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The pandemic has changed many things in our lives radically and particularly the way we work. So many of us now have been working from home since covid-19 arrived and this trend looks set to continue. But working remotely does not necessarily have to be from home, opening up new possibilities for choice of location. This includes the option to work remotely from Spain. If this idea appeals to you, read on to discover what sort of visa and residence permit you will need.

What Sort of Visa Do I Need?

The type of visa you need to work remotely in Spain depends on your nationality.

EEA Nationals

If you’re from a country within the EEA (European Economic Area) or Switzerland, you do not need a visa to work remotely in Spain because the EEA allows for freedom of movement between nationals. You do, however, need to register as residence in Spain when you arrive.

Find out more about residence and nationality rights in Spain.

Non-EEA Nationals

Nationals from third party countries (including the UK from 1 January 2021) do need a visa to work remotely from Spain. The good news is that, unlike the procedure involved for getting a work permit in Spain, the process is straightforward. You need to apply for a non-lucrative visa.

How do I Get a Non-lucrative Visa to Work Remotely from Spain?

Your first step is to apply for the non-lucrative visa at a Spanish consulate in your home country. You must fill out the appropriate form and attach the required documentation (see below).

Approval for 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.

Required Documentation

When you apply for your non-lucrative visa in Spain, you need to show the following:

  • Proof that you have at least €26,000 in a bank account in your name (a bank statement for the last six months will suffice).
  • Private medical insurance. Note that you must take out the policy with a Spanish insurance company for a minimum of one year. The policy must not include any form of copayment.
  • Proof that you have accommodation or the means to pay for it.
  • Certificate of good health showing you suffer from none of the diseases that bar entry to Spain.
  • Proof that you have no criminal record in Spain or your home country.
  • Proof that you are not prohibited from entering Schengen.

Note that all documents (except your passport) must be translated into Spanish and where necessary, be authenticated with the Hague Apostille.

Are There Any Restrictions With This Visa?

The visa comes with several prohibitions that include:

  • You cannot work for a Spanish company or employer in Spain.
  • You cannot set up your own company in Spain.
  • You are not allowed to open a branch or representative of your company in Spain.
  • You are not eligible to access the state healthcare system.

How Long Do I Have to Spend in Spain Each Year?

As a Spanish residence and to comply with the non-lucrative visa requirements, you must spend at least 183 days each year in Spain.

Does This Make Me Liable for Spanish Income Tax?

No, because despite the General Rule is that once you are resident of a country you are tax resident if you spend more than 183 days within a year in thet country, the Treaty for Avoidance of Double Taxation between the UK and Spain establishes that Income Tax will be paid in the country where you perform your professional activity and in this case, despite being physically in Spain, you are performing your professional work in the UK, so you will pay your Income tax in the UK.

Will I be under the UK Social Security

Yes, for same reason as above: you are developing your work there in the UK, despite being physically in Spain.

How Long is the Visa Valid For?

The non-lucrative visa in Spain is valid initially for a period of one year. You can then renew it for two more years and then for an additional two years after that.

Note that for renewal purposes, you still need to fulfill the same conditions. In the case of sufficient funds to support yourself (and dependents), you will need to prove you have enough for two years, i.e. Є52,000 in your account for you and €13,000 for each dependent.

After a total of five years, you have the chance to apply for permanent residence in Spain providing that you have not left the country during the previous five years.

Find out how to apply for permanent residency in Spain.

What About Getting a Regular Work Permit?

After the first year when your non-lucrative visa comes up for renewal, you may have made the decision to work in Spain for Spanish companies. The renewal allows you the option of changing to a work permit. Unlike the usual process of applying for a work permit as a non-EEA national, you have the advantage of having a residence permit already.

When you wish to renew your non-lucrative visa, you can change it for a work permit as an employee or as self-employed. If you accept a job, inform your employer who will find the process of getting a work permit for you much quicker and easier. If you’ve decided to set up on your own, you need to state this on your visa renewal application form and sign up with the Spanish social security and tax authorities as self-employed.

Are There Any Other Advantages

Not only does the non-lucrative visa allow you to work remotely from Spain, it offers additional benefits.

The main one allows you to include your dependents on the visa. To add a dependent (spouse, child or parent in your care), you need to prove that you have the financial means to support them in Spain. In monetary terms, this is around €6,500 per person per year in addition to your €26,000.

Get Help With Applying

At Costaluz Lawyers, we have a team specialised in all aspects of visas and residence permits in Spain. Using their expert services ensures you apply for the right visa and permit for you, comply with all requirements and save yourself time and stress.

Get in touch now to find out how we can help you with your Spanish visa or permit.

María Luisa de Castro


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.

6 thoughts on “What visa do you need to work remotely from Spain?”

  1. In our opinion, at present, the non-lucrative visa is the only way for a worker of a foreign (Non-EU) country to live and telework in Spain. This makes you tax resident in Spain, unless there a clause in the Double Treaty taxes agreements (with the UK, USA…) which reverts the rule and, in our opinion, makes possible taxation of Work Income taxes of the country the company (employer of the teleworker) is located.

  2. Seems all Spanish Embassies suddenly says Remote work is not allowed hence they are declining NLV applications all the way. How can one proof to the embassy that in fact it is allowed? Some people come here or would like to come here while they remote work and at the same time look for future investments. In South Africa if they sniff you thinking of working in your current job and or online they decline you. People need help or some clause where it states that it is not forbidden – working and earning on Spanish soil is understandable.

    1. Maria Luisa Castro

      There is no other way to work remotely in Spain for a foreign company. There are different Double Tax Treaties which regulates the taxation matter very clearly too.

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