In an era where the world is your office and the beach is your boardroom, the life of a digital nomad has never been more enticing. Often, one of the most pressing issues is: Where should I go next? And for digital nomads looking to eat paella, enjoy beautiful beaches, and explore historical sights in Europe, Spain might be a perfect fit! But how do you even begin settling and setting up a life in Spain as a digital nomad?
In this ultimate guide, we’ll go over everything you need to know about the Spain digital nomad visa, including how to apply, costs, and other important info you should know, such as the cost of living and how to find accommodation. This is your one-stop shop for everything about one of the newest digital nomad visas out there!
Does Spain Have a Digital Nomad Visa?
Yes, Spain has a digital nomad visa! In January of 2023, Spain launched a visa allowing remote workers to live and work in the country for up to 12 months, although the visa can be renewed up to 5 times. Something unique about this visa is that you are allowed to work for a Spanish company so long as it doesn’t make up more than 20% of your income. Most other countries with digital nomad visas will not accept your visa if any part of your income comes from a domestic company.
Here are some quick standout facts on the Spain digital nomad visa.
- The Spain digital nomad visa allows remote workers to live in the country for up to 12 months, but the visa can be extended for up to 5 years.
- Digital nomads must make at least €2,160 per month to qualify for this visa.
- You can renew the digital nomad visa if you have lived in Spain for more than 6 months, and after 5 years, you qualify for permanent residency.
- Digital nomads in Spain will pay reduced taxes of just 24% on their income.
Spain Digital Nomad Visa
Spain is a very attractive country to live in for digital nomads. The excellent weather, laidback lifestyle, and amazing food draw millions of tourists and thousands of remote workers every year. With the digital nomad visa, remote workers can now spend up to 5 years in the country and possibly even gain permanent residency. Here are the requirements for this new visa.
Spain Digital Nomad Visa Requirements
- You must be able to prove that you remotely work primarily for non-Spanish companies. Disclaimer: You can work with a Spanish company remotely, but it must make up less than 20% of your income.
- You cannot be a citizen of the EU/EEA or Switzerland.
- You must either have a university degree in your field or a professional certification. Alternatively, prove that you have 3 years of work experience in your field.
- You should be able to prove your work and income is stable. This can either be in the form of a work contract, payslips, or bank statements.
- You must make more than double the Spanish minimum wage (€2,160 per month).
- You are required to pass a criminal background check issued by your place of residence for the past 2 years.
Who Can Apply for the Spain Digital Nomad Visa?
There are a few restrictions on what nationalities can apply for the Spain digital nomad visa. Citizens of the EU/EEA and Switzerland will not qualify for it (more on this below). But if you were not born in the EU/EEA or Switzerland, work a remote job, and earn more than €26,000 per year, you will likely qualify for this visa. You also won’t be able to apply for the Spain digital nomad visa if more than 20% of your income comes from a Spanish employer or company.
Documents Needed to Apply for the Spain Digital Nomad Visa
- A valid passport for at least 12 months with two blank pages.
- NIE Number. Use Form EX-15 and submit it at your local Spanish consulate (it must be obtained before applying for the digital nomad visa)
- Completed application form. You can fill out the Application for long-term visa and submit it to the Spanish consulate or immigration authorities.
- Recent passport-sized photo. This must be taken recently, and you must not be wearing dark glasses.
- Proof of health insurance in Spain for the duration of your visa.
- Proof of income. You must prove that your monthly income is more than €2,160 per month. You can do this with an employment contract, payslips, or a bank statement.
- Diploma or certification. You must provide a diploma or certification in your field or be able to prove that you have been working for 3 years in the same industry.
How to Apply for the Spain Digital Nomad Visa: Step-by-Step Guide
While there are quite a few documents and requirements you’ll need to meet to qualify for this visa, the application process is actually quite simple. Here is our step-by-step walkthrough of the process.
Step One: Make Sure You Qualify for the Visa
The last thing you want is to go through all the effort of applying for the visa only to be rejected because you don’t meet the requirements. So, before submitting your documents and paying the application fee, check to ensure you meet the income requirements and other specifications.
Step Two: Schedule an Appointment
If you qualify for the visa, your first step is to schedule your visa appointment. This is an essential step, as you must have an appointment before submitting your application. To book an appointment, head to the BLS Spanish Embassy Hub and choose your home country.
