By Moustafa Daly
The anticipated Spanish digital nomad visa has finally been made available to applicants, more than a year after it was first announced by the Spanish government. After a parliament approval in November 2022 as part of the Startup Act, the digital nomad visa is now open for applicants who meet its eligibility requirements.
After much speculation, it was announced that the minimum income for eligibility would be set at 200% of the country’s minimum wage, which in January was set at a gross value of €1100 – meaning the digital nomad visa’s income requirement is around €2,200 per month, making it a relatively affordable such visa in Europe.
“I expect the digital nomad in Spain to be the best option for teleworkers from third-country nationals, as the financial requirements are very competitive in comparison with other digital nomad visas in Europe,” explains María Castro, general director at CostaLuz Lawyers.
“The financial requirement is around 2,200 euros/month, which is twice the Spanish minimum wage. There is no established amount to prove regarding savings, however, I always recommend our clients to have savings in order to prove they have sufficient funds to live in Spain,” she adds.
However, there remain regulatory hurdles that could have a negative impact on the success of the visa, according to Javier Cuevas Fernández, chief legal officer at Madrid-based Citizens Immigration.
“The regulation still presents some important issues that could significantly hinder the success of this visa. For example, in the case of workers under employment contracts, bilateral Social Security agreements signed with each country apply, in many of which the transfer of remote workers is not regulated, or it is not possible,” he explains.
“This means that workers cannot obtain the corresponding Social Security certificate from their country of origin, and therefore, in order to provide their services in Spain, the company would have to directly contribute to the Social Security in Spain, which would create complexity for the company,” he adds.
How Spain’s digital nomad visa compares with others in Europe
Unlike nearby Portugal whose digital nomad visa requires proof of passive income equivalent to at least the minimum wage, about €8500 per year, eligibility for Spain’s digital nomad visa doesn’t include such a requirement, adding to its attractiveness.
Spain’s digital nomad visa remains cheaper than other options like Greece, whose digital nomad visa requires at least €3,500 income per month.
Higher income to include dependents in Spain’s digital nomad visa
When it comes to dependents, Spain’s digital nomad visa offers a route to bring them on the main applicant’s visa, however entailing higher income requirements. The first dependent would cost €825 per month, or 75% of the minimum wage, and €275 per any extra dependent, equivalent to 25% of the minimum wage. In other words, for a main applicant to move to Spain on a digital nomad visa along with two dependents, the income requirement would be around €3300 per month.
“The Spanish digital nomad visa offers fiscal advantages for employees from foreign companies and advantages for bringing the family, as family members who accompany or join the digital nomad may apply jointly and simultaneously or successively for their visa. Furthermore, they will also be authorized to work in Spain both as employees and self-employed from day one,” explains Castro.
Taxes and other requirements for Spain’s digital nomad visa
The visa is available to non-EU/EAA nationals, who must be primarily working for businesses outside of Spain. Only 20% of their income could be generated from inside Spain to be eligible for the visa. Applicants should be making the minimum income mentioned above at least three months prior to applying to the visa, with ability to prove that via official contracts or bank statements.
Three years of professional experience and a higher level of education should also be demonstrated by interested applicants – as well as a clear criminal record.
Successful applicants will be required to pay a fixed tax of 24% of their total income, which the government is counting on to generate significant tax revenue and spur economic growth.
“I firmly believe that the Digital Nomad visa will have a very positive impact on the Spanish economy in all areas such as job creation, sales, purchases, investments, etc.,” predicts Castro.
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