SPAIN DIGITAL NOMAD VISA 2022

Waiting to apply for Spain’s Digital Nomad Visa? D7 has all the latest information on the program, benefits, requirements & expected launch date.

Just about everybody loves the idea of working remotely from Spain. According to Google Adwords data, the number of searches for the phrase “Spain Digital Nomad Visa” increased by 1,285% year-on-year as of 23 April 2022:

Google Search volumes for the phrase "Spain Digital Nomad Visa" have been rocketing year-on-year.

And it’s no surprise either. Given the meteoric rise of remote work during the pandemic, more people than ever are now able to work remotely from practically anywhere in the world. And given Spain’s beautiful, varied landscape, vibrant cities and year-round sunny weather, it’s atop the list of remote working destinations for hundreds of thousands of knowledge workers worldwide.

So the big question is – does Spain have an active digital nomad visa program? And if not, is there another residency or visa program that could do the trick? 

Let’s kick this program overview off with a couple of FAQs to address these questions:

Does Spain have a Digital Nomad Visa today?

As of 23 April, 2022, Spain has NOT yet launched its Digital Nomad Visa Program. While such a program is in the works, the details are currently still sparse. The country has, however, enacted new legislation which will enable startups to launch in Spain with far greater ease. And it is anticipated that this legislation will also pave the way for the establishment of a nomad visa program for third country (non-EU) nationals. 

As of writing this, the launch date for this remote work visa program is not yet known. The details pertaining to the program’s income requirements, potential investment or company formation requirements and minimum stays remains unknown also. And while a number of publishers are trying to break the news regarding the program’s launch first, the facts are that nothing has been launched yet. 

What is currently available, however, is Spain’s Non Lucrative Residency Program. And while we know a number of individuals who are living in Spain and working remotely for offshore firms on the Non-Lucrative Visa, the reality is that this is not legally allowed.

What are the anticipated benefits of the Spanish Digital Nomad Visa?

In addition to offering settlement rights in Spain and offering visa-free access to the rest of the EU, it is expected that the Spanish Nomad Visa Program (and/or its ”parent”, the Spanish Startup Visa Program), will offer a raft of additional benefits, including:

  • Tax benefits and incentives, including a reduction in the company tax rate, and Non-Resident Income Tax (the latter drops from 25% to only 15%).

  • The EU’s most beneficial tax treatment of returns on stock options, making it ideal for startups with hypergrowth potential. The usage of stock options as remuneration is incentivized; the exemption on this type of income is raised from €12,000 to €50,000 per year.

  • A streamlined company formation process

  • The maximum cap on the deductible amount for investments in new startups or companies was raised from ​​€60,000 to €100,000. In combination, the deduction rate has been increased from 30% to 50%.

  • The period during which a company would be considered as “recently created”, and thus eligible for the above tax breaks and incentives, has been increased as well.

In combination, it is expected that these tax benefits and incentives will help cement Spain’s position as a leading destination for international startups and digital nomads.

We’ll update this page as more information about the program becomes available, so stay tuned for more information regarding the program requirements, launch date, and official website going live. (We expect it to be on a domain like www.nomadvisa.es, www.digitalnomadvisa.es, or spainnomadvisa.com).

Is Spain planning to launch a Digital Nomad Visa?

A Spanish Digital Nomad Visa Program definitely seems to be in the offing. The Spanish parliament adopted a draft of the so-called Spanish Startup Law, in December 2021.

This new piece of legislation is designed to attract foreign startup founders, entrepreneurs, and digital nomads to the country.

But whereas Portugal is using its independent means visa – the D7 Visa Program – to roll out the red carpet for digital nomads, Spain is not allowing remote workers to utilize its non-lucrative visa in a similar manner. 

And while it is expect that the new Spanish legislation will make it easier for remote workers to settle in Spain, the program’s emphasis appears to be more on startups and businesses, rather than individual digital nomads.

Does Spain have a D7 Visa equivalent residency program?

