Digital Nomad Visa Comparison: United Arab Emirates vs. Sri Lanka

A comparison of remote work visas for United Arab Emirates and Sri Lanka.

Digital Nomad Visa Comparison: United Arab Emirates vs. Sri Lanka

United Arab Emirates and Sri Lanka: A Comparison of Digital Nomad Visa Requirements


If you are a digital nomad, you have probably heard of countries such as Portugal, Croatia, Estonia, and Germany, which offer digital nomad visa programs and a great quality of life. However, there are other lesser-known destinations that are beginning to attract digital nomads due to the recent introduction of digital nomad visa programs. Two such countries are the United Arab Emirates and Sri Lanka. In this article, we will compare the digital nomad visa requirements of these two countries.

United Arab Emirates

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is known for its modern infrastructure, skyscrapers, and luxury shopping, making it an attractive destination for tourists and business people alike. Recently, the UAE launched a virtual working program that allows remote workers to live in Dubai while continuing to work for their current employer.

Digital Nomad Visa Program

Cost of Visa US$611 (including application fees, processing fees, pre-application medical exam, and emirates ID)
Length of Stay 1 year, renewable upon re-application
Income Requirement Yes - a minimum of US$5,000 per month salary
Tax Exemption No
Insurance Requirement Must have a health insurance with UAE coverage validity
Work Restriction Virtual Program document holders and their dependents cannot perform work for a local employer in Dubai or provide any services to any person or entity carrying out business in Dubai
Other Requirements
  • Hold a passport valid for at least 6 months
  • Proof of employment from current employer with a one-year contract validity
  • Must have a minimum salary of US$5,000 per month along with last month's pay slip and 3 preceding months bank statement
  • Business owners must provide proof of ownership of their business, and should have an average monthly income of US$5,000 along with 3 preceding months' bank statement

Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka is known for its beautiful beaches, lush tea plantations, and ancient heritage sites. The country recently proposed a digital nomad visa program, which is expected to be launched in the near future.

Digital Nomad Visa Program

Cost of Visa Proposed: US$600
Length of Stay Proposed: 1 year with an option to renew
Income Requirement Condition not disclosed yet
Tax Exemption Proposed: Tax exemption for earnings
Insurance Requirement Condition not disclosed yet
Work Restriction • Local employment is not allowed.
• The applicant must be working/ rendering services to a foreign entity.
Other Requirements
  • Proposed: A special security clearance should be obtained by the individuals from Sri Lankan embassies in their respective countries.
  • Proposed: Bank statements to prove income.


Both the United Arab Emirates and Sri Lanka are emerging as attractive destinations for digital nomads due to their digital nomad visa programs. However, the requirements and conditions of the two programs are quite different. The UAE's virtual working program has a high income requirement but offers a longer stay, while Sri Lanka's program is more affordable but the income requirement is yet to be disclosed. As with any decision of this nature, it is important to weigh the pros and cons of each program and determine which one is more suited to your personal and professional needs.