Remote working isn’t something very new. We all were jealous of these attractive pictures of freelancers’ work-style.
So many people aren’t linked with any place because of remote working. And since 2020, the popularity of this concept has grown incredibly.
Digital nomads are individuals who use technology to work from anywhere in the world, untethered by the constraints of traditional office spaces. These professionals typically have location-independent jobs, such as programming, designing, freelancing, consulting, or working for companies with remote work policies. As digital nomads, they have the unique opportunity to combine their work with travel, experiencing new cultures and destinations while maintaining a steady income.
The growing trend of digital nomads has prompted countries worldwide, including Spain, to develop specialized visas to attract these people.
These visas allow remote workers to reside in the host country for extended periods, granting them access to local resources and infrastructure while contributing to the local economy. By offering these specialized visas, countries aim to attract skilled professionals who can boost their economy, foster innovation, and promote cultural exchange. Spain has been thinking for a very long time and has become one the latest countries to join this trend.
Overview of Spain’s Nomad Visa
Spain’s nomad visa aims to attract digital nomads who have certain requirements, ensuring that they can be financially self-sufficient and make a positive contribution to the local economy. To be eligible for a visa, applicants must meet the following criteria:
- Proof of remote work: Applicants must provide evidence that they have a location-independent job, which allows them to work remotely. This can include a signed contract with an employer, a letter confirming their freelance or consulting work, or a description of their online business.
- Minimum income threshold: Applicants must demonstrate that they have a stable and sufficient income to support themselves during their stay in Spain. At the time of this writing, this is €2,334 per month / €28,000 per year for an individual.
- Valid passport: Applicants need to have a valid passport with an expiration date that extends beyond the duration of their intended stay in Spain. This is very logical, isn’t it?
- Health insurance: Digital nomads applying for the visa must have comprehensive health insurance coverage that is valid in Spain for the entire duration of their stay. The insurance should cover medical expenses, hospitalization, and repatriation.
- No criminal record: Applicants must provide a certificate of no criminal record from their country of residence for the past five years, proving that they do not have any outstanding criminal charges or convictions.
- No unauthorized stay in Spain: Digital nomads must not have previously stayed in Spain without proper authorization.
- Sufficient experience and/or education: Either demonstrate 3 years of work-related experience prior to application, or be a graduate or post-graduate from a reputable university, vocational training, and business schools of recognized prestige
One more time, you need to have proofs of remote work and minimum income threshold, health insurance for one year and a certificate of no criminal record.
It’s not a very big list, right?
Duration of the Visa and Possibility of Extension
The visa is initially granted for a duration of one year if the applicant is applying from their country of residence. Three years for an applicant who does so from Spain.
The visa owner will have enough time to settle down, explore the country, and benefit from the local resources and infrastructure.
After the first(3rd in the second case) year, digital nomads have the option to extend their stay by applying for a visa renewal. At the moment of the extension, the applicant must still meet the eligibility criteria from the list above 👆.
The visa owner could extend their visa for up to five years.Application Process for Spain’s Nomad Visa
These documents include, but are not limited to:
- Valid passport and its copy
- Proof of remote work (Contract and Letter of authorization from to work remotely in Spain)
- Proof of income
- Proof of payment of the administrative fee
- Health insurance
- Certificate of no criminal record
- Sufficient experience and/or education
- Visa application form: A completed and signed application form for the nomad visa.
- Passport-sized photos: Two recent passport-sized photographs that meet the consulate’s requirements.
Applicants must pay a non-refundable visa application fee when submitting their application. It costs roughly 70 euros.
Once you’re approved for the visa, it’s about 15 euros to apply for a residence card.
Timeline for Processing the Application
The processing time for Spain’s nomad visa application may vary depending on the consulate or embassy, as well as the applicant’s individual circumstances. Generally, the processing time can range from a few weeks to a few months. It is recommended to apply well in advance of the intended travel date to account for any potential delays in processing.
Where to Apply
Applicants have two ways:
- consulate in your country of residence
- directly from Spain, as a tourist.
Applicants would get a 1-year visa (that can be modified to residency later on) for the first case. And they could obtain a 3-year permit (renewable for 2) in the second case.
Then, the applicant will need to visit the police office as one of the final steps to register their fingerprints and get their physical residency card.
Seems not very difficult. But the consulate can disapprove the application. I think we need to ask them very politely.
Taxes and Obligations
Do digital nomads have to pay taxes in Spain?
Digital nomads will inevitably become tax residents. And that’s because if they want to extend their visa, they must abide by the first rule: spend at least 6 months in the country. Thus they must be aware of their tax obligations.
- Report and remit taxes on earnings generated globally (including Spain and all other countries)
- Pay income tax at an incremental rate that may go up to 50% (with minor regional variations)
- Declare their assets by completing Form 720
The Beckham Law is a unique tax regime that enables you to be treated as a non-resident for tax purposes, even if you spend over 183 days in the country.
Gaining tax non-resident status offers significant benefits (compared to being a tax resident), as it allows for a substantially reduced income tax rate and eliminates the need to file and pay certain other taxes.
To be eligible for this special tax regime, you must not have been a legal resident in Spain for the past five years, and the reason for your move to Spain must be work-related (which applies to remote workers).
If you meet this initial requirement, you will have six months from the time you receive a positive resolution for your digital nomad visa to submit your application at the tax office.
Upon approval, you will enjoy the considerable advantages of being a non-resident for a total of five years (in addition to the year in which you apply). Afterward, you would transition to the general resident tax regime.
David Beckham saved up money with Beckham’s law and was able to buy a yacht. Be like David.
How much exactly?
Digital nomads or remote workers in Spain using the Beckham law pay a flat rate of 24% on their work-related income up to €600,000, and 48% on any amount above that amount.
This is highly advantageous, as under the general tax system, you would pay a progressive rate that could go up to 50%.
But the benefits don’t stop there.
As a digital nomad taking advantage of this special tax regime, you’ll also experience additional tax advantages, such as:
- No need to file Form 720 (which residents are required to file annually to declare their assets)
- Exemption from wealth tax
- Reduced capital gains tax, with a variable rate ranging from 19% to 28%
Is it possible to work in Spain digital nomad visa?
Yes, but income from Spain must not exceed 20% of all income.
Spain is an attractive destination for digital nomads, offering a rich cultural experience, a wide range of workspaces, and ample networking opportunities. By exploring the diverse cities and regions of Spain, digital nomads can find the perfect environment to thrive in their location-independent lifestyle.
Additionally, Spain’s tax system, particularly the Beckham Law, can offer financial advantages for digital nomads, potentially leading to significant tax savings.
With a thriving startup environment, extensive collaboration spaces and numerous networking opportunities, Spain provides a great environment for digital nomads to grow personally and professionally. In addition, the country’s excellent quality of life, warm climate, and rich history make it an attractive place to explore and relax in your spare time.
P.S. I know of a case where a digital nomad received this type of visa for 3 years initially. He did it in the Canary Islands.
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