A Guide to Spain Digital Nomad Visa

Spain Digital Nomad VisaWelcome, digital nomads! Are you tired of being confined to one location while you work remotely? Are you ready to explore new horizons and experience a different culture while still being able to make a living? Look no further because Spain has got you covered with their new digital nomad visa.

Imagine yourself sipping on a café con Leche while working on your laptop on a terrace in Madrid or taking a break from work to catch some waves in Barcelona. With this visa, you can experience all of this and more!

But before you pack your bags and book your flight, let’s take a closer look at what this visa is all about and what you’ll need to apply for. In this article, we’ll explore the most important insights about Spain’s new digital nomad visa: What is it? How does it work? What are the requirements and conditions?

So, if you are ready to take the leap and start your digital nomad adventure in Spain, let’s find out all you need to know to apply for the digital nomad visa so you can embark on a journey filled with tapas, flamenco, and endless opportunities to grow both personally and professionally.

What is Spain’s New Digital Nomad Visa?

Spain’s requirements for the digital nomad visa are less strict than those of other countries offering the same visa. It’s an excellent choice for remote workers, hence its recent popularity.

The qualifications below will help you assess whether you’re eligible. However, remember that the requirements may vary or change depending on your home country. Ensure you confirm with the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs website.

Any person applying for the digital nomad visa should:

  • Have evident work experience, profession, or education. You may have to present a professional certificate, employment contract, or university degree.
  • Have a work experience of three or more years in your field or a postgraduate or undergraduate degree from a business school, college, or university.
  • Be a non-EAA/EU citizen.

You must have proof that your work experience is more than three months. If your employer is a foreign company, you must present evidence that they consent to your working in Spain.

If you are self-employed, you should show any terms and conditions and work contracts that allow you to work in the country.

Some family members can also get a visa to join you without meeting all these requirements. This includes anyone in your family unit—direct relatives, children, and spouses. You’ll need proof of your relationship with them and documentation to show you meet financial requirements.

Who Qualifies to Apply for the Digital Nomad Visa?

Anyone who is not an EEA/EU citizen can apply for the nomad visa as long as they meet the requirements. This is because citizens of these regions don’t need a nomad visa to live or work in Spain remotely.

Citizens from Canada, New Zealand, Australia, and the USA, as well as American green card holders, all qualify to apply.

Types of Spanish Digital Nomad Visas

The new digital nomad visa is by far the most significant visa for freelancers and remote workers. Before this, non-EEA/EU citizens seeking to visit Spain as digital nomads had to use a tourist visa to gain access. This visa only permits you to stay in Spain for 90 days within six months, and there’s no guarantee you’ll get a residence permit.

Although the Digital Nomad Visa is the most convenient option, other visa types are available, including the golden and non-lucrative visas.

Non-Lucrative Visa

The non-lucrative or retirement visa is for non-EU citizens who no longer work but wish to stay for extended durations in Spain. It requires applicants to have a passive income of $29,219 (€27,115.20) and above per year, plus an extra $7,304 (€6,778) for any other family members. The passive income can come from investments, retirement funds, or similar sources.

This visa is renewable each year for five years, after which you will be eligible for permanent residence.

Golden Visa

Spain also has a golden visa program, but it requires significantly more commitment and may become invalid. Applicants need to have investments of $538,810 (€500,000) or above each year.

The new Digital Nomad Visa has the most favorable terms by far. The income requirement is only twice the minimum wage, which is lower than in other European countries. This means applicants should have a monthly income of $2,327 (€2,160). However, you’ll need a higher income to host dependents or a spouse.

The visa is valid for up to a year and renewable for five years. If you live in the country for five or more years, you may qualify for permanent residence. After ten years, you may also be eligible for Spanish citizenship.

Benefits of the Spain Digital Nomad Visa

Working as a digital nomad in Spain allows you access to multiple benefits, such as:

  • Travel opportunities- You can use the digital nomad visa to travel to other countries within the Schengen region.
  • The right to live in the country for five years- The digital nomad visa allows you to stay for 12 months. You may then apply for a residence permit valid for three years and renew it for the next two years. You’ll qualify for permanent residence after this period.
  • Digital nomad tax benefits- Digital nomads living in Spain pay 15% tax for the initial four years instead of the standard 24%.
  • You may Invite Family members to join you—This visa scheme allows close family members, such as children under 18 years old, partners, or spouses, to join you in Spain. You can also host other relatives, like parents and children over 18, but you need to show proof that you can support them financially.
  • Ease of business establishment- The Startup Law, which promotes the digital nomad visa, simplifies starting a business. You can complete the application process online within a few hours.
  • Ability to seek employment from other companies—You have permission to work for a company based in Spain, but your income from the Spanish company should not exceed 20% of your total earnings.
  • Swift application process—The application process is short and fast. It takes about 15 to 45 days to get a response to your visa application.

