In December 2022, the Spanish parliament gave final approval for their digital nomad visa. This visa will enable foreign workers to live and work remotely in Spain for up to five years.
We take a look at how this new, long-awaited Spanish Digital Nomad Visa works, the visa requirements and the advantages and disadvantages of the visa for digital nomads in Spain.
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What is the Spanish Digital Nomad Visa?
The Spanish Digital Nomad Visa is a new type of visa, allowing digital nomads and remote workers the opportunity to live and work in Spain.
The Spanish government approved the new visa in December 2022, making it part of the country’s new Startup Law designed to attract young and entrepreneurial talent to the country.
With the Spanish Digital Nomad Visa, foreign workers are expected to be able to live and work remotely in Spain for an initial period up to one year, with the option to extend up to a total period of five years, subject to a yearly review.
With over 10.9 million digital nomads from the USA alone, the launch of the digital nomad visa has already been a huge success in other countries, giving digital nomads the chance to experience a new culture, improve their language skills and enjoy a great quality of life while working remotely.
Indonesia is currently the top destination for digital nomads, followed by Thailand and Portugal. However, with Spain already a top destination for both travellers and expatriates, the Spanish nomad visa is expected to gain instant popularity among remote workers in 2023.
How does the Spanish Digital Nomad Visa work?
The Spanish Digital Nomad Visa will let foreign nationals live and work remotely in Spain for up to one year in the first instance. However, it may be possible to extend your stay for up to five years if you renew your visa annually.
To be eligible for the visa, you’ll need to meet certain requirements, including:
- Being able to demonstrate that you have a stable and regular income, either from an employer in your home country or as a self-employed individual
- Having health insurance that is valid in Spain
- Not having a criminal record
To apply for the Spanish Digital Nomad Visa, you’ll need to submit an application form along with all necessary supporting documents, including proof of income and health insurance, to the Spanish consulate or embassy in your home country.
As with any visa, getting approval for the Spanish digital nomad visa could take a few months, so make sure you apply well ahead of the date you wish to move to Spain.
Once the application is approved, you’ll be given a visa that allows you to enter Spain. Once in Spain, you will then need to register with the local authorities to get a Spanish Identification Number (Número de Identitidad de Extranjero, or NIE) – this is for tax reasons, but the process can be quite complex.
And that’s all there is to it! You’re now free to enjoy your new life living and working as a digital nomad in Spain.
How long does the Spanish Digital Nomad Visa last?
The Spanish Digital Nomad Visa is being piloted in 2023, allowing digital nomads to live and work in Spain for up to one year.
At the moment, it looks like digital nomads should be able to renew this visa yearly for up to five years.
Because the Spanish Digital Nomad Visa is brand new, you should keep in mind that specific requirements and procedures may change.
Does the Spanish Digital Nomad Visa have tax benefits?
Yes. The tax benefits are one of the biggest draws of the Spanish Digital Nomad Visa, giving holders a reduced rate of non-resident income tax for the duration of their stay.
Digital nomads will be able to claim a lower tax rate of 15% down from the usual 24% on the first €600,000 of income while they are based in Spain. This is provided that no more than 20% of their income comes from Spanish organisations. Note that if you earn more than €600,000, you’ll still need to pay a tax rate of 47%.
You will need to file a Spanish tax return every year in order to claim back any tax you are owed. This must state your worldwide income, including any income from overseas.
Of course, there may be other tax benefits depending on your personal tax situation and the tax laws in your home country. For example, the Self-Employment Tax in Spain could allow digital nomads to take advantage of deductions and exemptions while working remotely for a foreign company.
It’s a good idea to seek advice from a tax professional or accountant who is familiar with Spanish tax laws to help you get the most out of your time living and working remotely in Spain.
Does the Spanish Digital Nomad Visa include family members?
No, the Spanish Digital Nomad Visa is an individual visa designed for single remote workers, not for families. This means partners or family members will need to apply for their own visa if they want to come with you to Spain.
There may be different rules for children and dependents, however this will be confirmed when the visa is officially passed.
Generally speaking, if you are a non-EU/EEA citizen living in Spain, you will need to get a Family Reunification Visa if you want your family to join you. In order to get this visa, it’s likely you will need to live legally in the country for at least one year and have been authorised for your second year before your family can live with you in Spain.
