South Korea has its eyes on steady earners with a $66,000 income bar for digital nomads. If it is looking to attract 20 million visitors, it might be time to spice things up a bit more with that K-Culture visa.
South Korea is embracing the “workcation” trend to launch a digital nomad visa: It starts January 1 and lets digital nomads stay for up to two years.
- This is for foreign nationals who work remotely – they are not permitted to apply for jobs within South Korea.
- Remote workers must have an annual income exceeding 84.96 million won ($66,000), which is double the country’s gross national income per capita of 42.48 million won ($33,000).
- Applicants must be 18 years or older with a minimum of one year of work experience in their current field.
- Applicants must possess private health insurance with coverage of at least 100 million won, ensuring the ability to travel back home in case of emergencies.
Once granted, digital nomads can also bring along a spouse and children under the age of 18.
“To make remote work and vacation of foreigners in Korea smoother, we have decided to launch a new digital nomad visa,” the justice ministry said in a statement Friday.
With an aim to attract 30 million visitors annually and $3 billion in tourism revenue by 2027, South Korea’s tourism target is almost double its 2019 pre-pandemic peak, which was 17.5 million.
Previously, tourist visa holders could stay for a maximum of 90 days. The digital nomad visa allows foreigners to stay in South Korea for one year, with the option to extend for an additional year.
The digital nomad visa is launching as a trial period, and the government will decide later whether to make it permanent.
“We hope the workcation visa will allow high-earning foreigners to stay in Korea’s various regions and vitalize the local economy,” the justice ministry said.
The K-Culture visa aligns with South Korea’s plan to host “K Culture Events” in 2024 to provide a comprehensive cultural experience.
Details are still being worked out. The visa will target young individuals passionate about Korean content, encouraging them to explore and learn about the country’s entertainment industry. By offering education or training programs in the K-content sector, such as those provided by K-pop entertainment agencies, the visa aims to leverage the global popularity of Korean films, dramas, and music.
As part of the Visit Korea Year 2023–2024 initiative, the country said it will expand group electronic visa fee waivers, increase limits for immediate tax refunds on duty-free purchases, and boost transportation reservation services and payment methods.
The tourism ministry has also announced an increase in the number of K-tourism roadshows held abroad — from 15 to 25 in 2024. The ministry had said that it aims to attract 20 million international tourists in 2024.
The Daily Newsletter
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Photo credit: Korea plans to attract 20 million tourists in 2024. Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism Korean Culture and Information Service.