Requirements for the Spain Digital Nomad Visa

Below is a comprehensive list of the requirements or qualifications for the Digital Nomad Visa for non-EEA/EU citizens.

Proof of Remote Worker Status

The first requirement is proving that you can effectively handle your work via the Internet as a remote worker in Spain. There are no particular restrictions regarding the type of work you must engage in, but you must show evidence of your expertise in a specific field.

Additionally, you must prove that your employer is well-established and your job is stable. This means your employment period should be three months or more. If you’re a remote worker, you must show a valid contract covering the duration you intend to live in Spain. If you’re a freelancer, you can present long-term contracts as proof of your job’s stability.

You must also show that your company has conducted business for one or more years.

Digital nomad visas from other countries require you to show that all your income sources are not within that country. In contrast, the Spain nomad visa allows self-employed people and freelancers to seek employment from Spanish companies. This is as long as your income from such clients or companies remains under 20%.

Proof of Sufficient Finances

Another requirement is to prove that your job pays enough to support your lifestyle during your stay in Spain. The lowest amount is 200% of the minimum wage in Spain.

Therefore, if you’re applying for the Spanish nomad visa, ensure you have proof that your income is at least $2713 (£2140) per month or $32,576 (£25700) per annum.

Remember that the minimum wage may change, so these figures may differ.

If you’ll be hosting your children or partner, the minimum income brackets are different. The wage bracket increases by 75% for the first family member you host, whether a child or spouse: £800 ($1014) per month or £9600 ($12168).

It goes up by an additional 25% for every person after that, which is £270 ($342) per month, or £3200 ($4056)

You’ll need to submit employment contracts, payslips, and bank statements as evidence of a stable income.

Full Health Insurance Coverage

There’s a possibility that digital nomads staying in Spain for long periods may be able to join the public health insurance service in the future. However, there are no current guidelines on how this will work, so for now, you must have full health insurance. The insurance policy should also cover any relatives who will stay with you for the entire time you’re in Spain.

You’ll need to present a copy and the original certificate that show the private or public health insurance works with an insurance entity permitted to operate in the country. The insurance policy should include all the risks the Spanish public health system covers.

No Criminal Record

Applicants for the Spain digital nomad visa must show proof of a clean criminal record. This record should include any other countries you have lived in for the past five years. The required proof depends on the type of documents the relevant country issues.

Remember, the documents must be in Spanish. The translator should be an approved body, and an Apostille should officialize the documents for international use.

Minimum Stay Requirement

Eligibility for the Spanish nomad visa requires that you have not lived in Spain for the past five years. You will also not be eligible if you are currently staying in Spain illegally.

The initial visa application doesn’t specify the minimum stay. However, you must stay in the country for six out of the first 12 months to be able to renew your digital nomad visa.

Two ways to apply for the Spanish Digital Nomad Visa

You may apply for this visa through two avenues:

1. From Spain

You can apply for the nomad visa in Spain if you’re there legally and have the documents or visa to prove it, including the tourist Schengen. You may apply for a three-year residence permit, which is renewable for two more years.

2. At the Spanish Consulate in Your Country of Residence

You can apply for the digital nomad visa from the Spanish consulate in the country where you’re a citizen or currently reside. You’ll get a one-year visa but modify it to a three-year residence permit when you arrive in Spain.

Once you get the visa, you may use it for entry only, meaning modifications must be immediate. Alternatively, you can stay in Spain for one year and apply for modification two months before the visa expires.

If you opt for the alternative, you won’t have access to a residence card within the first year. This year will also not count when applying for long-term or permanent residence in the future.

Applying for the Spain Digital Nomad Visa – A Step-By-Step Guide

Step 1 – Gather All the Required Documents

The first step is acquiring the necessary documents for the Digital Nomad Visa application. An Apostille should officialize some documents to allow international use.

The required documents include:

  • Proof of health insurance by a provider authorized to work in Spain
  • Evidence of income, that is, bank statements, work contracts, and pay slips
  • Proof of sustainable employment, a letter from your employer stating that you can handle your duties remotely, or a work contract
  • Evidence of qualifications that proves you have at least three years of work experience, professional certificates, or a university degree
  • Proof that your company or employer existed for one or more years
  • Copies of criminal record certificates for a period of five years with Apostille
  • A valid passport with at least two blank pages and one year of validity
  • A filled-in copy of the visa application form, one for every person living with you in Spain
  • Evidence of familial relationships that is, birth or marriage certificates
  • Two passport photos

The translation requirements of your documents may vary based on where you submit your application. Some consulates allow documents written in local languages, like English in the US, but others require official Spanish translation.

