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Dreaming of working remotely in another country? Perhaps you’ve always wanted to live in a particular country, or you want to travel the world.
If you’ve got your heart set on becoming a digital nomad, there’s arguably no better place to do it than sunny Spain. From tasty tapas to beautiful beaches, this popular holiday destination has it all.
Spain is also a great choice for remote workers. Its cities have everything you need to get online, from co-working facilities to fast internet. If you’re looking for a lower cost of living, there are also plenty of smaller cities and towns to choose from.
But before you can jet off on your Spanish adventure, you’ll need to get your paperwork sorted. In this guide, we’ll show you how to get a digital nomad visa for Spain. This will give you legal permission to live, travel and carry out remote work.
We’ll also show you a great way to get paid in nearly a dozen currencies and spend in the local currency all over the world - using the Wise multi-currency account.
For those unfamiliar with the concept, a digital nomad is someone who travels freely while working remotely. All you need is a laptop and an internet connection.
Although of course, it does depend on what job you do, as not every type of work fits with a digital nomad lifestyle.
Digital nomads tend to work in coffee shops, co-working spaces or even public libraries. Some people stay in a place for a while, while others travel around.
The beauty of this kind of lifestyle is that you can do your work whenever you want. It’s all while exploring a new country and soaking up the local culture. And of course, earning money to pay for your trip and basic expenses.
For both tax and visa purposes, there’s a difference between working remotely as a digital nomad, and actually having a job in Spain.
The first thing to know about is tax residency. This is where you’re considered to be a tax resident in a country if you live there for a certain number of days in a year.
Under Spain’s tax laws, you’re considered to be a tax resident if you stay for a period of 183 days or more within any given calendar year.¹
If this applies to you and your circumstances, you’ll need to pay income tax. There are a couple of upsides though. The first is that the UK and Spain have a double- tax treaty.² This means you won’t pay tax twice on the same income.
The second is that with a digital nomad visa, remote workers will benefit from lower tax rates than standard resident rates. You’ll only pay 15% to 24% tax on your income, compared to the rate of 48% on higher salaries.³
To get this beneficial rate though, you must make sure to apply with the Spanish Tax Agency within 6 months of arriving in Spain.³
Spain is one of a number of European countries to introduce a new digital nomad visa.
After being announced in 2022, it was launched in January 2023. According to Economic Affairs Minister Nadia Calviñoas, the country aimed to “attract and retain international and national talents by helping remote workers and digital nomads set up in Spain.”⁴
Previously, anyone wanting to visit Spain as a digital nomad would need to get either a tourist visa, or something called a Non-Lucrative Visa (NLV).
Neither were ideal options for remote workers, as they didn’t permit you to work or earn money in Spain legally. In fact, the NLV was aimed at retirees no longer earning an active income.
But now that Spain has introduced its own digital nomad visa, everything has changed. The country is now much more welcoming to remote workers from all over the world, including the UK.
So, what is the digital nomad visa in Spain? In short, it’s a visa which gives you permission to live and work in Spain for up to 12 months. After this time, you’ll have the option to renew it for up to 3 years.⁵
This is ideal for people looking to work in Spain and then move on. But there’s also an option for those looking to settle in Spain, as after 5 years of living in Spain on this visa, you may be eligible to apply for permanent residence.
What’s more, you’ll also benefit from lower tax rates as a holder of this visa, as we looked at above.
However, there are some restrictions. You can do any kind of work, but must have specific expertise in your field. Plus, the majority of your work will need to be from clients or an employer in another country. You can work for Spanish clients, but they must make up no more than 20% of your total income.⁵
There are a number of conditions you must meet, and documents you’ll need to provide, in order to apply for the Spain digital nomad visa.
Let’s start with eligibility. You must meet the following:⁴
- Be a non-EU national from outside the EEA
- Not be living illegally in Spain at the time of your application
- Can’t have lived in Spain within the 5 years before applying
- Work remotely for mainly non-Spanish companies
- Be earning at least €2,334 a month
- Qualified or experienced in your field.
To prove you meet the requirements above, you’ll need to provide the following documents as part of your application:³
- Your passport (original and copies)
- If employed, a copy of your employment contact. If self-employed, proof of previous client contracts showing at least 3 months of wages. For either, you’ll need to prove you meet the minimum income threshold.
- Proof of ongoing or future contracts for several months to a year, if self-employed.
- Proof that the company you work for has been incorporated for at least a year, if employed.
- Authorisation from your employer that you’re allowed to work remotely in Spain.
- Proof that you have at least 3 years or work experience, or a relevant qualification
- Proof that your work can be carried out remotely
- Evidence of sufficient health insurance cover.
Got your paperwork in order? Now you’re ready to apply for the digital nomad visa in Spain. There are a couple of ways you can apply, from abroad or from inside Spain.
If you’ve not yet set off on your travels, you can apply for the Spain digital nomad visa from the UK. You’ll need to visit your nearest Spanish Consulate or Embassy with your documents, to start the application and pay your fees.
If successful, you’ll be granted a one-year visa. If you want, you can modify this later on to get a temporary residence permit valid for three years.
It is possible to apply for the digital nomad visa after arriving in Spain on a tourist visa. This is the cheaper option, with a lower fee than applying from abroad (we’ll take a look at application fees next.)
You’ll need to take all your documents with you, and apply at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Spain. If your application is successful, the next step is to go to your nearest police office to register your fingerprints and get your physical residency card.
You’ll be happy to know that the application process for this visa is quite quick, provided of course you have all your paperwork in order.
While it varies, the average processing time is around 20 days. There may also be an additional background check, which can take a couple of weeks.³
Lastly, you’ll want to know how much it costs to apply for the Spanish digital nomad visa.
The good news is that the fee is pretty low, at around €75. However, there may also be additional consulate fees to pay, plus €15 for a residency card when you arrive in Spain.⁶
Got your Spanish visa sorted? The next step is to book your flights, but it’s also worth thinking about how you’ll manage your money while in Spain.
Getting paid is going to be a top priority when working abroad. Rather than opening a Spanish bank account, you might want to check out Wise instead.
It’s quick and easy to open a Wise multi-currency account online. With Wise, you can manage your money in 50 currencies at once, including EUR and GBP.
It’s easy to get paid quickly and securely in your client’s home currency, and convert your earnings to your chosen currency using the mid-market exchange rate.
If you need to send money abroad, you can do it in just a few clicks - and all for low, transparent fees.
There’s even a Wise debit card for low-cost spending in 174 countries, including Spain and the rest of Europe.
With a Wise account, you’ll be able to spend like a local - wherever you are in the world.
- PwC - Worldwide tax summaries - Spain
- Optimise Accountants - UK Spain tax treaty
- IAS Services - Spain Digital Nomad Visa
- Euronews - Spain's digital nomad visa is finally available. Here's everything you need to know
- CitizenRemote - Spain Digital Nomad Visa
- Schengen Visa Info - News - Everything You Need to Know About Spain’s Digital Nomad Visa
Sources last checked on date: 05-May-2023
This publication is provided for general information purposes only and is not intended to cover every aspect of the topics with which it deals. It is not intended to amount to advice on which you should rely. You must obtain professional or specialist advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the content in this publication. The information in this publication does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from Wise Payments Limited or its affiliates. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether express or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.
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