Is it possible to telecommute from Spain with a visa for digital nomads?

Is it possible to telecommute from Spain with a visa for digital nomads?
8 Feb 2022

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It seems to be possible to telecommute from Spain with the visa for digital nomads. This new telework visa will be framed in the Spanish "Start-ups Law".

The Government has approved a draft law regulating this visa, placing Spain at the forefront in attracting investment, talent, and innovative entrepreneurship. This bill includes important tax measures, eliminates bureaucratic obstacles, and makes administrative procedures more flexible, to encourage the creation and investment in technology-based start-ups. 

It also includes important measures to attract and recover both international and national talent, promoting the establishment of teleworkers and "digital nomads" in Spain. The Start-ups Law is one of the milestones foreseen in the Spanish recovery and resilience plan. The draft law allows Spain to align itself with the most attractive countries in Europe for attracting investment, entrepreneurship, and talent.

Who will benefit from the Spanish visa for digital nomads?

The visa for digital nomads will be addressed at three profiles of foreigners who want to reside in Spain:

  1. Those who work remotely from Spain for a company established outside Spanish territory.
  2. Digital nomads. The bill defines them as "persons whose jobs allow them to work remotely and change their residence on a regular basis".
  3. Those foreigners working for a company in Spain, including the audio-visual sector.

What are the main requirements for this visa?

According to Chapter “V bis” of the draft law, foreign employees who wish to obtain the Spanish visa for digital nomads, the following specific requirements must be fulfilled:

  1. They must prove that they carry out a work or professional activity remotely for companies located outside Spain.
  2. They must be highly qualified workers (i.e.: university graduates or post-graduates, with vocational training and/or business school certificates).
  3. They are required to have, at least, 3 years professional experience.

The draft law also indicates that, when applying for a nomad or remote work visa in Spain, applicants must prove:

  • a) That they will perform a real and continuous professional activity with one or more foreign companies for, at least, 1 year. 
  • b) That they have the authorization to carry out a remote work from their foreign employers.

The granted visa will be sufficient to achieve the Spanish residency and to obtain a work authorization to work remotely from Spain.

For how long will the visa be valid, ensuring the permission to remotely work from Spain?

The Spanish visa for digital nomads will enable the holder to work remotely from Spain for one year, with the option to renew it for two more years and so on, if the requirements are met.

Until now, the "Non-Profit Residence Authorization" was the legal figure used by professionals working under these modalities in Spain.

However, this authorization only granted a residence permit, rather than one that included residence and work. Therefore, it was only possible for foreigners to telework for companies outside Spain.

With the aim to attract talent, the tax regime for “Non-Resident Income Tax” applicable to managers and employees of start-ups, investors and "digital nomads" - teleworkers temporarily relocated to Spanish territory - and their families, who will be able to access a special visa for up to 5 years, is improved. Likewise, the return of talent is favored by reducing to 5 years the previous non-residence in Spain to access this special regime.

This would mean a reduction of taxes. For up to 600,000 euros, the payment will be reduced from 24% to 15%. Furthermore, if the law is approved it will be possible to:

  • Request the deferral of the IRNR in the first and second fiscal year with positive taxable base (without interest).
  • Eliminate the requirement to make instalment payments of the IRNR in the 2 subsequent years in which the taxable income is positive.

Which countries do offer those kinds of visas for digital nomads?

Countries like Estonia, Germany, Barbados, Antigua and Barbuda, Cayman Islands, Czech Republic, Croatia, Georgia, Mexico, Bermuda, Portugal, and Costa Rica.

From CECA MAGÁN ABOGADOS we will keep you informed about any new developments in this regard. We are at your disposal to clarify any doubts and provide comprehensive advice with a specialized team. Do not hesitate to contact our team here.

Patricia Ruiz

Lawyer at Labor Law Department and expert lawyer in International Mobility

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