How to Work Remotely From Spain (by applying for a Spanish Non-Lucrative Visa)

work remotely in spain
Found this helpful? Share it with your friends <3

Many expats and digital nomads choose Spain as their destination for remote working. Spain is a wonderful country for digital nomads and remote workers for several reasons. For one, it boasts of an economic ecosystem full of young startups, entrepreneurs and digital nomads. All this with fantastic weather and food and wine to boot with.

Let’s go into details and learn how you can work remotely from Spain and how to apply for a Spanish non-lucrative visa.

If you want to learn more about other visa options for working remotely in Spain , then read this article.

 

work remotely in Spain

 

Why Should You Work Remotely From Spain

Spanish cities offer a great ecosystem for startups, entrepreneurs and freelancers. Tons of networking events are held every week for different industries: online marketing, graphic design, developers, hackers, investment…you name it!

Fantastic weather all the year-round. Spain has long summer and mild winters, gorgeous islands and beaches on the Mediterranean sea – there is no denying that enjoying these weather conditions will positively impact your mood.

Spain has a relatively low cost of living for an EU nation. Many digital nomads choose Spain because they can enjoy a good standard of living with under 1.000€ per month in many Spanish cities. It is certainly not the cheapest country in Europe but everything from food to accommodation is more affordable than in western and north Europe.

And, finally, the Spanish gastronomy and culture. No matter where you go in the country, you will be blown away by the cuisine of the country. Paella, Spanish tortilla (tortilla de patatas), tapas…Spain is a paradise for foodies! And let’s not forget the amazing Spanish wines!

 



 

 


Read: Which are the best neighbourhoods for digital nomads in Barcelona


 

How Can You Work Remotely in Spain? 

Thankfully for us, the Spanish government offers a non-lucrative visa that allows you to work remotely in Spain.

The Spanish non-lucrative visa is granted to non-EU citizens who have enough economic means to stay in the country without working. This permit will allow foreigners to say in Spain for one year after entering the Spanish territory.

This visa can be renewed every 2 years (that is the length of the renewal) until the permanent residency (after 5 years in the country) is granted. Application requirements for this visa are relatively easy to fulfil.

 

 

spain non lucrative visa

 

 


Read: Find remote work in Spain on our remote job board


 

 

The Spanish Non-Lucrative Residence Visa in a Nutshell

Let’s look at an overview of Spain’s Non-Lucrative Visa for digital nomads.

The Spanish Non-Lucrative Residence Visa allows you to:

  • Live in Spain for up to a year, then allow for renewal periods of two years
  •  Apply for permanent residence, after living in Spain for five consecutive years
  • Access medical care through private health insurance
  • Rent accommodation in Spain
  • Sign utility contracts
  • Enrol your children in the Spanish schools

The Spanish Non-Lucrative Residence Visa does not allow you to:

  • Work for a Spanish employer
  • Set up your own company in Spain
  • Access the public healthcare system
  • Claim public benefits of any kind

 

remote workers health insurance

 

Can you work remotely in Spain with a Non-Lucrative Visa?

Unfortunately, there is no official answer issued by the Spanish government for this exact question.

Before COVID-19, many remote workers used Spanish non-Lucrative visa to live and work remotely in Spain while working remotely for non-Spanish companies.

Post-2020, we have seen increasing anecdotal accounts that some Spanish consulates in Non-EU countries have denied non-lucrative visa for remote workers.

Since there is no confirmed information to be found anywhere, we highly recommend that before applying you confirm this with your local Spanish consulate if they are currently approving remote work for this visa.

 

If you want to learn more about other visa options for working remotely in Spain , then read this article.

 



 


You may also like: How to Apply For Croatian Digital Nomad Visa And Work There For One Year


 

Who is the Spanish non-lucrative visa ideal for?

Even if it does not allow you to work in Spain, it is still one of the most sought-after Spanish visas by foreigners.

  • Foreigners who want to retire in Spain
  • Foreigners who have sufficient financial means to support themselves in the country without the need to work in Spain or claiming Spanish social benefits.
  • Anyone who wants to stay during their first year in Spain without working (to visit and discover the country); but after one year they would like to resume work eventually. Thus, the non-profit visa is ideal because it allows foreigners to modify towards a work permit after their first year.

 

spain non lucrative visa remote work

 

 

Requirements for Spanish Non-Lucrative Visa

 

There are several requirements you must meet in order to be eligible for this visa. Let’s take a look at each of them:

 

Enough Means of Subsistence

As mentioned earlier, this residence authorisation does not allow you to work in the country. Nevertheless, ensuring that you will be able to have a living will be necessary, so the Government does not have the need to maintain you.

That is why having sufficient funds or economic means to sustain yourself in the country will be one of the main requirements.

Proof of Income

How can you demonstrate you possess enough funds to sustain your life in Spain?

The general Spanish immigration law states that you can use any kind of proof of income. Nevertheless, many times the different Spanish consulates request a bank certificate of liquid money on your account. The exact date of the certificate must be as close as possible to the application day.

