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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.

Article by John Lansley

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