Spain has become the new hit destination for digital nomads. This staple of European travel got even more attention after announcing its plans to introduce a special digital nomad visa and fiscal regime for startups. A law that would allow this visa is being negotiated in parliament as we speak (May 2022), and it is planned to come into effect sometime this year. The news was welcomed by many businesses and freelance communities, both in Spain and abroad. It would open the country to more talented people, making business growth and remote connections easier.
So get ready for your dream remote work destination to become more available. Keep reading to learn all about the new Spain digital nomad visa, as well as its existing visas that accommodate remote workers.
Who is the Spain digital nomad visa for?
The digital nomad visa in Spain is geared towards non-EU individuals who wish to work remotely from Spain for a period longer than 90 days. To be eligible for the visa, one needs to work for, or with, companies from outside of Spain. If they work with Spanish companies, then work done in the country mustn’t exceed 20%. The visa is also for Spainards who have been living outside of the country for more than five years.
This new law that will introduce the digital nomad visa is currently being discussed and should come into effect some time in 2022. The law will also generate benefits regarding business and application processes concerning foreigners and remote workers.
The main appeals of the new law include:
- It will clear the way for paperwork for startups.
- It will ease the tax burden on companies and individual entrepreneurs.
- The process to set up a business will be smoother.
- A digital nomad visa will be introduced.
- Close family members can be included in the visa (spouse and children) .
The purpose of the new Spanish digital nomad visa is to accelerate and simplify the process of applying for a residence permit and obtaining a visa. The holder of the digital nomad visa will be able to live and work in Spain for up to five years.
What are the tax benefits of the Spain digital nomad visa?
The tax benefits include easing the tax burden for entrepreneurs and companies whose businesses operate outside of Spain. It reduces the usual 25% tax to 15% for up to four years. There is also a yearly income tax fee that must be paid if the individual:
- Lives permanently in Spain, no matter if their income is made from within the country or abroad.
- Does not live permanently in Spain, but does have income from a business or other sources within Spain.
- Owns a property in Spain.
The taxable income depends on the individual’s residence status in Spain. It is different for non resident and resident tax payers in Spain.
When does an individual become a tax payer in Spain?
After spending 183 days in Spain (6 months), whether that’s consecutive or nonconsecutive, an individual is considered a resident for tax purposes. After that time, all their income, no matter where it comes from, will be taxed.
Once an individual becomes a tax resident, they need to submit a declaration within the first year of becoming a tax resident. This is after their income exceeds 22,000 euros, whether from employment, self-employment, or if they earn over 1000 euros a year from a rental property.
The taxable income chart for resident taxpayers
|Annual Income Range||Income Tax Rate (%) 2017|
|Up to €12,450||19%|
|€12,450 – €20,200||24%|
|€20,200 – €35,200||30%|
|€35,200 – €60,000||37%|
It’s important to note that even if an individual is not a tax resident (someone who stayed in the country for less than 283 days), they are still under the tax system.
What are the tax rates for non-residents in Spain?
- 19% for income from employment if you are from another EU country.
- 24% for income from employment if you are from a non-EU country.
- 19% for capital gains.
- 19% for investment interest and dividends. Interest tax is exempt for EU citizens.
- 24% for royalties.
- Progressive rates from 8% to 40% for pensions.
Taxes in Spain can be paid electronically, or even over the phone.
How to apply for a digital nomad visa in Spain–the options
Currently, individuals from third-party nations and non-EU countries (including the UK) can apply for a digital nomad visa in Spain through different visa programs.
There are currently around 16 types of visas. They include: Employment Visa, Employment Visa with a Fixed-term Contract, Self-employment Work Visa, Non-lucrative Visa, Golden Visa – Visas for investors and entrepreneurs in Spain, The Entrepreneur visa, Highly Qualified Professional Visas, Residence Visa with Working Permit Exemption (more than 90 days), Residence and Work Visa for Provision of Services in Spain, Inter-company Transfer Visa, National or EU Researcher, Internship Visa, Student Visa, Au-pair Visa, Language Assistant Visa, Family Reunification Visa in Spain
The visas currently used for long term stay in Spain are the:
- Self-employment work visa – for working and living
- Non-lucrative visa – for living only
- Digital nomad visa – for working and living as a digital nomad
Self-employed work visa in Spain
If you’re a non-EEA national and plan to work in Spain, either for yourself or via setting up a business, this visa is for you. However one difficulty with this type of visa is that it has a lot of paperwork related to it, which also needs to be translated to Spanish and notarized.
The first step to obtaining the self-employment visa in Spain is to apply for the initial authorization to work as a self-employed individual in Spain through the Spanish consulate in your country. After approval, you must apply in person in Spain within one month from the notarization date. When you are in Spain, it is necessary to apply for a residence permit at your nearest police station within one month of arrival.
Due to the volume of paperwork required, it is best to reach out to a Spanish embassy in your country for guidance to ensure you take all proper steps.
Non-lucrative visa requirements
Nationals from third-party countries, including the UK, need a visa to work remotely from Spain. The good news is that, unlike the procedure involved in getting a work permit in Spain, the process of obtaining this visa is more straightforward. This visa however does not cover all remote workers and is handed out on a case-by-case basis.
