Spain Plans ‘Digital Nomad’ Visa For Remote Workers

laptop beach, remote working holiday © Sergey Peterman Shutterstock

Remote workers longing for a sunnier climate, are to be offered a ‘digital nomad’ visit and tax breaks by Spain

Spain is reportedly planning to incite remote workers away from cold homes and climates, to its sunnier shores.

The Guardian at the weekend reported that Spain is planning to offer remote workers a ‘digital nomad’ visa scheme, that will include tax breaks and give UK citizens and other non-EU citizens the chance to stay up to five years and enjoy a lower cost of living.

Spain is not the only European country offering, or planning to offer such a scheme to attract ‘digital nomads’, that ever since the Coronavirus pandemic, have been freed from the shackles of working in an office.

Digital nomads

According to the Guardian, 15 other European countries offer some version of a digital nomad visa. But each country has its own set of conditions.

Croatia, for example, insists that applicants must earn at least €2,300 a month; Estonia wants applicants to earn €3,500 per month, Iceland €7,100; and Portugal only €700.

Greece introduced a digital nomad law in October 2021, offering residency of one to three years. Applicants must have a monthly income of €3,500.

According to the Guardian, it is thought that Spain will set a minimum monthly income of about €2,000.

Some countries demand that applicants also have cash in the bank, as well as income, and some countries may also insist on private health insurance.

Madrid, Valencia and Barcelona are already popular among the EU’s digital nomads, the Guardian reported, with the latter proving a favoured destination for startups as the city aspires to become a technology hub and less dependent on tourism.

Spanish visa

So what exactly is Spain proposing?

Well according to the Guardian, the visas will be offered to people who work remotely for enterprises outside Spain and who derive a maximum of 20 percent of their income from Spanish firms.

But it should be noted that this is just a proposal, and the law has yet to be passed so some details are still uncertain.

That said, it is reportedly expected that the visa – essentially a residency permit – will be initially valid for one year, renewable for up to five years depending on the applicant’s circumstances.

Close relatives, such as a spouse or children, will be eligible to join the applicant.

Applicants must be from outside the European Economic Area and be able to demonstrate that they have been working remotely for at least a year. They must have a contract of employment or, if freelance, show that they have been regularly employed by a company outside Spain.

They must also demonstrate that they will earn enough to be self-sufficient and that they have an address in Spain. It is not clear yet whether they will have to undergo a criminal record check.

For the first four years they will be taxed at 15 percent, rather than the standard 25 percent base rate, the Guardian reported.