The Roadmap to Spain Digital Nomad Visa

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Spain wants to improve its global investment and talent base and boost its credentials as a global business hub. Therefore, the Spanish parliament is looking to piggyback on the Digital Nomad Visa idea.
In other words, under the recently introduced StartUp Act, Spain will launch a brand new digital nomad visa designed to attract people working remotely for foreign countries.
Due to the recent global pandemic, many people have become Digital Nomads. The Spain Digital Nomad Visa might interest you if you are one of the many people in this category.
This article will outline the requirements for the Digital Nomad Visa, how long the visa will last, who can apply, and other important facts about the visa. So, as soon as it launches, you can kick the ball rolling.

Spain Digital Nomad Visa: Facts and Figures

The Startup Act is the new law responsible for creating room for the digital nomad visa. As of 2022, the Startup Act is still in the draft stage. The Spanish Council of Ministers has submitted the draft copy to the Spain parliament. Once the Act is implemented, the Digital Nomad Visa will kick off into action. Remote workers interested in the visa will then be able to apply.
However, from the draft so far, we can present the following facts:
  • The Digital Nomad Visa will be available to the following persons: entrepreneurs, remote workers, and freelancers. It will be available for foreign professionals too - they will also be able to apply for the Digital Nomad Visa in Spain.
  • The visa holder will be restricted to work only on jobs that can be completed remotely. That's why one of the requirements for the visa will be your ability to prove that you're a Nomad, that you work remotely, and that you're only looking to reside and work from Spain.
  • EU citizens will not be able to apply for the visa as the draft states that it's only available to Non-EU citizens. The expected minimum income requirement to apply for the Digital Nomad Visa is between EUR 1,000 and 3,000.
  • By estimation, it will take about 15 to 30 days to obtain the digital nomad visa. Also, within 30 days upon arrival, you'll need to register with the local authorities. You will be able to renew after the first issue.

The major advantage of the visa opportunity is that it makes temporary relocation possible for nomads, freelancers, and every other person eligible for a visa.

When Will the Digital Nomad Visa for Spain Be Launched?

As of 2022, Spain is yet to launch the Digital Nomad visa. However, the Startup Law, the backbone of the visa launch, is currently in review. But, the visa itself is currently pending approval.
We are yet to know the launch date. However, there are speculations that it could be launched in September 2022. Now that we are closer to the date and there are no indications of launching the visa, speculations are that it will happen towards the end of the year.
While there's nothing wrong with speculating, we know these things take time, especially for a special visa type such as the Digital Nomad. It requires that all legal aspects get reviewed and rolled out. Once that's done, the visa will be available to the public.

Who Can Apply for the Spanish Digital Nomad Visa?

From the current legal framework outlook, those who can apply for the Digital Nomad Visa are remote workers from all the third countries, that is, non-EU citizens (if you happen to have an EU/EEA/Swiss passport, you have the right to live and work in Spain without obtaining a Spanish visa).
However, there are some government eligibility requirements for the digital nomad visas these workers must meet.
The basic requirements are:
  • They are employed to work remotely by a non-Spanish company.
  • Their income is at least 20% lower than they would have earned if they worked for a Spanish company.

Unfortunately, citizens from the Economic European Union (EEA), the European Union (EU), and the Schengen Area are not qualified to get a Spain Digital Nomad Visa. However, you can work for 6 months in Spain without needing to meet any other criteria.
And, if you happen to live in the U.S. and you’re planning to come to any of the countries in the Schengen Zone, it may be useful to get familiar with the requirements for American citizens.

Digital Nomad Visa for Spain: The Requirements

Based on the drafted information we have so far, we can ascertain some requirements that get you qualified for the Digital Nomad Visa. But, because the visa is yet to be launched, it's important to note that the requirements may change upon launching.
However, as it stands, the requirements for the Spain nomad visa include:
  • You must be a remote worker (that is, you can work independently of your location).
  • You can complete your work demands and responsibilities using communication and information technology tools such as laptops, Wi-Fi, and others.
  • You have the means to meet the financial requirements as demanded and laid out by the Spanish government; this can be between €1,000 to €3,000.
  • You will only be allowed to work for a company outside of Spain. In other words, the company you work for must not be registered in Spain.