Step Two: Gather Your Documents and Fill Out the Application
Once your appointment is booked, it is time to prepare your documents. You’ll need to fill out the digital nomad visa application and obtain an NIE number (must be done before your appointment). If you need assistance filling something out or are unsure of specific details in your application, we recommend hiring a professional immigration expert or calling your local Spanish embassy.
Step Four: Submit Your Application and Pay the Fees
On the date of your appointment, head to your Spanish consulate or embassy with your documents and application. At this point, you will pay all of your application fees, answer any questions your immigration officer may have, and leave your passport with the embassy.
Step Five: Get Approved
The final step to getting your Spanish digital nomad visa is to wait for the Spanish immigration office to either approve or deny your visa. Fingers crossed, it gets approved!
Step Six: Apply for a TIE (Residence Permit) Once You Enter the Country
Once your digital nomad visa has been approved, you’ll need to enter the country and apply for your Spanish residency permit. Keep in mind you only need to obtain a residency card if you plan to stay in the country for more than 6 months. You’ll have 1 month after entering the country to apply for your tarjeta de identidad de extranjero (foreign identity card). Head to your local Oficina de Extranjeros in Spain with your accepted visa application, your passport, proof of address, proof of health insurance, and Form EX-17 filled out. It can take around 3 to 6 months to receive your TIE card. However, in some cases, it can take much longer.
Step Seven: Apply For Your NIF
In order to open a Spanish bank account, you’ll need a tax number called the NIF. This number is relatively easy to get. Simply head to your local tax agency (Agencia Estatal de Administración Tributaria) and fill out Form 030.
Extending the Spain Digital Nomad Visa
One of the most attractive things about the Spain digital nomad visa is that you can continue to renew the visa for up to 5 years as long as you continue to meet the requirements. So, if you want to set up a long-term home in a country, this visa will allow you to do just that! Additionally, this visa is a pathway to permanent residency and even, eventually, citizenship! After you have lived in Spain for up to five years, you are able to apply for permanent residency. Then, after living as a resident (temporary or permanent) in Spain for at least 10 years, you can apply for Spanish citizenship. This is a HUGE draw for the Spain digital nomad visa, especially if it is a dream of yours to have a European passport!
Cost of Spain Digital Nomad Visa
The application processing fee for this visa is around €75 to €80, but this can differ depending on the country you apply from. Additional costs you’ll need to consider are the residence card, which costs €10 to €20, background checks, which can range from €10 to €80, and document translation, which can cost up to €100 per document.
How Long Does It Take to Get a Digital Nomad Visa in Spain?
Officially, it should take between 15 to 45 days for your Spain digital nomad visa to be approved. That said, timeframes can be much longer, especially if there is a problem with your application or if there is information that needs to be clarified. But, there are very few cases where this visa takes over 90 days to process.
Alternatives to the Digital Nomad Visa in Spain
The Spain digital nomad visa has a loooong list of requirements that you may not meet. But don’t give up hope if you don’t qualify! There are several alternative visas that some digital nomads may be able to take advantage of in the country!
Non-Lucrative Residence Visa
The non-lucrative residence visa is a Spanish visa for individuals with passive income. To qualify for this visa, you cannot actively work or participate in business activities. You can, however, earn income passively from dividends, pensions, rental properties, etc. This visa is popular for retirees in Spain. The annual income requirement, or funds you must prove for this visa, is around €28,000 per year.
Self Employment Visa
The Spain self employment visa is similar to the digital nomad visa, but it is more geared towards those who want to set up a business in Spain. The digital nomad visa is designed for foreigners who work online for non-Spanish companies, but with the self employment visa, you can set up a physical or online company in Spain! This visa is a bit more complicated than the digital nomad visa, as you must obtain a work permit and other necessary licensing from the relevant agencies. You must also provide a business plan and fill out the application form. This visa is valid for one year, but you can extend it for another 4 years.
