Updated 22th March 2023
Digital Nomad Visa in Spain
When we talk about digital nomads, we must specify that we mean people who work remotely or telematically, using the internet to carry out their work or sell their knowledge. If they wish to reside and work in Spain, they can do so for five years under the Non-Resident Income Tax (a special tax regime that provides significant tax reductions).
In this sense, we can find three types of digital nomads:
- Freelance digital nomads who sell their services online.
- Entrepreneurial digital nomads who run their businesses online, including digital products, startups, online stores, etc…
- Digital nomads who work for someone else (since, increasingly, companies prefer workers who meet objectives by remote working).
Table of Contents
The goal of the Digital Nomad Visa is to attract talent. Spain has been a favourite destination due to its climate, low crime rates, and high broadband speed, but also its relatively low cost of living compared to other countries, making it a favourite destination for remote workers.
As a result of these factors and to expand its economy and take advantage of working remotely, Spain has approved a bill that will grant visas to remote workers from other countries, the so-called digital nomads. As a result, Spain will be able to attract and retain talent in the technological and digital fields.
Foreigners working remotely from Spain can apply for this visa, providing them with a residence permit to stay in Spain for over 90 days.
The Digital Nomad Visa can be requested by citizens of non-EU countries who wish to telework from Spain carrying out a work activity (as an employee) or as a professional (Self-employed), for companies located abroad and must be, exclusively, through computer, telematic or telecommunication means.
Non-EU citizens who wish to telework as employees, can only do so for companies located outside of Spain and for those who wish to telework as Self Employed from Spain, they will be allowed to telework as freelancers for companies located in Spain as long as the percentage of said work does not exceed 20% of their total professional activity.
What are the requirements to apply for a Digital Nomad Visa in Spain?
The Law of Emerging Companies will govern Spain’s special Digital Nomad Visa. This law was approved in Congress on November 3, 2022, but it is awaiting Senate approval, and it will most likely go into effect on January 1, 2023.
Introducing this new visa for digital nomads is intended to attract talent, reduce bureaucracy and make taxation more attractive with tax breaks for foreign remote workers. As a result, foreign workers applying for a digital nomad visa in Spain must, in addition to other general requirements that are already in place for other types of visas, meet the following requirements:
- Be a highly qualified professional. (Having graduated from a university or postgraduate school recognised as prestigious, having professional training or a business school degree, or having worked for at least three years).
- Demonstrate that you have been working for a foreign company for at least one year and that international employers allow remote work.
- The absence of any criminal records in Spain and your previous residences.
Evidence of employment/professional relationship of at least three months from the date of the application with the foreign company/companies with which the relationship is maintained.
Social Security / Private Medical Insurance:
For teleworkers who do it as a Self-employed must be registered in the Spanish social security as a freelancer.
For those teleworkers who do it as employees for a company abroad, they will have 2 options:
- If there is a bilateral agreement signed between Spain and their country of residence, Certificate of Coverage of transfer of Social Security rights and Private health insurance.
- If there is no bilateral social security agreement between Spain and the issuing country or the issuing country does not want to issue said certificate, the registration of the foreign company in the Spanish Social Security must be accredited.
There is a widespread misconception that every non-EU citizen who is eligible for a Digital Nomad Visa is also eligible for the Beckham Law. This is not true. It is also true that many users think they do not have to register with social security in Spain or they think that having private health insurance is enough for them. Each specific case must be studied in depth, we encourage you to consult with an expert professional in immigration and taxation.
How long are digital nomads allowed to stay in Spain?
The Digital Nomad Visa enables them to reside and telework in Spain for one year. After obtaining this visa and while in Spain, they can request a residence permit to work remotely for a foreign company. This permit will be valid throughout the national territory and can be renewed for two years, providing the same conditions as when it was granted the first time.
In addition, the Digital Nomad Visa is also enabled for foreigners who are studying in Spain.
Does Spain offer tax benefits to digital nomads?
Regarding tax implications, the Startups Law incorporates good and attractive tax measures to captivate and recover national and international talent. Its aim is to reconstruct the Spanish economy, attract investment and encourage the creation of digital hubs in Spain. Amending article 93 of Law 35/2006 of November 28 on Personal Income Tax and partial modification of the laws on Corporation Tax and Non-Resident Income and Wealth.
Digital nomads, who, after acquiring their tax residence in Spain, can also benefit themselves from the well-known Beckham Law for tax purposes, which the government has improved through the Startup Law project. As long as they work remotely, through a computer, media, and systems exclusively.
