In November 2022, the Spanish parliament approved the special digital nomad visa and fiscal regime for startups via a new law to come into effect in January 2023. The proposed legislation aims to open Spain up to new talent in all walks of the economy.
The business community in Spain and abroad has welcomed the news, which has been particularly well-received among remote workers. Under the new law, these so-called digital nomads would find it much easier to live and work in Spain.
In this article, we summarise the main points of the new digital nomad visa and its benefits.
What is the background to the new law?
Spain is keen to attract international talent and skills in the digital and technological sectors. To this end, the government has approved a new draft law with several purposes. They include:
- Facilitating paperwork for startups.
- Reducing the tax burden on companies and entrepreneurs.
- Streamlining the process to set up a business.
- Introducing a digital nomad visa.
When will the new law come into effect?
In early 2023, probably January. The law has been passed in parliament, where it had a majority vote and now faces the path through the Senate, expected to be straightforward. At Costaluz Lawyers, we anticipate the digital nomad visa to arrive in Spain in early 2023
What is the Spanish digital nomad visa?
This visa is designed for non-resident individuals who wish to work remotely from Spain. It will facilitate the visa and residence permit applications and allow a stay of up to 5 years.
Which nationality is Spain’s digital nomad visa for?
Any, but it’s mainly aimed at non-EEA nationals (British included) and Spaniards who have been out of Spain for at least five years.
Does the digital nomad visa have tax benefits?
Yes, this is one of the main attractions of the new visa. Holders would be eligible for a reduced rate of non-resident income tax. Instead of paying the usual rate of 25%, Spanish digital nomad visa holders would pay just 15% for up to four years.
Will the digital nomad visa include family members?
Yes, foreigners who get this new type of visa in Spain will be able to include close family members such as spouses and children in the visa provisions.
Which dependents can come to Spain with me on this visa?
Your spouse or partner and children under 18. If you wish to bring children over 18 with you, you will need to prove they are financially dependent on you and do not have their own independent family. In the case of your parents, you must prove they’re in your care.
Will my dependents have to present a separate application?
We can make the applications at the same time and do so electronically in your name.
Will the new visa be a better option than those available currently?
At Costaluz Lawyers, we firmly believe that will be the case. Digital nomads in Spain currently have few viable visa options (see below), and those that do exist have onerous paperwork procedures. We welcome this new law as we know it will facilitate life in Spain for many talented individuals.
In addition, it will make things much easier for British nationals who wish to work remotely or as a freelancer in Spain.
What are the current requirements for the digital nomad visa in Spain?
Foreigners from third-party countries (including the UK) may apply for this type of visa if they work for companies based outside Spain. Their work for Spanish companies may not exceed 20% of the total.
They must prove the following:
- That they have worked remotely for at least a year.
- That the work can be carried out remotely.
- If they are under contract to a company, that they have had a professional relationship with the company for at least three months and that the company permits remote working.
- If they are freelance, that they work with at least one company outside Spain and provide the terms and conditions of the remote work.
Is it easier to apply for the digital nomad visa from Spain or from outside Spain?
The application process is easier and cheaper if you do it once you’re in Spain. However, you can apply for this visa at a Spanish consulate in your home country.
Is it therefore a good idea to go to Spain using the 90-day Schengen visa to apply for the digital nomad visa?
We think so because the process is easier and cheaper. However, bear in mind that we cannot guarantee the law will be approved before 31 March 2023. Everything points to it being approved in January or February and we expect this to be the case, but we cannot say for sure.
Can I apply for the digital nomad visa if I’m already in Spain and resident under a different visa?
Yes, if you fulfill all the requirements for the digital nomad visa.
What next for the digital nomad visa in Spain?
As we mentioned earlier, the new visa must now go through the Senate and immigration authorities must compile the list of requirements. We will be keeping a close eye on proceedings, and the minute the digital nomad visa is available at Spanish consulates, we will include it in our visa services.
How likely is it that this law may never come into play?
Highly unlikely since it has already been passed in the Spanish Parliament.
Meanwhile, get in touch with our expert team, who will be more than happy to answer further questions on the new visa.