The golden visa is Spain’s “investor visa” that grants residency to non-EU citizens who purchase property or make substantial investments in the Spanish economy. There are several different investment streams that will qualify you for this visa, including the following:
- Purchase property(s) in Spain worth up to at least €500,000 in total
- Invest €2 million into Spain’s national debt
- Buy €1 million in shares in a Spanish company
- Deposit €1 million into a Spanish bank account
Digital Nomad Visa in Spain for EU Citizens
As we mentioned, citizens of the EU/EEA and Switzerland will NOT qualify for this digital nomad visa. Why? Because citizens of these countries don’t need any visa to live and work in Spain! If you are from one of these nations, you simply need to show up in Spain, and you are pretty much good to go!
The one caveat is that if you plan to stay for longer than 90 days in Spain, you’ll need to go to the Center Register for Foreign Nationals and file an EU Registry Certificate stating that you have moved to Spain. And that’s it! You can enjoy your life in Spain!
Can You Work in Spain as a Digital Nomad on a Tourist Visa?
A part of the Schengen Zone, Spain is a popular country for digital nomads and tourists. Citizens of 60+ different countries can enter this area, encompassing 27 countries, including Spain, without a visa for a total of 90 days within any 180 days.
Digital nomads looking to live and work remotely in Spain on a Schengen tourist visa can technically do so. But please note that this is actually illegal. A tourist visa is specifically for, well…tourism. So, if you are going to Spain intending to work online, you’ll need a visa that allows you to do so. With that said, while working remotely on a tourist visa is illegal in most countries in the world, most authorities are happy to turn a blind eye when it comes to digital nomads.
However, that doesn’t mean you should break the law! If you are going to Spain with the purpose of working and living there, even if it’s for fewer than 3 months, you should apply for a digital nomad visa!
Tax Requirements for Digital Nomads in Spain
Spain has extremely high taxes, with income tax rates of up to 48%! But don’t panic. You don’t have to give up on your dreams of moving to Spain. Digital nomads enjoy a reduced tax rate in Spain of only 24% on income less than €600,000. If you have a Spain digital nomad visa and spend more than 6 months in the country, you must pay taxes in Spain. You will not be considered a tax resident if you spend less than 183 days in the country.
Is Spain a Good Place for Digital Nomads?
So, is Spain a good place to live for digital nomads? Well, like any other place, the country has its pros and cons, so whether it’s good or not will depend on you, your wants, and your needs. We’re biased, so obviously, we’re going to err on the side of “Spain is amazing!”, but everyone has different tastes, so we’ll leave it up to you to decide. Note that this is a very succinct pros and cons list, so feel free to do some additional research!
|Better cost of living. Compared to many other countries, Spain is still “cheaper,” relatively speaking, with more affordable overall living costs.
|Rising housing costs. Unfortunately, housing is one area where you may be surprised at how much you’re spending. Rental costs in major cities, in particular, are continuously rising.
|Amazing weather. Spain has beautiful, subtropical weather all year round. And if you’re not a fan of the cold, you’re in luck! Spain has pretty mild winters.
|Unbearably hot summers. Summer temperatures can easily crawl above 35 degrees C or 95 degrees F!
|Delicious food and wine. Think: paella, tapas, churros, fresh seafood, cured meats, and, of course, Spanish wine, which is famous worldwide!
|Bureaucracy. Like a lot of other southern European destinations, there’s a lot of red tape to deal with in Spain, which can be a frustrating experience when it comes to legal and healthcare systems.
|Relaxed lifestyle. Spain has a very laid back and relaxed lifestyle, with very friendly and easygoing people.
|Petty theft. A common crime in touristy areas is pickpocketing, so always be mindful of your belongings in crowded spaces!
Best Places in Spain for Digital Nomads
There are seemingly infinite places to live in Spain for digital nomads. An entire list of the best places to live in Spain warrants an article of its own. However, here’s a quick summary of the four more popular places in the country for digital nomads.
Barcelona is a dream destination for many digital nomads, a gorgeous city with a fascinating history, beautiful architecture, and heaps to do. The city boasts many coworking spaces, fast wifi, public transportation, and so much more! Plus, Barcelona has a lot to offer from a touristic point of view as well – imagine spending your weekends exploring Gaudi’s iconic landmarks! The nightlife in Barcelona is definitely something to mention as well. You’ll undoubtedly find something that suits your tastes here – whether it be fancy cocktail bars, live music, or grungy clubs.
