Digital nomad spain

FAQ guide to the new digital nomad visa in Spain

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.

    Maria Luisa Castro

    Director and Founder
    María founded CostaLuz Lawyers in 2006 and is the Firm’s Director. María is registered Lawyer number 2745 of the Cadiz Bar Association and is licensed to practice in all areas of law throughout Spain. Working closely with her team, María has developed the firm into one of the most highly regarded and trusted Spanish Law Firms acting for English-speaking clients with legal problems in Spain. We’re here to help. Contact us today for a free, no-obligation, initial legal orientation.
    María Luisa De Castro - Costaluz Lawyers
     

    57 thoughts on “FAQ guide to the new digital nomad visa in Spain”

      1. MARIA LUISA CASTRO

        Hi Yvonne,

        If you are retiring and not working, the right visa is the Non Lucrative Visa.

    1. Do foreign attorneys working remotely for a foreign employer need to obtain licensure to practice law in Spain?

      1. MARIA LUISA CASTRO

        Dear Timothy,

        Thanks for contacting us through our blog.

        You just would need a license in Spain if the cases you are working are under Spanish jurisdiction.

        Best wishes

        Maria

      1. MARIA LUISA CASTRO

        Hi Kesley,

        This is what is being proposed so far by the Draft Law. Nevertheless, we need to wait till the Law is finally approved.

        We’ll be keeping everyone updated on the CLL blog.

        Best wishes

        María

    2. Hi Maria,

      Under the proposed digital nomad visa, do you know how taxation would work? For example, would the visa holder pay all of their income tax in Spain, even if their income is from a UK company? And if so, is the employee’s company required to be involved in the visa process, aside from confirming the work is remote, do they change how they pay you through PAYE?

      Thanks,
      Chloé

      1. MARIA LUISA CASTRO

        Hi Chloe,

        The Remote Work Visa is not approved yet and there is no established date for its approval. We really think it is going to be in place very soon -the Government has stated that it is planned to come into effect by the end of 2022-. It will be valid for at least one year (it can be renewed). The requirements are as follows:

        · The existence of real and continuous activity for at least one year of the company or group of companies with which the worker has a labor or professional relationship.

        · Documentation accrediting that the employment or professional relationship can be carried out remotely.

        · In the event of the existence of an employment relationship, (if you are an employee) the employment relationship between the worker and the company not located in Spain with whom the relationship has been maintained for at least the last three months must be proven, as well as documentation proving that said company allows the worker to carry out the work activity remotely.

        · In the event of the existence of a professional relationship (if you are self-employed), it must be proven that the worker has a commercial relationship with one or more companies not located in Spain for at least the last three months, as well as documentation that proves the terms and conditions under which the professional activity will be carried out remotely.

        Also, there will be a reduction on Non-Resident Income Tax, from the general rate of 25% to 15% in the first four fiscal years since the taxable income is positive.

    3. Can you include your partner on the nomad visa? Many remote workers are not married or civil partnership, would they be able to be included?

      It states close family member and children.

      1. MARIA LUISA CASTRO

        Hi Ayton,

        Regarding your question, you would have to be married or registered as a civil partnership (public registry) in order to be able to include your partner.

    4. Dear Maria,
      Hope you are well.
      When is the digital nomad visa out? Can you apply while in Spain?
      Many thanks
      Ilham

      1. MARIA LUISA CASTRO

        Dear Mohamed,

        This is Sara Velasco from Costaluz Lawyers. It is a pleasure talking to you.

