A theoretical that I am curious about.

Many people work remotely whilst on travel visas. I know that in many countries this is fine. If you’re in the US and working for a German company on the internet then you’re technically not working in the US. Remain otherwise within the bounds of your tourist visa and there will be no issues.

(from: I want to travel to the USA while working remotely for my non-US employer )

This all makes sense really, afterall, if there was a strict absolutely no work of any kind on a tourist visa rule in place then what would be to happen if you answer an email from your colleague whilst you’re taking your two weeks on the beach?

However…. This brings a situation to mind.

What if your remote company… is based in the country you travel to?

Say I’m an Irish programmer and I want to travel to Australia for a month. I’m doing a bit of entirely internet based work whilst I’m travelling.

Situation A: My client is German (or based in almost any other country in the world)… There is no issue. No work whatsoever in Australia.

Situation B: …my client is Australian. Here I have the one country where the line has been crossed and the law is being broken. Whilst I remain in Ireland it doesn’t matter that my work is technically based in Australia. But when I come to Sydney I’m in trouble.

Am I correct in this analysis?

How strict would this be?

What if you have just finished work for an Australian client?

What if you absolutely are not planning to work whilst you’re visiting but are still contracted by the Australian company?

Would the line only be crossed if I take my work outside my computer and actually go to visit my client?

1 Answer 1


De jure there are dozens of complex laws and regulations regarding remote employment, under which you may or may not need a special visa in order to work in a given country. Tax laws are an additional complication, where countries such as the UK can deem you as a tax resident for spending as little as 16 days on British soil. And as you said it yourself - things might be even more complicated if your employer is fully (or partially) based in the country of your travel.

De facto, as long as you don't mention your remote job to immigration personnel at the airport, there's a 99.99% chance no one will ever find out. There are millions of people breaking the law by being employed at on-site jobs in any given country, so digital nomads are a pretty low priority for law enforcement.

  • I am trying to find the link but there was a news story on the BBC a couple of years ago about a Canadian or American couple who were deported because they continued to work on their own business remotely while in the UK on a visitor visa, so action is taken when it is noticed!
    – user29788
    Commented Mar 7, 2017 at 14:39
  • @Moo well, how would anyone know?
    – JonathanReez
    Commented Mar 7, 2017 at 14:57
  • I agree completely, but my point was that when someone does discover it, its not simply ignored because there are worse infringers :)
    – user29788
    Commented Mar 7, 2017 at 14:59
  • @Moo I believe I saw something like you describe on the border wars reality program. Or I might have read it somewhere. Commented Mar 7, 2017 at 16:01

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