Getting to Know: Spain´s Digital Nomad Visa in 2024 Part I

With low cost of living and good internet, Spain is already popular with remote workers.

The remote work visa gives non-EU nationals the chance to live and work in Spain for up to five years. Approved by parliament in November 2022, it is part of the new Startup Act, which aims to attract entrepreneurship and boostr the country's tech scene.

Over the past few years, several European nations, including Italy, Greece, Croatia, and Portugal, have seized the opportunities presented by the surge in remote work, implementing various digital nomad schemes.

Spain hinted at the introduction of a digital nomad visa in January 2022. Economic Affairs Minister Nadia Calviño expressed the country's ambition to "attract and retain international and national talents by facilitating the establishment of remote workers and digital nomads in Spain." This initiative is viewed as a strategy to help Spain recovery from the economic impacts of COVID-19.

Buena Vida Spain

Now, let's delve into how Spain's innovative digital nomad visa is simplifying and making the experience of living and working in the country more accessible and cost-effective.

Eligibility criteria for the digital nomad visa include being a non-European Economic Area applicant, with no current illegal residence status in Spain and no residence in the country in the past five years.

Applicants should demonstrate a work history of at least three months with their clients or company and prove that the company has been operational for a minimum of one year. Whether under a formal employment contract or as a freelancer, they must showcase a sustained work relationship with a company outside of Spain, emphasizing the feasibility of remote work.

Additionally, applicants are required to exhibit their qualifications or professional experience. While a university degree or professional certificate is accepted, a minimum of three years' work experience can serve as an alternative qualification.

In addition to meeting the specified professional criteria, individuals seeking to benefit from the digital nomad program must demonstrate financial self-sufficiency. The income benchmark is established at 200 percent of the country's monthly minimum wage, verifiable through bank statements, contracts, and invoices. At present, this equates to €2,334 per month or €28,000 annually, although there may be a slight adjustment pending the ongoing reassessment of the minimum wage in the country.

Candidates are required to be free of any criminal record in Spain or the country of residence for the last five years. Submission of evidence showcasing a clean criminal record over the last two years is mandatory, accompanied by a sworn statement confirming the absence of any criminal infractions within the last five years.

Applicants are obligated to provide evidence of social security coverage from their country of origin. In cases where the applicant's home country lacks a social security agreement with Spain, the employing company must secure a contribution code and initiate the payment of social security on behalf of the employee.

This stage has posed challenges for individuals seeking Spain's digital nomad visa. Many companies are hesitant to increase payments solely for remote work if it isn't mandatory. Even in countries with social security agreements, such as the US or the UK, acquiring the necessary certificate can still present obstacles.

For self-employed individuals, the process is somewhat simpler. You only need to provide a letter affirming your intention to register upon arrival in Spain, taking responsibility for the payment of social security fees independently.

Don´t miss our second part of this blog were we will talk about how to apply, tax breaks, how long you can stay and what to do if you want to prolongue your stay in Spain.