How to Apply for a Nomad Visa in Spain?

We can't say yet what the exact process of applying for the Digital Nomad Visa will be. However, it should be quite simple, judging from the process of applying for other visas. Certainly, it would involve you gathering all the required documents, submitting them when applying, and likely appearing at one of the Spanish Embassy or Consulates in your home country for an interview, then waiting for feedback from the embassy.

Necessary Documents for Acquiring the Visa

The most important thing in applying for the digital nomad visa is to prove that you indeed are a digital nomad and genuinely interested in working remotely from Spain.
Therefore, you'll need to meet the requirements stated above (and the ones the government may add later). You'll need to submit some documents proving that you are a digital nomad. Such documents include, but are not limited to:
  • An employment contract (from a company not registered in Spain),
  • A letter from your employer,
  • Proof of accommodation for the duration of your stay,
  • Bank account statements proving your financial sufficiency,
  • A letter declaring that you plan to work remotely from Spain, and so on.

Other commonly known documents include international passports, travel insurance, visa application form, etc.
You will need to watch out for other needed documents, as will be announced upon the launch of the visa.

How Long Is a Digital Nomad Visa for Spain Valid For?

While there is a debate about how long a digital nomad can stay in Spain under the nomad visa, we found something in the Startup Act draft law stating that:
Upon welcoming digital nomads, remote workers, and entrepreneurs under digital nomad visas, these individuals will have the option of working and residing in Spain for 5 years. They will be eligible for a special tax regime, paying the Non-resident income tax. You can check to confirm here: The draft Startup Law.
Therefore, judging from the above statement, it’s safe to assume that the digital nomad visa for Spain will be valid for 5 years.

Will the Digital Nomads in Spain Be Required to Pay Taxes?

From the Startup Act draft law, we can deduce that foreign nationals working in Spain under the Digital Nomad visa will pay a non-resident income tax. From what we know so far:

Non-Resident Income Tax

Foreign individuals who live and work in Spain will be subject to the Spanish personal income tax. In other words, non-resident income earners are obligated to pay a tax of 25% on every income generated in the Spanish territory.

First 4 Years: Tax Reduction

The general non-resident income tax rate in Spain is 25%. However, to attract talents back to Spain, nomads in Spain will get a tax reduction from 25% to 15% for the first 4 years of working and living in Spain after taxable income is first recorded.

Tax Payable After 2 Years

The draft also clearly states that the non-resident income tax payment can be deferred for 2 years after the first taxable income is recorded.
The moratorium is without late payment interest or additional payment. In other words, non-resident income tax is eliminated for nomads in Spain for the first 2 years.
However, after the 2 years waiver, you’ll only have 6 months to pay your non-resident income tax arrears.

Incentives and Tax Benefits for the Startups

Aside from the benefits of settlement and access to the basic amenities in Spain, such that it's easy for you to deliver and complete your responsibilities as a nomad, the Spanish digital nomad visa program offers a raft of additional benefits, especially the tax-related ones.
Digital nomads will only pay about half the tax percentage of the average company tax rate. Startups under this visa will only pay 15% tax and a 2 years waiver.
Startups also get incentivized stock options usage as remuneration. The exemption in this income type case caused a raise from €12,000 to €50,000 annually.
There's also a streamlined company formation process, and the maximum cap deductible for investment in companies or startups was raised to €100,000 in comparison to the generally known €60,000.

Benefits of Living and Working in Spain as a Digital Nomad

Aside from tax benefits, are there any other benefits? Why exactly should a nomad consider Spain as the next work destination?
Quick research shows that Spain is, in fact, an attractive location for nomads and entrepreneurs whose work accommodates remote working. Spain has excellent internet connectivity, great weather, affordable cost of living, and many other features that make it great for nomads.
Some other perks of becoming a digital nomad in Spain include:
  • Excellent work and life balance.
  • Flexible workspace to boost productivity.
  • Networking opportunities.
  • It's less stressful.
  • Flexible working schedule.
  • Taste delicious and authentic food.
  • Generate income as you enjoy many fascinating places.

