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Viewing posts categorised under: Living in Spain

Spain’s New Digital Nomad Visa

By John Lansley
This article is published on: 19th December 2022


We are familiar with images of people in deckchairs, equipped with a laptop and a cocktail, brilliant blue sky and sparkling sea in the background, happily working in exotic locations – but how realistic a picture is this here in Spain?

The pandemic has seen huge changes in the way many work, with WFH (working from home, or working remotely) becoming a reality for the lucky millions who were able to do so. The choice of returning to your office or continuing to work from your kitchen table may not always have been yours to make, with employers holding differing views about both supervision and the benefits of having colleagues close at hand.

Whatever the case, for some, WFH continues, perhaps only for a few days a week, but for many their employer doesn’t mind where they are located, as long as the job gets done.

Spain has now joined other countries in offering a specific working visa to those who satisfy the requirements. Since Brexit, many from the UK have seen their dream of moving to Spain shattered by the much tougher visa requirements that now apply. I have written before about the Golden and Non-Lucrative Visas, which favour the wealthy retired, but will this new route provide a real opportunity?

The Digital Nomad Visa is part of new legislation that is designed to encourage business start-ups, to try to improve Spain’s attractiveness to entrepreneurs, and which includes reduced levels of tax for individuals and businesses setting up here.

Digital Nomad Visa Spain

Let’s look at what we know about the requirements of the new scheme, due to commence in January 2023

  • Applications will be open to 3rd country nationals (non-EU countries, including the UK)
  • Applicants must work mainly for companies based outside Spain
  • Applicants’ work must be exclusively online or by telephone
  • Applicants must be graduates or postgraduates from a ‘prestigious recognised university or business school’ or have 3 years’ professional experience
  • The applicant must have been working for the same company/ies for at least a year prior to the application
  • The company must have approved remote working
  • Applicants must demonstrate they can do their job online and that they have been doing so for at least 3 months prior to applying
  • The visa will be initially for 1 year, and can be renewed thereafter (renewal should be applied for within 60 days before expiry) for up to 5 years in total

So, in practice, this limits access to the visa to those with good educational qualifications or previous professional experience, and who have already been working remotely.

What don’t we know?

  • There will be a minimum income requirement, as yet unknown, but likely to be similar to the €2,316pm currently applying for a Non-Lucrative Visa
  • Spanish medical insurance might also be required, to ensure the applicant is not a burden on the Spanish healthcare system

However, those lucky enough to qualify will have to be aware that they will in all likelihood become Spanish tax residents, with potential consequences for their employers, tax deductions and national insurance contributions.

But the new digital nomad visa could be a path for you to take if you are keen to move to sunnier climes, experience international work possibilities – carrying only your professional expertise and your laptop, you could be opening the door on a new life!

Moving to Spain is more complicated than ever before, but this new opportunity may help you do so. Obtaining professional help with visas, tax planning, buying a home and investment possibilities is essential, and my colleagues and I will be happy to help, and introduce you to trusted professional partners where appropriate.

Living in Spain after BREXIT

By Chris Burke
This article is published on: 26th July 2022


In this months regular article I’ll be discussing three main concerns I’ve heard from clients recently:

  • Changes to UK driving licenses in Spain
  • Living in Spain after Brexit, managing your personal finances
  • 18 months on from Brexit in Spain – What has changed / what do you need to do to move here?

Changes to UK Driving Licenses (When Living in Spain)
Up until the end of 2020, British driving licenses were valid in Spain. Furthermore, Brits were able to exchange their British Driving License for a Spanish one up until 31/12/20. From this date onwards, Brits residing in Spain prior to this have not been able to exchange their British driving licenses for a Spanish one.

For those residents who failed to meet the Spanish deadline to exchange their licences for a Spanish one, they currently (as of 08/07/22) cannot drive on their UK licence – this does not apply to holidaymakers hiring a car. The Spanish Government has already issued four extensions to the ‘grace period’, allowing Brits to still drive using their UK license. The grace period ended on 30/04/22.

Hugh Elliot, the British Ambassador to Spain and Andorra, issued an update on Twitter stating that they were working on a resolution to this. The belief is that they are hoping to secure a deal, similar to the UK’s deal with France, Sweden and many other European countries, in which UK Driving Licenses can be swapped for the license of that country (providing that the individual is resident).

According to SpanishNewsToday, the proposed deal would allow Brits living in Spain to swap their UK driving licenses for a Spanish one for an additional period of six months. The deal would also see UK Driving Licenses valid for a further six months. If this proves to be the case and you have not yet exchanged your license, I would recommend that you seize this opportunity.

