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Spain Digital Nomad Visa: Your Guide to Working Remotely from Spain

Mark Damsgaard

Mark Damsgaard

Founder of Global Residence Index

Last updated: January 30, 2024

Spain Digital Nomad Visa: Your Guide to Working Remotely from Spain

Spain’s new Digital Nomad Visa offers a unique opportunity for remote workers and freelancers to live and work in a country renowned for its rich culture and beautiful landscapes. As the professional world evolves with increasing numbers of people working remotely, Spain is embracing this trend by offering a visa that caters specifically to non-EU/EEA citizens. If you work independently or for a company located outside Spanish territory and you rely on telecommunication technologies, this might be your chance to experience life in Spain without sacrificing your career.

Understanding the eligibility criteria and application process is crucial to successfully obtaining the Spain Digital Nomad Visa. The visa allows you to stay in Spain while working for an extended period, and it may come with certain tax benefits and the ability to travel across the Schengen Area. It’s important to be aware of the financial requirements to prove sustainability, as well as how the visa affects your family if you plan to bring dependents.

Key Takeaways

  • The Spain Digital Nomad Visa allows remote workers to live and work in Spain for an extended period.
  • Eligibility requires non-EU/EEA citizenship, remote employment, and financial sustainability.
  • The visa provides the opportunity to bring family dependents and offers travel freedom within the Schengen Zone.

Eligibility Criteria

The following eligibility criteria are designed to ensure applicants meet the Spanish government’s requirements for this type of visa.

General Requirements

You must be a non-EU/EEA citizen to apply for the Spain Digital Nomad Visa. In addition, you should either hold a university degree or have a minimum of three years of professional experience in your field. Your profession and remote work capability must be verifiable, whether you’re self-employed or working for a company that allows remote work internationally.

Income Requirements

You must demonstrate that you have a steady income to support your time in Spain. The minimum income requirement is yet to be set by the Spanish authorities, but you should ensure you have sufficient funds to maintain your standard of living in Spain without local employment.

Criminal Record and Background Check

A clear criminal record within your country of residence for the past five years is mandatory. You will likely need to provide a criminal record check as part of your application to prove that you meet the requirement.

Health Insurance Needs

Acquiring comprehensive health insurance that is valid in Spain is crucial. Ensure your coverage meets all necessary requirements and spans the entire duration of your intended stay. Proof of this insurance must be submitted with your application. Your policy should provide similar benefits to those that you would receive as a Spanish resident.

Note: This Digital Nomad Visa should not be confused with the Spanish Golden Visa, which is another type of residency permit that requires a significant financial investment in Spain.

Application Process

The Spain Digital Nomad Visa application requires a series of steps to be diligently followed, ensuring that all required documents are well-prepared and submitted through the right channels. Here is how you can navigate through the application process:

Starting the Application

Begin the application process for the Spain Digital Nomad Visa by reaching out for an appointment through the Spanish consulate or embassy in your country. Email to request a slot for your application submission. It is critical to start this process well in advance due to possible wait times for appointment availability.

Gathering Necessary Documents

Prepare an accurate and complete set of necessary documents. Your checklist should include:

  • A valid passport with at least one year remaining before expiration.
  • National Visa application form properly filled out and signed.
  • A birth certificate, duly translated and legalized, if applicable.
  • If married and your spouse will accompany you, a marriage certificate is required.
  • Proof of no criminal record from the countries where you have resided in the last five years.
  • Two recent passport-size pictures.
  • Proof of sufficient funds to support your stay without local employment.
  • Evidence of health insurance coverage for the duration of your stay.
  • A job offer or letter from your employer, or if self-employed, documentation that demonstrates your client base and income sources.

Applying through Consulate or Embassy

With your documents gathered, submit your application and all supporting documents to the Spanish consulate or embassy. You will need to present your documentation on the appointment date set by the consulate. Ensure every document is in the format and order specified by the consulate’s guidelines.

Application Review and Approval

After submitting your application, there is a standard review time set by the consulate. Expect a decision within a few weeks to a couple of months. If successful, you will receive an NIE (Foreigner Identity Number), an essential identifier for your time in Spain. This initial approval grants a one-year stay, which can later be transferred into residency. Remember to keep track of your application and respond promptly to any requests for additional information to avoid delays in the approval process.

Visa Details and Validity

Your Spain Digital Nomad Visa offers you the opportunity to embrace a remote working lifestyle while enjoying the benefits of residency in Spain. Understanding the specifics of your visa’s validity and the associated residence permits is key to ensuring a seamless experience. Initially, this residence permit typically allows you to live in Spain for one year. You’ll receive an ID card which, together with your NIE, confirms your status as a resident.