Spain’s Non-Lucrative Visa Program is very similar to the Portuguese D7 Visa – neither have any mandatory investment requirements, both can lead to permanent residency and/or citizenship, and both work well for retirees. A key difference between the two, however, is that the Portuguese authorities will approve remote workers, at their discretion, whereas this is generally not the norm for the Non-Lucrative residency. 

Can I work in Spain on a Non-Lucrative Residency Visa?

Spain Digital Nomad Visa 2022

This is another one of the most frequently asked questions pertaining to remote work in Spain. And the short answer is no; legally speaking, you are not allowed to work remotely or locally from within Spain for the first 12 months of your non-lucrative residency. 

That, however, is not to suggest that thousands of foreigners aren’t doing so. In fact, we know numerous individuals who are doing just that. 

But is it legal? No. Sadly, it’s not.

Could you work remotely if you obtained a Non-Lucrative Residency permit on the basis of savings? Probably – but you’ll likely only be approved for this residency on the basis of significant savings or demonstrably passive, recurring income. 

The reality is that demand for non-lucrative and independent means type visas started sky-rocketing during the pandemic. Consular officials simply didn’t deal with these type of applications in volume in the past, and in some instances, visas were approved with more leniency than is currently the case.

For example: By as early as 2019, American applicants with remote working contracts applying via the Spanish Consulate in Los Angeles reportedly had their application rejected. They purportedly received the following feedback: 

We would like to inform you that after further discussions with our Ministry of Foreign Affairs, we have been advised not to accept any non-lucrative visa applications from applicants that will be involved in any type of professional or lucrative activities, enve if these activities are going to be performed remotely. 

According to Article 48 of Royal Decree 557/2011, only “foreigners who reside in Spain without performing professional or business activities” will be eligible to apply for non-lucrative visas.

You can verify the exact wording of Article 48 of Royal Decree 557/2011 here

We also include the relevant piece of the legislation below:

  1. Foreigners who wish to reside in Spain without performing a job or gainful activity must have sufficient financial means for the period of residence they apply for, or credit a source of periodic income collection, for and, where applicable, their family, in the following amounts, which are set as a minimum and referred to at the time of application for the visa or renewal of the authorisation:

(a) For the purpose of holding, during their residence in Spain, an amount representing EUR 400% of the IPREM monthly in euro or its legal equivalent in foreign currency.

  1. b) For the support of each of the family members in charge, during their residence in Spain, an amount that represents monthly in euros 100% of the IPREM, or its legal equivalent in foreign currency, amount to credit in addition to that referred to in point (a) above.

  2. In both cases, the overall amount of economic means shall be the provision of the monthly amount calculated on the basis of the preceding paragraph, in relation to the duration of the authorisation requested.

  3. The availability of sufficient economic resources shall be demonstrated by the presentation of the documentation to verify the perception of periodic and sufficient income or the possession of a patrimony that guarantees such perception of revenue.

Availability may be credited by any means of proof accepted in law, including the provision of title deeds, certified checks or credit cards, which must be accompanied by a certificate. Bank to credit the amount available as credit for the said card.

If the economic means come from shares or units in Spanish, mixed or foreign companies located in Spain, the person concerned shall, by means of certification, prove that he does not carry out any labour activity in Spain.

The bottom line?

Work on the assumption that you won’t be approved for the Spanish Non Lucrative Residency based on a remote work salary. But if you are able to obtain this residency on the basis of savings or passive income, it is difficult to see how you couldn’t conduct remote working activities within your own home. 

But would that be legal, technically speaking? 

No, it would not.

Are there thousands of people doing it though? Pretty much.

In contrast, the D7 residency in Portugal allows you to work in Portugal as an independent business person or remote worker.  The Non-Lucrative Residency also doesn’t allow you to open a business in Spain, whereas you can start a business in Portugal as a D7 resident.

Once the Spanish Digital Nomad Visa is launched, however, working remotely from Spain should become a lot easier (and legal).

And when is the Spanish DNV launching? 

While some media outlets are reporting that the program could launch by as early as September 2022, this is likely an optimistic forecast. We’ll update this page as more official information becomes available.