Starting January 2023, Spain launched a new digital nomad visa. Spain’s digital nomad visa, which is part of the Startup Act, was adopted in December 2022 by the Spanish government. The visa allows non-EU foreign remote workers of foreign corporations or their own businesses to live in Spain without requiring a traditional work visa.
The new Spanish visa was designed for foreign remote workers from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) and permits them to reside and work in Spain for one year, with the option of renewing for another two years.
Background on the Spain Digital Nomad Visa
As many of the existing digital nomad visas, the purpose of this new visa for digital nomads, is to take advantage of the boom of teleworking choices exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The objective is that this would increase talent and investment in Spain, as well as strengthen the country’s reputation as a global commercial powerhouse.
The Startup Law measures are part of the “Spain Entrepreneurial Nation Strategy” and are intended to regulate and streamline administrative procedures for the development of developing enterprises by offering an advantageous tax environment, including tax and social security benefits.
The reduction of administrative barriers and the establishment of tax breaks are expected to boost investment in enterprises based on developing technologies.
The agreed law will now be sent to the President of the Government for approval and promulgation by the King before being published in the Official State Gazette.
What are the benefits of the Spain Digital Nomad Visa?
The Spain Digital Nomad Visa provides numerous benefits to remote employees and the firms who hire them. Among the most significant benefits are:
Access to one of Europe’s strongest economies: Spain is one of Europe’s strongest economies, with a diverse range of work prospects and a huge number of global corporations.
One of the finest quality of life in the world: Spain has one of the best quality of life in the world, with a warm and sunny atmosphere for most of the year and a plethora of outdoor activities.
Access to a variety of government services: Remote workers who get the Spain Digital Nomad Visa will have access to a wide range of government services, including the Spanish social security system, education, and healthcare.
Greater flexibility: The Spain Digital Nomad Visa allows digital nomads to work and reside in Spain without being tied to a single firm or location.
Who can apply for the Spain Digital Nomad Visa?
Remote workers with EU passports or visitors from Schengen nations can currently work remotely in the country for up to six months each year without having to register.
The long-awaited legislation allows self-employed individuals or those whose employers allow them to work from home to be employed in one country but reside in another. The following people can apply for a digital nomad visa Spain:
- Applicants from the majority of countries who can demonstrate that they work for one or more companies outside of Spain are qualified professionals with a degree or postgraduate degree, a minimum of three years of related professional work experience, and a method of ensuring the continuity of their work for at least one year.
- Applicants with a clean criminal background, who have never been barred from entering Spain, who have private medical insurance coverage that is valid at the national level, and who can provide proof of accommodation throughout their stay in Spain.
- Self-employed individuals who provide their services independently may devote 20% of their professional business activity to a Spanish firm.
Applicants must be foreign remote workers or self-employed, or work for a non-Spanish corporation that operates outside of Spain. Furthermore, they must meet the government’s minimum income criteria, which is expected to be double the Spanish national minimum monthly income (€2,100 or €3,000 per month). All of the program’s specifics, which will be ratified in January 2023, are not known yet (we will update this article as soon as they come out).
When will the Digital Nomad Visa for Spain be available?
Although the Spanish parliament just approved the Spain Digital Nomad Visa law, details on how the program would be implemented have yet to be disclosed. The program is planned to be ratified in January 2023, with an application process opening the same year. To be informed of the program’s details and requirements, it is critical to closely monitor the news and announcements from the Spanish government.
The Spain Digital Nomad Visa will include a time limit in addition to satisfying the minimum income requirements and operating remotely. The permit is valid for one year and can be renewed annually if all requirements are completed.
The Spain Digital Nomad Visa is projected to bring a big number of remote workers to Spain, contributing to the country’s economic growth as well as the development of the technology and digital sectors. Furthermore, because digital nomads would be able to travel visa-free throughout the EU Schengen Area as long as their permit is valid, this visa could enhance tourism in Spain.
