Digital Nomad Visas

Spain has been a favourite digital nomad destination for years thanks to its great weather, incredible cities, affordability and good internet speeds, but up until now, many nomads have only been able to stay for a maximum of three months on a tourist visa. Not only did this mean that they couldn’t stay very long, but also technically, they weren’t supposed to working either.

As the number of remote jobs and digital nomads continues to rise, particularly since many people started working from home during the pandemic, more and more countries have been introducing digital nomad visas.

Spain aims to attract remote workers, digital nomads and new startups through its so-called Startups Law, which have come into force this month.

One of the most anticipated and talked-about parts of this law is the digital nomad visa which will allow non-EU freelancers and remote workers entry and residency rights in Spain, as well certain tax benefits. The visa is being referred to in Spain as the visado para teletrabajadores de carácter internacional or visa for remote workers. Here is what you need to know about the visa:-

Who can apply?

You can apply if you’re a freelancer or remote worker from a non-EU country, as long as no more than 20 percent of your income comes from a Spanish company.

* You can either be self-employed and work for various clients or you can be employed by a particular company that has given you permission to work abroad remotely.
* You must have had a professional relationship with your clients or worked for your company for more than 3 months before your application.
* The company you work for must have been in operation for at least one year.
* You must have at least 3 years’ experience working in your field or must prove that you have the specific qualifications to do so, such as a degree or professional certificate from a recognised school or course.
* You cannot have lived in Spain during any of the 5 years previous to your application.
* You must not be living illegally in Spain at the time of your application.
* You must not have a criminal record and must be able to prove this.

What do I need in order to apply?

Firstly, you must prove that you have sufficient finances to support your move to Spain. This is equal to 200 percent of the SMI or Minimum Interprofessional Salary. This means that currently, you must be able to show that you will have an income of at least €2,333.34 per month or €28,000 per year, but it is likely this will increase slightly. You can prove this amount either by showing your job contracts, invoices or bank statements.

You must also make sure that you have either private health insurance, simply getting travel insurance with health coverage is not enough.

The Spanish government also mentions the option of getting public health insurance instead, but it is not yet clear whether this means that you will have to contribute to the social security system or be eligible for the convenio especial – the public pay-in scheme.

Can I bring family members with me on the visa?

Yes, you are permitted to bring partners and children with you to Spain on the digital nomad visa.

In order to add a family member, however, you must prove that you have an extra 75 percent of the SMI or minimum wage. This currently equates to an extra €875. For each additional family member after this, such as children, you will have to prove you have an extra 25 percent of the SMI, currently €291.66.

How long is the visa valid for?

The visa will be valid for an initial period of one year, however, it can be renewed for up to five years. After that, if you want to continue living in Spain, you will be able to apply for permanent residency.

Does the visa give me access to travel around the EU?

Yes, once you have your visa and you’re in Spain, you will be able to apply for a residency card. This will allow you to travel throughout the EU during the time that you’re living in Spain.

Keep in mind though, it won’t give you the right to work or live in other EU countries, but you will be able to go for short breaks.

How long do I have to stay in Spain for the visa to be valid?

Many digital nomads choose to split their time between different countries. If this is your case, and you want to split your time between back home in the US or the UK for example, you must make sure you stay in Spain for a maximum of 6 months per year for your visa to remain valid.

Do I have to pay tax in Spain?

Yes. If you stay longer than 183 days, then you will be considered a tax resident in Spain. This means that any money you earn while working in Spain, even if it comes from clients or companies abroad will be taxable.

However, the digital nomad visa grants you tax benefits, such as being able to pay the Non-Residents Tax Rate (IRNR) rather than the regular progressive income tax (IRPF) that Spain’s resident workers pay.

Non-Resident Tax was previously only applicable to non-residents such as second-home owners, but an exception has been made for digital nomad visa holders even if they spend more than 183 days a year in Spain and are therefore technically fiscal residents.

IRNR is generally 24 percent in Spain but this will be reduced to 15 percent for digital nomads and remote workers, as long as you earn below €600,000 a year.

This favourable tax rate will be available for four years, if you choose to renew your visa.

How do I apply?

There are two different ways to apply, you can either come to Spain on a tourist visa and apply during the first 3 months you’re here or you can apply directly from your home country through a consulate or embassy. Different places will have their own application forms.

You can find the general application form you need to apply through the UGE-CE (La Unidad de Grandes Empresas y Colectivos Estratégicos) here.

As well as the form, there are several documents that you will need to present. These include:

* A photocopy of your passport
* Proof of having paid the administrative fee on the application form (modelo. 790 038)
* Professional accreditation or proof of professional relationship of at least 3 months prior to the date of application.
* Proof that the company you work for has existed for more than one year.
* A letter from the foreign company you work for, authorising you to work from Spain and detailing your role, salary, terms and other conditions.
* A copy of your degree or professional certificate of the job you will be carrying out or evidence of professional experience.
* Poof of a clear criminal record from the country you have lived in for the past 2 years, plus a sworn statement saying that you don’t have a criminal record from anywhere within the last 5 years.
* Public or private health insurance.
* Proof of income or funds