Credit cards or property values can also be used here, as long as you also submit with them a document that certifies their validity from your bank.

Bear in mind that it will depend on the consulate, but the government will usually look at bank statements from the last six months.

 

Private Health Insurance

Like any other residence authorisation, you need an insurance policy with full coverage in Spain.

If in all the other cases the policy could be public or private, with the non-lucrative visa is not the same. Why? Because your insurance policy must be private. It’s another way to show that the state won’t have to take care of you financially.

There are a few more conditions for private insurance:

  • It must also be contracted with a Spanish company that just operates in the Spanish territory.
  • The insurance policy contract must be, at least, one year long. That is the period you are requesting a permit for.
  • All the specialities of the Spanish public healthcare system must be included in the contract; with no copayments.

 

work remotely from spain

 

 

Application Process for Spanish Non-Lucrative Visa

Let’s take a look at the brief overview of the application process for a Spanish non-lucrative visa. In simple points, the entire process boils down to the following six basic steps:

  1. Gather Required Documents
  2. Authenticate Required Documents
  3. Translate Required Documents
  4. Correctly Assemble Your Application Packet(s)
  5. Present Documents at a Visa Appointment and Pay Fees
  6. Receive Visa and Move to Spain

Sounds simple, right? Well, not exactly. Like any bureaucratic process, this one is also complicated and requires you to do some serious homework. The process isn’t terribly difficult, it’s just extremely detail-oriented.

Let’s dive into the long version of how to apply for a Spanish non-lucrative visa for remote working.

 



 

 

Where should you start your visa application process?

The application for this residence authorisation must be initiated at your country of origin or there where you have your legal residency. Entering Spain as a tourist won’t allow you to manage the procedure.

You must start from outside the country.

First of all, you will have to send all relevant documents to the Spanish Consulate (you will find which documents in the following section).

The government office in charge of processing your case will have one month to submit their results. In the case of not obtaining one within this period, the request will be rejected due to “administrative silence”.

Once you get a favourable answer, the visa will be stamped in your passport, and you will be able to move on to the next step: travel to Spain.

 

digital nomads visa spain

 

 

Which documents should you submit?

 

Which are the exact documents you will need in order to get the non-lucrative residency visa? The requirements for this permit are the following:

  • National visa form.
  • Form Ex-01.
  • Health Insurance. As we mentioned, this insurance needs to be from a Spanish Company and not an international one
  • Bank certificate, demonstrating the possession of over €25,000 per year.
  • Photos, 3×4 cm with white background.
  • Original Passport.
  • A medical certificate, demonstrating that you do not suffer from any of the recognised diseases that would prevent your entry into the country.
  • Criminal records (if any), properly translated and legalised.

 

Getting documents translated and certified can get super expensive.

A budget-friendly alternative is to order a certified translation through Lingoking – an international translation and interpretation service. With Lingoking, you can calculate the price of your certified contract translation in TWO steps using their stupid-simple online calculator.

Just enter the number of pages and language combination and Voila! Get your translation costs in real-time.

 

work remotely in spain as a digital nomad

 

 

A non-lucrative residency visa is a great option for digital nomads and remote workers. It gives them an opportunity to live in Spain, experience and learn about its culture, without the 90 days limitation of the tourist visa. With this residence permit, you get to stay in an amazing country in Europe (assuming you don’t burden their social services and don’t steal a job that should go to a Spaniard.)

It is not a coincidence that many individuals who want to start working online and abroad choose Spain as their new home.

Now that you know how to apply for a non-lucrative visa you can get ready for a fun year of tapas, sangria, sun, and flamenco – and of course, living a digital nomad life and working remotely in Spain.

 

Explore more as a digital nomad in Spain:

 




Interested in working remotely as a digital nomad in another EU country? Read this guide to learn which countries have the best digital nomad visas.

34 thoughts on “How to Work Remotely From Spain (by applying for a Spanish Non-Lucrative Visa)”

  1. Thank you so much for writing this informative post. I’ve loved to travel all my life and would like to try living in Spain. My work is remote. I’m now a bit older, although still in excellent health. Are there age restrictions?

    1. Hi Robin, thank you for the kind words. 🙂

      The info from the official website (http://www.exteriores.gob.es/) suggests that there is no upper age limit for this specific visa. The applicant must be at least 18 years though. Plus you require a mandatory health insurance plan as a part of the visa application.

    1. Hey L, you’re welcome!

      Dependents can join, however, the applicant must prove that he/she can support them financially. Additional documents like marriage or birth certificates are also required.

  2. Hi,

    Thank you for your detailed post about the non-lucrative visa in Spain. As far as I have researched and if I am not wrong, in this visa type, your income has to be resourced from your non-working activities even though you are working remotely for a company located outside Spain. So, is there any problem if I show my monthly/yearly income from a remote working activity?