Any translations must be from an officially recognized translation body. Your consulate or embassy may share a list of permitted translation service providers.

Step 2 –Pay the Visa Fee and Book an Appointment

You must submit the applications for the Spain digital nomad visa to the Spanish consulate or embassy in your country in person. The process of booking an appointment will depend on your embassy. Ensure you visit the official website for precise details.

You’ll likely need to send an email to book the appointment. Your email should have the following:

  • The type of visa you intend to apply for
  • Phone number
  • Email address
  • Passport details
  • Full name
  • Current local contact address
  • A photo of you with your passport
  • Details about family members you’d like to travel with

Once you submit these details, you may receive a link to select your preferred appointment time and day. There’s a chance you’ll get an appointment date in about two weeks from the day you get in touch with the Spanish embassy.

You’ll also get information about how to pay the visa fee, and the amount will depend on your country of citizenship or residence.

Step 3 – Attend the Appointment

The next step is attending the appointment at the consulate or embassy. Ensure you have all the documents and be ready to answer questions from the interviewer. These questions may arise after they review the submitted documents.

During the appointment, you’ll need to hand over your passport to the consulate or embassy. They’ll make and confirm copies of the relevant documents, allowing you to take the originals with you.

Step 4 – Wait to Collect the Visa

Once approved, the visa processing period is about 15 to 45 days, so you can expect to collect yours within this time. You’ll likely receive a link to monitor your application’s progress, and you may have to present additional documentation where necessary.

If your visa gets approved, you’ll get an email notification. You’ll then have about one month to pick up your visa from the consulate or embassy.

Step 5 – Apply for your NIF and NIE

Living in Spain requires you to have a Foreigner Identification Number (NIF) and a National Identity Number (NIE). You’ll need the NIF to make large purchases and open a Spanish bank account.

You may submit your application to your local consulate or embassy before you leave for Spain or upon arrival. The process is often easier once you get to Spain.

When you arrive in the country, you may apply for the NIE at a police station or the Oficina de Extranjeros (Foreigner’s Office). You’ll book an appointment online and present the following documents:

  • Proof of a Spanish address
  • Three passport photos
  • A filled-in application form, with three copies in Spanish
  • Your visa and valid passport
  • Payment receipt for the administration fee

Getting your residency card and NIE number may take about three months following your appointment. The office will inform you when to pick up the card.

You can get your NIF from the Spanish Tax Agency. There are no charges, and booking an appointment is not necessary. Ensure you carry these documents:

  • Evidence of local residency
  • Tax identification number from your home country
  • Valid passport
  • Form 030 is filled out in Spanish

You can expect your NIF in about five working days from the day you visit the Spanish Tax Agency. Although you’ll get a card with your NIF number, it’s not considered an official document. However, this number is vital, as you’ll need it for most official documents like electricity contracts and rental agreements.

Legalizations and Sworn Translations

Any foreign document must be legalized by the issuing country’s consulate. If the country is a signatory to the Hague Convention of 5 October 1961, the documents should have the Hague Apostille. There’s no need for legalization if the issuing country is a member of the EU.

The consulate provides a list of sworn interpreters and translators if you need translated documents.

Application Timeline for the Spain Digital Nomad Visa

The application process for the digital nomad visa and getting the residency permit are often time-consuming. It takes time to get the necessary documents and obtain translations and Apostilles.

In the United States, for instance, you can get your individual criminal background check from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). This process takes three to five working days from when you send in your fingerprint card by post.

Once you get the document, you can request an Apostille separately or include the request in your background check application. This process often takes about 10 to 12 weeks.

In the United Kingdom, you may request an ACRO Police Certificate by post or online. This process takes about 12 working days, but you can pay more to expedite it. You must also submit a separate request for an Apostille for the document, which takes around five working days.

Once you have all the necessary documents, the timeline becomes more predictable. The Spain digital nomad visa takes about four to twelve weeks to get. You’ll need two to four weeks to get and attend the appointment, and another two to six weeks to receive your visa.

Upon arrival in Spain, it will likely take about one month to get an NIE appointment and three more months to get the official document.

Understanding the Digital Nomad Visa’s Conditions and Validity

Before applying for the Spanish digital nomad visa, it’s essential to understand its lifespan and terms. This includes the conditions of living with the visa in the country, renewal requirements, and the initial validity.

Validity Period

The Digital Nomad Visa offers the following terms:

  • The initial validity is 12 months
  • After this period, you can extend it for two additional years and for another two years after that. This allows you to get a temporary residence permit for five years in total.
  • The visa will remain valid for the stipulated period if the work contract is less than one year.
Renewal Requirements

The renewal process for the digital nomad visa is straightforward. You have to seek the three-year residence permit after the initial 12 months, which you’ll then renew for two subsequent years.