Of course, no list of the best digital nomad locations in Spain is complete without mention of the country’s capital, Madrid. This city boasts history, fantastic food, quirky barrios, and more. If you’re looking to live in a big city without sacrificing your green spaces, Madrid is a great choice. It has all the amenities of a big city, but whenever you need an escape, just head on over to El Retiro. Are you a bit more of a night owl? Madrid is home to some of the best nightclubs in the world, so you’ll certainly be busy all weekend getting to know some of these gigantic clubs. Besides all that, as a major city, Madrid, of course, also boasts amazing public transport, fantastic wifi, and plenty of coworking spaces.
While it may not be as well-known as Barcelona and Madrid, Valencia has just as much to offer. Valencia be a great pick if you’re after a smaller city while not sacrificing any of your amenities. It also boasts fast internet, a more affordable cost of living, a laidback atmosphere, and warm weather. Plus, this city is the birthplace of paella, so there’s plenty of delicious food to try here, too! Like Barcelona, Valencia is an exciting city to live in architecturally, boasting many works by another celebrated Spanish architect, Santiago Calatrava.
The birthplace of flamenco, Sevilla, is the capital of Andalusia and a gorgeous city to live in. Boasting beautiful arabesque architecture, Sevilla is a great base to explore the rest of Andalusia, including Malaga and Cordoba. If you like warm, hot, and dry summers, Sevilla may be perfect for you! Note that it does get VERY hot (summer temperatures are consistently over 40C or 104F, so make sure you can handle the heat! Like the other Spanish cities, Sevilla makes for a great digital nomad location thanks to the excellent wifi, city amenities, and, best of all, lower cost of living compared to other major cities.
Cost of Living in Spain for Digital Nomads
Spain is not “cheap,” but it is much more affordable than other Western European destinations. The cost of living in Spain highly depends on where you live. However, as a general rule, most digital nomads should be able to live in Spain anywhere between €1000 and €3000 per month. Of course, as with most countries around the world, the most considerable portion of your budget will be eaten up by rent. If you want to be as budget-conscious as possible, you can even share a room in a shared flat.
However, to give you an idea, renting a room in Madrid (one of the more expensive cities) will set you back somewhere between €400 to €600 per month. Alternatively, if you want to rent an entire one-bedroom apartment for €800 to €1,200 in a decent area. Note that if you settle in a cheaper city, like Sevilla, you can easily find a one-bedroom apartment for less than €800 or €900.
Another major living cost to consider is food! Groceries, on average, will cost around €50 to €70 per week for one person. And if you eat out at an inexpensive restaurant, a menu del dia will cost around €10 to €15. On the other hand, if you want to ball out and eat at a nicer restaurant dinner, a meal may set you back around €20 to €30.
Healthcare in Spain for Digital Nomads
As part of the Spain digital nomad visa requirements, you must obtain health insurance from a provider in Spain for the duration of your stay. The Spanish government has indicated that in the future, digital nomads will be able to voluntarily contribute to the national public health system in Spain, but as of now, there are no systems in place for this.
Check out our list of the 10 best insurance options for digital nomads!
Best Coworking Spaces in Spain
Not all digital nomads like to work from home. If you’d rather find an office in your new country, a coworking space is a great way to go about it! These spaces offer more than just fast internet; they are also a great way to connect with other digital nomads like you!
- La Vaca Coworking (Barcelona) – €19 per day, €80 per week, or €185 per month; or €235 per month for a dedicated desk. Set in an old cowshed in the Poble Sec neighborhood, this space has phone booths, lockers, meeting rooms, billiards, and events.
- The Shed Coworking (Madrid) – €15 or €22 per day, €149 per month, or €199 per month for a fixed desk. Space boasts relaxation areas, security, fast wifi, friendly staff, and exclusive events.
- Vortex Coworking (Valencia) – €22 per day or €190 per month. There are two spaces in Valencia, both with fast wifi, 24-hour access, and common zones. Plus, they are pet-friendly.
- workINcompany (Sevilla) – €20 per day, €75 for 5 days, €120 for 10 days, or €170 per month. Located in the financial sector of Seville, the space has free coffee and tea, printers, relaxation areas, a kitchen, and exclusive events.
