What Are The Different Types Of Visas Available For Digital Nomads Traveling To Spain

Written By: Richard Nathan
Fact Checked By: Lamia Darwish

Jun 13, 2022

14 min read

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Everything Prospective Digital Nomads Need To Know About Visas In Spain

In recent years, Europe, especially Spain, has been a top destination for Digital Nomads all over the world. However, before traveling to Spain as a Digital Nomad, there are a few things you need to know. One of the things you need to consider is the type of visa you'll need in order to enjoy the nomad lifestyle of Spain. In this guide we'll talk about everything you need to know about the Spain Digital Nomad Visas available and about a new act Spain is planning to publish in the future. If you're a Digital Nomad planning a trip to Spain, then this is the guide for you.

In this post you'll find:

  • What Is A Digital Nomad And A Digital Nomad Visa?
  • What Are The Digital Nomad Visa Options In Spain?
  • The New Digital Nomad Visa In Spain
  • An Important Note From The Author
  • Frequently Asked Questions

What Is A Digital Nomad And A Digital Nomad Visa?

Before we explain what a Digital Nomad Visa is, let's define a Digital Nomad:

What Is A Digital Nomad?

In short, a Digital Nomad is someone who travels to different destinations while working remotely. They are not burdened by a full time office job.These remote workers can enjoy everything a country has to offer while working there. In the case of Spain, Digital Nomads can enjoy the ecstatic nightlife of Barcelona, the turquoise waters of Playa de Bolonia (Tarifa, Spain), or the incredible architecture of Metropol Parasol (the largest wooden structure in the world) in Seville. Digital Nomads can enjoy tourism life as long as they have reliable wifi/internet connections for work purposes. You'll often find Digital Nomads in coffee shops, co-working spaces, or public libraries.

Now that you know what a Digital Nomad is, let's talk about the Digital Nomad Visa.

What Is A Digital Nomad Visa?

A Digital Nomad Visa is as simple as a travel authorization that allows you to work and live in a country, provided that you do so independently and remotely. Not all countries have an official Digital Nomad Visa for remote workers. However, it is still possible to apply for a specific visa, allowing you to work as a Digital Nomad.

Note that each country has different names for their Digital Nomad Visas. For example, a Digital Nomad Visa to Portugal is called a Temporary Stay Visa.

What Are The Digital Nomad Visa Options In Spain?

For you to be able to live and work in Spain as a Digital Nomad, you'll need to consider one of the following visa types when applying for a Digital Nomad Visa.

Remember that different types of visas can classify as a Digital Nomad Visa. Digital Nomads use the term "Digital Nomad Visa'' to define a specific visa that allows them to live and work remotely in a country.

How to Get a Spain Visa

You can now save over 15 hours, and use Atlys to apply for a visa to Spain in under 5 minutes on Atlys. Download the Atlys app, put in your travel details, and let Atlys handle all the paperwork for you.

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The Spain Schengen Visa

The Spain Schengen Visa will allow you to travel to Spain for non-essential purposes like tourism or short business trips. It will grant you access to Spain for 90 days per 180 days. Meaning, you can enjoy the nomad lifestyle of Spain for 3 months.

Also, with a Schengen Visa, you also enjoy the benefit of traveling to other Schengen Areas which includes the following European Countries: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland. Nevertheless, you'll need to provide adequate reasons to embassy officials if your travel includes multiple destinations.

If you are planning a short stay in Spain, then this is the visa option for you.

Important

When applying for your Spain Schengen Visa, you must clearly state the purpose of your travel. Note that if the purpose is for remote work, your visa application will most likely be denied.

It is important to understand that the Schengen Visa does not allow you to carry out any economic activities in Spain. However, it does not address the topic of remote work for people who are working for a foreign company.

Having this in mind, you should always state your main purpose on your Schengen Visa application. Meaning, if you're planning to visit Spain for tourist purposes, you'll need to clearly state your purpose at the Spanish Embassy when attending your interview. Ensure that you bring along all necessary documents to help prove your purposes.