Moreover, there can be significant differences in taxation depending on whether we apply the general tax regime or the expatriate’s tax regime. Whereas the general IRPF tax rate ranges between 45-48%, labour income tax for taxpayers subject to the Beckham rule will be taxed in the following way:
Also, the income will be taxed as capital gains if the digital nomad conducts activities such as selling shares, stocks, or properties. See the chart below:
The Beckham Law has an excellent advantage for digital nomads. It only affects assets and rights in Spain as long as they exceed certain thresholds (property, savings, bank accounts, bonds, shares, cryptocurrencies, etc.).
In addition, the taxpayer’s spouse and any children under 25 may choose to pay taxes under Beckham Law under the terms established.
We offer our readers the opportunity to receive full service from Tejada Solicitors, the tax consultancy Rosana Tejada, a tax specialist in international taxation, and Soledad Sala, an immigration lawyer. They will both help you by managing and advising them both on the Normand Digital Visa and all the tax options available to them to maximize tax efficiency.
Top 5 Places for Digital Nomads to Live in Spain
To determine the best cities for digital nomads to establish themselves in our country, we must begin by defining the specific needs they will need to carry out their work:
- Excellent Wi-Fi and internet connexion
- Great number of coffee shops and coworking spaces with Wi-Fi zones and affordable prices.
- Wide variety of networking events to help them expand their network and find new job opportunities and collaborations.
- Good opportunities to enjoy their free time once their workday is over and socialize with other digital nomads.
These conditions, together with other factors such as the low cost of living compared to other European countries and the ease of socialising with Spanish natives, make Spain a desirable destination to establish yourself as a digital nomad. We recommend the following Spanish cities for digital nomads:
Malaga is classified as one of the safest places in Europe. It is known for its climate, strategic situation, its natural environment, its beaches, and for its large number of leisure activities. With more than 300 sunny days a year and its excellent gastronomy, according to Forbes magazine, Malaga is among the 20 most desirable places to work, live and invest. It has been voted “The best city in the world” by the 2022 Reader’s Choice Awards.
The province of Malaga has become the Andalusian leader in attracting and retaining talent with its new co-living centres that lure digital nomads.
As a result, Malaga is home to a large community of startups and digital entrepreneurs. Google, Vodafone, and Telefónica have chosen Malaga as the headquarters for their pioneering initiatives, according to the newspaper El Confidencial. One of his articles echoes Google’s assertion that Málaga has an “amazing ecosystem of startups.”
A number of institutions work together to promote and develop cutting-edge technological projects, invest in research and development, and contribute to the creation of technological start-ups, including the University of Malaga, Malaga Tech Part, the Municipal Network of Incubators, and Proomálaga, a public company run by Malaga City Council.
Malaga, the capital of “La Costa del Sol,” is no longer just a tourist destination. It is also the centre of technology, a reason many of the clients we receive for this type of visa decide to stay or work in Malaga permanently.
If you are considering investing in Spain, our specialists in Property Conveyancing at Tejada recommend reading our page on the cost of buying a property in Spain, where we can provide you with legal, tax, and technical advice.
As the most populated city in Spain, it is also one of the best destinations for digital nomads. Madrid offers the largest selection of Wi-Fi-enabled coffee shops, coworking spaces, and groups of entrepreneurs and nomads seeking partners and collaborators. Furthermore, the city has some of the country’s most important museums and monuments. The only drawback is that it is a rather expensive city.
Barcelona is the second-largest city in Spain and one of the most cosmopolitan areas. It offers a wide variety of leisure activities and places to visit. A curious fact about the city is that it has the greatest number of expatriates and startups in Europe, so it is a very popular place for digital nomads to live and work.
The Canary Islands
The Canary Islands are another great destination for digital nomads. Especially thanks to the good weather they have throughout the year. In addition, the Canary Islands have an incredibly affordable cost of living, as well as a wide range of leisure activities.
The city of Valencia is also attractive due to its beautiful beaches, architecture, and great nightlife, though it does have a higher cost of living than other cities like Malaga.
Digital Nomad Visa: Frequently Asked Questions
Congress approved the corresponding law on November 3, 2022. t is expected that it will enter into force at the end of 2022 or the beginning of 2023, depending on the Senate’s approval.
The Digital Nomad Visa allows the applicant to bring close relatives to Spain, such as their spouse and children.
Digital Nomad Visas in Spain are designed to facilitate and attract international talent to expand the Spanish economy, facilitating and offering attractive tax incentives to non-EU citizens.
If you are not a European citizen, you have the following options for residing and working in Spain:
Investor Visa or Golden Visa
The residence permit allows you to live in Spain, but it does not require its holder to become a tax resident. To obtain it, you must invest at least €500,000 in real estate or €1,000,000 in shares.
Non-lucrative Residence Visa
With this type of visa, you are not allowed to work, but you are allowed to reside in Spain, which is why foreigners who wish to retire and reside in Spain opt for it.
“The only way to do great work is to love what you do.”
– Steve Jobs –