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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.

( Many Consulates have been denying this tipe of visas for remote workers recently)

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?

Yes, according to a binding decission of the General Directorate of Taxes in Spain dated February 2021.

Will I be under the UK Social Security

Yes, as your company is located in the UK.

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

DIRECTOR
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 consultation.
María Luisa De Castro - Costaluz Lawyers

44 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.

  3. You need to prove your financial sufficiency when applying, then, of course, there is no Law which can prohibit you to telework for a foreign company while you are in Spain under your non lucrative visa. Existing Double Tax Treaties also cover this circunstance enoughly.

  4. I don’t understand why they are denying this type of visa for remote workers, isn’t it good for Spain’s economy to have people capable of sustaining themselves and spending money they earn from working for another country in their soil? I haven’t started this visa process and I am from Mexico, but I suppose it might be the same… reading the comments is discouraging 🙁

    1. Maria Luisa Castro

      I do not understand it either, Ana. Might be a matter of tax control? In that case, Double Tax treaty cover this situations well.

  5. Hello
    what about EU citizens? They dont need Visa but in order to work from Spain, but their company should register a Spanish office in order to pay social fees and some employer taxes. Is that how it goes?

    1. Maria Luisa Castro

      Hi, Anton:

      Double Tax Treaties offer a formula by which you can pay taxes on your work income in a country different to your country of residency if some requisites are met. So, there are possibilities to keep all the income Tax and Social Security payments under the country of origin.

  6. CAROLINE NICHOLS

    Last week (May 7th 2021) I went to the Spanish embassy in London. They sent me away and said they couldn’t help me, and I could not get a non lucrative visa, as I have a business in the UK, and I might work remotely! I have just bought a property in Spain and registered my son at the British school there.
    Turned away at the embassy, telling me they didn’t know what do do, and couldn’t help me. Serious lack of communication and advice…

    1. Maria Luisa Castro

      I cannot see the Embassy having jurisdiction on if you will work to maintain your work in the UK. You just need to show in advance you have enough means to sustain yourself in Spain for the time the visa is applied for.

      Till telework visas are not implemented in Spain, I see the non lucrative visa as a legal way to telework in Spain. The tax matter is well regulated in Double Tat Treaties and for countries whom Spain has not signed a Double Tax treaty with, according to National regulations.

  7. I’m hoping to “work from home” from Spain (for a UK company) for a few weeks next month to have a break from being in the UK! Do I still need a visa if I’m only planning on working there for 3 weeks? It feels a bit overboard to get a non-lucrative visa when it’s such a short period of time.

    Thanks

    1. Maria Luisa Castro

      Dear Katie:

      No, you need no visa to stay in Spain for 3 weeks and telework during that time

      Kind regards

      Maria

  8. I have also been told by the Spanish consulate in Manchester that it is not legal to work remotely on a non-lucrative visa, I have had conflicting advice from an independent source that has said as long as I have a contract that under Spanish regulations and that I pay tax in Spain that I can work remotely for a UK company. I am very confused. Can you tell me which is correct?

    1. Maria Luisa Castro

      Dear Mikaela:

      If you meet the requirements for obtaining the non lucrative visa, I cannot see why you cannot work for the UK company and Pay taxes in the UK according to article 14 of Double Tax Treaty Spain-UK.

      Thanks

      1. Thanks for your reply, I already have my non-lucrative visa.
        Are you saying that I stay on the same uk contract and continue to pay taxes in the Uk?

  9. Maria Luisa Castro

    Dear Michaela:
    This is the article from the Double Treaty Tax Spain UK in regards to residents in Spain working for a UK company , which, I think adjust to telework.

    Article 14
    INCOME FROM EMPLOYMENT

    1. Subject to the provisions of Articles 15, 17 and 18, salaries, wages and other similar remuneration derived by a resident of a Contracting State in respect of an employment shall be taxable only in that State unless the employment is exercised in the other Contracting State. If the employment is so exercised, such remuneration as is derived therefrom may be taxed in that other State.

    2. Notwithstanding the provisions of paragraph 1, remuneration derived by a resident of a Contracting State in respect of an employment exercised in the other Contracting State shall be taxable only in the first-mentioned State if:

    a) the recipient is present in the other State for a period or periods not exceeding in the aggregate 183 days in any twelve month period commencing or ending in the fiscal year concerned, and

    b) the remuneration is paid by, or on behalf of, an employer who is not a resident of the other State, and

    c) the remuneration is not borne by a permanent establishment which the employer has in the other State.