If you want to know more about how you can apply for a Spain Schengen Visa, you can read our dedicated guide.

Later in this post, we'll talk about the new upcoming visa that will allow Digital Nomads and remote workers to legally live and work in Spain.

The Spain Non-Lucrative Visa (NLV)

The Spain Non-Lucrative Visa (NLV) is one of the most popular visa options for Digital Nomads traveling to Spain. It allows non-Europeans to stay in Spain temporarily or permanently, provided that they meet the minimum requirements.

When applying for your Spain NLV, you must do so in your home country. For example, US Green Card Holders will need to travel back to their home country and apply for their NLV from there.

Once you apply for your NLV, the Spanish National Immigration Service will issue it for a duration of 2 years. After 2 years, you'll be able to renew your visa for an additional 2 years.

To be eligible for the Spain NLV, you'll need to prove that you will have sufficient funds to provide for yourself fully during your stay in Spain. You'll need to show that you have a minimum amount of €27,115 available per year. Alternatively, you can show that you have a guaranteed monthly income of €2,259.53. If you plan to bring along your family, you'll need to present an additional amount of €6,778 for each family member.

Another requirement for the Spain NLV is obtaining private health insurance/travel insurance for yourself and any dependents you have. Your health insurance policy must be:

  • A private health insurance
  • Written by a Spanish insurance company
  • It must provide full medical coverage across all of Spain
  • It must be valid for the duration of your intended stay
  • It must be free of co-payments

Important

Once again, the visa clearly states that you are not allowed to work for a Spanish employer, but it does not confront the topic of remote work in Spain. In the past few months, there have been many testimonies of individuals whose NLV have been denied due to their applications showing purposes of remote work. Later, we'll discuss a new type of visa that will eliminate any uncertainty about Digital Nomads and remote workers in Spain.

The Spain Golden Visa Program

Also known as the Spain investors Visa, the Spain Golden Visa will allow you to live, travel, and work freely in Spain. However, to be eligible for the Spain Golden Visa, you'll need to make certain investments in Spain. The requirements are quite steep, and you'll have to make some serious investments. Nevertheless, those who can meet the minimum requirements will be able to work remotely in Spain or any EU country, as a matter of fact. If this sounds like the type of visa for you, check out our extensive guide on the Spain Golden Visa

The Spain Self-Employment Visa

The Spain Self-Employment Visa will allow Digital Nomads to live and work in Spain freely. Unlike the Spain Golden Visa, you don't need to make any investments to obtain a Self-Employment Visa. However, you'll need to prove that you have the financial means to provide for yourself during your stay.

Once you get your visa, it will be valid for 1 year. Within a month of your arrival in Spain, you'll need to apply for a residence permit, foreign national identity card and register as self-employed in the Social Security System.

After you have applied for your residence permit, it'll be valid for 2 years. If you wish to renew your residence permit, you'll need to meet the minimum stay requirements of 183 days living in Spain per year.

After 5 years, you can apply for permanent residency in Spain, provided that you meet the minimum stay requirements. To be eligible for permanent residency in Spain, you'll need to stay in Spain for at least 6 months per year for 5 years consecutively.

Note that Spain is in the process of publishing an official Digital Nomad Visa for Spain. We'll be discussing this shortly.

The New Digital Nomad Visa In Spain

You'll be happy to know that Spain is close to publishing its own official Digital Nomad Visa. The new Startup Act will benefit Digital Nomads, remote workers and entrepreneurs who plan to travel to Spain for work purposes. Unfortunately, the official Digital Nomad Visa is not yet available and is still in the public consultation phase. Following, we'll talk about everything you need to know about the New Digital Nomad Visa.

What Is The New Digital Nomad Visa In Spain?

There are many uncertainties when it comes to working in Spain as a Digital Nomad. As mentioned, there is no official visa Digital Nomads can apply for. The visas available for Digital Nomads don't clearly state the rules and regulations surrounding remote work. Some visas, like the Non-Lucrative Visa, only states that you are not allowed to work for a Spanish company while living in Spain. As expected, this leaves many questions unanswered.

