Comprehensive Guide to the Digital Nomad Visa in Spain

Just a decade ago, if someone mentioned being a digital nomad, they might have been met with a blank look. However, in today’s interconnected world, remote work has become increasingly common. It’s estimated that approximately 50 million people worldwide now work remotely. Recognizing this trend, Spain introduced its Digital Nomad Visa in January 2023 as part of the new Startup Act. This visa allows non-EU/EEA remote workers and freelancers to reside and work in Spain for up to 12 months initially, with the possibility of renewal for up to five years.

For many digital nomads, the long-awaited moment has arrived. The introduction of the new digital nomad visa in Spain has been officially announced and is now open for applications. This visa offers foreigners the opportunity to work remotely from Spain, making it an attractive option for those seeking a change of scenery without the limitations of a tourist visa.

In this guide, we will outline the requirements for obtaining this new residency, highlight the tax benefits it offers, and provide essential legal insights to consider before beginning the application process.

Legal Framework Governing the Remote Work Visa

In 2013, the Spanish government enacted the Entrepreneur Law with the aim of attracting foreign talent and investment. While this legislation introduced various residency options, it fell short of meeting current market demands.

In response, the government has now passed the Startup Law, a more tailored approach focused on startups, talent, and innovation. This law aims to position Spain as a leading destination for entrepreneurs, investors, and skilled workers, offering an ideal environment for remote work and digital nomadism.

The Digital Nomad Visa: What You Need to Know

The digital nomad visa is a residence permit that allows non-EU citizens to live and work remotely from Spain for up to five years. This visa is designed for individuals who work for foreign companies or have clients worldwide, enabling them to legally operate as digital nomads in Spain.

digital nomad visa

Key Advantages of the Digital Nomad Visa:

  • Double Application Option: Applicants can either apply from Spain with a tourist visa to obtain a three-year card or obtain a one-year visa from their country of origin and later modify it to a three-year card upon arrival in Spain.
  • Eligibility for Nationality: The years spent on the three-year card count towards both Spanish nationality and permanent residence.
    Inclusion of Family Members: The visa allows applicants to include their spouse and children in the same application.
  • Expedited Processing: Applications benefit from a fast-track resolution within 20 days, with positive administrative silence if there is no response within the specified period.
  • Mobility within the EU: The visa enables travel within the Schengen area for up to 90 days within a 180-day period.
  • Visa holders can stay in Spain for up to one year with the possibility of renewal.
  • Digital nomads can work remotely for clients or employers outside of Spain.
  • Access to Spain’s healthcare system and social security benefits is available, similar to Spanish citizens.
  • Opportunities to enroll in universities, colleges, and schools in Spain.
  • Possibility to establish a business and access the country’s banking system.
  • Enjoy Spain’s low cost of living while immersing in its beautiful countryside and culture.
  • Access to generous subsidies and incentives for digital nomads.
  • Experience living and working in some of Europe’s most amazing cities.

Requirements for the Digital Nomad Visa

There are two main profiles of applicants: employed workers and self-employed workers. While the requirements vary slightly between the two, some common criteria include:

Employment or freelance relationship with a foreign company.
Demonstrated income from sources outside Spain.
Minimum income threshold of €31,752 per year.
Proof of relevant work experience or educational qualifications.
Clean criminal record.
Private health insurance coverage.
Confirmation of remote work arrangement from the employer or client.

Tax Benefits of the Digital Nomad Visa

One of the most appealing aspects of this visa is its favorable tax regime. Holders of the digital nomad visa can benefit from reduced taxation through the Non-Resident Income Tax Regime. This allows for a flat tax rate of 24% on income earned outside Spain, with exemptions from wealth tax and other obligations.


Working in Spain with the Digital Nomad Visa

While the visa primarily allows for remote work from Spain, holders can also work for Spanish companies or clients under certain conditions. However, income generated from Spanish sources must not exceed 20% of the total income.

Application Process

The application process can be initiated either from the applicant’s country of origin or directly from Spain as a tourist. After a fast-track review, successful applicants will receive a favorable response within 20 days. Subsequent steps include registering fingerprints and obtaining the physical residency card.

The introduction of the digital nomad visa in Spain offers an exciting opportunity for remote workers to enjoy the country’s lifestyle while maintaining their professional endeavors. With its streamlined application process and attractive tax benefits, it’s a promising option for those seeking flexibility and adventure in their work arrangements.

US national employees cannot apply for this visa, as the SS agreement with Spain does not apply. The only exception for US employees is if the company is registered in Spain. However, US self-employed individuals who have a company that is older than 12 months and have clients that also have established entities (not individuals as clients) are eligible for the Digital Nomad Visa. Note that the established entities must also be older than 12 months.

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