Spain approves a digital nomad visa for professionals looking to work remotely

Digital Nomad - Credit Akin Ozcan /

Spain approved a digital nomad visa on December 1 as part of new legislation designed to encourage entrepreneurship and the start-up of new businesses in the country.

The long-awaited legislation permits those who are self-employed or whose companies allow them to work remotely, to be employed in one country but to reside in another.

Who is the legislation aimed at?

The new rules are specifically aimed at enticing those whose jobs allow them to work remotely and from anywhere in the world, and who are able to change their country of residence regularly. More specifically three types of workers are being targeted:

  • Digital nomads – those who earn a living online but not necessarily in the country in which they reside
  • Foreigners that are employed by a company outside of Spain but who are able to work remotely
  • Foreigners working for a foreign company in Spain and in particular the audio-visual sector

Who can apply for a digital nomad visa?

Individuals from most countries can apply (you would need to check with your local Spanish embassy) provided they:

  • can provide proof they are employed by one or more companies outside of Spain,
  • are highly qualified professionals either with a degree or post-graduate degree. That needs to be supported by either professional training or certification from a business school or professional body.
  • Have a minimum of three years of related professional work experience.

Furthermore, applicants will need to demonstrate:

  • that there is a very real likelihood that the work will continue for at least one year,
  • income of at least 80 per cent from companies based outside of Spain,
  • authorisation from their employer to work remotely, that is internationally,
  • as aself-employed individual, they are free to work anywhere in the world.

How long is the visa valid?

The digital nomad visa allows individuals to live and work in Spain for one year, with the possibility of renewal for a further two more years provided the visa requirements continue to be met. 

When will the visa become available?

The legislation was approved on December 1, however, the full details have yet to be released including from when the visa will become available. The expectation is that individuals will be able to apply from early January 2023.

Will I have to pay taxes in Spain?

The simple answer to this is yea, however, a specific non-resident tax regime is being implanted that will see holders of digital nomad visas paying a lower flat rate. Full details have yet to be made available but initial indications are that the rate will be 15 per cent.

Can I bring my family?

Yes, your family will be able to accompany you under your digital nomad visa, however, this may not entitle them to work in Spain.

Questions remain

With the full legislation yet to be published, some questions remain regarding the rights and obligations of those who take up the visa. Among the questions that still have to be clarified are:

  • Will holders of digital nomad visas be required to pay social taxes in Spain? These taxes allow those that pay to access government services including health.
  • Will children be allowed to accompany holders and will they be entitled to attend school in Spain?
  • If a spouse accompanies the visa holder, will they be able to work in Spain or will they also have to acquire work from a company outside of Spain?

The approval by Spain of a digital nomad visa for professionals is an attractive option for those looking to escape the country in which they are residents and combine work with tourism.

We await the full and final details of the scheme.

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Written by

Peter McLaren-Kennedy

Originally from South Africa, Peter is based on the Costa Blanca and is a web reporter for the Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at [email protected]