But fear not, things are about to change.

Spain legislators have introduced a new preliminary draft law on the promotion of the emerging business ecosystem. In short, this creates an exciting opportunity for international Digital Nomads.

The preliminary draft law on the promotion of the emerging business ecosystem, which we'll be referring to as the Startup Law/Act, will create a special visa Digital Nomads can apply for that will allow them to legally live and work remotely in Spain.

What is more, is that the new Startup Law will offer reduced tax on personal income for non-resident remote workers and attractive tax incentives for startup companies and investors.

Under the new law, the Digital Nomad Visa will allow its holders to live and work in Spain for 12 months. Digital Nomads will be able to extend their visa for an additional 24 months.

Who Will Benefit From The New Digital Nomad Visa?

The new Startup Law will be covering a grey area that has been questioned for years. The new Digital Nomad visa will include a straightforward process that eliminates all previous doubts about other visas. The new Digital Nomad Visa targets a specific question many have had before. "What type of visa will allow me to work remotely in Spain?"

The following people will benefit from the new Startup Law:

  • Foreigners who want to work in Spain remotely As long as you work at a company outside of the Spanish territory, you'll be able to benefit from the new visa.
  • Digital Nomads Digital Nomads who generate income from separate sources and travel to different countries regularly can benefit from the new visa.
  • Foreign companies in Spain Employees who work for a foreign company located in Spain will also have the option to apply for a specific visa that will allow them to travel for such purposes.

What Are The Benefits Of The New Digital Nomad Visa?

The Startup Law will offer the following benefits:

Live And Work Legally In Spain

The most common visa for Digital Nomads is the Non-Lucrative Visa. The visa states that you are not allowed to work for a Spanish employer. However, it does not address concerns of remote work in Spain. In recent years, many Non-Lucrative Visa holders have been denied entry to Spain due to the fact that they plan to work there remotely. In essence, this creates uncertainty surrounding remote work in Spain.

The good news is, the new Startup act will create a new specific type of Digital Nomad Visa and Remote Work Visa.

The new Digital Nomad Visa eliminates any concerns of legally working in Spain remotely. With this visa, Digital Nomads can enter Spain with the confidence of knowing they are allowed to legally live and work remotely in Spain. The new visa will allow you to legally work in Spain for a period of 12 months and can be renewed for an additional 24 months.

Tax Benefits

Under the new Startup act, Digital Nomads will enjoy a very favorable tax regime. Digital Nomads will be able to benefit from a reduced income tax rate. Under the current legislation, Digital Nomads who spend less than 183 days in Spain need to pay a Non-Residents tax rate of 24% on the first €600,000 earned within Spain. However, under the new Startup act, Digital Nomads will only need to pay a 15% tax rate on income generated in Spain.

With the new Startup act, the rules in regards to Non-Residents will change, and the requirements will be reduced from not being a tax resident in Spain from 10 years down to 5 years. Alongside this, Digital Nomads will enjoy the new tax regime for 10 years, where previously it was only 5 years.

Furthermore, Digital Nomads and remote workers can request a deferral of Non-Residents tax in the first and second years in which the tax base is positive. And for the next 2 subsequent years, the need to pay tax as a non-resident where the taxable income is positive (without interest) will be eliminated.

Note that if you earn more than €600,000, you'll still need to pay a tax rate of 47%.

What Are The Requirements For The New Digital Nomad Visa?

Until the law is officially published, we won't know the exact requirements for the Digital Nomad Visa. What we do know is that there will be 2 general requirements:

  • Proof Of Employment For A Company Outside Spain Territory You'll need to prove that you are working for a company not situated in Spain. It should state what company you work for, your personal details, and your responsibilities. This can be done by providing a work contract.
  • Income Restrictions You'll need to prove that the income you receive in Spain is not more than 20% of your total income.