The first step is to apply for a non-lucrative visa at a Spanish consulate in your country of residence.
Approval for the application takes up to one month and consists of a stamp in your passport. Once you enter Spain, you must apply for a residence permit within one month of arrival, and register as a resident with your local council.
- Proof of finances of at least 26,000 euros in a bank account in your name with a bank statement for the last 6 months.
- Private Spanish medical insurance for a minimum of one year.
- Proof of accommodation or the means to maintain rent.
- Certificate of good health showing you suffer from none of the diseases that bar entry to Spain.
- Proof of no criminal record in Spain or your home country.
- Proof that shows you are not prohibited from entering the Schengen area.
- Note that all documents,except your passport, must be translated into Spanish and where necessary, be authenticated with the Hague Apostille.
Limitations of the non-lucrative visa are that you can not work for a Spanish company or employer in Spain, which you will not need anyway. However, you are also prohibited from employing a representative in Spain, setting up your own company in the country or a branch.
Spain’s “Digital nomad visa” requirements
The best option for remote workers is certainly the “digital nomad” visa. As it will be approved some time in 2022 (which will be soon, fingers-crossed!), be prepared to apply.
To summarize, foreigners from third-party countries may apply for this type of visa if they work for companies based outside of Spain. Their work for Spanish companies may not exceed 20% of the total.
The following is needed to apply:
- Proof that the individual has worked remotely for at least a year.
- Proof that the work they are doing can be done remotely.
- A contract with a company that is at least three months old.
- Proof that company allows remote working.
- If the individual is a freelancer, they need to work with at least one company outside of Spain.
- Terms and conditions of the remote work done with the company.
To apply and fully clarify the conditions of this visa, it is best to consult with the Spanish consulate in your home country.
Get hired for a remote job for the digital nomad visa in Spain
If you are still looking for a remote job, try our company, Support Adventure, which operates fully remotely and is hiring. We are run by a team of expats, and thus we understand the needs and desires of remote workers and our fellow travelers.
You can apply here!
Benefits of the digital nomad visa for Spain
- A stay of up to 5 years
- Pay just 15% for up to four years
- Include close family members
- British nationals can apply
The best cities to live in Spain as a remote worker
Spain is a country with a diverse culture and rich history. Famous for their “siesta,” which is a short nap in the early afternoon, usually after lunch, the Spainards sure know how to enjoy life! Great food, wine and company is waiting for you in this beautiful country.
Even though it is a very difficult task to single out any city as the best, we will mention some of the places suitable for remote workers in Spain. These are the cities on the east, west, north and south of the country that can be a great base for living and exploring the country further.
An artsy metropolis that is perfect for architecture and museum lovers, Barcelona has a lot to offer. Located in the Northwest of the country, it has access to the Baltic sea.
The state capital and the most populated city in the center of the country. Madrid is a true metropolis that is rich with European art artifacts and museums and galleries.
A northern industrial city that is located on the river Nervion and surrounded by green mountains.
A city in the south of Spain, as well as the largest city of the magical Andalusia region.
The famous party island by the east of the country, located on the Mediterranean sea.
The cost of living in Spain for digital nomad
Spain is one of those countries that is much cheaper than the rest of Western Europe, thus offering great cost for value. Compared to the United States, for example, the cost of living in Spain is 26% lower on average. Rent in Spain is 47% lower than in the United States on average.
In bigger, more populated cities, the cost of paying monthly rent for a one bedroom apartment in the city center is from 500 euros to 1100 euros. Go outside of the center and the rent for the same type of apartment goes down to 400 euros to 850 euros a month.
In smaller cities, the rent can go down 100 EUR to 200 EUR for the one bedroom apartment. According to numbeo, monthly expenses for one single person are estimated to be around 650 euros without the rent. For a family of four, for example, the expenses are estimated to be around 2100 euros a month, without the cost of rent. To rent a 3 bedroom apartment, a family would pay an average of 1300 euros for a place in the city center and an average of 950 for the same type of apartment outside of the center.
|Milk (regular), (1 liter)||0.78€|
|Loaf of Fresh White Bread (500g)||1.00€|
|Rice (white), (1kg)||1.04€|
|Eggs (regular) (12)||1.92€|
|Local Cheese (1kg)||9.98€|
|Chicken Filets (1kg)||6.05€|
|Beef Round (1kg)||10.54€|
|Water (1.5 liter bottle)||0.63€|
|Bottle of Wine (Mid-Range)||5.00€|
|Domestic Beer (0.5 liter bottle)||0.89€|
|Imported Beer (0.33 liter bottle)||1.55€|
|Cigarettes 20 Pack (Marlboro)||5.00€|
To dine in a restaurant, be ready to pay 11 euros on average for a single meal in an inexpensive restaurant. A three course meal in a mid-range restaurant would cost around 25 euros.
Local transportation in Spain is affordable and costs 1.5 euros for a single ticket, or 40 euros for a monthly pass.
Now you are all set to start your adventure in Spain on a digital nomad visa as a remote worker!