Are you ready to start your new life in Spain as a digital nomad? This post will show you how to get the new Spanish Digital Nomad Visa in four steps.
Step 1: Figure out if you meet the requirements
Before you waste any time, it's important to see if you meet the visa criteria.
Can you tick all of the boxes below?
Work Experience & Qualifications
Absence of a Criminal Record
Step 2: Apply for a Social Security Certificate (if applicable)
We've put this as the second step as it's likely to take time.Social security gives you the right to healthcare, a government pension and other benefits such as sickness and unemployment pay.
When you physically work in a country, no matter where your employer is located, you need to be covered for social security in that country.
There are two ways in which you can get social security coverage in Spain:
- If your country has a reciprocal agreement with Spain, your employer can request a certificate of social security coverage from your country
- You or your employer can register and pay social security directly in Spain.
How to Apply if you are an Employee
The first thing to do is find out if your country has a social security agreement with Spain.
In the case of the UK, yourself and your employer can apply for a certificate from HMRC which you could use in the digital nomad visa application.
If you work in any other country (with the exception of Russia and some EU countries), currently there is no way to do this unfortunately.
If there is no agreement, there's also the option for your overseas employer to register to pay social security in Spain (read more here) through a legal representative located in Spain (which can, theoretically, be you).
How to Apply if you are Self-Employed
If you are going to register as self-employed in Spain, you don't need to apply for a certificate.
Paying social security in Spain may not be cheap, but it's straightforward if you are self-employed. As part of your visa application, you can 'pledge' to register after arriving in Spain.
For the first year you will pay a flat fee of 80 euros per month (reimbursed by the government if you are in Madrid, Andalusia or Murcia) and then in 2024, between 225 and 530 euros per month, depending on how much you earn (NB. these figures will increase on 1 January 2024).
Step 3: Start preparing all of the other documents
Here's a list of everything you'll need – we've started with the documents which will take the longest time to get and which require translating and legalisation.
a) Criminal Record Certificate
b) Evidence of Having Worked for at least 3 months for your Employer/Clients
c) Professional Qualifications or Work Experience
You'll need to provide one of the following:
If you are not in the EU, you'll have to get an apostille and sworn translation for your qualification so it might be easier to go for the second option. If your profession is regulated in Spain (i.e. if you are a lawyer, architect etc.), you'll unfortunately have to go a step further and get your qualification homologised.
As for providing evidence of your experience, this is something that could be included in the letter from your employer or clients: a statement that you have sufficient experience to carry out the work.
d) Curriculum Vitae
e) Declaration That You Will Sign Up As Self-Employed OR S1 Form OR Private Medical Insurance
Step 3: Submit your Application
There are two ways to apply for the Digital Nomad visa:
- In Spain
- Through a Consulate abroad
If you apply in Spain, you'll receive a 3-year residency approval OR the length of your longest contract or A1 form (if shorter).
If you apply in a Consulate, you'll only get a 1 year visa and will have to do the whole Spain process anyway. For this reason, unless you hold a passport which needs a Schengen tourist visa (i.e. doesn't get the 90/180 allowance), we recommend that you apply within Spain.
To apply from within Spain, you have two choices:
- Get a NIE and Digital Certificate, then apply by yourself
- Use a representative such as MovetoSpainGuide
1. Apply by yourself
This is an option for those in Spain or who have already got an NIE, Digital Certificate and (preferably) a Spanish bank account.
A NIE (número de identification de extranjero, or foreigner's identification number) is an essential part of living in Spain. You'll be surprised at how often you need it once you live here: it's used for everything from taking out a mobile phone contract to accepting a parcel.
A Digital Certificate is an electronic form of identification that will allow you to do a wide range of administrative processes from your own computer, from changing your address with each government agency to paying your car tax without queuing at an office.
Note: it's also possible to apply for the Digital Nomad visa using a Cl@ve but a Digital Certificate is more useful as you can do more with it.
Once you've got your NIE and Digital Certificate, you can apply for the visa online here.
If you have a Spanish bank account, the application process will be much smoother as you will be able to pay the application fee online.
2. Use a Representative
Because the Digital Nomad Visa is new (it was introduced in January 2023), we recommend that you use an experienced representative to apply on your behalf.
It's not necessary to use a lawyer: in fact, there are visa consultants such as ourselves who have the same or better experience and knowledge of this very new visa, who are more economical price-wise and who have a lawyer on call just in case things get complicated (e.g. an appeal needs to be done).
If you use a representative, you won't need a NIE or digital certificate, and if you choose a good representative, they'll help you make sure you present your application in the right way and hold your hand through the whole process.
Apply For The Digital Nomad Visa Now!
We'll guide you through the whole process, everything from requesting a social security certificate from your country to visiting the police station to get the physical residency card once you are in Spain.
Get in touch using the form below.