Finally, what many digital nomads have been waiting for will become a reality. In the upcoming weeks, the new digital nomad visa will be published and available, and foreigners wishing to move remotely from Spain will be able to start their applications.
What’s next is a complete guide that will show you all the requirements for this new residency, all its tax advantages, and many other legal tips you must know before applying.
Hence, if you want to start working abroad in a country that offers the perfect living conditions without the 3-month constraint of a tourist visa, keep reading!
Legal background that regulates this remote work visa
In 2013, the Spanish government published the Entrepreneur Law, a regulation that was intended to attract foreign talent and investment to Spain. With it, the entrepreneur visa, the golden visa and many other residency figures appeared.
But that law was not enough.
With that same drive and with a very similar aim, the government now publishes a new law, this time focusing heavily on startups, talent, and innovation.
A law that is much more adapted to the current market needs, called the Startup Law.
Its goal is to set Spain as one of the leading countries in attracting entrepreneurs, investors, and qualified workers. That creates the perfect mix as a country, as Spain also offers everything you may need when it comes to finding the ideal living conditions (especially for remote workers).
In this other article about the new Startup Law, we talk much more in-depth about how this new regulation brings crucial and beneficial tax measures and makes it much easier and straightforward to set up a company in Spain, as well as fostering investment in tech startups.
Nevertheless, our focus in this article is different.
Because perhaps the most important measure of the Startup Law is the one that focuses on recovering and bringing new international talent to the country, favoring the establishment of remote workers and digital nomads.
And that is done through the new digital nomad visa.
What is the visa for digital nomads in Spain?
The digital nomad visa is a residence permit that can be extended up to 5 years and that will allow non-EU citizens to live and work remotely from Spain.
Yes, to work remotely!
Finally, foreigners who wish to move to Spain and keep working for a company abroad, or who have clients spread all around the globe, will find a residence permit that is perfectly tailored to their needs (instead of applying for a non-lucrative visa which in fact that not allow them to work).
This is a visa with which you will be able to enter Spain to reside and work for one year, and then you will be able to apply for a residence permit for 3 years, which you will be able to renew for 2 more years (at which time you will be able to apply for permanent residence).
Apart from the tax benefits we will explore in the next sections, this permit will also allow you to include your spouse and children within your same application; hence being able to move with your family to Spain.
As we mentioned, this visa is geared towards non-EU citizens, as Europeans can work remotely for up to 6 months in the country (and if they wish to prolong their stay, they just need to obtain their resident NIE).
Let’s now explore its requirements so that you can perfectly understand if this is the right option for you.
Requirements for the digital nomad visa
Next is the complete list of requirements that are so far confirmed.
Be careful! This list may change in the upcoming days/weeks until the law is finally published.
But, as we know so far, if you want to apply for a remote work visa in Spain:
- You must be currently working for companies outside Spain. Incomes received by Spanish companies can’t represent more than 20% of the total
- You must demonstrate that you have been working remotely for at least 1 year prior to your application
- You can’t have criminal records, nor have entry to Spain prohibited
- You will have to fill out the application form (still to be published)
- Pay the corresponding fee
- Hire private health insurance, with full coverage throughout Spain
- Demonstrate you have enough experience and technical knowledge for the performance of your particular job and tasks
And, finally, we find a difference depending on whether you work for a company as an employee or are a freelancer:
- If you have a contract with a foreign company (as an employee), you must demonstrate a relationship with it of 3 months minimum, and you must demonstrate that the company allows remote work
- If you are a freelancer, you must be working for at least one company (that must be outside Spain), and it will be through the terms and conditions of your contract that the possibility to work remotely is specified
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Tax benefits when obtaining your digital nomad visa
But that is not all.
Besides being able to obtain a 5-year visa to work remotely in Spain, you will also be able to benefit from important tax benefits.
Basically, you (and the relatives you bring with you through a joint application) will be taxed through an improved Non-Resident Income Tax Regime.
When you fully understand how taxes in Spain for foreigners actually work, you can easily grasp that paying non-resident income tax instead of the regular income tax that residents must pay allows you to pay much LESS for the income you generate.
In case you haven’t been in Spain for the past 5 years (instead of 10, as the general rule states); you will be allowed to pay a flat rate of just 24% on your income, instead of a progressive rate that can reach up to 48%.
Finally, digital nomad visa holders will be able to request the deferral of the IRNR in the first and second year with a positive taxable income (without interest).
When will this new law and residency come into effect?
Even though we can’t guarantee an exact date, it is very likely that at the end of 2022 or early 2023 at the latest this visa will be fully published and available for application.
Right now, the Spanish Congress has voted and approved this law, generating an initial text that has now to be approved by the Senate.
Once that is done, the new Startup Law will be published at the BOE, and hence available for all foreigners.
Bear in mind that the approved text we currently have from Congress may be slightly changed at the Senate, so stay tuned for possible modifications.
How to apply for this visa
The exact details are yet unknown, as well as the application form you will have to use, but applying for this visa is something you will be able to do completely online.
That is for the most part, as you will always need to visit the police office as one of the final steps to register your fingerprints and get your physical residency card.
We can’t guarantee yet, but most likely you will be able to start your application directly from Spain as a tourist during your first 30 days in the country.
How long it will take to get your resolution is another unknown, but the government has guaranteed it will ensure a fairly fast-track process.
For any other doubt, you may have or in case you need personalized legal assistance, do not hesitate to get in touch with our lawyers through the following form: