Digital Nomad Visa Spain
If you are evaluating the possibility of obtaining an international residence permit for teleworking, the visa or residence permit for digital nomads in Spain may interest you. In this guide updated to 2023 and written by lawyers specialized in immigration law and tax law, we explain all the necessary steps to be able to apply for and obtain your digital nomad visa or digital nomad residence authorization successfully. Furthermore, you will also find information about the benefits you will have when obtaining it, mainly of a fiscal nature.
What is the definition of a “digital nomad” according to the Spanish legislation?
Law 28/2022, of December 21, for the promotion of the ecosystem of emerging companies, in its explanatory statement defines digital nomads as “people whose jobs allow them to work remotely and change residence frequently, making work compatible with highly qualified with immersive tourism in the country of residence”.
What is the Digital Nomad Visa or the Digital Nomad Residence Permit?
The digital nomad visa or digital nomad residence permit, also known as visa or residence permit for international teleworking, visa or residence permit for remote work, is a residence authorization that allows foreign citizens not belonging to the European Union, the European Economic Area or Switzerland, reside and carry out a work or professional activity remotely in Spain. On top of that, digital nomads may benefit from a more favorable tax regime that will allow them to save taxes for a certain period of time, provided that they comply with certain conditions, which we will explain below.
How can I know if my work or professional situation allows me to be considered a digital nomad?
The applicable Spanish law distinguishes between two cases to be considered a digital nomad:
Exercising a work activity: In this case, the digital nomad may only telework for companies located outside of the Spanish territory.
Exercising a professional activity on their own: Spanish legislation states that the digital nomad will be allowed to work for a company located in Spain, provided that the income from the said work does not exceed twenty percent (20%) of the total of his professional activity.
What are the main requirements to be eligible for digital nomad residency in Spain?
The main requirements that the digital nomad or international teleworker must meet are the following:
- Being of legal age: Being over eighteen (18) years old.
- Proof of being a graduate or postgraduate from prestigious universities, professional training, or business schools of recognized prestige, or have a minimum demonstrable professional experience of three (3) years.
- Provide evidence of the existence of a real and continuous activity for at least one (1) year of the company or group of companies with which the worker maintains a labor or professional relationship.
- In the case of an employment relationship, provide documentation that proves that the employment relationship between the company located abroad and the teleworker has existed for at least three (3) months before formalizing the application, as well as documentation that certifies that the employment relationship can be carried out remotely.
- In the case of a professional relationship, provide documentation that proves that the commercial relationship between the company or companies located abroad and the teleworker has existed for at least three (3) months before formalizing the request, as well as documentation proving the profile of the job, as well as the terms and conditions of the remote professional activity.
- Have sufficient financial means: 200% of the Minimum Interprofessional Salary (“SMI” by its Spanish acronym) for a single applicant (approximately EUR 30,240). If you wish to bring other members of your family to Spain, 75% of the SMI for the second regrouped person (approximately EUR 11,340), and 25% of the SMI for each additional member of your family (approximately EUR 3,780 for each family member).
- Obtain a health insurance without copayment, with an insurance entity authorized to operate in Spain.
- Have no criminal record in Spain and in the country or countries in which you have resided during the last two (2) years.
- Provide documentation regarding the worker’s Social Security coverage, which may be complemented with the health coverage of said worker, if applicable. If there is an agreement on Social Security between Spain and the country in which the foreign company is located, a certificate of coverage must accompany the application.
- Provide documentation related to the registration of the company in the Spanish General Treasury of Social Security (“TGSS” by its Spanish acronym).
- In the case of a self-employed professional relationship (self-employed worker providing services for a foreign company), a commitment to register as a self-employed worker must be provided.
- Provide a responsible statement stating the commitment to comply with the obligations in terms of social security, prior to the start of the work or professional activity.
What is the difference between applying for a digital nomad visa or applying for a digital nomad residence permit, and where should I apply?
The difference between applying for a digital nomad visa or applying for a digital nomad residence permit is determined by where the applicant is located.
When the applicant is outside of Spain, he must apply for the digital nomad visa. The application must be filed before the Diplomatic Mission or Consulate General of Spain that is competent depending on the place where the applicant is residing.