Residence Permit and NIE

Upon approval of your Digital Nomad Visa, you will receive a residence permit, which is essential for legally residing in Spain. This permit is linked to a Foreigner Identity Number (NIE), which acts as your identification in Spain. Your NIE is crucial for all bureaucratic processes, including tax payments and social security registration. Ensure your passport has a minimum validity of one year with at least two blank pages at the time of application, as part of the prerequisites for the residence permit application.

Visa Extension and Renewal

Your stay in Spain can extend beyond the initial year. After the first year, you have the option to apply for a residency permit extension, given you meet certain conditions set forth by Spanish authorities. This extension can be for up to three years, and is renewable for two more years, potentially allowing you a total of up to five years of residency under the Digital Nomad Visa scheme. Remember, the renewal of your residence permit is contingent on fulfilling specific requirements that demonstrate your ongoing status as a remote worker or digital nomad.

Financial Considerations

When planning to apply for the Spain Digital Nomad Visa, it’s essential to be aware of the fees involved, understand your tax obligations, and consider the cost of living in the country. These factors can significantly affect your financial planning.

Understanding Fees and Costs

To successfully apply for the Spain Digital Nomad Visa, you will need to pay application fees. The exact fee amount may vary, so you should check the most current rates on the official Spanish consulate or embassy website. Additionally, there may be costs associated with obtaining necessary documentation, such as a tax identification number (NIF), and translating your documents into Spanish if required.

Tax Implications for Remote Workers

You will be subject to Spain’s tax regime as a digital nomad. While you may qualify for tax benefits, such as a reduced tax rate, this would depend on your specific circumstances as a non-resident or resident for tax purposes. Depending on the length of your stay in Spain, you may be eligible for tax breaks typically offered to non-residents. Make sure to consult with a tax professional to understand your obligations and secure the proper tax identification number.

Cost of Living in Spain

Spaniards enjoy a relatively affordable living cost. However, your expenses will vary based on your lifestyle and location—cities like Madrid and Barcelona tend to be more expensive. Consider the following average monthly costs:

  • Rent: One-bedroom apartment in the city center around €800 – €1,200, outside city center around €600 – €900.
  • Utilities: For electricity, heating, cooling, water, and garbage, expect to pay €100 – €150.
  • Groceries: Procuring basic food items could range from €200 – €300.
  • Internet: Monthly fees around €30 – €50.

Keep in mind that living within your means should align with Spain’s minimum wage, which provides a baseline for affordable living costs in the country.

Working in Spain

Spain has established a legal framework that facilitates your ability to work remotely, launch innovative ventures, and operate as a self-employed individual. Below, key compliance aspects, opportunities for startups and entrepreneurs, as well as requirements for freelancers and the self-employed are outlined.

Remote Work Compliance

To work remotely in Spain under the Digital Nomad Visa, it’s necessary that you are employed by a foreign company or be self-employed with clients predominantly outside Spain. You should not derive your income from Spanish sources if using this visa. The core requirements include:

  • Employment: Working for a non-Spanish company remotely.
  • Income Source: Earnings must primarily come from outside Spain.

Startups and Entrepreneurship

Under the Spain Startup Act, entrepreneurs are encouraged to establish or expand their businesses within the country. To be eligible:

  • Startup Law Compliance: Your startup must align with the Spanish government’s criteria for innovation and potential for job creation.
  • Company Headquarters: Your startup should have its headquarters or a branch in Spain.

Freelancers and Self-Employment

As a freelancer or self-employed professional, you will need to meet specific conditions to qualify for the visa:

  • Professional Credentials: Possession of relevant qualifications or demonstrable technical knowledge is crucial, such as a professional certificate or a university degree.
  • Income Proofs: You must show evidence of stable income from your freelance activities or self-employment, sufficient for your sustenance in Spain.

Be sure that you possess the necessary documentation and meet all the criteria before applying for this visa to ensure a smooth remote working experience in Spain.

Family and Dependents

When you secure a Digital Nomad Visa in Spain, your family’s relocation and well-being is accommodated under the visa provisions. Your dependents, including your spouse and children, can join you in Spain, and they are afforded various rights and services to ensure a smooth transition.

Visa Options for Family Members

Your family members—your spouse and children—are eligible to accompany you as your dependents. Upon your successful application for a Digital Nomad Visa, they can apply for their visas, which will allow them to live in Spain and access work opportunities. Family members can work for a Spanish employer or continue their remote employment outside of Spain.

Educational and Health Services Access

Once in Spain, your dependents will have access to:

  • Education: Children have the right to attend local public schools or private international schools. Education in Spain is compulsory for children from the ages of 6 to 16, ensuring they can maintain their educational journey while you benefit from the Digital Nomad Visa.
  • Health Services: Dependents will have access to Spain’s healthcare system. It is important to verify that you have the required health insurance coverage that is comprehensive and includes your family members. Your dependents will then enjoy the benefits of medical care and services as you work remotely in Spain.

