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Spain's new digital nomad visa: Everything we know so far

The Local Spain
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Spain's new digital nomad visa: Everything we know so far
Here's what remote workers and digital nomads need to know about Spain's new visa and tax breaks for them. Photo: Claudio CRUZ / AFP

Spain's new startups law offers tax benefits and a special visa to digital nomads and remote workers who move to the country. Here we analyse all the information available on this advantageous permit for non-EU nationals.

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Perhaps the most interesting draw of Spain’s new startups law is the creation of an exclusive visa for digital nomads.

In a nutshell, it will grant non-EU freelancers and remote workers entry and residency rights in Spain, with less bureaucratic obstacles than there currently are and enticing tax benefits.

There are plenty of other perks that Spain’s new law startups law will bring to foreign entrepreneurs, investors and startups (you can read about it in the link directly below).

READ MORE: 15 things you need to know about Spain’s new startups law

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But in this article we will focus on the new law for digital nomads and remote workers, what we know so far and what still has to be confirmed before the bill is approved by the Senate and comes into force in January 2023.

The new legislation defines digital nomads as "people whose jobs allow them to work remotely and change residence regularly". This may not seem particularly groundbreaking, but their recognition in the eyes of Spanish law is what has allowed for a new visa and tax category to be created. 

A new digital nomad visa   

The digital nomad visa, referred to officially as the international remote worker visa (visado para teletrabajadores de carácter internacional), is part of the new startups law which is expected to come into force in early 2023. 

This visa is particularly promising for non-EU digital nomads from countries such as the UK, US or Australia for example, as until now getting a residency permit to live and work remotely from Spain hasn't been at all easy, with the best option being to apply for the self-employment visa which requires a business plan, proof of funds and guaranteed earnings and more. 

It will also be available for remote workers with a contract for an overseas company, so it's not just digital nomads who freelance for several clients who can apply.

The Spanish government wants to remove the existing bureaucratic hurdles these international workers face in a bid to make “Spain a paradise for talent”.

The visa will initially be available for a period of one year, but it can then be renewed until reaching five years in Spain, at which point it will be possible to apply for permanent residency.

One of the visa's requirements will be that applicants must earn at least 80 percent of their income from foreign companies.

It will also be necessary for those applying for the digital nomad visa to not have lived (been fiscal residents) in Spain for the previous five years.

International companies will be able to request a residency permit through the digital nomad visa for non-EU remote workers they wish to relocate to Spain, but these will have to be deemed highly qualified with either graduate and/or postgraduate studies or three years of relevant experience.

Applicants will also be able to get residency rights for their partner and children, although the specifics have not yet been released.

Spain's Secretary of State for Digitization will work together with the country's regional governments to implement this visa in the next three months. 

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Taxes

It's widely reported that Spain's tax regime has dissuaded many international workers from setting up shop in the country up until now.

The new startups law addresses this with fiscal benefits for remote workers and digital nomads that move to Spain. In fact, they will pay less income tax than self-employed and contract workers that already live and work in the country.

New digital nomads will be able to pay Non-Residents Tax (IRNR) rather than the regular income tax (IRPF) Spain's resident workers pay. Non-Resident Tax was previously only applicable to non-residents such as second-home owners, but an exception has now been made for digital nomad visa holders even if they spend more than 183 days a year in Spain and are therefore technically fiscal residents.

IRNR is generally 25 percent in Spain and nomads and remote workers will pay this rate, as long as they earn below €600,000 a year. 

Again, they will have to demonstrate that less than 20 percent of their income comes from companies based in Spain for this IRNR tax to apply.

This favourable tax rate will be available to them for four years. 

READ ALSO: What the experts think of Spain's new law for startups and digital nomads

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Minimum earnings and healthcare access still unknown

As mentioned earlier, Spain’s startups law is not in force yet. It’s at the final stage after being given the green light by the Committee on Economic Affairs and Digital Transformation, the Spanish Cabinet and the Spanish Parliament.

The bill now only needs to be ratified by the Spanish Senate before being published in Spain’s State Bulletin and therefore being in effect, the expected date of which is on January 1st 2023.

By that point, some of the doubts that still exist about the digital nomad visa and its conditions should be clarified. 

One of these is if applicants will need to meet minimum income requirements to apply. It has been reported that this will be around the €2,000-a-month mark.

Another doubt that remains is what access digital nomad visa holders will have to healthcare in Spain. Will they need to get a private healthcare scheme as is required for non-lucrative visa applicants which can be expensive especially if you have pre-existing conditions? Will they be able to pay social security fees or the convenio especial pay-in scheme to access public healthcare? None of this has yet been mentioned by the Spanish government.

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Anonymous 2022/11/11 00:05
The text of the law says the specific requirements for the new visa will need to be spelled out by March 31, 2023. "«Disposición adicional vigésima. Desarrollo de instrucciones con los requisitos para los visados y autorizaciones de residencia a los que se refiere esta Ley. Se habilita a los órganos competentes para dictar unas instrucciones con los requisitos específicos que deberán cumplir los solicitantes de los visados y autorizaciones de residencia a los que se refiere esta Ley. Para la elaboración de estas instrucciones técnicas, el Gobierno constituirá un grupo de trabajo en el que participarán los ministerios con competencias en la materia. Dichas instrucciones deberán estar elaboradas a más tardar el 31 de marzo de 2023, y contener requisitos específicos adaptados para los solicitantes de visados y autorizaciones de residencia a los que se refiere esta Ley. Los umbrales de los importes económicos utilizados para evaluar los recursos económicos de los solicitantes se referenciarán al Salario Mínimo Interprofesional (SMI).»"

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