        The Remote Work Visa (https://costaluzlawyers.es/blog/key-points-of-the-digital-nomad-visa-in-spain/) is not approved yet and there is no established date for its approval. We really think it is going to be in place very soon -the Government has stated that it is planned to come into effect by the end of 2022-. It will be valid for at least one year (it can be renewed). The requirements are as follows:

        ·The existence of a real and continuous activity for at least one year of the company or group of companies with which the worker has a labor or professional relationship.
        ·Documentation accrediting that the employment or professional relationship can be carried out remotely.
        ·In the event of the existence of an employment relationship, (if you are an employee) the employment relationship between the worker and the company not located in Spain with whom the relationship has been maintained for at least the last three months must be proven, as well as documentation proving that said companyallows the worker to carry out the work activity remotely.
        ·In the event of the existence of a professional relationship (if you are self-employed), it must be proven that the worker has a commercial relationship with one or more companies not located in Spain for at least the last three months, as well as documentation that proves the terms and conditions under which the professional activity will be carry out remotely.
        Also, there will be a reduction on Non-Resident Income Tax, from the general rate of 25% to 15% in the first four fiscal years since the taxable income is positive.

        Please find an infographic about this visa attached. That is all the information we have for now. If you like, we could contact you once we receive all the official information from the Government.

    5. Hi Maria,

      Under the proposed digital nomad visa, can you include parents (close relatives) over 65 in the visa (as opposed to getting separate visas and more cost), or do any of the current visa options allow for this situation?

      And is it still the end of 2022 this new visa should be available?

      Thanks,
      Christopher

      1. MARIA LUISA CASTRO

        Dear Christopher,

        This is Sara Velasco from Costaluz Lawyers. It is a pleasure talking to you.

        Regarding your question, it is required to demonstrate that your parents are objectively unable to provide for their own needs due to their state of health. Therefore, you would have to prove that they are in your care.

    6. MARIA LUISA CASTRO

      Hi Maria,

      Thank you very much for your excellent information. How will UK companies pay an employee salary under the digital nomad visa? Does this cause difficulties for the company, or is the process simplified under the new nomad visa laws?

      1. MARIA LUISA CASTRO

        As the law is not approved yet, we are not able to answer those specific questions. However, once we receive the official information from the Government, we will let you know all the details.

        Thank you!

    7. Has any indication been given as to how taxation will work for the employer? Obviously I understand that this is still a draft, so details may be sketchy.

      For example: I work for a UK company, but the employer does not operate within Spain. They are happy for me to work remotely and they are happy to provide initial support for my application. Do their obligations around corporation tax change, are they liable for anything in Spain, or can they continue to operate as if I was a permanent worker within the UK?

      My understanding is that visas that exist globally right now would change their tax obligations and therefore make gaining agreements infeasible. An organisation is not going to spend money on investigating its tax obligations for many different countries just so employees can work outside of their native territory. But with ‘digital nomad’ visas, it feels like this is something that would have to be addressed directly to go along with what they are trying to achieve. So I’m intrigued to know whether there has been any reference to this so far or whether it’s a blind spot for them right now.

      1. MARIA LUISA CASTRO

        Unfortunately, we are not able to answer your question, as the law is not approved yet and nothing has been said regarding that matter. If you like, we could contact you once we receive all the official information from the Government.

        1. Yes, please, Maria. That would be really helpful. Thank you.

          Is there a way to try to influence or ensure that this viewpoint is on the radar with those who are progressing the draft law for their consideration? Who is leading its progression?

          My employer has already stated en masse that it is happy for its remote workers to work abroad right up until the moment their obligations change in that territory because of it and I’m sure that would be the same for many others too. I’d be gutted if this ended up being the reason why I couldn’t take advantage of this proposed visa/law!

      1. MARIA LUISA CASTRO

        Regarding your question about the minimum income, this has not been established -the law states nothing about that. However, we will have to wait for the law to be approved in order to know all the details. If you like, we could contact you once we receive all the official information from the Government.

    8. Hello Maria! Thank you very much for this article, very helpful. I have a question regarding current Non-Lucrative Visa Process. When we say ‘remote workers can’t apply for this’, or they are being denied frequently, etc, what the remote worker will mean in this case? Is it someone registered for a company outside of Spain, and ‘working from home’? what about the cases when i’m on a contract, or a freelancer working on some freelance platforms?

