Spanish legal advice in plain English

The Legal Guide to the Digital Nomad Visa Spain

Working from your laptop and your mobile phone in Spain is now a reality for UK nationals who, because of the UK’s exit from the European Union, found it difficult to fit into one of the categories previously available to those wanting to work in Spain.

You will have read about becoming a digital nomad, which is the term that is commonly used in the media and online, but technically you apply to become an international remote worker (in Spanish, a “teletrabajador de carácter internacional”).

Requirements for the Spanish Digital Nomad Visa

In order to work in Spain as a digital nomad, you need either to work for a foreign company or invoice a foreign company, as well as complying with the following requirements:

  • You need to prove that you have a commercial or employment relationship with a foreign company of at least three months’ duration. To comply with this requirement you will need to provide documentary evidence.
     
  • You need to prove that the company that employs you, or which you invoice, has been in business for at least one year. To comply with this requirement you will need to provide documentary evidence. We can help with that.
     
  • You need to prove that the company that employs you, or which you invoice, authorises you to work from Spain remotely. The company will also need to confirm the nature of the work that you will carry out, as well as the conditions of your employment or the contract between you and the company, including levels of remuneration. To comply with this requirement you will need to produce a letter signed by the company. We can help with the format and content of the letter and the way in which the letter will need to be executed in order to be accepted by the Spanish authorities.
  • You need to prove that you are qualified to carry out the work in question. To comply with this requirement you will need to provide documentary evidence of your qualifications.
     
  • You need to prove that you do not have any previous convictions in the UK or anywhere you have lived for the previous two years, which in the UK means obtaining an ACRO, which is straightforward, as you can see here: 
    https://www.acro.police.uk/Police-Certificates-Online
    You will also need to declare that you have not been convicted of any offence anywhere in the previous five years.
     
  • You will need to prove that you have health insurance in place, which will cover you comprehensively in Spain. That said, once you are registered with social security you ought not to need that policy, as you will have access to Spanish public healthcare, which is generally excellent.
     
  • You will need to prove that you have an amount of money in a bank account, which is a monthly amount equalling 200% of the “Salario Mínimo Interprofesional” (SMI), currently €1,080.  Hence, the total monthly total is €2,160 and so the annual minimum is €25,920.  If you will be accompanied by another person who will depend on you for their financial maintenance, then an amount equal to a further 75% of the SMI needs to be shown.  In respect of each subsequent financial dependent a further 25% of the SMI needs to be shown.  

If you are currently working as a freelance contractor for a company or companies outside of Spain, you can continue to invoice the same company or companies from Spain. Hence, you will be working as a freelancer (in Spain you will be considered to be working for yourself, “por cuenta propia”, also known as “autónomo”) and so you will need to register for social security, as to which please see further below.

If you are employed by a company outside of Spain, or if you are employed by your own company registered outside of Spain, which in turn submits invoices for the work that you do, then the company that employs you would need to register for social security in Spain.  We can provide you or your company with advice and assistance in relation to registering for social security in Spain, as well as with the preparation and submission of returns and making the corresponding payments on your behalf.

Living and Working in Spain

In terms of applying for permission to live and work in Spain, there are two options. You can apply from outside of Spain or from within Spain. If you apply from outside of Spain then the application will be made to the Spanish Consulate General. We recommend that you apply from within Spain, as it is far more straightforward.

If you are to apply from inside Spain, we will complete a form to be submitted on your behalf to the Ministry of Inclusion, Social Security and Migration and we will submit all of the documentation that you will have obtained according to the requirements, as set out above.

You will apply for permission to work in Spain as an international remote worker (in Spanish, a “teletrabajador de carácter internacional”) for three years, extendable for a further two years.

Applying for a Digital Nomad Visa

We will submit the form via the Spanish government website, which we can access.

The fee to be paid is €73.26 and a further €78.67 when you extend your permission for a further two years.

You ought to receive a response within four weeks, that is 20 working days. Once you receive a favourable response we will arrange for you to attend at a police station in Spain close to where you will live, in order to obtain a Tarjeta de Identidad de Extranjero (foreigner’s identity card), or TIE.

We will then be able to register you with the Spanish tax agency, the Spanish HMRC equivalent (in Spanish the Agencia Estatal de Administración Tributaria, or AEAT). We will apply for you to pay income tax according to the special regime for those working temporarily in Spain, such as international remote workers. It is temporary because the permission lasts for five years, further to which your tax status will change, if you remain in Spain.

Health and pension benefits

Once you are registered with the AEAT, we can register you with social security (Instituto Nacional de la Seguridad Social). Please note that you will pay a minimum monthly amount, which will depend on your income.  Those earning between €2,030 and €2,330 per month will pay a minimum of €326.27 to the Seguridad Social; those earning between €3,620 and €4,050 per month will pay a minimum of €397.65 to the Seguridad Social.  That payment will cover you for medical treatment and a proportion of it will relate to pension benefits, although the more you pay, the greater your pension benefits will be.  The minimum amount payable will be reduced to €80 for the first year (no matter how much you earn), but it will rise to the higher minimum rate after the first year.  If your income is more than €6,001 per month, the minimum monthly payment to the Seguridad Social will be €509.80.

You will need to present quarterly returns to the AEAT. IVA (VAT) will be exempt in respect of invoices relating to work carried out outside of the EU, but you will need to submit quarterly returns nevertheless. You will not need to retain any amounts on account of tax payable by the company being invoiced, as you would need to do if you invoiced a Spanish company.

Each year by the end of June you will need to submit an annual return to the AEAT, relating to the previous tax year ending on 31 December. You will pay tax at a rate of 24% of the amount invoiced. Those earning higher income will benefit to a greater extent, as a tax rate of 24% of annual income is a relatively low rate for higher earners in most European countries, including the UK.

We can advise you in respect of your quarterly IVA returns and your annual tax return. We can also prepare the returns on your behalf and submit them for you. Further, we can prepare and submit all of the documentation set out above in relation to the application for residency and registering you for tax and social security, other than obtaining the documents that you will need to obtain yourself such as the criminal records check and the proof of medical insurance.

Next steps

We will be happy to provide you with information relating to the cost of applying to work in Spain as a digital nomad. Please be in touch with us either by writing to us at info@solicitorsinspain.com, by calling us on +44 (0)20 3478 1420, or by filling out our contact form.  We will arrange for you to speak with someone who can discuss your individual requirements and provide you with information as to our fees.

Last updated: 18 April 2023

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