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In the constantly evolving world of digital work, a new champion has emerged in the arena of preferred locations for digital nomads. According to a recent ranking in the “Digital Nomad Visa Index” by Visa Guide, Spain has claimed the top spot as the most attractive destination for digital workers worldwide. This prestigious ranking was determined based on a variety of factors, including visa terms, internet speeds, living costs, and overall health score.

A significant element contributing to Spain’s top-ranking is its attractive visa incentives. The country offers a six-month tax-free period and a relatively low minimum income requirement, making it an irresistible choice for digital nomads. But that’s not all; Spain has gone a step further in its bid to attract this digital workforce.

In January 2023, Spain introduced a groundbreaking visa known as the Digital Nomad Visa. This visa, applicable to all foreign nationals with a particular focus on non-EU nationals, offers several tax benefits. Among them is the “Beckham law,” an appealing provision that taxes digital nomads at a lower rate of 15% during their first four years of residency, a substantial drop from Spain’s standard base rate of 25%.

The Digital Nomad Visa has proven attractive not just to freelancers but also to contractors, self-employed individuals, and employees of overseas businesses. A case study cited an instance of a Mexican national working as a freelancer for a Puerto Rican company, who needed to register the company with Spain’s social security system to obtain the Digital Nomad Visa.

The visa is tailored for individuals who work remotely in the digital sphere and are employed by companies or clients outside Spain. Interestingly, the visa also allows self-employed individuals to dedicate 20% of their professional business activities to a company registered in Spain. To qualify for the visa, applicants need to meet a minimum income requirement, which is set at twice the national minimum wage in Spain.

Spain’s introduction of the Digital Nomad Visa, combined with its attractive incentives and tax benefits, has made it a magnet for digital nomads. The success of these measures is reflected in Spain’s ranking in the “Digital Nomad Visa Index,” solidifying its status as a top destination for the digital workforce.


The Digital Nomad Visa is aimed at foreign citizens from outside the EU who want to establish themselves in Spain and work remotely for an employer or clients in another country. One great advantage of this new permit is that this type of visa can be applied for by both employees and self-employed workers.

The Visa can be applied for by non-EU citizens who wish to carry out an employment or professional activity remotely and who can accredit the following:

– Having a Graduate or Postgraduate qualification,
– Or having vocational training and schools of recognised prestige,
– Or having more than 3 years of experience.

With regards to the work itself, the law makes a clear distinction between employed and self-employed workers:

– Employee: In this case, the worker can only work for companies based outside Spain.
– Self-employed: If you have your own business or are self-employed, you can telework in Spain for companies based outside our country and for companies located in Spain, but with a limitation. The percentage of work offered to companies based in Spain cannot be more than 20% of your total professional activity.


– Not to be irregularly present in Spanish territory.
– Be over 18 years of age.
– You must not have a criminal record in Spain or in the countries where you have resided during the last two years for offences under Spanish law. In addition, a declaration must be submitted certifying that you have not had a criminal record for the last five years.
– Not to be listed as ineligible in the territorial space of countries with which Spain has signed an agreement in this regard.
– Have public insurance or private health insurance arranged with an insurance company authorised to operate in Spain.
– Have sufficient financial resources for themselves and their family members during their period of residence in Spain.
– Pay the fee for processing the authorisation or visa.

In addition to these general requirements that must be accredited for any of the permits regulated in the Entrepreneurs Law, the following requirements must also be met for this type of residence authorisation/Visa:

– The existence of a real and continuous activity for at least one year of the company or group of companies with which the worker has an employment or professional relationship.
– Documentation accrediting that the employment or professional relationship can be carried out remotely.
– In the case of an employment relationship, proof must be provided of the existence of the same between the worker and the company not located in Spain for at least the last three months prior to the submission of the application, as well as documentation accrediting that the company allows the worker to carry out the work activity remotely.
– In the case of the existence of a professional relationship, proof must be provided that the worker has had a business relationship with one or more companies not located in Spain for at least the last three months, as well as documentation accrediting the terms and conditions under which the professional activity is going to be carried out remotely.
– Social Security: If the worker is employed, they either have to present a certificate as per an agreement on social security matters between their employer’s country and Spain showing coverage or the employer has to register with social security in Spain to register the employee here. In case of self-employed applicants, they have to present a signed promise to register with social security in Spain once they have received the visa/residence permit.

There are two options:

1) Digital Nomad Visa

Foreigners not resident in Spain, who intend to reside in Spanish territory in order to telework remotely for a company not located in Spain, must apply for the corresponding visa at the Spanish Consulate in their country of origin or the country where they are legally resident.

Once the documentation has been assessed and if all the requirements are met, a visa will be issued for a maximum duration of one year. The visa may be for a shorter period if requested by the employee or self-employed worker.

The Digital Nomad Visa allows the holder to reside and work remotely in Spain for the duration of its validity.

Within sixty calendar days prior to the expiry of the visa, international teleworkers who are interested in continuing to reside in Spain may apply for the Digital Nomad Residence Permit, provided that the conditions that generated the right are maintained.

2) Digital Nomad Residence Permit

Foreigners who are in Spain legally can apply for a Digital Nomad residence permit at the Large Companies and Strategic Groups Unit, which will last for 3 years unless the they have applied for a shorter period.

Holders of this authorisation may request its renewal for periods of two years as long as the conditions that generated the right are maintained.

Would you like to learn more about the Spanish Digital Nomad Visa? Do you need professional management of your application? Get in touch via our “Talk To Us” page HERE.

David Poole is a South African entrepreneur and businessman, and founder of Consult Immigration.