Living in Spain is a dream for many. The history, the culture, the food, and the weather combine to offer a highly compelling package.
But relocating to Spain has long been challenging for remote workers from outside the EU – due to Spain’s restrictive visa pathways.
Fortunately, that situation has just changed – with the official launch of the Spain digital nomad visa.
Spain Digital Nomad Visa – Background
The Spanish government has recently announced the brand new Spain Digital Nomad Visa.
And now, the visa has finally become available for use.
Designed for those who work remotely with income from outside Spain, this visa allows non-EU/EEA and non-Swiss citizens to live in Spain for up to five years.
Previously, the closest thing Spain had to a digital nomad visa is the Spanish Non-Lucrative Visa. But there’s a big problem with this one, as the name might suggest.
Technically, the non-lucrative visa is designed for those who can support themselves with passive income from outside Spain. And when the Spanish authorities say ‘passive,’ they really mean it.
You can’t apply for the non-lucrative visa with income from a remote job, even if that job is located outside Spain. Many people have been rejected because of this.
It means the non-lucrative visa is a poor fit for digital nomads, many of whom rely on salary from a company located abroad.
That’s why the Spain digital nomad visa will give a massive shakeup to Spain’s immigration options.
Who can apply for Spain’s digital nomad visa?
Spain’s digital nomad visa is designed for non-EU/EEA/Swiss nationals with the majority of their income originating from outside Spain. Up to 20% of their total income can originate from within Spain, e.g. from a Spanish company.
You can get the visa with salary from one remote job, or from multiple clients. You’ll need to prove that you’ve worked for your company or clients for at least three months prior to applying. What’s more, the company you work for must have been in business for at least one year.
You also need proof of qualifications in your field of work, such as a university degree or other professional qualification. If you don’t have these, then you’ll need to show at least three years of experience in the field instead.
As with most EU residency visas, applicants will also need to be over 18 and have a clean criminal record. Lastly, you can’t have lived in Spain during the last five years before applying for the visa.
What are the requirements for Spain’s digital nomad visa?
Alongside the work-related requirements, you’ll also need to prove self-sufficiency.
That means proving your income is at least €2,334 per month or €28,000 per year (equivalent to 200 times the Spanish minimum wage). You can show bank statements, invoices, and contracts as proof of income.
This amount of income brings Spain broadly in line with other digital nomad visas in Europe, such as Portugal’s digital nomad visa.
You’ll also need proof of having secured suitable accommodation in Spain, such as an official rental contract.
How long can digital nomads stay in Spain with this visa?
The digital nomad visa is valid for 12 months, but you can renew it for up to 5 years.
Applying for Spain’s digital nomad visa
You’ll need to start the application at your closest Spanish embassy or consulate in your country of citizenship or permanent residence. It’s also possible to enter Spain as a tourist (either with a Schengen visa or the 90 day visa free status, depending on your passport country), and apply for the digital nomad visa from within Spain.
Will Spain offer tax breaks for digital nomads?
Yes, digital nomads and remote workers living in Spain on this visa will benefit from a reduced rate of 15% tax on their worldwide income for the first four years. This is a significant saving on the usual rate of 25%.
Is Spain’s digital nomad visa a pathway to Spanish citizenship?
Acquiring second citizenship, especially in the EU, has become an important goal for many remote workers. But it’s not clear yet whether Spain’s digital nomad visa will be a viable pathway to Spanish citizenship.
The Spanish passport is one of the most powerful passports in the world, offering access to 187 countries without needing a visa in advance.
Not only that, but Spanish citizenship automatically makes you an EU citizen, granting the rights to live, work, study, to business, and retire freely across 30 countries.
However, if the Spain digital nomad visa can only be renewed up to 5 years, then it might not be suited for this.
In general, Spain isn’t the best option for those seeking citizenship, .
At the moment, Spain doesn’t recognize dual citizenship. It also requires 10 years of residency before you can apply.
If EU citizenship is your primary goal, then Portugal is a much better option than Spain.
Not only does Portugal recognize dual and multiple citizenship, but it also has a number of flexible residency visa pathways, including at least three that would be suitable for digital nomads. Plus, Portugal’s citizenship timeline is half the length of Spain – a mere five years.
What’s more, residency in Portugal would put you very close to Spain, so you’d be well placed to spend plenty of time in Spain– if that’s what you want.
Is Spain a good place for digital nomads?
In terms of quality of life, Spain is an excellent place for digital nomads to base themselves.
Most of the country has excellent weather, there are many fantastic cities to choose from, and plenty of stunning coastline as well.
You can choose from the history and culture of Madrid or Barcelona, or living the island lifestyle in the Canaries – plus so many great options in between.
Spanish territory spans a wide area, so there’s plenty to keep everyone happy. There’s even the opportunity to get financial incentives to move to a rural Spanish village, if that’s your cup of tea!
Before you go…
Spain’s digital nomad visa is a welcome announcement for remote workers keen to spend time in Europe.
Keep in mind that if EU citizenship is your ultimate goal, the Spain digital nomad visa might not be the right fit for you.
If your goal is eventual EU citizenship, we recommend skipping Spain altogether and focusing on nearby Portugal instead. Portugal offers a far more appealing set of circumstances for non-EU citizens to gain residency and then citizenship.
But if you’re a true digital nomad who just wants to enjoy a few years of the Spanish lifestyle, then the Spain digital nomad visa could be exactly what you’re looking for.