2

I am planning to go travelling extensively for the next few months. I am employed in a company that allows me to work remotely, I can do my job from any place that has an internet connection.

The countries I'm thinking of travelling to are those for which I would not require a visa, so I don't think "tourist visa" or "business visa" issues apply to me.

I have heard that there are countries which do not allow remote workers to work while they are in that country, but I'm having trouble finding out specifically which countries those are.

Can anyone give me more information regarding this or point to a place where I could get more information? If it helps, the countries I'm thinking of going to are Israel, Brazil, and Colombia.

marked as duplicate by jpatokal, uncovery, drat, SpaceDog, JoErNanO Jun 4 '15 at 9:59

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

5

Visa-free entry and stay rules are typically tied to the rules for a specific visa category. For example, the US has two visitors visas (B1/B2) but even if you don't need one, one of the requirements of the visa waiver program is that “Travel Purpose Must be Permitted on a Visitor (B) Visa”.

Similarly, the requirements to enter the Schengen area for a visa-free short-stay are exactly the same as those you need to fulfil to apply for a visa (except holding proof of health insurance). Main difference is that in practice most people don't have to produce much evidence at the border whereas visa applications require extensive supporting documentation. But, formally, the rules are still the same. It's more-or-less the same in the UK, I think.

So the fact that your citizenship allows you to enter many countries without a visa does not grant you any general advantage when it comes to work.

Working remotely is not particularly helpful either, legally speaking. Very often work permit are clearly designed for people who have an offer from a local employer but that does not imply that you are allowed to work without a work permit if you don't. It means that it might be more difficult to work remotely than locally because you still need a permit but there is no easy way to obtain one.

There might be some exceptions (including the countries mentioned in Which countries, if any, offer on-arrival work visas?) and maybe some countries will one day enact rules to attract remote workers but by default, I think you can simply assume it's not allowed.

Regarding the specifics, I can't comment on Brazil or Israel but I do know that Colombia is actually more picky than most regarding the purpose of travel. You need to specify why you want to enter the country and will get a different stamp depending on that purpose. I have a friend who said by mistake that she was coming for tourism whereas she wanted to attend a scientific conference. She had to go to some government office, wait half a day and pay a fee to change the stamps as passports were checked at the entrance of the conference venue to make sure people had the right visa/status.

So not only do they ask about your intent (which is common) but they formally record it and make at least some effort to enforce the distinction, even when work is not involved.

All this to say that “tourist visa”/“business visa” rules (and other such distinctions) definitely apply to you and that you should investigate each destination carefully if you want to be fully above board. Realistically, what most people do is simply go under tourism rules and hope enforcement is lax enough to stay undetected (which it often is at least if you are working remotely, not staying too long and nobody reports you to the authorities).

  • 1
    Going to a conference or visiting a business that you work with are a bit different than firing up your laptop in a hotel room to tend to business back home. If the later requires a business visa, then 60% of adult travelers are violating laws, since we all keep up emails, company finances, etc. Countries are more concerned with people who reside in, draw salary in their country, rather than tourists doing some home work while visiting. – user13044 Jun 3 '15 at 14:02
  • 1
    @Tom Huh? Actually visiting a business is typically allowed whereas working remotely technically isn't and academic conferences are often treated separately so I would expect countries to care even less about that. But that example was merely there to show purpose does matter even if you benefit from a visa waiver as there is half-a-dozen distinct categories (if memory serves) for that in Colombia. Just to be clear: My friend did not get and did not need any visa in advance, business or otherwise. – Relaxed Jun 3 '15 at 14:16
  • 1
    Beyond that, we could discuss why that is but it's not true that countries generally do not care about remote workers, cf. travel.stackexchange.com/questions/45092/… (Do note that the OP's work would not be incidental, he isn't actually planning to check his email during a vacation). – Relaxed Jun 3 '15 at 14:16
  • 1
    And of course it might very well be that 60% of adult travellers violate the law. I would think that the proportion of drivers who go over the speed limit at least once in any given year would be similar if not higher, yet it's not a good way to determine whether speeding is allowed. – Relaxed Jun 3 '15 at 14:32
  • 1
    Until someone with accurate knowledge of your specific destinations provides an answer, your best source of info is calling the respective Embassies and asking them. All comments so far are simply people's experiences with other countries. – user13044 Jun 3 '15 at 19:55
1

Since you do not appear to be setting up residency anywhere it is highly unlikely anyone will care. You will not have a local job, therefore you are no different than someone traveling there for meetings, training or conferences and replying to a few work emails.

However, you can make immigration care simply by rubbing their noses in it. If you spend the day on your hotel balcony working on your laptop no one will notice. If you arrive and say that you intend to work from your hotel room for a week you can expect a somewhat lengthy interview and/or a very short stay in the country.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.