Effective December 23, 2022, the Spanish government has introduced a new visa category to allow so-called “digital nomads” to work in Spain for companies located abroad. Part of a larger “Startups Law” aimed at encouraging an entrepreneurial business environment, the new visa category will enable foreign nationals to live and work in the country without obtaining sponsorship from a Spanish employer. With the introduction of the new visa category, Spain joins several other countries – including Italy, Romania, Iceland, and the United Arab Emirates – in seeking to attract an increasingly mobile class of global talent through digital nomad visas.
Spain’s Digital Nomad Visa
Under the new law, foreign nationals are eligible to apply for visas and residence permits in the category of “international teleworkers.” Individuals granted these visas will be able to work remotely in Spain for companies located abroad.
The law makes distinctions between regular employees and independent professionals. For regular employees, working for employers located within Spain is not permitted. For independent professionals, up to 20% of the individual’s work can be for Spanish companies.
The specific requirements for the new visa category are:
- The foreign national must be a graduate of a renowned university, business school, or professional training program, or have at least 3 years of professional experience.
- The company abroad employing the foreign national must have been engaged in real and continuous business activity for at least one year before the application.
- Foreign nationals who qualify as regular employees must demonstrate that they have been employed by the employer abroad for at least 3 months before applying. The applicant must also provide evidence that the company allows the applicant to work remotely.
- Foreign nationals who qualify as independent professionals must demonstrate a business relationship with one or more companies outside Spain for at least the 3 months prior to the application. Applicants must also provide documentation accrediting the terms and conditions under which the professional activities will be carried out.
Individuals granted a remote work visa will be permitted to remain in Spain for an initial period of one year, with the possibility of renewal. Visa holders can also apply for a Spanish residence permit up to 60 days before visa expiry. Residence permits will be valid for three years with the possibility of a two-year extension.