Although not all of the program’s details have been revealed, we do know that the Spain Digital Nomad Visa will be an excellent chance for remote workers seeking a change of scenery and a new way of living and working.
More information will be revealed soon, and the program will go into action in early 2023. One very positive fact is that the years you live in Spain on a residence permit tied to the digital nomad visa, will count towards the years it takes to be able to apply for citizenship.
This is especially beneficial for Latin Americans. Technically this way they could renew as digital nomads for 2 years and then apply for Spanish citizenship. For digital nomads from other countries this would be 1 year + 4 years, to make a total of 5. For more information on Spanish citizenship by descent and the Spanish citizenship law, see this article.
Spain’s requirements for digital nomads
Spain has now joined the trend, and the new Startup Law offers a number of benefits for these workers. As Marta Salvador Mateo, an immigration and international mobility lawyer at AGM Abogados, points out, one of the first things to grasp is whether the foreign worker would be performing remote labor or commercial activity in Spain.
If you are carrying out a job activity, you must demonstrate that there is an employment relationship prior to filing for a 3-month visa or residency and that the activity can be carried out entirely remotely (both ends are accredited with the employment contract). Furthermore, he must demonstrate that the foreign company with which he has an employment contract has a past and ongoing real activity of at least one year.
If it is a business activity, it is also necessary to establish that there is a contractual relationship with one or more foreign organizations prior to applying for a 3-month visa or residence, and that the activity may be carried out entirely remotely. As with the employee, it must be demonstrated that there has been a real and continuous activity for at least one year, but this time with the company or companies with which they have a professional contact. Finally, if the foreigner wishes to work for one or more Spanish enterprises, he may do so with a cap of no more than 20% of total turnover.
Frequently Asked Questions
Just like other European countries offering digital nomad visas, any non-EEA (European Economic Area) citizen working for a company outside of Spain who can work remotely from home or abroad via an Internet connection is eligible. Remote workers who hold an EU passport already have the ability to live and work in Spain without the need for a visa. Digital nomads that meet the conditions can apply for the Spain Digital Nomad Visa, which is valid for two years and can be renewed for another two years.
Applicants must be foreigners who work remotely, are self-employed, or work for a non-Spanish corporation that operates outside of Spain. Furthermore, they must meet the government's minimum income criteria, which is expected to be double the Spanish national minimum wage (€2,100 or €3,000 per month). The program's specifics are not yet revealed.
The digital nomad visa is a residency permit that can be extended for up to five years, allowing non-EU citizens to live and work remotely from Spain (that is, legally operating as a digital nomad in the country).
Finally, foreigners who want to move to Spain while continuing to work for a company in another country or who have clients all over the world will find a residence permit that is ideally fitted to their demands (instead of applying for a non-lucrative visa which in fact that not allow them to work).
One of the many benefits of this residency is the ability to apply twice:
On the one hand, you can apply directly from Spain with a tourist visa, receiving your 3-year card. On the other hand, you can obtain a 1-year visa from your country of origin (at the Spanish consulate) so that you can enter Spain and later upgrade to a 3-year card.
Do these digital nomad residency years count towards obtaining Spanish citizenship?
Yes, the answer is yes. This 3-year residency permit (and subsequent renewals) count for both Spanish nationality and permanent residence (which you can get after 5 years as a remote worker or digital nomad in Spain).
Apart from the tax benefits discussed later in this piece, this permit will allow you to add your spouse and children in the same application, allowing you to relocate to Spain with your family.
How long does the application process take?
But that's not all; because you're covered by the Entrepreneurs Law, you'll also get a quick resolution in only 20 days, and the applicable administrative silence is favorable (so if you have no response within this period, your application is considered finally approved).
Furthermore, with this residency card, you will be allowed to travel freely throughout the EU.
As previously stated, this visa is intended for non-EU citizens, as Europeans can operate remotely in the country for up to 6 months (and if they wish to prolong their stay, they just need to obtain their resident NIE).