If the applicant has a valid permit in Spain, either as a student with a valid stay permit or with a valid tourist visa, he must apply for a digital nomad residence permit. The application must be filed before the Large Companies and Strategic Groups Unit, which is under the supervision of the General Secretariat for Immigration and Emigration of the Ministry of Employment and Social Security.
What is the initial duration of the Digital Nomad Visa and the duration of renewals?
The initial duration of the digital nomad visa will be a maximum of one (1) year, unless the international teleworking period is requested for a shorter period, in which case the visa will have the same duration as that established in the remote work contract.
If you want to continue residing in Spain after your initial term expires, you can apply for a digital nomad residence permit during the sixty (60) calendar days prior to the expiration of your digital nomad visa. If granted, the new residence permit will be valid for three (3) years.
What is the initial duration of the Digital Nomad Residence Permit and that of renewals?
The initial duration of the digital nomad residence permit will be a maximum of three (3) years, unless it is requested for a shorter duration.
The renewal of the residence authorization for international teleworkers will be carried out for five (5) years.
What are the benefits for digital nomads?
- You will have the right to reside and work in Spain.
- Possibility that your relatives obtain their residence permit along with yours. This applies to your wife or common-law partner, minor children, adult children who are economically dependent on the teleworker, and first-degree ascendants who are also in charge of the teleworker.
- Free circulation in the twenty-six (26) countries of the Schengen area.
- The time of residence in Spain computes to obtain Spanish nationality. If the foreigner proves to be a national of an Ibero-American country, (country whose official language is Spanish or Portuguese), of Andorra, the Philippines, Portugal or Equatorial Guinea, he may apply for Spanish nationality upon completing two (2) years of legal and continued residence in Spain.
- Benefit from a more favorable special tax regime, paying the Non-Resident Income Tax (“IRNR” by its Spanish acronym), at a rate of 24%, as long as you meet the requirements that we explain below.
- Agile processing: ten (10) business days for the digital nomad visa, and twenty (20) business days for the digital nomad residence permit.
What relatives of the teleworker can apply for a visa or residence authorization for digital nomads?
- The spouse or common-law partner of the teleworker.
- Minor children and those of legal age who are financially dependent on the digital nomad.
- The ascendants who are in charge of the teleworker.
Where should I apply for the digital nomad visa?
The application for a digital nomad visa for Spain must be processed before the Diplomatic Mission or General Consulate of Spain in the country of residence of the foreigner. The applicant must go in person to formalize the said application.
Where should I process the digital nomad residence permit?
The application for a residence permit for digital nomads in Spain is made electronically and is submitted to the Large Companies and Strategic Groups Unit.
The residence permit resolution period is twenty (20) business days. If it is not resolved within that period, the request is considered estimated.
Once the application has been approved, the foreigner must apply for the Foreigner Identity Card (“T.I.E.” by its Spanish acronym) at a Police Station.
Are all digital nomads going to have tax benefits in Spain?
Unfortunately, not all people who obtain the digital nomad visa or the digital nomad residence permit will obtain tax benefits in Spain.
In order to be considered a non-resident in Spain for tax purposes and to be able to benefit from a special tax regime (known as “Beckham Law”), the digital nomad may not have been a resident in Spain during the previous five (5) years.
The second requirement is that the transfer to Spanish territory occurs in the first year of application of the aforementioned special tax regime, or in the previous year, as a consequence of an employment contract.
Professional athletes subject to an employment relationship, are excluded from this special tax regime.
If I meet the above requirements, what tax benefits will I be able to obtain?
The tax advantages that you can obtain with the application of the special tax regime for inpatriates are the following:
- Be considered as a non-resident for tax purposes in Spain during the year in which you make the change of residence and in the following five (5) years.
- You will be taxed by the Non-Resident Income Tax (“IRNR” by its Spanish acronym), instead of the Personal Income Tax (“IRPF” by its Spanish acronym).
- Your work income up to the amount of six hundred thousand euros (EUR 600,000) will be taxed at twenty-four percent (24%). The work income exceeding the said six hundred thousand euros threshold will be taxed at forty-seven percent (47%).
Notwithstanding the foregoing, we recommend that you request an appointment with one of our experienced tax advisors, so that they can study your particular case and make sure if you can qualify for the special tax regime (“Beckham Law”).
Do you have any questions?