When Can I Apply For My New Digital Nomad Visa?

We know Digital Nomads are excited for the law to be in full effect but, for now, we need to be patient.

The new Startup Law is currently in the public consultation phase and is still just a preliminary draft law.

During the consultation phase, the government will acquire suggestions and opinions from the public. These suggestions will be analyzed by the government. Afterward, certain adjustments will be made to the law. It will then be taken to Congress for debate with the rest of the deputies, and there will be a vote. Once voting has finished, and the Startup Law has been approved, we'll know about the exact date the new law will take effect.

As soon as the new Startup Law takes effect, we'll post a dedicated guide on how you can apply for your Spain Digital Nomad Visa.

An Important Note From The Author

During our research of Spain Digital Nomad Visas, we have found that there are many uncertainties about remote work with the currently available visas. The subject of remote work is not addressed within the rules of these visas, like the Non-Lucrative Visa and the Schengen Visa. Meaning, individuals who use these types of visas to enter Spain as a Digital Nomad may have their entry denied due to their purposes of remote work, as each respective visa clearly states that they are not allowed to work in Spain.

We recommend that if you are planning to travel to Spain as a Digital Nomad, that you be patient and wait for the official Startup act to be published as this will allow you to work legally in Spain.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I Need A NIE Number When Traveling To Spain?

Yes. The Foreigner's Identification Number (NIE) is an individual tax number that is used to track all your fiscal activities involved with the Spanish Tax Office. The NIE is a mandatory requirement and you'll find that without an NIE you won't be able to do certain things, like open a Spanish bank account.

You can apply for your NIE at your nearest Spanish Embassy. There you'll need to submit your NIE application. You'll need to submit the following documents alongside the application form:

  • Application form (in Spanish)
  • Passport and a copy thereof
  • 2 passport photos
  • Government fee that you need to pay.

After you have submitted your application form and the required documents, your application will be processed. Once your application has been approved, you should receive your NIE right away.

Do I Need To Open A Spanish Bank Account?

Yes. This is not a mandatory requirement, but if you're planning to stay in Spain for a while, a Spanish bank account will make fiscal activities considerably easier. The easiest way to open your Spanish bank account is when you are in Spain. You simply need to go to your preferred bank and bring along the necessary documents. Bear in mind that you might have to bring a translator as there are few English speaking staff.

You'll need to bring the following documents with you:

  • Your passport or a government issued travel document
  • Spanish foreigner identification number (NIE) and certificate (número de identificación de extranjeros)
  • Proof of address
  • Proof of employment status. This can be an employment contract, student card, and so on.

Note that all of the documents you provide must be in Spanish. If it's not, you can get it certified and translated by a certified translator.

Once you arrive in Spain, you can head over to your nearest bank and open your own Spanish bank account. Note that you'll need to bring along all the required documents. Ensure to make copies of them and keep them safe during your travel.

What Health Documents Do I Require When Traveling To Spain?

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Spanish Government has implemented a new health declaration form, known as the Health Control Form, that is a mandatory requirement for all travelers visiting Spain. This has been implemented to ensure the safety and well-being of both visitors, and residents of Spain. Check our guide if you want to learn more about the Spanish Health Declaration form.

Can EU Citizens Apply For A Spain Digital Nomad Visa?

EU/EEA and Switzerland citizens don't need to apply for any type of visa if they plan to travel to Spain for work. Citizens from these nations enjoy the benefit of working, living and traveling across the Schengen Area without the need to apply for any type of visa.

Non-EU citizens are the only ones who need to apply for a Digital Nomad Visa to Spain.

What Is The Cost Of Living In Spain For Digital Nomads?

Digital Nomads, remote workers, and expats will be happy to know that the cost of living is about 21.56% lower than in the United States. Also, rent in Spain is around 46.98% lower than in the United States. If you are traveling on your own to Spain you can expect to pay around €611 per month excluding rent. If you include rent, utilities, food, and drink, you can expect to pay around €900 per month.

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