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The requirements for Spain’s new Startups Law

Foreign entrepreneurs waiting for Spain's highly anticipated Startups Law to come into force should know that the legislation comes with some requirements. The Local has outlined the major ones here.

The requirements for Spain's new Startups Law
Photo: Pixabay.

Spain’s new Startups Law (Ley de Startups), which the Spanish government first announced all the way back in 2019, could finally come into force as early as September 2022, as indicated by Economy Minister Nadia Calviño, although Spanish media outlets are reporting that it is more likely to be early 2023.

The legislation is a recalibration of the well-known ‘Beckham Law’.

The original measure was a tax-decree aimed at foreigners living in Spain created in 2005 that got its name due to the famous England and former Real Madrid footballer David Beckham being one of the first people to take advantage of it. 

Regardless of when the new legislation actually comes into force for the first time, Spain will finally have a law directly aimed at the particularities of small technology-based companies.

The new ‘Startups Law’ hopes to attract foreign companies and talent, making it easier for startups to choose Spain by giving them incentives such as tax reductions. 

READ MORE: Spain’s new tax rates for the self-employed from 2023 onwards

Who will be able to benefit from Spain’s new Startups Law?

The Startups Law is open to anyone from the EU or third countries, as long as they haven’t been resident in Spain in the five previous years. It will allow them to gain access to a special visa for up to five years. 

This visa will be open to executives and employees of startup companies as well as investors and remote workers, in addition to their family members.

Self-employed workers will have three chances to make it work

The failure of a business is something that is being contemplated for the first time in legislative text in Spain.

The startup bill will make serial entrepreneurship easier, meaning that a freelancer who has started a business which ultimately doesn’t work, can try again and can continue to benefit from the advantages. Specifically, entrepreneurs are allowed to benefit from the Startups Law up to three times.

Deduction in Corporation Tax 

It will give startups and investors a reduction in Corporation Tax from the current 25 percent to 15 percent. 

The elimination of obstacles for foreign investment 

One of the main problems foreign investors encounter when they want to invest in a Spanish startup is bureaucracy.

As a result of this, the new law aims to eliminate the obligation for international investors to request a NIE (foreigner ID number) to carry out this type of business. Both investors and their representatives will only need to obtain Spain’s tax identification numbers (NIFs).

Fortunately for budding entrepreneurs, the Startups Law will work retroactively, meaning that those who have started a new company before the legislation comes into force (expected in September but not confirmed) can benefit from its advantages provided they meet the requirements. 

The new law does have some specific requirements, however. You can find a full Spanish government summary of the legislation here, but The Local has outlined the major criteria for you below.

READ ALSO: The tax cuts and other benefits Spain’s new Startups Law will bring to entrepreneurs


Up and coming companies 

Companies wanting to take advantage of the new Startup law must be relatively new companies – founded in the last five years. They also must not have been created as part of restructures or rebrands, or have been divisions of another company or acquired through mergers.

In the case of startups in the biotech and energy sectors the limit is extended slightly to seven years.


Start-ups must be considered innovative. The business must be trying to solve a problem or improve an existing situation. An agency will be created to accredit both this status and that of an ’emerging’ company: ENISA.

Dividend distribution 

Start-ups benefiting from the new law must not distribute dividends for as long as the law is in force. Furthermore, for tax purposes, the start-up must be permanently based in Spain.

Spanish contracts

Similarly, 60 percent of a company’s workforce must have employment contracts in Spain. 


To qualify for the new start-up law and special visas that come with it, companies must not exceed an annual turnover of €5 million.

Stock market

To qualify for the law, companies must be unlisted on the stock market.

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Spain and the US to exchange more language assistants in bilingualism push    

The governments of Spain and the United States have agreed to recruit more English and Spanish-language assistants from each other’s countries as a means of bolstering bilingual education in the two nations.

Spain and the US to exchange more language assistants in bilingualism push    

Spain’s Education Minister Pilar Alegría and US ambassador to Spain Julissa Reynoso met on Wednesday to sign a memorandum of understanding which will reinforce educational cooperation between the two countries. 

The agreement had been previously signed by Miguel Cardona, the United States Secretary of Education, who tweeted: “This week, alongside [Spanish] Ambassador [Santiago] Cabañas, I signed a memorandum supporting the study of Spanish language & culture in the US, and the study of English in Spain”.

It is in fact a renewal of a memorandum between the United States and Spain which has facilitated mobility of both conversation assistants and students between the two countries in recent years.

The aim of this newest memorandum of understanding is to further strengthen student and teacher exchange programmes and promote bilingual and multicultural teaching in both educational systems.

No exact details have yet been given about how many extra language assistants will be given grants to join the programme. 

Several teacher recruitment sources suggest the current number of North American language assistants (including Canadians) heading to Spain every year is between 2,000 and 2,500. 

The Spanish government has stated that in 2023, this figure will be around 4,500, which represents a considerable increase in the number of US and Canadian citizens who can apply through the NALCAP programme, which stands for North American Language and Culture Assistants in Spain. 

According to Spain’s Foreign Ministry, the following requirements must be met by US candidates in order to participate in the programme:

  • Be a U.S. citizen and have a valid passport
  • Have earned a bachelor’s degree or be currently enrolled as a sophomore, junior or a senior in a bachelor’s programme. Applicants may also have an associate degree or be a community college student in their last semester.
  • Have a native-like level of English
  • Be in good physical and mental health
  • Have a clean background check
  • Be aged 18 – 60.
  • Have at least basic knowledge of Spanish (recommended)

NALCAP recipients receive a monthly stipend of €700 to €1,000 as well as Spanish medical insurance.

Application dates for 2023 are usually announced in late November. See more information on the NALPAC programme for US nationals here

According to The Fulbright Program, one of several US cultural exchange programmes that organises the recruitment of US nationals for Spain: “English Teaching Assistants assist teaching staff at the early childhood, elementary, middle school, high school, vocational and/or university level for up to 16 hours per week, with an additional two hours for planning & coordination meetings. Responsibilities include assistant-teaching, in English, subjects such as social studies, science and technology, art, physical education, and English language.”

READ MORE: The pros and cons of being an English language assistant in Spain

There are also currently more than 1,000 Spanish teachers working as visiting teachers in the United States, Spain’s Moncloa government has said, without adding yet how many more will be recruited in 2023.

Additionally, more than 1,000 North American students now take part in the Spanish Language and Culture Groups managed by the Spanish Education Ministry’s Overseas Education Action (or Acción Educativa Exterior, AEE).  

Canadian applicants can find out more about working as language assistants in Spain by visiting the NALCAP Canada website.