We are entering a new world where digital nomadism is a real thing. People are increasingly switching to professions or reinventing their current profession in a way that enables them to be location independent.
With this shift in lifestyle governments and immigration departments have seen the potential for new economic opportunities with the birth of the digital nomad visa. Estonia is often cited as the first country to offer such a visa and eagle-eyed digital nomads have been enthusiastically awaiting new announcements of countries providing their versions of this visa. One such country that is on many people's bucket list is Spain, and guess what? As of January 2023 the country opened its borders to those digital nomads looking to set up life in sunny Spain.
This article will provide you with a quick guide to Spain’s digital nomad visa, what to expect, the requirements and the opportunities making a move to this European country will provide.
Who is it for?
Spain has introduced this digital nomad visa as part of an initiative to entice entrepreneurs and foreign investment. This visa is for non-EU/EEA remote workers and freelancers. So, calling all U.S, Canadian, Australian and New Zealand citizens who have been dying to set up a life in Spain, this one's for you.
How long can you stay for?
Spain’s digital nomad visa entitles visitors to live and work in Spain for an initial 12 month period (if you are applying from outside of Spain), which is then renewable for up to five years. Perfect for those looking for a taste of Spain and plenty of time to live in a few areas. What is more, your time spent in Spain on a digital nomad visa will count towards your application for permanent residency (which can be applied for after 5 years of being a remote worker). After you’ve received your residency card you are then eligible for free travel within the EU! Then the world, I mean Europe really is your oyster!
What are the requirements for the visa?
So, what are the requirements for this type of visa? Firstly, it is important to note that you can apply for this visa as an “employed worker” whose company is outside of Spain or as a “self-employed worker” who has clients around the world. You must prove in your application that you have had a relationship with your clients for more than 3 months prior to your application.
As is the case with all visas there are a number of boxes you need to tick and paperwork to provide. Here is a list of the main criteria:
- The company(s) you work for must be outside of Spain (if inside Spain can only account for 20% of your total earnings)
- Proof of 3 month relationship with clients before application
- Contract with the company for 1 year
- Proof of 3 years of work-related experience or proof of a graduate or post graduate diploma from a reputable university
- No criminal record (declaration of no criminal record must be supplied for the last 5 years)
- Filled in application form
- Pay the administration fee (€75 plus consulate fees)
- Private health insurance policy (which covers Spain)
- Bank certificate proving the possession of €25,000 (an additional €9,441 for each family member)
- Meet the minimum income requirements of between €2,000 and €3,000 per month.
There are two ways of applying for Spain’s digital nomad visa. You can apply from your country of origin, through the Spanish embassy or consulate. This would allow you to receive a 1 year visa which would then be modified at a later date. Or you can apply as a tourist from within Spain. This would allow you to gain a three year permit that can be renewed.
The word tax usually affords a long groan, especially from those who live abroad. It is often a hassle and more than a little messy. People staying in Spain for more than 183 days are considered to be tax residents even if they work for a foreign company. However, under this visa scheme there are tax benefits. During the first four years of a remote worker's stay in Spain they are entitled to a reduced tax rate of 15%, provided that they earn below €600,000 a year. The normal rate is 24% so it’s a big incentive for those digital nomads looking for more economical destinations.
Why move to Spain?
Once you’ve reviewed the nitty gritty of the visa requirements you will have more of an idea whether Spain is a feasible digital working country for you. Now it’s time to decide if you actually want to move there. There seems nothing more idyllic than finishing work for the day and immersing yourself in the crystal blue waters of the Mediterranean. Places like Tarifa provide digital nomads with an idyllic beach lifestyle, city lovers will love Valencia and those craving an island experience will revel in the idea of moving to Mallorca.
The good news is Spain is set up for this digital lifestyle. Places like Barcelona are already teaming with those digital nomads who are utilizing the city’s technological modernity and cultural opportunities. With high speed internet and numerous coworking spaces throughout the country there’s no stopping you now the digital nomad visa has been released. Companies like OneCoWork already have three well established co-working spaces across Barcelona and if that’s not your scene there are endless cafes and outdoor spaces to knuckle down to work or allow those creative juices to flow. This coupled with Spain’s diverse landscape, wonderful coastline and charming architecture and culture, Spain is a real no-brainer.
Spain has joined the likes of Italy, Greece, Croatia and Portugal in taking full advantage of the remote work revolution whilst simultaneously boosting their tech scene. I have no doubts that digital nomads around the world will be jumping at the chance to move to Spain. There’s no doubt that remote working is bringing about a better and fairer world and the implementation of more digital nomad visas around the world is increasing opportunities for freelancers and remote workers as well as local economies.