Spain and Italy are the only EU countries in which Driving License exchange conversations are ongoing.

spanish tax

Financial Matters for Brits living in Spain after Brexit
From a tax perspective, for Brits living in Spain before Brexit there should not be a change as it is highly likely that you were a tax resident prior. Being a tax resident in Spain means that ‘your centre of economic or vital interests is in Spain’. As a result, if this is the case you must declare your wealth and worldwide income accordingly.

However, what has changed is the Private Pension agreement in relation to the Wealth Tax. In 2019, a ruling by Spain’s Directorate-General for Tax declared that Private Pensions from non-EU states are now eligible for Wealth Tax. Please read this article on Wealth Tax to find out more about it.

Furthermore, it is now more important than ever that Brits ensure that their finances are managed correctly. From 2021 onwards, Financial Advisers based in the UK are no longer permitted to advise clients based within the EU. The same situation applies to UK based banks, investment and insurance companies and stockbrokers.

If you are still using a UK-based financial adviser or service whilst a resident of Spain, they may well be breaking the law whilst servicing you. This could still be the case even if you only engage with them when returning to the UK to visit, providing that you are a resident of Spain. Furthermore, their professional indemnity insurance may not cover you. This may leave you vulnerable if you were to receive poor advice.

Living in Spain after Brexit

18 months on from Brexit in Spain – What has changed?
We are now over a year on from the end of the Brexit Transition Period (31/12/2020). Whilst British Expats in Spain continue to enjoy their life as it was before the Brexit, overall things are a little more complex than they once were. It’s important to understand these changes – some are more complex than others.

For Brits wanting to move to Spain in 2022, although it is far from impossible, the changes imposed have made this more complex. The door has not closed, however, it is important to seek clarification from experts who are aware of the legislation and will be best suited to providing you with available options.

Many Brits in Spain have experienced frequent ‘run of the mill’ changes to their lives in Spain compared to before Brexit. Whether this be extended queues when going through passport control, taxes on imports or companies no longer shipping to EU customers, most British people in Spain will have been effected at least in a minor way. However, there are bigger issues which people need to be aware of.

Living in Spain after Brexit

90 Day Travel Rule
To summarise, unless you are a Spanish resident or have a visa you can no longer spend more than 90 days in Spain in a rolling 180-day period. This rule has particularly affected Brits who have holiday homes in Spain and used to come and go as they please. Now, it is important to plan your trips to Spain throughout the year to ensure that this 90 in 180-day rule is not broken. Furthermore, this rule does not only apply to Spain. It applies to everyone country in the Schengen Zone.

Brits who are non-residents must also now get their passports stamped as they enter and exit Spain. However, this is a temporary procedure. The EU are working on the European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS), which is set to come in to force towards the end of 2022. This system will allow for the electronic tracking or arrivals and departures.

Spanish Residency Permits – Green Card and TIE
Those who were resident in Spain before the Brexit will keep their Spanish citizens’ rights. They should have the old green NIE card or a new TIE. The TIE, also known as the ‘Tarjeta de Identidad de Extranjero’ in Spanish, should state on it ‘Articulo 50’, meaning that it was issued as part of the Brexit Withdrawal agreement.

Although according to Spanish Law the green card remains valid, Brits have been encouraged to change it. Certain authorities have been said to no longer accept this card as suitable verification. Furthermore, the TIE is far more durable, can simplify administrative processes and acts as a valid form of ID as it contains a photo. In Spain, the law is that you must carry a form of ID when outside of your home. The TIE is allowable whereas the NIE ‘green card’ is not.

Spanish Residency Permits – Post-Brexit Arrivals
There are several ways in which you could apply for a residency permit post Brexit. However, although far from impossible, it must be said that this process is significantly more complicated than if you had arrived pre-Brexit. Working visas have proved challenging to obtain and, depending on your individual circumstance, sponsorship may be required.

If you are retired, you may be able to apply for a Non-Lucrative Visa and Residency Permit. To qualify, you must prove that you are financially stable (with sufficient resources to support yourself moving forward) and have suitable medical insurance along with a clean police record. It is also imperative that you go through the application process in the UK, before arriving in Spain.

Another option is the Golden Visa. You must invest a minimum of €500,000 into a qualifying investment scheme or property. If you were the obtain the Golden Visa, you would not need to abide by the 90 in 180-day rule and you could enter and exit Spain as you please. Please note that this does not give you freedom of movement around Europe, but only in Spain.

If you would like to speak with a Financial Adviser in Spain, Chris Burke is experienced, qualified and legally able to discuss your financial matters. Chris is also able to review your current pensions, investments and other assets, with the potential to make them more effective and tax efficient moving forward.