How to Find a Place to Live in Spain
Now that you’ve got your digital nomad visa sorted and have an idea of what to expect in Spain, it’s time to start setting up your life here. The first step for most digital nomads will be finding housing. There are many different ways to find a place to live in Spain, but not all options are suitable for digital nomads. Specifically, there are a few things you will want to consider before deciding on a place to live.
- Good and fast internet: While you can probably do without furniture, one thing that is an absolute non-negotiable when it comes to apartments in Spain is the internet speed. If the apartment you are looking at has internet included, always ask how it is. If you can, you should also run an online speed test when you check out the apartment.
- Workspace: Since you’ll likely be working from home at some point, especially if you don’t pay for a coworking membership, a good workspace is essential. Whether this be a spare room or a desk set-up, you should have enough space for you to do the work you need. The last thing you want is to work on your bed!
- Utilities: Bills are a pain in any country, and it’s no different in Spain. Always ask whether utilities are included in the rent, if not, you may need to set up electricity and internet connections.
- Furnished: Ideally, as a digital nomad, you’ll be after a furnished apartment. But keep in mind that the word “furnished” is quite loose in Spain. So, ask specifically what kind of appliances and furniture are included before signing the contract.
- Good location: Location is key when you live anywhere. Ensure the apartment is located near public transport, supermarkets, shops, cafes, and other amenities.
Where to Find Apartments in Spain?
So, now that you know what you’re looking for, how do you find apartments in Spain? There are a few different options for finding accommodation in the country, so let’s go over them so you can find your dream apartment!
But first things first, our advice? No matter where you find the apartment, make sure you see the listing in person before you sign the contract! Landlords can take amazing photos or use old photos, and the last thing you want is to be surprised when you finally walk in through the door with your keys!
Join Facebook Groups
Facebook can be a great resource when it comes to looking for apartments. You can check out Facebook Marketplace in your chosen area or join specific Facebook groups geared to finding accommodation. You can easily find and join groups by searching “(City) piso” on Facebook. Here’s an example of what you can find (all of which are amazing resources for finding accommodation in your chosen city):
- Madrid Apartment Rentals, Houses, Sublets and Rooms
- ALQUILER DE PISOS Y HABITACIONES MADRID (GRUPO OFICIAL)
- ALQUILER HABITACIONES Y PISOS BARCELONA / ROOMS & APARTMENTS RENT BARCELONA
- ALQUILER PISOS VALENCIA
- Pisos y habitaciones de alquiler en Sevilla 2023/2024
Word of Mouth
Surprisingly, word of mouth is one way to get accommodation in Spain. Of course, this method will generally only work if you already know someone in the area that you want to move to. Alternatively, you can get to know other expats and digital nomads in the area via Facebook groups and language exchange events. You can always ask fellow digital nomads if they know of anything that might be available. Perhaps they have a spare room or are looking to sublet their apartment? Who knows what you’ll find?
Rental Listing Sites in Spain
Of course, the more traditional method of finding a rental listing in Spain is to use none other than a rental listing site. Here are the two that are used most often in Spain:
Just make sure to filter for exactly what you are looking for in order to narrow down the options. And as always, check out the apartment in person before you commit to it! Also, keep in mind that rental contracts are generally for a one-year term in Spain.
Travel Accommodation Sites
Travel accommodation sites should really only be used if you are traveling. When you apply for the Spain digital nomad visa, you will likely be living in the country for at least 6 months. So you are better off signing a lease rather than booking accommodation through hotels and Airbnb.
These are generally more expensive and can contribute to rising living costs in digital nomad destinations, such as Spain. To read more about this, check out our digital nomad ethics guide.
These can help, though, especially when you first arrive in the country or if you are only planning to be in Spain for less than one month.
Work Under the Spanish Sun
Picture this: the allure of flamenco rhythms in Seville, the sizzle of tapas in Barcelona, and the sun-kissed beaches of Valencia or Malaga—all while you clock in remotely from one of Europe’s most dynamic and culturally vibrant nations. The Spain digital nomad visa doesn’t have to be a pain to apply for, and if you love the country and find your home here, you can even stay for up to 5 years or more! So, what are you waiting for?
Would you like to learn more about other digital nomad visas around the world? Check out digital nomad visas in other countries.