Digital Nomad Visa In Spain

17 February 2023

The long wait for Digital Nomads is over. Sell your house and start packing the kids.

The Digital Nomad Visa for Spain has finally arrived as part of a package of laws to promote Spain's digital transformation for the 21st century.

In a world where our spending power has simply vanished to the demons of rampant inflation, imagine how happy you will be saving 50%+ of your monthly income

Why the Digital Nomad Visa?

Look, we are totally biased Spain-lovers here, but the new Digital Nomad visa is such an obvious mega opportunity for (maybe) millions of recently transitioned-to-remote workers around the world, it's hard not to be over the moon about its arrival and what it means both for all of you new expats as well as the country itself. Note that this visa is part of an ongoing national digital transformation project, one which appears to be both a long road ahead but already delivering big results for Spain.

For a contextual perspective on the salary vs cost of living benefit alone, let's look at the typical digital nomad or teleworker who is making the a good salary as a Project Manager or developer or social media strategist whose found their spending power dwindle down over the last year. Compare Valenica (the number 1 expat destination in the world!) to New York (the gold standard for cost and quality of life around the world):

Consumer Prices in Valencia are 49.9% lower than in New York, NY (without rent)
Consumer Prices Including Rent in Valencia are 63.3% lower than in New York, NY
Rent Prices in Valencia are 77.8% lower than in New York, NY
Restaurant Prices in Valencia are 50.0% lower than in New York, NY
Groceries Prices in Valencia are 55.9% lower than in New York, NY

In a world where our spending power has been simply ravaged by inflation, imagine how happy you will be saving 50%+ of your monthly income (not counting the savings of not requiring vehicle ownership, the radically cheaper health insurance and high quality public schools) while simultaneously settling your family in one of the world's top cities for expats?  The opportunity for the average digital nomad to move to Spain right now simply can't be understated. 

Furthermore, if you're working a North American work schedule, it gets even better because you'll be 6 hours ahead of the East Coast. This means that your work day could start at noon and run until 7pm or 8pm, therefore allowing you to enjoy a proper Spanish evening of dinner with the family or friends, plenty of wine, and properly enjoy the late-night Spanish lifestyle. You'll also be perceived as the new go-getter around the office because everyday your teammates will sign into Slack or Teams and you'll already have a lot of sh!t done. Trust me – this has a bigger impact on your perceived value with your team than you might think. For all of you who might have set up shop in Costa Rica or Thailand or Bali, you know how important it can be to keep your schedule relatively in sync with the mothership.

In case you're wondering about healthcare in Spain, it has some of the highest scores in the world according to Numbeo, only falling behind South Korea.

Is this starting to sound too good to be true? Well, perhaps it is for a few of you, but generally speaking the digital nomad visa is going to be accessible to most. Let's take a look at it.

General requirements and eligibility for Spain's digital nomad visa

Spain finally introduced the new "Digital Nomad Visa Spain" aimed at attracting digital nomads and remote workers as of Jan 1, 2023. Here are the most important things to know:

  1. Eligibility: The visa is available to non-European Union citizens (without a criminal record) who have an existing employment or freelance contract outside of Spain. You must have a degree or three years professional experience, and you'll need to document your ability to work remotely.
  2. Financial Requirements: Applicants must prove that they have a minimum monthly income of €2,518. This calculation includes the new 8% minimum wage bump set to go into effect in 2023.
  3. Duration: The visa is valid for one year and can be renewed for additional periods of one year each up to 5 years (at which point you'd qualify for permanent residency).
  4. Health Insurance: Digital nomads must have health insurance coverage that is valid in Spain for the entire duration of their stay, which is no different than other visas. See our extensive guide to understanding and buying health insurance in Spain or go ahead and request health insurance quotes from our unbiased health insurance quote system.
  5. Taxation: Digital nomads are subject to Spanish taxes on their worldwide income crying, but may be eligible for reduced tax rates of 24%, (note that you may have to either file taxes back home anyway given how double taxation systems and tax residency work, ultimately paying the same total rate. Alternatively you can declare non-resident status if your country allows). 
  6. Application Process: Applications are only accepted locally within Spain at the moment (as of Feb 2023). Foreign consulates are expecting to receive the final requirements and processing instructions by the end of March. If you email the consulates now, they will advise you to wait until end of March.

Given the ongoing rollout of this visa throughout government offices and consulates, some information may change, including the final monthly salary requirements, tax rates the nature of employment required, and the evidential requirements for freelance contracts. 

One thing that's clear is that for so many people who had previously looked at or applied for non-lucrative visas, this visa will be a much better fit. At the same time, if you managed to qualify for and receive an NLV previously and are considering application for the new digital nomad visa (DNV), your employment or freelance qualifications may preclude you from renewing your NLV and/or demonstrate that your non-lucrative visa application was made in bad faith. This may require considerable extra attention, in which case it's best to seek legal or gestorial counsel. 

For everyone else, we've made the application process and bureacracy easy: now selling gestorial services to support your Digital Nomad Visa application over on the Expatriator Gestoria Shop! 

What other requirements are necessary? Not be in Spain illegally at the time of application.

FAQs for "Teleworkers of International Character" i.e., Digital Nomads

The following constitutes the translated version of the FAQs from the UGE-CE (Unidad de Grandes Empresas Colectivos Estrategicos)

Article 74 bis of Law 14/2013

Third-country nationals who travel to Spain to remotely perform labor or professional activity for companies located outside the national territory, using only computer, telematic and telecommunication systems.

Frequently asked questions

What is an international teleworker?

  • An authorized worker to remain in Spain to perform a labor or professional activity from a distance for companies located outside the national territory, using only computer, telematic and telecommunication systems.

Who can obtain authorization as an international teleworker?

  • A national from a third state, of legal age (does not apply to citizens of the European Union or those to whom European Union law applies).

Can a self-employed person be considered an international teleworker?

  • Yes, as long as they can prove a professional relationship with the foreign company for which they work for a minimum of three months and that company authorizes the transfer to Spain.

What other requirements are necessary?

  • Not be in Spain illegally at the time of application.
  • No criminal record in Spain or in the country/countries where they have resided for the five years prior to the application.
  • Have a public or private health insurance policy contracted with an insurance company authorized to operate in Spain.
  • Have sufficient economic resources for themselves and their family members during their period of residence in Spain.

Can they perform other work in Spain?

  • Based on the premise that their work can only be performed exclusively through computer, telematic and telecommunication systems, two scenarios are possible:
    • Employment relationship: In Spain, they can only work for the company located outside the national territory for which they perform the teleworking service.
    • Professional relationship: They can work for a company located in Spain, as long as they maintain the professional relationship with the company for which they request authorization and the percentage of such work with the Spanish company/s is a professional relationship (never employment) and is not more than 20% of their total professional activity.

What absences outside the national territory can an international teleworker accumulate?

  • They can be absent for a maximum of six months per calendar year in order to maintain the requirements for obtaining authorization.

Can family members obtain authorization/visa?

  • Yes, the spouse or person with a similar relationship of affection, minor children or older children who, depending on the holder's economic support, have not established a family unit by themselves and the ascendants in charge, who meet or accompany the foreigners, can jointly and simultaneously or successively apply for authorization and, where applicable, the visa.

Do minimum economic resources need to be demonstrated?

  • Yes, Additional Provision Fourth of Law 14/2013 establishes that residency authorizations allow for residing and working (both self-employed and on behalf of others).

Can family members work in Spain?

  • Yes, if they meet the requirements and obtain authorization.

Continue reading in Visas in Spain