced visa options suitable for remote work. In this blog we will cover what visas are available and some other tips to help you set up as a digital nomad in Bali!
Visas for Digital Nomads Bali
It is absolutely essential that you are using the correct visa when working in Bali, and this goes for digital nomads too. Plenty of people have faced deportation for using incorrect visas so make sure you are staying in the loop with the ever evolving visa policies.
Although there has been talk in the recent months of a Digital Nomad Visa for Indonesia, this has not eventuated so far.
You absolutely CANNOT work for an Indonesian company or be receiving money in Indonesia unless you have a KITAS visa which means you are making a taxable income in Indonesia. On other Digital Nomad friendly visas, it is still your responsibility to follow tax regulations in the country you are receiving money.
If you are planning a stay of up to 60 days you can use the Visa on Arrival (VOA). You are able to continue working throughout your stay in Bali.
The VOA is available before immigration at the airport
The cost 500,000IDR
The initial validity is 30 days
It is extendable for another 30 days at the immigration office
The purpose of the B211a visa is for tourism and business. You are able to attend meetings and conferences on the B211a visa. However, if you are actively pursuing business opportunities within Indonesia, you will need the Business Visa, not the B211A.
It is valid for 60 days.
It is extendable twice, giving you a total of 180 days.
Please note it is a single entry visa. This means if you leave the country during the validation period, the visa will be canceled.
The cost is usually around 2,500,000IDR depending on your visa agent, and 2,500,000IDR per extension.
You can apply from offshore only, which means even if you are already in Indonesia, you must leave to apply.
From lodgement to approval it can take 7-14 days.
Once you have approval, you have 90 days to enter.
You will needA passport with 12 months validity
Proof of funds with minimum $2000USD
Proof of onward journey out of the country
A recent colour passport photo
Second Home Visa
This visa is the closest to a specific Digital Nomad Visa, however the requirements to obtain the visa rules it out for many digital nomads.
The application cost is around 21,000,000 IDR for 5 years
Proof of funds of $140,000 USD
Passport validity of 36 months
Internet and Phones
If you are a Digital Nomad, no doubt your smart phone and internet connection are very important to you!
Luckily Bali now has 4G towers and fiber optic internet so internet connection is decent throughout the South of Bali. You may find less 4G coverage in the North of Bali and in some more remote areas but you never have to go too far to get connected.
The first thing you will need is a local SIM. Check this klook link right here to have one delivered straight to your hotel for just $13AUD so you never miss a beat, or email!
The IMEL registration (International Mobile Equipment Identity) is relatively straightforward but is important if you plan on using a local SIM card. It must be done within 90 days of arrival into Indonesia. The process is different for short stay (under 90 days) and long stay (over 90 days).
You can register your phone’s IMEI at most phone shops and obtain a tourist SIM card.
No tax is payable.
The registration lasts 90 days and can be extended for another 90 days.
It is best to register your phone when you land as you will receive a tax exemption up to the value of $500USD.
Before arrival you will need to fill out this form on the Indonesian Customs website.
When you land, proceed to the Customs Office in the arrivals terminal in the customs area with the QR code from the customs website as well as your passport, boarding pass and invoice for the device if you have one. If you do not have an invoice for your phone, they will check the second hand market value of your particular model. They may ask for specifics such as storage capacity.
You will need to pay tax on devices that are worth more than $500USD. Devices below this value are exempt.
You can register up to two devices per person, but if their combined value is over $500USD, you will need to pay a tax.
For devices worth over $500USD, the device is tax exempt up to $500USD. So a phone worth $600USD, would be taxable for $100USD, at a rate of 40% for VOA and B211a visa holders. The rate is 30% for Kitas/NPWP (local tax number) holders.
More info on IMEI Registration
You can check on the customs website if your device has already been registered by putting in your IMEI on the registration database here.
The Customs Office at Denpasar Airport will be closed if you arrive after midnight. You will have to visit the Customs Office in Denpasar.
You may not be able to use a local SIM without registration.
A good way around this is to buy a cheap smartphone locally which is still compatible with all apps, wifi etc.
More Info Internet Access In Bali
Telkomsel has the best coverage and most advanced 4G/5G connection, as well as data packs that are good value.
The average data speed in Bali is around 43Mbps.
Global extreme and Indihome are home internet companies that you might use if you need a new connection at your villa.
Where to work from
Almost all cafes, restaurants and beach clubs offer free wifi, although you might not find the speediest of connections. Cafes are generally happy for people to sit and work for a few hours as long as they have enough tables. If you are looking for a slightly more serious connection, there are plenty of state of the art coworking spaces offering everything from high speed internet, meeting rooms, cafes, mail service, art studios, music studios and podcasting rooms.
For a list of our favourite co-working haunts, check out this blog right here!
The main consideration is your budget. The most common options for accommodation in Bali are
Draper Startup House for Entrepreneurs
Renting an entire villa- villas start at around $8000USD a year, but are usually 2 to 3 times more depending on the area and standard of the villa.
Renting a room in a villa- team up with other Digital Nomads and share the cost and responsibility of running a villa.
Renting an apartment- more and more apartment style accommodation is being developed and they are a good fit for the average Digital Nomad, with a small cooking area, a bedroom and quite often a small workspace.
Renting a local house or rumah- a local house is usually smaller than a villa, and does not usually have a pool. You can find local houses that have been renovated to suit Westerners, for about a third to half the price of a villa.
Koskosan or apartment- if you are a Digital Nomad on a shoe-string, you might be able to find a kost or kos-kosan. This is the accommodation where local workers often live away from their home, usually with a communal kitchen. A room in a nicer Kos is probably around 2-3,000,000IDR.
Cost of Living
We have a detailed blog that covers the Cost Of Living in Bali for all different budgets in this blog.
Check out our blog on Cost Of Living in Bali above for info on renting scooters and cars.
It is not possible to get a local bank account unless you have a Kitas work permit, which means for most digital nomads, a local bank account is out of the question.
In recent years credit card terminals have become increasingly available in shops and restaurants which means you can easily make payments using international credit and debit cards. Recently contactless payment has become available also, so you can use mobile wallets like Apple Pay.
Thanks to some handy services like WISE and Revolut, you can now easily make instant payments to local bank accounts from your overseas account which makes paying bills quick and easy. You can set up a digital wallet also, and easily transfer money over to the local currency, and use a Wise Debit card on the go without worrying about daily exchange rate fluctuations. Some Revolut memberships even come with lounge access benefits while travelling. The fees are low and the exchange rates competitive. Best of all you can do it all online using an app, and don’t need to go into a physical bank to fill out paperwork.
For more info about keeping your money safe while in Bali, read this blog right here.
With our comprehensive guide to being a Digital Nomad in Bali, we hope you feel ready to take the plunge and make that move you have been dreaming of!