If your family is from the EU, EEA or Switzerland, they will be able to join you in Spain without a visa. However, they will need to get a Spanish Identification Number (NIE) once settled in the country.
Spanish Digital Nomad Visa requirements
Until the law is officially published, we won’t know the exact details and requirements for the Spain Digital Nomad Visa. However, this is what we know as of January 2023:
- The new digital nomad visa will be available for anyone who works for a company outside of Spain – though you can make up to 20% of your income from Spanish businesses.
- To apply to a visa in Spain, you will need to show that you earn enough money to be self-sufficient. In 2022, this meant having a monthly income of €2,316.08/US$2,519.41 or an annual income of €27,792.96/US$30,232.90.
- You will need to supply an employment contract showing that you’ve been working with your company for three months or more. If you’re self-employed, you’ll need to prove that you’ve worked with businesses outside of Spain for over a year.
- It goes without saying that your application will be turned down if you have a criminal record.
- It’s likely you will need proof of private international health insurance.
Advantages of the visa for digital nomads in Spain
- Live and work in Spain for up to five years
- Able to take advantage of tax benefits
- Continue working for your home country and earning in your national currency
- Ability to apply for permanent residence after five years of living in Spain
- The chance to immerse yourself in a new culture and improve your foreign language skills
Disadvantages of the visa for digital nomads in Spain
- Visa application requirements can be particularly demanding
- Working remotely can pose challenges for mental health
- No more than 20% of your total income can be generated in Spain
- If your home country does not have a double taxation agreement with Spain, you may need to pay Spanish tax as well as tax in your home country
- Language barriers could made it hard to communicate your needs
What is the difference between the Spanish Digital Nomad Visa and a Non Lucrative Visa in Spain?
Before the Spanish Digital Nomad Visa, Spain’s Non-Lucrative Visa was the most popular visa option for digital nomads wanting to live and work in the country.
The main difference between the Digital Nomad Visa and the Non Lucrative Visa is that the Non Lucrative Visa does not give you the right to earn a Spanish income. The Non Lucrative Visa is also only valid for a period of 90 days. After this, you need to leave the country, or apply for permanent residency through the normal pathways.
The Spanish Digital Nomad Visa is therefore a huge step forward for Spain when it comes to welcoming foreign workers into the country, giving digital nomads the opportunity to integrate over a period of up to five years, while paying into the Spanish economy.
Top tips for working remotely in Spain
1/ Research the best areas to live
When finding the best place to live and work remotely in Spain, you’ll want to think about those destinations most likely to have all the facilities you need to feel comfortable and continue doing your job. Popular areas for expats include the metropolitan areas of Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia, and Malaga.
It’s always a good idea to visit the areas you’re interested in before making a decision, to get a feel for the local lifestyle and culture.
2/ Connect with your local expat community
Moving to a new country can be a daunting experience, at least to start with. Therefore, it’s important to get stuck in to your local expat community for support – you could even make some lifelong friends!
3/ Find a coworking space
Coworking spaces are a great way to meet other digital nomads and entrepreneurs. They also provide a professional environment for working and networking, often with a secure internet connection and space to hold private video calls as you need.
Coworking spaces are becoming increasingly popular in the big Spanish cities, and are usually chock-full of other digital nomads like you.
4/ Learn the language
It’s worth noting that around 46% of Spanish adults cannot speak a foreign language, and English literacy rates in Spain are some of the lowest in Europe. Therefore, it may help to learn at least some basic Spanish to make life easier for you in Spain. It will also help you understand the culture better, and make your experience more rich and enjoyable.
5/ Make the most of your time
Spain is a vast and beautiful country with everything from delicious food and wine to stunning beaches and historic cities. Make the most of your time by exploring as much of the country as you can and experiencing all it has to offer.
Start your new life in Spain with total peace of mind
Looking to become a digital nomad in 2023?
With insurance key to the process, be prepared and apply for our global health insurance. This is the best way to ensure you can access the highest quality healthcare, wherever you need it, whenever you need. At William Russell, we’ve made it our business to make expat and digital nomad health insurance easy.
William Russell provides a flexible international health insurance policy that covers you wherever you are, offering the right level of cover to help you settle into your new home, worry-free. We have a range of plans to suit your and your family’s needs. Speak to us today to find out how international health insurance could make your life as a digital nomad worry-free.