    3. (…)

    You can read the whole Treaty here:

    https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/507409/spain-dtc_-_in_force.pdf

    The OECD ( Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development ), whose Double Tax Treaty model is followed by the UK, has stated that work needs to be taxed at the country where you are physically, which seems to me a contradiction with the article mentioned above.

  10. Dear All,

    This is very interesting conversation. I for a change have two nationalities 1) Polish (EEA) and 2) UK (non-EEA). I am employed full time in the UK, have spanish wife, who also have now UK nationality and we have 2 kids, with UK & Polish nationalities. We are planning to move out to Spain permanently, to live in my wife’s family home. I do want to continue being employed by my current UK company, since they have no objections and, work remotely for my current UK company, whilst living permanently in Spain. How would that work ? Would I need to have NLV, or since I hold Polish nationality (EEA), I would be excluded from this requirement ? Same with the taxes, would I be able to continue to be taxed in the UK and pay the difference (if any) in Spanish Tax Authorities ?

    Many thanks in advance for any responses!

    1. Maria Luisa Castro

      Dear Kris:

      As a Polish citizen, you will not have to apply for NLV but you will have to register yourself as taxpayer in Spain ( as you will be spending more than 183 days here) and pay all your income taxes ( worldwide) in Spain, including the Work Income tax as, despite your work is exploited in the Uk, you are physically here. Again: I understand this to be in contradiction with the Double Tax Treaty but…. even OECD understands it this way!

      1. Dear Maria,
        Thank you for your reply. I have to say that reading double tax treaty between UK and Spain is not easy and rather confusing at some point itself. However my outcome would be that this would still be in place and I would therefore clarify to be relieved from paying taxes in UK and, pay my all income taxes here in Spain ? Have I understand the treaty correctly, or you trying to underline that I would be liable to pay taxes in both countries according to local taxes rates in both UK and Spain ?
        One more time, many thanks in advance Maria!

        Kris

  11. Yes, both Spanish Tax General Directorate and OECD understand that remote workers need to pay taxes where they are physically, despite the fruits of their work are used in a different country.

  12. Hi, I wish to work from Tenerife for 12 days. I work for an american company and my home office is in the UK, do I still need a non lucrative visa?

      1. Hi Maria,
        What rules / regulations are you relying on to say that a UK citizen can work remotely for 12 days without a visa? How long can you work remotely without a visa and without paying tax in Spain? (You said above that 3 weeks was ok too?)
        Thanks in advance!

        1. Maria Luisa Castro

          Hi David:

          Requirements to have your activity adapted to legality actually does not start till you have spent here more than 90 days.This is the period that you are allowed to come and stay in Spain as a tourist, a visitor, a stayer… without further control. No one can forbid you to work online while you are here, you are not breaching any law. After those 90 days you need to have a residency permit and, if you develop a professional activity, this needs to be conveniently framed within a visa category.

          Tax residency starts in Spain once you spend more than 183 days in a tax year.

          Hope this helps!

  13. Michael Lenihan

    Dear Maria,

    As my wife and I are in the process of applying for our NLV in London, I stumbled across your site as I’m beginning to hear some horror stories regarding ‘remote working’ on the NLV. As a director of a UK Limited company, I can work remotely from anywhere in the world, and was under the impression that remote working was allowed – at least that was what my wife and I were advised before beginning the NLV application process.

    We have our ACRO documents, GP Letters and Wedding Certificate (all Hague Apostilled and translated by a sworn Spanish translator) and comfortably meet the financial requirements, and are awaiting our interview date in London. I’m semi-retired and my wife is fully retired, but as we’re both only 50, am beginning to be concerned regarding the Remote Working issue as this seems to be open to interpretation, and at the behest of the immigration officer conducting the interview.

    Is there anyone else in the UK who has experience of applying for the NLV in London and Remote Working, and surely Maria, there has to be set guidelines that consulate officials have to adhere to regarding working in Spain for a non-Spanish company?

    1. Michael Lenihan

      Although this is on the website of the Spanish Consulate in Los Angeles, I assume the same rules apply irrespective where you are applying from?

      SHOULD I APPLY FOR A “NON-LUCRATIVE RESIDENCE VISA” IF I WANT TO RESIDE IN SPAIN AND WORK REMOTELY FOR AN AMERICAN COMPANY OR IF I WANT TO CONTINUE MY PROFESSIONAL ACTIVITIES THROUGH INTERNET?
      NO, in these cases a “Non-Lucrative Residence Visa” is not appropriate. According to Article 48 of Royal Decree 557/2011, only “foreigners who wish to reside in Spain without performing professional or business activities” will be eligible to apply for non-lucrative visas.

