Before the launch of the Digital Nomads Visa, obtaining the Working Visa in Spain post-Brexit was an extremely lengthy and complex process. Applicants would have to show that they have owned a property in Spain for at least three years as well as having to show proof of income of at least €1,130 a month, roughly half the funds required for the non-lucrative visa.
However, to transform Spain into a global business hub, the Spanish government have introduced a new Visa for digital nomads who wish to work remotely from Spain.
The recent explosion of the digital nomad era brought about by the pandemic in 2019, has demonstrated that people are able to work from anywhere in the world and achieve a higher quality of life.
Experts from Wizz Air provide a clear overview of the requirements to apply for this type of Visa as well as an analysis of its advantages and disadvantages for anyone considering the move abroad. However, overall, a study in 2022 found that Spain was in fact voted the second best country in the world for remote workers.
The repercussions of Brexit have been numerous. One aftereffect of this political decision has been the halt of free movement, making working from other countries such a Spain, a strenuous and almost impossible task. Even the alternative Golden Visa, only grants residency when you purchase property for 500,000€ or more. This can be any type of property: home, commercial, land, or a combination of properties. The golden visa does not require you to be in Spain 183 days of the year.
General information surrounding the new Visa
The last amendments of the new Visa are currently still being finalised, with expected dates for its release to be around March 2023. It has been clarified that if you wish to apply for this Visa upon its approval, you may do so through visiting the Spanish consulate or embassy in your country of origin, OR, acquire the digital nomad Visa whilst already being in Spain on a 90-day Visa. The addition of this latest Spanish Visa has a key objective; to boost talent and investment in Spain and improve the country’s credentials as a global business hub. The digital nomad Visa permits foreigners (anyone who does not form part of the EU) to live and work in Spain for up to one year, but this can be extended if desired.
- The company/s that the remote worker or freelancer works for (or has a working relationship with) must be located outside of Spain.
- You must be able to prove that you have been working with that company or having a freelance relationship with your clients for at least three months prior to your application.
- Incomes received by Spanish companies must not exceed 20% of their total professional activity
- Provide a copy of your criminal records certificate with a minimum validity of 90 days
- Demonstrate either three years of prior work – related experience or be a graduate/postgraduate from a reputable university, vocational training, and business schools of recognized prestige
- Have a minimum one-year contract with that same company
- Proof of health insurance
- Lastly, there are income requirements for the Spain Digital Nomad Visa. To qualify, you must earn at least 200% of the monthly Spanish minimum wage, which equates to 28,000€ per year (or 2,334€ per month)
Wizz Air’s assessment on the pros/cons regarding the Spanish digital nomad visa
A rather appealing component of the new Digital Nomad Visa for beneficiaries is in relation to tax. Spanish authorities confirmed in December 2022 that the Corporation tax for digital nomads will be reduced from 25 per cent to 15 per cent.
Spain’s most obvious attractive feature has to do with its sunny Mediterranean climate, averaging 300 days of sun a year. This type of weather not only permits people to go outside more and actually engage in after-work activities, but also is a huge factor in boosting mental health. Exposure to regular sunlight increases levels of serotonin (the happy hormone) in the brain and so increases people’s happiness and in turn life satisfaction.
Cost of living
In comparison to other places in northern Europe, Spain’s cost of living is considered a relatively low. Large cities like Barcelona and Madrid are much more affordable than in comparison to cities such as London, Edinburgh or even Copenhagen. In terms of salaries, the median monthly disposable salary after tax is 58.13% higher in the UK, making it a fantastic destination for working remotely for an international company. It has been calculated that the average cost of living in Spain is 18.2% cheaper than that of the UK, being the main reason why 300,000 Brits have chosen to retire in Spain.
The Costa Del Sol is said to be listed as one of the most inexpensive locations for the everyday living of living, making it a digital nomad heaven. The average pint of home beer in the Costa Del Sol is 1.75 EUR, 1.5 litre of water is 0.69, dinner is 21EUR (pp) and the average taxi holds a base rate of 3.96 and 1.20 EUR per kilometre. Despite rental prices in the Costa Del Sol are more expensive than that of Costa Blanca, the destination is always in high demand. The average rental price in the Costa del Sol is 600 EUR however, if you move away from central areas, the cost can fall to 400 EUR.
Alongside the weather, Spain is well recognized for its rich gastronomy, with seafood forming a great part of the Spanish cuisine due to having easy access to the Mediterranean sea. Fresh food and traditional dishes that are derived from each region of Spain creates a vast range of options. For digital nomads that previously have lived in countries such as the UK, this can be a pleasant cultural change.
The long list of requirements in order to apply and get the digital nomad visa approved can seem demanding. Yet a con that catches the eye is the minimum income requirement. If the individual looking to work remotely from Spain does not earn at least 200% of the monthly Spanish minimum wage, which equates to 28,000€ per year (or 2,334€ per month), then they will not be eligible for this Visa.
It may be difficult for a digital nomad to integrate themselves into the culture of their host country. Due to the language barriers, forming relationships may prove to be difficult, while existing one may be strained.