    Best,
    Bruce

    1. Hi Bruce, From what we have researched, even if you have a regular income from a remote working activity, the applicants still need to show that they have at least 26.000€ euros in savings as proof of subsistence. Spain also offers a freelance visa for those with regular monthly income from self-employment activities.

  3. Thanks for the great post! You mentioned that this visa can be converted to a work permit after one year. Is that an open work permit, or will I require visa sponsor from a company?

    1. Hey Brandon, Thank you! If you intend to start working for a Spanish employer, then your company should provide you with the necessary paperwork for your work permit – employment contract, proof of monthly salary, sponsorship letter etc. If you are a freelancer or self-employed person then Spain has a self-employment visa option as well.

  4. Great article! So useful! If a UK citizen was looking to start remote working from Spain for say one month at a time, twice a year, would you still recommend this? Would it be fine to leave for such a length of time and come back some months later?

    Also, would you need to prove a large amount savings each time you enter the country under this visa? Thank you!

  5. Hi, thank you for this article! I have the required funds in my savings for it but I would like to keep working remotely for a company outside of Spain. From what I’ve seen across the forums it’s quite a gray area. Is it better in this case to apply for a Self-employed visa? I’ve read that with this one “If you wish to work as a freelance or independent contractor you may be required to prove that one or more Spanish companies have enlisted your services.
    ” which is kinda confusing then because that’s not my goal. Can you face legal issues if you work remotely with the non-lucrative visa for the first year? I guess I would just switch to the work Visa after the first year.

  6. Great article Robin, thank you for it. I have been researching the NLV for a few years and lately I’ve heard that they have been changing the rules as to “remote work” in Spain. At the San Francisco and Los Angeles consulate they have been denying applications for remote work stating that the policy is “you cannot work in spain”, which they now consider remote as well. Do you have any insight or knowledge about this?

    1. Hey MT, We have heard some similar reports recently. We think post-corona there will be some developments in the digital nomad / remote work-related immigration rules, especially for non-EU travellers. At this point, we are keeping an eye on the situation.

  7. Pingback: Where to Stay and Work in Barcelona as A Digital Nomad | Remote Working Expat

  8. Hello,

    Thank you so much for the information. The website for the Consulate in LA says that you are not allowed to have a mortgage in the US when applying for this visa. Do you know any more about this? Are you not allowed to have a rental property in the states?

    1. Hey Jesse, I’m afraid, I’m not aware of US-specific immigration laws for this cisa. I’ll leave your question here in case someone else can respond to this.

  9. Great information. Can I work from Spain as a freelance contractor, paid by US companies? I gave sufficient savings. If so, what are the tax implications?

  10. Hola,

    Sorry, I have three questions:
    1. If you have a minimum of €25,000 in savings that remain untouched (eg you survive on remote earnings or UK pension) does that meet the income requirement?
    2. Are you allowed to buy property in Spain to live in?
    3. Does not working in Spain include renting out part of your Spanish property?
    Thank you in advance

  11. I believe there is a limit on how many days a NLV holder can be outside of Spain in each year until obtaining permanenr residence after 5 ywears?

  12. Pingback: Which Countries Have the Easiest Visas for Digital Nomads | Remote Working Expat

  13. Claudia Canadas Husbands

    Hi

    thanks for the info but I recently enquired with the consulate and the non lucrative visa is for people not working at all, not suitable for remote works. I am waiting to hear what are the options for remote workers!

    1. In the past US consulates have denied applications for non-lucrative visas if you’re working remotely, and in some cases they require you to sign a document stating you will quit your job. If I have the 26.000 euros in savings but am also working remotely would this still be an issue? Have they allowed for remote work on this visa post-covid?

    2. Pingback: Visas to Work Remotely in Spain

    3. Hi, please can you let me know the email address or link to apply for a visa to work self employed in Mallorca for 1 year. I cannot find it on the Spanish consulate website. I cannot find where to book the appointment as well. Many thanks from Natalie

      1. Hey Natalie, you will need an in-person visa appointment at your local Spanish consulate to apply for this visa. You can start by finding the contact details of your nearest Spanish Embassy in your city and then setting up an appointment with them.

    4. Hello!

      I work at the United Nations office in Valencia, Spain, and my wife and I moved here last year. We both have residency. My wife is American, and she would like to find remote work with an American company. Can she? If so, would she need to file taxes in Spain, as well? Would she be required to register as an “autonomo” here?

      Thank you, in advance!

      Steve

      1. Hello Steve,

        Autonomo is a freelancer or self-employed person. If you have an employer then you won’t qualify for a self-employment resident permit. Also, if you stay in Spain for more than 180 days you become tax liable in Spain.

    5. Hello. Your articles are great, thank you. I want to go to Spain next year, and work remotely as and when I need to. I’m an artist and designer. I’d like to concentrate on my art for most of the time, should I just apply for the VNL, as I have enough money to support myself for well over a year? I don’t want to say I’ll be working remotely and then be turned down.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *