Digital Nomads: New Residence Permit for Teleworkers in Spain
First of all, yes, this is exciting news, but no, this is not yet an available option. The new visa and residence permit for people who wish to live in Spain while working remotely is not yet a reality but the corresponding draft for the new law that would introduce it is being discussed and will hopefully enter into force sometime soon.
A NEW LAW ON START-UPS
The new residence permit is part of a new law directed at Start-ups that wants to make Spain more attractive for new entrepreneurial projects and the people who come with them. The draft for the new law has been approved by the Ministry of Economics and Digital Transformation a few weeks ago and the part on foreigners’ status in Spain seems highly promising.
This new law’s aim is to regulate and correctly assess all the specific characteristics of upcoming entrepreneurial and innovative companies. The main objective is to attract talent and international capital to Spain and to offer these companies and employees tax benefits and attractive options to become legal residents in Spain.
Since the outbreak of the pandemic, there have been many changes to our work life. Many people have gone from working at an office to working remotely from home. A Digital Nomad is a person who can develop their work or entrepreneurial activity through the internet. Thanks to this way of carrying out their work, they can move and travel all over the world, thus changing their residence depending on preferences, convenience etc.
This is not only a new way of working, but also a new lifestyle with great freedom of movement.
ADAPTING TO A NEW REALITY
In light of these developments and to offer an immigration option to these Digital Nomads, the new law in the making introduces a new residence and work permit which would allow them to live in Spain while working for companies based abroad.
It also includes the option of teleworking for companies located in Spain, subject to a series of requirements.
Until now, this type of worker was covered by the well-known Non-Lucrative Residence Permit, with the characteristic that they could only telework for companies outside Spain, as they only had a residence permit and not a residence and work permit. In recent years, it has algo gotten more and more difficult to apply for this permit while working abroad since many Consulates and Embassies have opted for a stricter interpretation of the law, asking the applicants for Non-Lucrative Residence Permits to not realise any labour activity whatsoever, be it for a company inside or outside of Spain.
This type of authorisation and visa is available to those who carry out remote work or a professional activity for companies located outside Spain, through the exclusive use of computer, telematic and telecommunication means and systems.
In addition, self-employed teleworkers may also work for a company located in Spain as long as the percentage of such work does not exceed 20% of their total professional activity.
Highly qualified professionals may apply for this visa or authorisation to telework if they can prove that they are graduates or postgraduates from universities, vocational training, and business schools or if they have, where applicable, at least 3 years of professional experience.
VISA REQUIREMENTS FOR TELEWORKING IN SPAIN
The requirements established in the draft bill for this potential new visa and residence authorisation in Spain are as follows:
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 the existence of an employment relationship, proof must be provided of the employment relationship between the worker and the company not located in Spain with which the worker has had this relationship for at least the last three months, as well as documentation accrediting that this 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 that accredits the terms and conditions under which the professional activity is going to be carried out remotely.
PROCESSING THE VISA FOR TELEWORKING IN SPAIN
Foreigners not resident in Spain who intend to enter Spanish territory in order to work remotely for a company not located in Spain must apply for an international telework visa at the Consulate or Embassy of their place of residence, which will be valid for a maximum of one year, unless requested for a shorter period.
The visa for international teleworking will allow the holder to reside and work remotely in Spain for the duration of its validity.
Once the visa has expired, teleworkers who are interested in residing in Spain may apply for the corresponding authorisation of residence, provided that the conditions that generated the right to the visa are maintained.
In addition, workers who are already legally in Spain may apply for the residence authorisation in order to telework remotely for a company located outside Spain without having to return to their countries of origin.
The residence authorisation will be valid for two years unless a shorter period is requested.
Most probably, the residence authorisation will be processed by the Large Business and Strategic Collectives Unit, same as the Golden Visas.
IS IT POSSIBLE TO APPLY FOR THIS VISA NOW?
No, as mentioned, at the moment it is only a draft bill, and it is in an initial phase.