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?

Financial Resources

  • Do you have income of at least €31,752If you are bringing one family member, you'll need an extra €11,907; for each additional family member it will be an extra €3,969. To summarize:  

1 applicant

1 applicant + 1 dependent

1 applicant + 2 dependents

1 applicant + 3 dependents

1 applicant + 4 dependents

Required Income per month

2,646€ p/m

3,639€ p/m

3,969€ p/m

4,300€ p/m

4,631€ p/m

Required Income per year

31,752€ p/a

43,659€ p/a

47,628€ p/a

51,597€ p/a

55,556€ p/a

Work Experience & Qualifications

  • Have you worked for your employer or clients for at least 3 months?   
  • Have your employer or clients been in business for a minimum of 1 year?
  • Would your employer/clients be willing to write you a letter giving you permission to work from Spain?
  • Do you have a professional qualification related to your line of work OR 3 years of experience?
  • If you are self-employed, are your clients registered businesses rather than individuals? 

Absence of a Criminal Record

  • Will you be able to get a clean criminal record certificate from the country or countries where you've lived during the last two years? 
  • Are you willing to sign a 'responsible declaration' of the absence of major criminal records in the country where you've been living for the past 5 years? (Note: minor offences such as an old DUI appear to be acceptable). 
Can you tick all of these boxes? If so, great! Read on. 

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

  • Apply for a Criminal Record Certificate from the country or countries where you have been living for the past 2 years (link to UK form, link to US form). If this document isn't in Spanish, it will need to be translated by an official translator, and if from a country outside of the EU, it will need to be legalised (link for UK, link for US). 
  • Prepare and sign a declaration of the absence of criminal records for the last 5 years. This should be in Spanish. Get an example template here.

b) Evidence of Having Worked for at least 3 months for your Employer/Clients

  • If you are employed, ask your employer for a letter which includes your position, the length of time you've been employed for, your salary in euros and confirmation that they authorise you to carry out your job from Spain. If this letter isn't in Spanish, it will need to be translated.
  • If you are self-employed, ask your clients for a letter stating the length of their client relationship with you, the total amount of invoices they will receive from you (in euros) and confirmation that that they authorise you to carry out your job from Spain. Again, if this letter isn't in Spanish, it will need to be translated. Get an example template letter here.
  • In both cases, you'll need to get evidence that your employer/clients have existed for longer for one year. (UK: the Certificate of Incorporation or Good Standing can be downloaded here, for the US, these are held by each state).  These certificates will need an apostille. 

c) Professional Qualifications or Work Experience

You'll need to provide one of the following:

  • A copy of your degree or other qualification which is related to your job or profession
  • Evidence that you have sufficient experience to carry out your work

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

  • Your CV is now listed an a requirement when submitting the application. It should be in Spanish – use Google Translate if necessary. 

e) Declaration That You Will Sign Up As Self-Employed OR S1 Form OR Private Medical Insurance

  • If you are applying as self-employed, you'll need to include a signed statement in which you commit to signing up to pay Spanish social security upon a successful application. Get an example template letter here.  NO PRIVATE HEALTH INSURANCE IS NEEDED if you take this route as paying social security in Spain will allow you access to Spanish public healthcare. 
  • If applying with an A1 form from the UK, you can also request an S1 form which will allow you to use Spanish public healthcare. NO PRIVATE HEALTH INSURANCE IS NEEDED if you take this route. 
  • If applying with an A1 form from the UK, Russia or another EU country, a quicker option is to buy a private health insurance plan from a Spanish provider. It needs to be a special kind of policy that has no co-payments. 

Step 4: 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:

  1. Get a NIE and Digital Certificate, then apply by yourself 
  2. 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. 

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. 

You can find out how to apply for a NIE here

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. 

Find out how to get a Digital Certificate here 

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. 

About the Author Louise Carr

I'm a UK-Spain cross-border tax specialist. After qualifying at PwC in the UK, I moved to Spain and continued my studies. My work focuses on tax matters and advising expats.

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