Preferred destinations in the Arab world for digital nomads?

The evaporation of the traditional office workplace last year has drawn attention to the role digital nomads play in choosing to work from anywhere thanks to special visas issued by a number of countries across the world.

The UAE has recognized this role and issued a special visa to attract these workers. The Dubai Distance Work Visa offers digital nomads the opportunity to combine business with pleasure. Valid for one year, requirements extend to providing proof of employment with a minimum income of $ 5,000 per month or proof of business ownership. The fee is $ 611 and must be accompanied by valid health insurance with UAE coverage.

But, as COVID-19 draws to a close, is a return to the office imminent?
Airbnb’s introduction of long-term rentals is an indication that this model of work-life balance may have some sustainability. Much like desert nomads, digital nomads are not always on the move and often settle down for a while before leaving again.

Who are the digital nomads?

Digital nomads are mostly freelancers – like bloggers, writers, editors, content creators, web programmers, translators, consultants, and photographers. Additionally, entrepreneurs and young CEOs can also be categorized as digital nomads when they are constantly exploring opportunities.

Digital nomads are generally drawn to destinations that meet certain requirements and are anchored by accessible visas that allow them to stay legally in a foreign destination for a good period of time.

There are a few important factors that every digital nomad should consider when choosing a new neighborhood, city or country:

Internet connection quality

While remote and exotic places are certainly appealing, these places could quickly lose their appeal if they don’t have strong and reliable internet connections.

Cost of living

Online and remote work depends on stable inflation and low cost of living. When paying the bills, like rent, electricity, groceries and the internet becomes a concern, it is time to return to nomadic life again.

Crime rate and safety ratings

Nomads like the presence of other nomads with whom to spend time and share war stories. Without them, they might feel isolated and dependent on the kindness of the locals. One thing that needs to be taken into consideration when choosing a destination is whether locals like foreigners and whether crime rates are high or not.

Digital nomads in Arab countries

The Arab world has many places where remote working is possible.

Rabat, Morocco

Morocco has several fun cities to explore, such as Rabat, Marrakech, Fez, and many more. If you’re more into the beach, Morocco has that too. English, Arabic and French are spoken. It is quite secure as a country and visas are relatively easy if you have a passport from a western country.

You can stay in Morocco for up to 90 days on a tourist visa, which is easily extendable. In cities, Morocco has fairly good Internet access both in cafes and hotels. There are also options to purchase relatively inexpensive data plans. Outside of cities, however, it can be more difficult to find places with strong internet, but they do exist.

Morocco has several residence options depending on your budget. There are hostels (the cheapest option) and Riads (hotels usually created from houses in the medinas, and are the more expensive option), and many choices between the two. As for the cost of living, Morocco is cheaper than the United States.

Tunis, Tunisia

Tunis, the capital, is located on the coast and is a great place for remote work. There are many places to travel in Tunisia to see beautiful landscapes and historical ruins. People speak English, especially in the cities, but not everyone. Tunisia is also quite safe. The tourist visa for Tunisia allows stays of up to 90 days and is free for people with an American passport. Longer than that, however, and you’ll have to complete another application and pay for a different type of visa. The visa application is now available online.

The internet speed in some places in Tunisia is slower than in other countries making it more difficult to work remotely, but there are places with a faster internet connection.

Hotels there can be expensive, but there are rental options from locals in Facebook groups and hostels. For transport, Tunis has a large public transport system made up of buses and tram / metro. The average cost of living in Tunis for a digital nomad is $ 1000- $ 1200 per month.

Amman, Jordan

With amazing places to visit like Petra or Aqab, Jordan is an amazing country for digital nomads. Jordan has plenty of places to visit, food to try, and sites to explore. Many Jordanians in Amman speak English, and Jordan overall is safe.

In Jordan, the visa process is straightforward. You can get a visa at the border for a single entry, two entries or multiple entries. The single entry visa costs $ 56.50 and is valid for 30 days.

Visa prices go up from there. If you want to stay longer than 60 days, you must register at a police station.

To access the internet, there are many cafes in Amman that have internet. Additionally, data plans are available for purchase and are relatively inexpensive.

Airbnb, hostels and rentals from locals are available. For getting around Amman, taxis are probably the best option.

The cost of living in Jordan is more expensive than in Morocco or Tunisia, although food is cheaper than in the United States. On average, the cost of living is around $ 1,330 / month.

Dahab, Egypt

Egypt has many places to visit including Alexandria, Luxor, Dahab, etc. Not all places in Egypt have ancient Egyptian sites, but there are places that have beaches and are fun to explore. Not everyone speaks English, but you will find help with the language very quickly. Egypt is relatively safe.

The visa process for Egypt is different from that of other countries. A tourist visa for someone from the United States costs $ 25 and is only valid for 30 days. Beyond that, you will likely need to obtain a visa before traveling, which is available either online or at an embassy.

Internet in Egypt is generally quite slow. It would be difficult for digital nomads to use the internet, but in some places, like Dahab, Egypt, there are good places for the internet. Beyond that, however, it might be best to get a modem or find a “coworking space” to work in.

Youth hostels are good options for long stays.

As for the cost of living, Egypt is much cheaper than in the United States. The average cost of living for a single person in Egypt is $ 750 / month, with some variation by city.

About Andrew Miller

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