Can I work in Spain as a digital nomad?

The possibility of working remotely has grown significantly in recent times, especially in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has intensified this process, causing many professionals and companies to reinvent themselves, which has opened up new opportunities for those aspiring to work as a digital nomad.



Professionals have increased the possibilities of exercising their activities living anywhere in the world. However, when deciding to live and work in another country, they are subject to the migration policies of the country of destination, which vary depending on the chosen place.


In general, European countries allow a stay of 90 days with a tourist visa. However, if the worker intends to stay for a longer period he or she will have to apply for another type of visa.


In view of this digital trend, several countries are regulating the possibility of applying for visas to regularize the migration status of foreign workers working in remote areas, with a view to making their stay more flexible and promoting benefits that encourage immigration to these areas, for example by establishing tax incentives for this type of worker.


So far, few countries have adopted specific laws to regulate this visa possibility, thus losing the opportunity to attract economically capable immigrants who have the possibility to invest in the country and collaborate with its economy.


Some of the non-European countries that provide for the possibility of a digital traveler visa are: Anguila, Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, Barbados, Bermuda, Colombia, Costa Rica, Curacao, Dominican Republic, Dubai, Georgia, Indonesia, Cayman Islands, Mexico, Mauritius, Thailand, and some US states.


In Europe, some countries whose migration policies allow the granting of visas to these workers are: Croatia, Czech Republic, Germany, Estonia, Greece, Iceland, Italy, Norway, and Portugal.


The above-mentioned countries adopt different migration policies and therefore lay down different requirements for the granting of such visa, which are not always expressly provided for, so that its application is sometimes linked to other types of formalities, such as applying for a self-employment visa.


As previously mentioned, the requirements for applying for a digital traveler visa may vary, but in general, countries often require: proof of sufficient financial means to cover the costs during the period of the application, have medical insurance, have no criminal record in the country of origin, have place of residence, which may be accredited through the presentation of a rental contract, registration, etc.


In addition, there are some countries that may require the accreditation of the existence of a remote employment relationship, as well as documents that accredit the technical capacity and/or previous experience for the exercise of the activity.


The way in which the request is urged also varies, since some countries already allow the request to be made online, while others stipulate that it can only be made at the embassies or consulates of the country abroad.


In the specific case of Spain, there is still no specific provision about the possibility of visa application for digital nomads, so the country has a big challenge to become an area of attraction for digital nomads, since only 3 of its cities are among the 75 best cities in the world for remote work, are these: Madrid, in 21st place, Barcelona in 29th place, and Las Palmas, in 63rd place.


However, Spain has approved the preliminary draft of the Startups Law, which, to promote positive impacts in that sense, by providing for the possibility of “a specific visa for people working in Spain for a foreign company”, as well as tax incentives, through the creation of a specific tax regime for these workers.


However, while the possibility of applying for this specific type of visa is not legalized, what digital nomads can do, to regularize the migratory situation in Spain, is to apply for a self-employment visa.


The visa in question authorizes the holder of the visa to reside temporarily in Spain for an initial period of one year from the date of entry into Spain and to engage in gainful employment or self-employment.


If you want to learn more about the requirements for this type of visa, as well as about the procedure for the application, do not hesitate to contact us at asesores@troislaw.com


Bianca Tosta

asesores@troislaw.com

Trois & Law


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