The Digital Nomad Visa arose due to Spain is actively pursuing the ambition to become an international technological hub and has taken significant steps to smooth the path by way of enhancing digital education and training programmes, promoting STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) education from an early age and offering retraining opportunities for professionals to develop home grown talent.

Also, in part to off-set the loss of British based technological talent following Brexit, Carme Artigas, the Secretary of State for digitalisation and artificial intelligence, (as part of the Start-up Law), developed the Digital Nomad Visa. Designed to attract technological talent from outside the European Economic Area and bolster the talent pool in Spain.

The new Digital Nomad Visa was enacted in January 2023 and applies to all foreign nationals but is particularly aimed at non-EU nationals.

The Digital Nomad Visa also enables a successful applicant to access a highly attract tax benefit - "Beckham law" 2005, which references David Beckham as it was enacted during his time playing in Spain for Real Madrid. The Beckham tax is extended to highly paid foreign nationals. During the first four years that digital nomads live in Spain, they will be taxed at 15 per cent, as opposed to the standard 25 per cent base rate in Spain.

Coral Novalvos Delgado, an associate in the Barcelona office, pointed out "the new visa is attracting freelancers, contractors, self-employed as well as employees of overseas businesses. One of the major issues is the requirement for an applicant to have funding for social security, which is generally facilitated either through a bilateral agreement between Spain and the applicant's home country or in the absence of a bilateral agreement the applicant's company pays." Coral further remarked" freelancers do not usually have the option to rely on the company they work for, however we were able to successfully resolve such a situation for our Mexican client, which is outlined in the case study below"

Case Study:

Our client, who is a Mexican national working as a freelancer for a Puerto Rican company. As the United States does not have a bilateral agreement with Spain and the possibility for the Puerto Rican company to pay for any social security requirements was not viable, registering the company with the social security system in Spain appeared to be the only way that it would be possible for our client to obtain a Digital Nomad Visa. However, this solution had implications, as the company was a client of the applicant rather than an employer since.

We resolved the situation by writing UGS (the organism responsible for reviewing and approving the applications) explaining our client's difficult situation and drafting a statutory declaration and suggesting a compromise, that our client could register in the social security of Spain as a freelancer.

Our client adhered to all our instructions and remained in his home country, until we had received and collated his paperwork, rather than travelling to Spain as he had intended. Which fortunately enabled him to comply with an unexpected request from social security.

Following the submission of the application, there were no further requests from UGS and our client received approval his application in one week before meeting the twenty working day's period. He is currently dealing with his registration in the social security system in Spain and obtaining a TIE card.

Applicants for the Digital Nomad visa must provide documentary evidence to fulfil the following criteria:

  • The type of work can be carried out must be able to be carried out remotely and that remote working is permitted by the employer company
  • The company must have operated continuously in the country of origin for a period of at least one year
  • Your employer must be based outside Spain
  • You must be able to demonstrate that you meet the minimum income requirement
  • You must hold private health insurance with an organisation authorised to operate in Spain
  • You have proof that you have a clear criminal record in Spain and also in any other countries in which you have lived for the previous two years; as well as being able to declare the non-existence of criminal records for the previous five years.
  • You must be able to provide evidence that you have accommodation
  • If you are freelance you must prove that you work for a minimum of one organisation that is outside Spain

A successful applicant will be able to stay in Spain initially for one year, however applications made from within Spain the residence permit is granted for a period of three years, with the option to renew the visa for up to five years,

An applicant also must prove the following:

  • That they have worked remotely for at least one year.
  • If they are contracted to a company, that they have had a professional relationship with the company for at least three months
  • If they are freelance, that they work with at least one company outside Spain and must provide the terms and conditions of the remote work.

Your application can be made from Spain or at the Spanish consulate in your home country, an application made from your home country will take ten days before a decision is made.

An application for a residence permit to enable you to live in Spain if your Digital Nomad Visa is granted can be submitted online to the Unidad de Grandes Empresas y Colectivos Estratégicos (Unit of Large Corporations and Strategic Collectives), will take 20 days for a decision.

Foreign nationals already legally residing in Spain prior to making an application for a digital nomad visa have the option to request a three-year permit with the possibility to extend for a further two more years providing the applicant continues to fulfil all the conditions related to the digital nomad visa. After this period, this residency permit could be converted to a long-term permit. Also, a spouse and financially dependent children or parents can also apply to join an applicant providing the appropriate evidence of financial dependence is submitted.

Giambrone & Partners immigration lawyers have many years of experience in assisting individuals with applications for a range of visas in Spain, including complex applications. Our lawyers have frequently been able to successfully support applicants in cases where their applications are complicated requiring exceptional expertise to manage.

Coral Novalvos Delgado graduated in Law Degree at the University of Seville in 2018. Coral did an internship at the International Human Rights Observatory with a perfect score, which helped her to be proposed to work as a paralegal in a renowned Law Office in Seville.

There, she dedicated herself to immigration work while completing the Master's Degree in Law Bar and studying Korean and Japanese at the Centre for East Asian Studies. As complementary training, she took part in a program entitled "Reconfiguring Europe: an old continent in a new millennium" at the Charles University in Prague, took the course "The European Union" at the European Documentation Centre and the course "International Aspects of the Right of Family and Successions and its Regulation in the European Union ", at the University of Seville. In addition, during the Master's degree, she received complementary optional training in organized crime, European Union institutions and gender violence.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.