Get in contact with our experienced immigration lawyers
Frequently asked questions about the Digital Nomad Visa and the Digital Nomad residence permit for Spain:
What is the difference between the Digital Nomad residence permit and the Non-Lucrative Residence permit?
The main difference is that the residence permit for digital nomads is a residence and work authorization, while the Non-Lucrative Residence permit, as its name suggests, is a residence authorization that does not allow you to carry out work or lucrative activity in Spain.
The second big difference is the duration, which in the case of the non-lucrative residence permit is one (1) year, while the digital nomad residence permit is granted for three (3) years.
How can the digital nomad demonstrate that he has sufficient financial means for himself and his family, if applicable?
There are various ways to prove that the digital nomad has sufficient financial means. The most common is by obtaining a bank certificate from the bank where the applicant has his account. Besides, it is also possible to prove sufficient means stating the salary that will be received with the remote work.
In the case of an employment relationship, does my foreign company have to register with the General Treasury of Social Security?
The general rule is that foreign citizens who request a residence permit for international teleworking, given that they are going to reside and carry out a work activity in Spain, are obliged to register with the General Treasury of Social Security (“TGSS” by its Spanish acronym). Hence, the foreign company must register itself before the TGSS, and then register its teleworker in the Spanish Social Security system.
Notwithstanding the foregoing, in the event that there is an agreement signed between Spain and the country where the worker is affiliated to a social security system, it is possible to maintain the affiliation of the worker in the country of origin. Should this be the case, the applicant must obtain from the social security administration of origin a document proving the coverage.
How can I find out the countries that have a bilateral agreement with Spain regarding Social Security?
The list of countries that have a bilateral agreement with Spain for social security purposes can be consulted on the following link of the General Treasury of Social Security:
Is there a maximum term to request the application of the special tax regime for digital nomads?
If you want this special tax regime to apply to you, you must request it within the first six (6) months of residence in Spain. If you do not request it within this period, you will lose the possibility of obtaining it and you will have to pay your taxes as a regular tax resident in Spain, for the personal income tax, at the rate that corresponds to you, provided that you reside in Spain for more than one hundred eighty-three (183) days per calendar year.
Is it possible that my spouse or other relatives also benefit from the same special tax regime as mine as a digital nomad?
The answer is yes, but is limited to the following family members:
- Your spouse or the parent of the digital nomad’s children (if there is no marriage relationship).
- Your children under twenty-five (25) years of age.
- Your children of any age, in case of disability.
In order for the aforementioned family members to be able to opt for Non-Resident Income Tax and benefit from the same special tax regime (Beckham Law) as the digital nomad, they must meet the following conditions:
- That they travel to Spain with the digital nomad or later, provided that the first tax period in which the digital nomad pays taxes under the special regime has not ended.
- That they acquire tax residence in Spain.
- That they have not been residents in Spain during the last five (5) years.
- That they do not obtain income that would qualify as obtained through a permanent establishment in Spain.
- That the sum of the tax bases of the aforementioned relatives of the digital nomad in each of the tax periods in which this special tax regime is applied, is less than the taxable base of the digital nomad.
Can García de Ceca provide me with personalized tax advice in connection with my digital nomad visa or my digital nomad residence permit?
Indeed, our experienced tax advisors will advise you on your tax matters, and will clarify any questions that may arise, whether you decide to opt for the special tax regime (“Beckham Law”) for inpatriates in Spain and pay Non-Resident Income Tax, or if you have to pay Personal Income Tax as a tax resident in Spain.
If my application for a digital nomad visa or a digital nomad residence permit is denied, what can I do?
Depending on each case, we can offer our clients different alternatives to appeal their denial decision, either before the General Consulate of Spain before which you applied for your visa, or before the Large Companies and Strategic Groups Unit if you requested a residence permit. If this is your case, request an appointment with one of our expert immigration lawyers and we will inform you about the best way to resolve your denial.
Is it mandatory to apply for the digital nomad visa for my relatives together with mine or can I do it later?
It is not mandatory that the application for a digital nomad visa or a digital nomad residence permit is made jointly. Depending on the personal and family circumstances of the digital nomad, sometimes the initial request is made only by the teleworker, and, at a later time, a request is made for the rest of the family members. On other occasions, both the teleworker and his family request it at the same time.