Lifestyle and Culture

Spain offers a vibrant lifestyle and a rich cultural tapestry that you, as a digital nomad, can immerse yourself in. Beyond the sunny beaches and late-night dining, you’ll find a country steeped in tradition and modern comforts that cater to a flexible work-life balance.

Understanding Spanish Culture

Spanish culture is characterized by its warm, social nature and the high value placed on family and friendships. Siesta—the traditional afternoon break—reflects the Spanish pace of life, allowing you to embrace a more leisurely workday. Expect to enjoy cultural experiences such as flamenco shows, fiestas, and the traditional tapas meals. Learning some Spanish could enhance your social interactions and help you connect with local communities.

Living Conditions and Accommodation

Accommodation in Spain varies from modern apartments in cities like Madrid, Barcelona, and Valencia to quaint townhouses in the countryside. Average rents in these cities can range from €700 to €1,500 per month, depending on the location and amenities. You should register with the padrón municipal—the town hall registry—upon securing your accommodation, as it is often required for healthcare, school enrolment, and other local services.

Networking and Community

Spain hosts a dynamic community of expats and digital nomads, with numerous co-working spaces and networking events that provide opportunities to meet peers. The major cities have thriving digital hubs where you can collaborate and share ideas. You’ll also find many online forums and social media groups that can act as an invaluable resource in establishing your work base and integrating into the local digital nomad community.

International Relations

Spain’s introduction of a Digital Nomad Visa reflects its strategy to enhance its attractiveness to international professionals. By aligning with certain EU member states that have adopted similar visas, Spain fosters a competitive environment aimed at drawing global talent.

Comparison with Other EU Countries

The European Union, with membership encompassing the Schengen Area and the European Economic Area, presents a varied approach to digital nomad visas among its members. Notably, Spain’s visa stands out in the EU alongside other programs like those of Portugal, Greece, and Croatia. Here’s how they compare:

  • Portugal offers a D7 Visa for remote workers, which requires proof of stable income.
  • Greece stipulates a lower income requirement compared to Spain for its nomad visa, aiming to entice remote workers with its inviting climate and cost of living.
  • Croatia provides a special visa for digital workers from outside the EU, with a simple application process and moderate financial thresholds.

Attracting International Talent

Your understanding of how Spain competes within the EU for international talent is pivotal. The Spanish Digital Nomad visa program is tailored to capitalize on the country’s assets:

  • Appealing Lifestyle: Spain leverages its rich culture, Mediterranean climate, and high quality of life.
  • Strategic Location: Located within the Schengen area, Spain offers substantial mobility across numerous European countries, catering to the travel preferences of international professionals.
  • Incentive Structures: By providing attractive visa conditions, Spain aims to foster a diverse and innovative workforce, which is beneficial for sustaining economic growth.

Spain positions itself as a desirable destination for global digital nomads through these strategic international relations within the EU.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the requirements for applying for the Spain Digital Nomad Visa?

To apply for the Spain Digital Nomad Visa, you must have a valid passport, complete a national visa application form, submit a recent passport-size photograph, and prove your means of sustenance. Additional proof of professional activity may be required, such as being employed by a non-Spanish company or operating as a freelancer with international clients.

How does taxation work for holders of the Spain Digital Nomad Visa?

As a holder of the Spain Digital Nomad Visa, the specific tax regulations will depend on your individual circumstances, such as your country of origin and the duration of your stay. Usually, if you reside in Spain for more than 183 days within a calendar year, you will become a tax resident and be subject to Spanish taxation on your worldwide income.

What is the application process for the Spain Digital Nomad Visa?

The application process typically involves submitting the required documents to the Spanish consulate or embassy in your home country. This includes your visa application form, photographic identification, evidence of ongoing remote work with a non-Spanish company, and proof of financial means.

Are US citizens eligible for the Spain Digital Nomad Visa, and if so, what are the specific provisions?

Yes, US citizens are eligible for the Spain Digital Nomad Visa. Like other non-EU applicants, they must fulfill all the visa requirements concerning valid documentation, proof of professional activity, and financial solvency. It’s crucial to consult with the Spanish consulate for country-specific provisions.

What constitutes the minimum salary or income threshold for the Spain Digital Nomad Visa?

The Spain Digital Nomad Visa typically requires applicants to show financial stability, which may include meeting a minimum salary or income threshold. The specific amount can vary and should be verified with Spanish embassy guidelines at the time of application to ensure compliance with current regulations.

Can digital nomads legally work remotely for non-Spanish companies while living in Spain?

Yes, digital nomads can legally work remotely for non-Spanish companies while living in Spain under the Digital Nomad Visa. This visa is specifically designed for individuals who derive their income from companies or clients located outside of Spain.

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