‘Digital nomads’ can now live in Spain with their families — if they earn enough
Hopping between tapas bars in Madrid, gorging on art and culture in Barcelona or simply soaking up the sun in the Canary Islands.
For most people, those beat awkward conversations by the water cooler in a lonely suburban office park.
Remote workers looking for a change of scenery can now live and work in Spain if they meet the requirements of its new visa program.
The visa is aimed at “international teleworkers,” according to the Spanish government. The so-called “digital nomad” visa is open to a wide variety of remote workers and has already attracted considerable interest.
U.S. Google searches for “digital nomad visa Spain” spiked by 66% in late January, according to digital marketing specialists Semrush.
The new visa is for foreigners who carry out remote work or professional activities using computers or other forms of telecommunication, according to Spain’s Ministry of Inclusion, Social Security and Migration.
- be nationals of countries outside the European Economic Area — which includes European Union countries plus Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway
- be self-employed or employed by a company operating outside of Spain
- Have no criminal record in Spain or anywhere else for five years prior to applying
- Have health insurance with a company that operates in Spain
- Be qualified to work in their field, as evidenced by a university degree or work experience
Another draw? The money
Prithwiraj Choudhury, an associate professor at Harvard Business School who studies future work trends, said Spain’s new remote worker visa is financially compelling for two reasons:
- the tax rate for most workers is 15%, and
- visa holders can earn up to 20% of their income from local Spanish companies.
But countries stand to benefit from remote worker programs too.
Not only do they spend money, remote workers can “act as catalysts for knowledge and resource flows between regions, benefitting themselves, their organizations and their host countries,” he said.
Digital nomads can affect real estate markets too, said the marketing director at real estate developer Taylor Wimpey Espana.
“We have already seen an increase in the number of people buying second homes in Spain and then using them for work,” he said. “Buyers are also staying in their properties for longer than they did pre-pandemic. We anticipate that this will increase as both digital nomads and energy nomads head to Spain to wait out the winter in the warm.”