As more and more of us work remotely, the digital nomad lifestyle is growing in popularity. If you’re able to work remotely from anywhere in the world, Spain may be a natural pick — for a great climate, friendly people, relatively low cost of living, and a choice of beautiful destinations to explore.
Even better — in 2021, the Spanish government announced new laws which open the possibility of getting a remote worker visa for Spain.
If you’re considering a move to Spain read on for all we know so far about the Spain digital nomad visa requirements, process and costs. We’ll also touch on how the Wise Account can help you manage your money across currencies, with lower fees and the mid-market exchange rate.
Up until now there’s not been a specific digital nomad visa for Spain. However, the Spanish Startups law¹, announced in late 2021 covers the creation of a digital nomad visa for non-EU citizens, which is expected to be available anytime now.
The final plans for this visa are still being prepared, so there’s a limit to what we know so far. However, the reported requirements suggest the visa will be offered for up to 5 years, with preferential tax and the option to bring family members along. This guide covers all we know up until now — keep looking out for more as the full details of this visa are expected soon.
It’s also helpful to know that Spain is part of the Schengen Area, which means US citizens can enter for up to 90 days for tourism or business, visa free². From November 2023 you’ll be required to get a visa waiver — known as an ETIAS³ — to enter the country under this agreement, which can be arranged online.
As the Spanish digital nomad visa law and process hasn’t been fully announced yet, the exact step by step process for getting a visa is unknown.
However, based on the information released so far, as well as the digital nomad visas which have been issued in other EU countries, likely requirements are reported to be⁴:
The digital nomad visa for Spain is expected to cover anyone from outside the EU, working remotely and earning the majority of their income from companies outside of Spain.
It may also be extended to Spanish citizens who have been non-resident in Spain for 5 years, to allow Spaniards who have left the country to return with preferential tax rates.
Based on what we’ve seen in other countries in the EU, the chances are that there will be a minimum income requirement, so you’ll need to prove either you hold sufficient funds to support yourself, or you have been consistently earning enough to get by.
The good news is that the cost of living in Spain is relatively low, meaning this income requirement is likely to be set at an achievable level for many digital nomads.
It’s expected that the Spain remote worker visa will be valid for 5 years.
The application process for the Spanish digital nomad visa is not yet available. However, the expectation is that you’ll be able to apply on arrival in Spain, and once you’ve got a Spanish residence set up.
The Spanish government legislation which covers this visa is aimed at making it easier to do business in the country, streamlining processes and cutting through unnecessary bureaucracy.
That means that there’s a good chance that applying for the remote work visa for Spain will end up being a fairly straightforward process you can get sorted online.
As with any visa application process, there’s likely to be a fee to apply for the Spanish digital nomad visa. However, the exact fee hasn’t yet been announced. Other costs may also end up applying to the application process, such as:
- Criminal record check fees
- Translation or legal fees if your documents aren’t in an accepted language
Once you’ve got your visa all set up, though, there are likely to be fairly favorable tax conditions applied on your remote income. The suggestion at this point is that the tax applied is likely to be as low as 15%, compared to the normal 25% base rate.
Other costs worth considering while you’re planning your budget include medical insurance — which may be made mandatory for digital workers, depending on the government’s plans.
You’ll also need to plan for the costs of travel, getting set up with a place to live, and currency conversion. More on how you could lower the costs of living across currencies, next.
If you love to move between countries as a digital nomad, or if you get paid in foreign currencies from clients based overseas, you could be better off with the Wise Account and card.
Open a Wise Account easily online and you’ll get local bank details for up to 10 currencies, to get paid from 30+ countries fee free. Use your account to hold and exchange 50+ currencies, with the mid-market exchange rate and low, transparent fees, and apply for a Wise international debit card for a one time low fee, to spend in 170+ countries around the world.
Make it easier, cheaper and faster to hold, exchange, send, spend and receive payments around the world, with Wise.
No. You cannot usually work locally in Spain with a tourist visa, although depending on how long you’re there you may be able to do some limited volunteer or remote work.
Although Spain is part of the Schengen Area, if you’re planning on working in Spain you’ll need to check which visa or permit type you need before you travel, to make sure you stay on the right side of the law.
There are a few different options available for US citizens, including working holiday visas, which means you should be able to find a visa to cover your planned activities even before the Spanish digital nomad visa arrives.
Spain has a great range of places to choose from, depending on whether you’re looking for a coastal hideaway or a buzzing city experience. Here are a few top picks to consider:
If you’re looking for an exciting city, with beautiful beaches when you want to relax after work then Barcelona might be the one for you.
Barcelona isn’t necessarily a budget option — rental prices can be on the high side compared to quieter locations like the Spanish Canary Islands⁵, but it does offer great international connections, a large expat community and plenty to do.
Down on the Mediterranean coast, Alicante is another area with a large and established expat community if you’re looking for easy ways to connect with others when you arrive in Spain.
Alicante has a historic center, but plenty of modern shopping and nightlife options — and a lovely climate year round. In fact there’s hardly ever a rainy day there — perfect if you love an outdoor lifestyle.
Seville is a city of romance, home of tapas, and also offers relatively low costs for rent compared to cities like Madrid⁶ — one of the biggest outlays when living as a digital nomad.
Learn about bullfighting and flamenco, explore the history of the city and take in the sights — Seville really is beautiful, no matter what you enjoy doing in your downtime.
If you’re happy to think beyond the Spanish Mainland, Las Palmas in Gran Canaria could be a good fit, with a climate that draws in tourists from all over the world, and relatively low costs of living.
Your rent here could be almost half what you’d pay in Barcelona for example, and you’ll still get to relax on the beach. Las Palmas has over a mile of beachfront, and a sea you’ll want to swim in.
Our final pick for places to live as a digital nomad has to be Madrid. Madrid is the country’s capital, and the biggest city in Spain, but whether you’re into art and history, getting outdoors, or kicking back and watching soccer, you’ll find something to love there.
With great connections all around the world, Madrid is a practical place to be as a digital nomad, allowing you to get back home or explore further into Europe as and when you want to.
So now you have it — all there is to know about the Spanish digital nomad visa which is expected to arrive on the scene shortly.
Get planning your trip so you’re ready to head off as soon as the details drop — and don’t forget to check out the Wise Account and card as the perfect way to manage your money as a digital nomad.
- Startups Law
- US Department of State - Spain country information
- Guardian- Spain digital nomad visa
- Numbeo - Barcelona vs Las PalmaS
- Numbeo - Seville vs Madrid
Sources checked on 10.11.2022
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 TransferWise 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.
One important decision, if you’re moving to Spain with family, is how to ensure that your children have the best possible education. As an expat family, you...
Keeping track of holidays in Spain can be an undertaking. The country only has a small handful of official, nationwide public holidays, but each region of...
Spain is a very popular expat destination. Every year, many people choose Spain as a perfect place to live, study, work or retire abroad. There’s a lot on...
With its incredible history, breathtaking views, welcoming locals, and distinctive cuisine, Spain can be a perfect destination for you and your fiancé(e) to...
Moving to a new country may be a huge undertaking, but there are a lot of great reasons to do it. Whether you’re starting a new job, studying abroad,...
The idea of living in Spain is a dream of many; zipping along the southern coast, stopping for paella and a sip of wine, enjoying Gaudi’s surreal architecture...