      1. MARIA LUISA CASTRO

        The Non-Lucrative visa does not allow you to work in any way. You can only receive passive incomes (dividends, rentals, etc).

    9. I’m holding a Filipino passport and it is to my knowledge that if I live in Spain legally for 2 years, I can obtain Spanish nationality. My question is – does living in Spain under the digital nomad visa grant me access obtain the Spanish nationality (given that I am eligible and fill all the requirements) after completing two years?

      1. MARIA LUISA CASTRO

        Regarding your question, as it is a residence permit, it should give you access to Spanish nationality. However, we will have to wait for the law to be approved in order to know all the details.

    10. When is this law expected to be approved (or not)?

      I satisfy all the expected criteria so far but would it include my partner of some 30+ years? We’ve lived together in the UK since the early 90’s, in essence as husband and wife, though we never actually got married.

      Best regards and thanks for the article.

      1. MARIA LUISA CASTRO

        Hi Andrew,

        We have some good news. The Draft Law has just been approved and the Government has stated it is planned to come into force by January 2023.
        Regarding your question, you would have to be married or registered as a civil partnership (public registry) in order to be able to include your partner.

      1. MARIA LUISA CASTRO

        Hi Jane,

        You would need an address, as the Police must know your address in case they need to notify you of anything. If you change your address, you will need to let the Police know.

    11. Hi!
      Could you clarify something for me, please:
      As expected, Didital Nomad Visa will be valid for 1 year with possibility of prolongation up to 5 years in total. Will be able nomads, that spent all this 5 years in Spain apply for permanent residency? Or leave Spain after 5 years will be the only perspective for this visa holders?

      1. MARIA LUISA CASTRO

        Hi Andrew,

        Regarding your question, after residing 5 years in Spain legally, digital nomads will be able to apply for permanent residence.

    12. Would I be able to run a guest house in Spain in addition to my freelance job which is mainly UK companies with a digital nomad visa?

      1. MARIA LUISA CASTRO

        Hi Graeme,

        Regarding your question, the activity must be carried out through the exclusive use of a computer, telematic and telecommunication means and systems. Also, you will be able to work for a company based in Spain as long as the percentage of work does not exceed 20% of your total professional activity.

    13. When I originally looked at this option it was restricted to specific areas of Spain, i.e more rural inland villages – do you know if that will still be the case?
      Thank you

          1. MARIA LUISA CASTRO

            Hi Tony,

            The Draft Law establishes the following requirements for self-employed workers:

            The existence of a real and continuous activity for at least one year of the company or group of companies with which the worker has a professional relationship.

            In the event of the existence of a professional relationship (if you are self employed), it must be proven that the worker has a commercial relationship with one or more companies not located in Spain for at least the last three months, as well as documentation that proves the terms and conditions under which the professional activity will be carry out remotely.

    14. Christopher David Amparado

      Hi Maria,
      In know this Visa is not a law yet but I wanted to know if you have some information if this Visa can eventually lead to citizenship? I’m from a former colony of the Spanish Empire and only need 2 years of legal stay in order for me to apply for citizenship.

      Thanks,
      Chris

      1. MARIA LUISA CASTRO

        Hi Christopher,

        Regarding your question, as this is a residence permit, you will be able to apply for Spanish citizenship after 2 years in Spain residing legally (under a residence permit).

      1. MARIA LUISA CASTRO

        Hi Alex,

        Regarding your question, after 5 years residing in Spain, you will be able to apply for permanent residency.

    15. Hi, now this law has been passed, I understand that non residence tax is reduced to 15% for the first 4 years and then 25%. Would I also pay tax in England? How is the 15% tax paid in Spain would this have to be paid via my employer in the UK or via some sort of self assesment?

      1. MARIA LUISA CASTRO

        Hi Mel,

        Regarding your question about tax, unfortunately, we do not have more official information from the Government, therefore, we are not able to answer it. We will have to wait for the law to be approved in order to know all the details. However, the Non-Resident Income Tax will have to be paid by the worker living in Spain.

