Spain digital nomad visa – updates

(Last Updated On: October 4, 2023)

The Spain digital nomad visa provides an opportunity for remote workers to live and work remotely in Spain. This visa allows individuals to relocate to Spain for a minimum of one year while working for companies outside the country.

Two visa options

There are two types of visas available for digital nomads in Spain: the digital nomad visa, which is valid for one year, and the digital nomad residency permit, which is valid for three years. While both visas serve the same purpose, the digital nomad visa can be obtained in your home country, whereas the residency permit can only be obtained in Spain.

The digital nomad residency permit can be renewed for an additional two years. However, if you wish to work remotely in Spain for the long term, it is advisable to consider applying for permanent residency or becoming a Spanish citizen. Please note that applying for a permanent residence visa is possible only after five years of living in Spain.

Benefits

The digital nomad visa allows foreigners to work remotely from Spain while experiencing the lifestyle and culture of the country. Furthermore, it serves as a means for Spain to attract international talent and drive digital entrepreneurship.

Eligibility

The Spain digital nomad visa is specifically designed for digital nomads who are not citizens of the European Economic Area (EEA). European citizens can work in Spain for up to six months using only their passport. However, they need to obtain a Foreign Identity Number (NIE) to extend their stay beyond six months. The NIE is a unique number required for non-EU remote workers or freelancers who wish to reside in Spain for more than six months.

The digital nomad visa is available for the following individuals:

  1. Employees working for companies located outside Spain.
  2. Digital entrepreneurs or freelancers who work with clients worldwide.
  3. Freelancers or employees working for foreign companies while residing in Spain.

How to apply

Applying for the digital nomad visa can be done either from your home country or upon arrival in Spain on a tourist visa. You can also include your dependents in the same visa application.

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Fortunately, the visa application process is quick, and if your application is rejected, you can appeal almost immediately. The processing time for the visa is approximately 20 days. Further details about the Spanish digital nomad visa will be discussed later in this article.

To successfully apply for the digital nomad visa, you must meet the minimum income requirement and pay the associated visa fees.

Validity

If you apply for the digital nomad visa within Spain while on a tourist visa, you will receive a digital nomad residency permit valid for three years. However, if you apply through a Spanish Consulate in your home country, you will receive a digital nomad visa valid for one year. At the end of the first year in Spain, you can switch to the digital nomad residency permit.

To apply for a permanent residency permit, you must have lived in Spain for at least five years. This is only possible after receiving the digital nomad visa, residing in Spain for three years, and extending it for an additional two years.

Similarly, if you plan to become a Spanish citizen, you must have lived in Spain for at least ten years.

With a digital nomad visa, non-EU citizens can travel freely within EU countries. However, to qualify for a permanent residency visa, you must not spend more than one year outside Spain within a five-year period.

Restrictions with the Spain Digital Nomad Visa

There are several restrictions associated with the digital nomad visa in Spain that applicants should be aware of:

  1. You must have a remote position with clients or employers located outside Spain. Your income generated within Spain should not exceed 20% of your total revenue.
  1. Spain previously had travel restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but the laws have since changed. As of now, a COVID-19 test certificate is no longer required to enter Spain. However, it is important to stay updated on travel restrictions as they may change if the virus situation worsens. It is advisable to check with the Spanish Consulate in your home country or residence for the most current information.
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Future developments

While Spain does not currently have a digital nomad visa, there are plans to launch one in the near future. Once the Spain digital nomad visa is introduced, individuals will be able to work remotely from Spain for any foreign employer.

For EU and EEA citizens, it is possible to live in Spain and work as a digital nomad for up to three months without restrictions. However, after three months, they must register their stay at a local registration hall to extend their period of stay.

For non-EU citizens who wish to live and work in Spain, it is necessary to find a job with a Spanish company. It is not legally permitted to work in Spain, even remotely, if you enter the country visa-free or with a Spain Schengen Visa.

Although the Spanish digital nomad visa has not yet been launched, below are some requirements that may be applicable once it becomes available:

Requirements

To apply for a Spain digital nomad visa in the future, you may be required to fulfill the following criteria:

  1. Have an employer located outside Spain: You must provide proof that you will be working for an employer based outside of Spain.
  2. Meet the income requirement: The Spanish government may set a minimum income threshold. Typically, applicants will need to prove that they have a minimum income ranging from €1,000 to €3,000 per month.
  3. Provide a residence contract: You must demonstrate proof of accommodation to qualify for the Spain digital nomad visa.
  4. Provide personal information: You will be required to provide information regarding the purpose of your stay, specifically for working remotely as a digital nomad.
  5. Gather necessary documents: It will be necessary to collect all the required documents specified for the Spain digital nomad visa application.

Alternatives

While Spain does not currently have a specific digital nomad visa, there are alternative options available for individuals who wish to live and work in Spain. These include:

  1. Spain Entrepreneur Visa: This visa allows individuals to stay in Spain for up to two years to establish a business. It is open to investors, entrepreneurs, researchers, experienced professionals, and innovative workers. Dependent family members such as spouses and children under 18 can accompany the visa holder. Successful business operations can lead to a renewal of the visa, and after a minimum of five years in Spain, permanent residency can be applied for.
  2. Italy Freelance (Autónomo) Visa: Although not directly related to Spain, the Italy autonomo visa offers the opportunity to run your own business in Italy. The visa is valid for one year and can be renewed for an additional two years. To qualify, applicants must apply for a self-employed work visa and meet specific requirements, including providing a business plan, proof of investment, and relevant qualifications.
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Setting up as a self-employed (autónomo) in Spain

If you plan to become an autónomo (self-employed) in Spain, the following steps must be followed:

  1. Obtain a NIE (foreigner’s identity number): This number is required for all foreigners residing in Spain and engaging in economic or professional activities.
  2. Register as an autónomo with the Spanish Tax Authority: You must register with the tax authorities as a self-employed individual.
  3. Open a Spanish bank account.
  1. Register with the social security authority: As an autónomo, you will need to register with the social security authority to ensure proper coverage for healthcare and other benefits.

EU countries with digital nomad visas

If you are considering working as a digital nomad in Europe, several EU countries have already introduced digital nomad visas. These countries allow individuals to live and work remotely for a specified period. Some of the EU countries with digital nomad visas are:

  1. Croatia
  2. Estonia
  3. Cyprus
  4. Greece
  5. Hungary
  6. Iceland
  7. Latvia
  8. Malta
  9. Romania
  10. The Netherlands
  11. Norway

These countries have recognized the growing trend of remote work and have implemented specific visa programs to attract digital nomads. Each country has its own set of requirements and regulations, so it is essential to research and understand the details of each program before applying.

While Spain is yet to fully roll out its digital nomad visa, there are plans to introduce one in the future. This visa would allow non-EU citizens to work remotely from Spain for foreign employers.

Until then, alternative options such as the Spain Entrepreneur Visa or exploring digital nomad visa programs in other EU countries are available. It is important to stay updated on the latest developments and requirements, as immigration policies can change over time.

Consulting with the relevant authorities and seeking professional advice will ensure a smooth and successful application process.