If you would like to find out more or to talk through your situation and receive expert, factual advice about living in Spain after Brexit, don’t hesitate to get in touch with Chris via the form below – or click the button below to make a direct virtual appointment here.

Working Life vs Life Savings When Living in Spain

By Barry Davys
This article is published on: 11th October 2021


Having worked hard for our money it is often the case that we forget to look after it with the same dedication as we put into our professions or businesses. We spend 40 hours plus a week (plus, plus if you run a business) working, but how much time do we spend on looking after the money we have spent all that time earning? The answer for most of us is “very little”.

Who’s this for?
This article is for all British people who live in Spain.
Work Life vs Life Savings. How we should apply our work life process to our life savings.
Why to read this article?
With a simple comparison between your work life and your “savings life” you will gain understanding on how to better look after your savings. The article even provides a solution at the end to help you implement these ideas.
Your commitment
Taking the time to read the article and requesting an initial telephone or Zoom meeting. if you want help for your specific situation.

The reasons are many fold from having a love of “things” instead of savings and security. Social and peer pressure adds to the need to buy the latest iPhone, for example. We might not understand investments so do not spend time exploring the options. We might think our savings are just put away for a rainy day and not realise that they can be used to provide us with a feeling of security because they can also provide us with lifelong income.

The reason for our lack of attention, in part, is that there is no structure in place to make sure we do give the right amount of time to our money and savings. When we are at work we have a structure, a place you go to, probably training for the job, a boss, a company mission, company values, a product line which is specific and customers who keep you on your toes. The better we get at the job the more likely we are to get a promotion.

Don’t worry. I am not suggesting you spend another 40 hours a week on top of working to look after your savings. What will make a difference, though, is if we apply these work elements to our savings.

Structure – perhaps as simple as saving regularly, or perhaps using savings type where tax is not paid whilst your money grows. Using a cashflow model to see what your financial future looks like.

A place to go – more difficult but if you have an adviser go to his/her office to discuss your situation and your requirements.

Training – there are many good books on looking after your savings. You will notice that the best concentrate on your approach to money and the process of making it grow. Not on an “investment product”. Always start with your plan and then fit the products into your plan. Do not buy a product and then wonder why you have it. This is not as easy as we might think because the adverts for financial services are mostly offering products.

A boss – if you have an adviser you become the boss and the adviser becomes your employee. If this is not the case, get a new adviser!

Mission and values – have a list of requirements for your savings, investments and pensions. It may be that you have chosen a set date to retire or how much to leave the children or many, many more objectives. Your values may include making your money grow without causing harm to the environment.

Product line – emotions guide what you want from your money but make your decisions on how to achieve that based on data. Recognise that you should build your planning on emotion and implement the plan based on data. Your work company has a limited number of products. In Europe alone we have 16,000 different possibilities in just one investment class. Even if you have a really good knowledge of how investments work you still need help with sorting the data on 16,000 options. Use an adviser with tools to analyse that data on your behalf and to give you guidance on what will best fit your plan.

Customers who keep you on your toes – the customers who will keep you on your toes for your savings are interest rates, markets, tax, rules and regulation. All of these “customers” change their minds. A very good recent example is in the markets, with the S&P 500 index of US shares from the start of Covid:

  • 9th February 2020 – 3,380.16
  • 15th March 2020 – 2304.92 (31.8% change)
  • 12th April 2020 – 2874.56 (24.7% back up)
  • 7th October 2021 – 4399.76%

*Source New York Stock Exchange

Of course this is an extreme example, but it does illustrate how you or your adviser needs to pay attention.

For those of us living in Spain we have to add in the additional issues of a tax system in the UK and a tax system in Spain. Exchange rates are another factor we need to consider.

If you would like to be the boss of your savings with an adviser who can guide you for building your plan and then use data to best work out how to implement your plan, myself and our team at the Spectrum IFA Group are here to help. With software systems for cashflow planning, an investment panel for reviewing investments, clear understanding of both UK and Spanish tax systems and ongoing support, all given in English by an adviser who lives in Spain.

For an initial call to find out more, choose a time for a phone call or Zoom meeting that is convenient for you with this link: initial telephone or Zoom meeting.

I look forward to converting our expertise and systems into easy to understand ways for you to make your plans become a reality.

External research
The better we get at the job the more likely we are to get a promotion.

Vanguard, the $7 trillion dollar fund management company, has conducted extensive analysis of the benefit of using a financial adviser. Here are some of the key findings:

People with financial advisers average a 3% better investment return.

Advisers often find ways of saving clients tax on their investments.

Some of the best opportunities to add value occur during market duress or euphoria when clients are tempted to abandon their well thought out investment plans.

One of the most important benefits is to give clients peace of mind