Mobile Connectivity

You can rest assured as mobile connectivity in Spain is pretty good. The average mobile connection speed with access to a 4G network is 6.4Mbps. This aspect is one you need not worry about. That's why it's a great idea to work from home in Spain and not necessarily from an office.

Free Wi-Fi Connectivity

Most residents of Spain have access to a broadband connection, and the internet speed is generally very good. Besides, most restaurants, bars, cafes, and public places have free Wi-Fi.

The Cost of Living in Spain

This aspect solely depends on your lifestyle, regardless of where you live. However, living in Spain might make things easier compared to other countries.
You will need to have a regular source of income and manage your expenses judiciously to get the best results.
Living in the city is more expensive - this same principle applies worldwide. So, consider living in the city outskirts. That's one way you can reduce your costs.

Limitations of Being a Digital Nomad in Spain

Alongside the benefits of being a remote worker in Spain, there are also limitations. The downsides include:
  • The high cost of living in high-end cities like Barcelona causes many to live on the city outskirts.
  • Finding public transportation can be challenging, especially if you live on the city outskirts.
  • The language barrier is a problem because the most spoken language is Spanish. However, you will be able to survive if you have basic knowledge of the English language, as most Europeans speak English.

Top Five Best Locations for Digital Nomads in Spain

Deciding where to live in Spain after you get your Spain digital nomad visa is crucial. Spain boasts several cities with impressive coastline and mountainous landscapes. With its many fascinating and historical landmarks, where exactly are the best places to live as a nomad?
  • 1. Madrid
The capital city of Spain. The city gives you proximity to the best facilities Spain has to offer. A nomad needs parks, restaurants, malls, airports, workspace, and Madrid won’t disappoint.
  • 2. Barcelona
Barcelona boasts bustling nightlife because of its beaches and incredible architecture. It offers numerous opportunities for remote workers as well as awesome food options.
  • 3. Valencia
The third largest city in Spain offers awesome food culture and historic landmarks. The best place for coworking spaces is why remote workers love this city.
  • 4. Seville
Seville is a very affordable city compared to the other parts of the country. Therefore, consider Seville if you're concerned about the cost of living. You'll find several other remote workers comfortably living in the city.
  • 5. Cordoba
A city with pleasant weather conditions, the kind that fosters outdoor activities and is conducive enough for remote workers. It offers flexible coworking spaces for digital nomads.

Essential Tips for a Spanish Digital Nomad

By now, you would have understood why it's not a bad idea to jump on the Spain digital nomad visa as soon as it is launched. There are several benefits it has to offer. However, it isn't without its challenges, as discussed above. To get the best of the deal, you might want to:
  • Find a destination with an existing digital nomad community.
  • Do a lot of research and be knowledgeable on everything about Spain.
  • Decide on the most suitable banks and credit cards to use.
  • Learn some Spanish before settling there so you can easily communicate with locals.
Regarding working remotely:
  • Decide on how you will generate stable income while in Spain.
  • Tour places in turns (plan properly) and don't rush to explore all the destinations.
  • Make a clearly defined boundary between your work and travel life.
  • Get travel insurance to cover you in case of a crisis.
Written by: Fikayomi Abisola
Abisola is an ETIAS Travel and Immigration writer with several years of writing experience in the industry. Abisola has a unique enthusiasm for travels, tours, and tourism and loves to educate travellers about the criteria involved in international travelling.

FAQ

  • Does Spain offer a digital nomad visa?

    There are plans to launch the digital nomad visa in Spain. However, the visa is yet to be available to the public at the time of writing this. Speculations are that the visa will be available to the public by 2022.
  • Can I use a Spanish tourist visa to work remotely?

    Unlike most countries, Spain does not allow foreigners in the country on a tourist visa to work. Even as a remote worker, you won't be able to work with a tourist visa; that's why the country is working to introduce the digital nomad visa.
  • Can I work remotely in Spain on a student visa?

    Yes, you can work remotely in Spain under the student visa program. However, the work you can do is limited to what your study program can accommodate. That's why the regulation states that you must apply for a work permit with the Foreigners office (Oficina de Extranjeros) in Spain before you can work remotely.

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