    16. The startups law will be open to anyone from the EU or third countries, as long as they haven’t been a resident in Spain in the previous five years, and it will allow workers to gain access to a special visa which can be renewed for up to five years.

      Is the above regarding being resident in Spain during the last 5 years correct?

      1. MARIA LUISA CASTRO

        Hi Jonathan,

        The startups law will be open to anyone from the EU or third countries, as long as they haven’t been a resident in Spain in the previous five years, and it will allow workers to gain access to a special visa which can be renewed for up to five years.

    17. How will this work out for a lone Ltd company director from the UK? In UK law the director is still an ’employee’ of the company. I do not have an office, therefore I work remotely from my house and have done for many years. Will this new visa be applicable to me? I would be very grateful for any knowledge Maria please.

      1. MARIA LUISA CASTRO

        Hi Jay,

        Regarding your question, this visa will be applicable to you if you meet all the requirements. The requirements are as follows:
        · The existence of real and continuous activity for at least one year of the company or group of companies with which the worker has a labor or professional relationship.
        · Documentation accrediting that the employment or professional relationship can be carried out remotely.
        · In the event of the existence of an employment relationship, (if you are an employee) the employment relationship between the worker and the company not located in Spain with whom the relationship has been maintained for at least the last three months must be proven, as well as documentation proving that said company allows the worker to carry out the work activity remotely.
        · In the event of the existence of a professional relationship (if you are self employed), it must be proven that the worker has a commercial relationship with one or more companies not located in Spain for at least the last three months, as well as documentation that proves the terms and conditions under which the professional activity will be carry out remotely.

    18. Hello,
      I have been working from home for the past 3 years (Luxembourg employer) and want to move to Spain to live and work from home in my house. My question is this; 80% of my time is spent on email and phone, 20% outside Spain seeing customers. Am I still eligible to apply for the nomad visa? Many thanks.

    19. Hi Could I apply for a digital visa as I would like to work remotely and would pass all the requirements.My husband is retired so could he apply for the NLV .Our intention is to live in Spain full time .Thanks Tricia

      1. MARIA LUISA CASTRO

        Hi Tricia,

        The Digital Nomad visa is not available yet but the Government has stated that the law is planned to come into effect by January 2023. Regarding your husband, he could apply jointly, under the Digital Nomad visa as your spouse.

    20. Planning to move from the UK to Spain in 2023. Would I be able to apply for the High Skilled Visa and switch to this scheme once launched? Or will this scheme be open exclusively to new residents coming in?

      1. MARIA LUISA CASTRO

        Hi Jack,

        Regarding your question, according to the Draft Law you will be able to apply for the Digital Nomad visa from Spain if you are under another Spanish residence permit.

    21. Hi Maria,

      Thanks for this great post. My husband and I are permanent residents in Canada and hold Dominican Passports. We’re planning to visit relatives in Spain for a week and stay two more while he uses his allowed time to work from abroad. He’s already employed as a remote worker (he works for a Canadian company in Canada, but from his home office). Should we apply for this visa? He needs to present evidence to his company that he’s allowed to work from wherever he is. Would Spanish laws allow him to work from Spain for two weeks or would he need this permit regardless of the time?

      Thank you,

      OC

      1. MARIA LUISA CASTRO

        Hi OC,

        Regarding your question, he will not be able to work in Spain under a tourist visa. At the moment there are no visas available for working remotely from Spain for a foreign company. The Government has stated that the Digital Nomad visa is planned to be available by January 2023, however, they have not established an exact date.

    22. Hi there if my wife accompanies me with this visa will she be able to work? It does it just allow me to work? Could she take up locally employed work?

      Also if my wife were to study in Spain would she need a different visa for this?

      Thank you

      1. MARIA LUISA CASTRO

        Hi Jonathan,

        Spouse and children of the applicant can apply jointly as family members. Regarding your question, your spouse will be able to work in Spain.

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