The experience of being a digital nomad in Spain

In March last year, Spain launched its “digital nomad” visa with the aim of encouraging entrepreneurial talent to come to the country from nations outside the European Economic Area.

As of December 31, 2023, the Spanish government stated that around 300 visas of this type had been granted, but did not provide detailed information about the nationalities of the applicants.

Why are the numbers so low? According to Euronews, many visa applicants found it difficult to meet the requirements. Others complained about the bureaucracy and paperwork involved in the application process. Even before applying, it is necessary to consider certain concepts.

For example, understanding how taxes will be charged if the approval is obtained requires knowledge of both Spanish and one’s own country’s tax regulations.

Similarly, it is important to note that, although colloquially we may refer to a “digital nomad” as a professional who travels and takes advantage of work flexibility and new technologies, this does not necessarily mean that the person meets the conditions to apply for a “digital nomad visa.”

Once the requirements are met, and considering that the digital nomad is a remote worker by experience, there are different sites in Spain that have been named in lists of “best places to be a digital nomad.

One might think that such lists are random or based on the author’s inclinations, but the most reliable ones usually rely on objective criteria such as: visa availability, internet speed, tax policies, duration of tax exemption, salary requirements for visa application, cost of living in euros, or quality of the healthcare system.

This is the case of The Digital Nomad Visa Index 2024, which places Spain in its top 5, highlighting cities such as Madrid, Barcelona, and Las Palmas de Gran Canaria for having or being close to well-developed technological centers, connected with local authorities and major technology companies.

The Spanish capital, in particular, has also been rated by the Remote.com platform as one of the best cities in the world for remote workers.

Digital nomads living in Spain highlight above all the high quality of life they experience in the Iberian country, coupled with internet speed and cost of living, among other factors. An experience that improves as interested individuals go beyond tourism and begin to integrate into the community.

This marks the difference between a digital nomad and a tourist because even if you are working for a limited time, you can build bonds with the surrounding community, share, go to the neighborhood café. In other words: fully take advantage of the opportunity to be in Spain.

You too can do it if you meet the requirements that Spain requires for its Digital Nomad visa. The process starts at the Spanish Consulate in the applicant’s home country, with an initial validity of 1 year, during which it allows working from Spain.

Sixty days before the expiration of the period, the individual can apply for the authorization or residence card for internationally remote workers, without the need to apply for a new visa and without requiring a minimum previous period of stay.

It should be clarified that the Digital Nomad Residence Visa (the stamp placed in the passport) and the residence authorization (the card) are different things, although theoretically they have the same purpose.

This authorization has a validity period of up to 3 years, but Chileans and Latin Americans in general have an extra benefit in Spain: after 2 years of legal residence, we can apply for citizenship, and with it, the European passport, which will allow us to travel without restrictions among the countries that make up the Schengen area.

Do you have doubts if you meet the conditions? Consult with us. At AIM Global, we are experts in international mobility and we accompany you throughout the process of your visa until you have everything ready to move to Spain.

Don’t delay any longer and schedule a meeting with our team.

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