You’ll need to submit these documents to renew your digital nomad visa:

  • Evidence of residence in the consular district
  • Criminal record certificate
  • Valid passport
  • A recent photograph

Costs of Applying for a Spain Digital Nomad Visa

Acquiring the necessary documents is the most expensive aspect of the application process. These costs vary based on your country of residency or citizenship.

For instance, getting a Criminal Background Check from the FBI will cost about $18. The Apostille will likely cost $25 —$75 if you opt to expedite the process. You’ll incur another $70 to get a Spanish translation for the document.

In the United Kingdom, getting your ACRO will cost around £55 ($70). You’ll have to pay for the Apostille, which is an additional £60 ($76) and £20 ($26) or more for an official translation.

The non-refundable visa application fee is around $87 (€80), but the exact amount varies depending on where you apply from. Once you get to Spain, the residence permit and NIE will cost you about $22 (€20).

Spanish Digital Nomad Visa Denial

If your application gets rejected by your local embassy or consulate, you will get a written notification highlighting why it didn’t go through.

You can submit an appeal with any additional documentation within one month from the day of refusal. You should reach the person referenced in the refusal letter or the particular contact details of your embassy enclosed in the letter.

You may also file an appeal with the High Court of Justice of Madrid within two months of receiving the notification of refusal or appeal dismissal.

Remember, the visa application fee paid is not refundable, even if it gets denied the second time after the appeal.

Working and Living in Spain with the new digital nomad visa

The Spanish digital nomad visa allows you to enter, work, and live in Spain for up to 12 months initially. However, you should be aware of some requirements and restrictions on this visa.

Living in Spain

You’ll need three things to live in Spain as a digital nomad:

  • The NIE
  • The NIF, or tax identification number to make large purchases and get a bank account
  • The residence permit you get upon visa approval
Working in Spain

The digital nomad visa allows you to freelance, establish a business, or work remotely in Spain. However, you still have to abide by certain rules to operate in Spain and comply with its laws.

The most significant rules are:

  • Spain encourages entrepreneurs to establish businesses when they are on a visa. However, one must adhere to the Startup Act’s criteria for job creation and innovation. One must also start a branch or have headquarters in Spain.
  • Freelancers can get employed by Spanish companies, but the income from Spanish clients should not exceed 20% of the total income.
  • Digital Nomad Visa holders must get the majority of their earnings from and work remotely for companies outside Spain.

Tax Implications for the Spanish Digital Nomad Visa

If you opt to live in Spain on your digital nomad visa for 183 days or more in a year, you will be a resident from a tax perspective. If you live there for a shorter period, you can also be a tax resident in the country if your family stays there or if you centralize your activities in Spain.

Whichever the case, the digital nomad visa makes you eligible for a lower tax rate of 24% on an income of €600,000 (about $651,153) or less. This rate is for the first four years you live in Spain. If your income exceeds €600,000, your rate will be 48%, which is still lower than the standard 50%.

To enjoy this tax benefit, you must submit an application to the tax authorities in Spain within the first six months of getting the digital nomad visa.

Spain applies double taxation agreements with 90 foreign countries, including all EU countries, New Zealand, Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States. This means you will not get taxed on your foreign income in Spain if you already paid taxes for it in your home country.

You must pay Spanish income taxes if you enter Spain as a freelancer. The amount may vary based on the region you live in and your personal circumstances.

Depending on individual situations, digital nomads living in Spain may also qualify for other tax benefits. The best move is to consult a professional for more information.

Alternative Visas for Digital Nomads in Spain

If you didn’t qualify for the digital nomad visa but still wish to live in Spain, you can consider these visas:

Employee Visa for Spain

You may apply for this visa with a valid contract to work for a Spanish company. The visa remains valid for the duration of your work contract, and you may extend your stay by applying for another job. It’s a good alternative if you have less than 12 months of short-term work contracts.

Spanish Entrepreneur Visa

This visa is ideal for digital nomads seeking to conduct business or innovative activities. Spanish authorities have to assess whether these activities will benefit the country financially before granting the visa.

EU Blue Card for Spain

The EU Blue Card is suitable for highly educated citizens of non-EAA countries who wish to live in Spain or other EU member countries. You must be a paid, highly skilled professional with tertiary education and expertise in a field where Spain has a gap.

Wrapping Up

Spain is among the most exciting countries in Western Europe to live and work in. From the cultural diversity to the bustling cities and outstanding cuisine, this country has so much to offer digital nomads.

The new visa comes with tax benefits and allows non-EEA/EU citizens to live and work remotely in Spain. Furthermore, one can travel throughout the EU’s Schengen region visa-free. It’s the perfect opportunity to immerse yourself and explore Spain’s diverse, inclusive, and rich culture.

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