      IT IS ALLOWED, FOR A “NON-LUCRATIVE RESIDENCE VISA” HOLDER, TO WORK REMOTELY IN SPAIN?
      No, Non-Lucrative Visa holders cannot be involved in any type of professional or lucrative activities, even if these activities are going to be performed remotely.

      1. Maria Luisa Castro

        Yes, they lamentably do.
        At present, there are no specific visa permits for remote workers in Spain. I was recently informed about this directly by a Spanish consulate.
        The only way ahead I can see at the moment is to try to expand yout service to more clients and apply for a self-employed visa.

      2. Hi Michael – reading you post is super interesting. How have you managed to get on?

        We are still waiting for the Spanish Consulate to acknowledge our request for an appointment and it has been 2 weeks!

        1. Maria Luisa Castro

          Hi, James:

          All Consulates seem to ve overloaded these days: COVID times, no doubt as it is all over the world…

    2. Maria Luisa Castro

      At present, there are no specific visa permits for remote workers in Spain. I was recently informed about this directly by a Spanish consulate.
      The only way ahead I can see at the moment is to try to expand your service to more clients and apply for a self-employed visa.

  14. I think this clarification wouls help some of you:

    There is no specific remote workers visa for those who are employees of a Non EU company and want to physically relocate and work from Spain.
    Non EU freelaancers/ self employed workers can use the Self-Employed Visa.
    Non EU family members of EU nationals/residents can work for a Non EU company paying their taxes in Spain ( as, as said above a Spain´s Tax General Directorate and OECD both understand that remote workers need to pay taxes where they are physically, despite the fruits of their work are used in a different country.

  15. My wife is French and I am American. We would like to live in Spain and I am uncertain as to what status to claim.
    I would like to continue working, either in Spain or doing remote work. I have a small corporation and my wife is a director.
    As she is French, can I just pay her instead of myself? Then I could get the NLV, right?

    1. Maria Luisa Castro

      Hi Thomas:

      EU family members are in much easier position than those ones who are not.

      As EU national, your wife will acquire full residency and work rights in Spain and you can apply for same residency and work rights as non EU family member of an EU citizen. That way you can work and trade in Spain as if you were a Spanish national.

      You both will become tax resident in Spain once you spend more than 183 days, or your professional or family interests are concentrated here in Spain.

      You don not need to apply for the NLV

      We will be pleased to assist you with this if you need

      Cheers and good luck for your project in Spain!

  16. I am self-employed/freelance and all my work is done remotely via Zoom. All my work is for a company based in the UK. I earn around 2k per month. My wife is a nursery nurse, however, I don’t think her qualification is recognised in Spain.
    We want to move to Spain in the next year or two and I want to carry on working remotely, as self employed etc but aren’t sure what the best route is?
    Would I need to apply for the self employed or non-lucrative visa?
    What would my wife need to apply for?
    Not sure if it maters but we have 2 children also.

    Thanks in advance.

    1. Maria Luisa Castro

      Hi Jamie!

      In your case, if your work fits as self-employed in the Uk and you have been perfoming it through that scheme there, the are good possibilities for the Self-employed visa to be the right one for you. Is Spain, a self-employed person who has just one client can be considered a false-self-employed person but that, in maninly in a way to control companies to pay the right social contributions, which is not the case as your social contributions will be paid by the UK system. So, yes… the self-employed visa seems to me ion your case like the right one.

      Then you can reunify your wife and your 2 kids

      M

      1. Thanks Maria.

        So to be clear, I would first need to apply for the self employed visa whilst still in the UK. Then once approved, I move to Spain and apply for the residency visa. Tjen after a year, when its time for renewal, I can invite my wife and kids over on a reunification visa?
        I’m not sure its an option for me to move to Spain alone for a year. We would hope to all move over together.

        Thanks

  17. Hi, I saw you said that you don’t need any type of Visa to work in Spain for 3 weeks. Just wondering what is the maximum amount of time you can stay in Spain for as a non EU citizen while working remotely without requiring any type of Visa. Thanks in advance!

    1. Maria Luisa Castro

      Hi Greg!

      As a Canadian citizen, you need no visa to come to Spain for stays shorter than 90 days in a 180 days period. You can of course work remotely during that time.

  18. Hi Maria, I am a Canadian currently working for an UK company as a freelancer at the moment since my visa ended. I was living in the UK for two years with a valid visa. I would like to move to Spain to live there and work remotely. Would I need to get more clients in order to make it work or if I just have this client it should be fine? I suppose it would be a self-employed visa instead of a non lucrative visa?

    Thank you.

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