When we think of all our times in Spain, we often think of vibrant, gorgeous beaches and the mouth-watering smell of paella cooking off in the distance.
With such a fascinating culture, many visitors to Spain often find themselves interested in staying there to enjoy the Mediterranean lifestyle longer than originally planned. We would know – we’ve certainly been there before.
One way you can do this is by working remotely in Spain as a digital nomad! With the right preparations, you can easily make Spain your new base of operations.
In this article, we’ll share everything you need to know about becoming a digital nomad in Spain, from finding a work-life balance to co-working spaces, so you can find yourself working along the beach in no time.
The Allure of Staying to Work in Spain
Did you know that nearly 6 million expats are currently residing in Spain? It’s really become a hotspot for them over time.
So, what makes working in Spain so alluring for all of these people?
What really makes it a dream destination for many digital nomads like us is the quality of life. Spain offers residents excellent healthcare, a focus on family and leisure, and a culinary scene that is known worldwide.
Not to mention, the work-life balance in Spain is a deeply ingrained cultural norm. When your day ends, you can close your laptop and go for a bike ride along the promenade, or indulge in some late-night tapas with new friends.
Spain is also a major hub for connectivity and diversity. From giant cities like Madrid to cozier coastal towns around the Balearic Islands, Spain has it all for your specific lifestyle needs.
There’s also a thriving expat community here. During your stay, you’ll get to experience both the local Spanish culture and an entire melting pot of influences from around the world.
Finally, Spain’s geographical location makes it perfect for those of us who love to explore. You can find several travel connections to the rest of Europe, Africa, and beyond.
Ultimately, Spain doesn’t just offer a place to work – it offers the opportunity for a fulfilling life.
5 Tips for Digital Nomads in Spain
1. Carefully Balance Work and Play
As a digital nomad, you might be tempted to work away in a scenic working space and forget that you’re in one of Europe’s most culturally rich countries. Don’t fall into that trap!
Achieving a work-life balance in Spain is not only doable but also immensely rewarding. There’s no point to working remotely in Spain if all you do the entire time is work, but living like a local too much can make your finances tight.
Take jobs that keep you busy but let you be flexible. The more flexible you can keep your schedule, the more opportunities you’ll have to explore the culture.
2. Embrace the Laid-Back Culture
In bustling cities like Madrid and Barcelona, the extended lunch break, or siesta, is still pretty common. We recommend embracing these quieter hours between 2 and 5 p.m., when some local businesses shut down, to take a break from work.
Go out for a leisurely lunch, explore your surroundings, or even take a short power nap. You’ll find that adapting to this local custom can help you recharge in the middle of the day, so you’ll be ready to dive back into work as the sun sets.
3. Consider a Different Work Schedule
The nightlife in Spain doesn’t really get going until well past what many consider their bedtime. For a digital nomad, this could mean one of two things: a disrupted work schedule, or the perfect opportunity to experience the local culture without having to sacrifice productivity during the day.
Consider creating a work schedule that lets you finish your tasks by early evening. Then, you can join others and explore around town in the evenings without compromising your work quality.
4. Find an Efficient Co-Working Space
Spain has a growing number of co-working spaces throughout the country as remote work becomes more common. These spaces offer both reliable internet and desk space, as well as opportunities for networking and socializing.
You may even find some spaces that offer special events like skill-sharing sessions and weekend outings. Joining a local co-working community like this is a great way to find a balance between your work and social life.
Places like La Vaca Coworking and Coworking Platon are some nice examples of these spaces. For a regular fee, you’ll often have access to desks, chairs, and even refreshments during your day.
You can also check out platforms like WeWork to find other locations and opportunities for coworking spaces.
If co-working spaces aren’t your preference, Spain has a café culture that works well for remote workers. In a café, you can relax and sip on your favorite drink while sending emails from a warm spot in the shade. Just be sure to order something every couple of hours and to respect the café’s busy times.
5. Make Time for You
Working in Spain is fun, but don’t forget to take care of yourself in all the excitement. Make time for physical activities, whether you go on a morning jog on the beach, or take a surfing lesson or a local yoga class.
We also recommend keeping a balanced diet to keep you in top shape mentally and physically, even if the many unique street foods of Spain are delicious. By caring for yourself, you can make sure you keep on top of your responsibilities well.
Preparing to Become a Digital Nomad in Spain
Before you hop on that flight, you’ll want to prep well. The two biggest things to prepare before becoming a digital nomad are getting yourself insurance and the proper visa.
Protecting Yourself With Nomad Insurance
Any digital nomad needs to get themselves some nomad insurance. This insurance helps provide coverage for things like medical emergencies, trip cancellations, and even equipment damage or theft for nomads.
Unlike traditional travel insurance, which usually covers shorter vacations, nomad insurance offers more flexibility for digital wanderers. It’s usually for those who don’t necessarily have a fixed home base, so policyholders can move between countries without difficulty.
Spain, though safe and welcoming, can come with its own set of unpredictabilities. From the occasional pickpocket to the unexpected sprained ankle, you can quickly face unforeseen challenges while staying there.
Though Spain has excellent healthcare, medical treatments can quickly add up in cost for non-residents. Nomad insurance ensures that you’re not met with a hefty bill that impacts your stay if you end up in an emergency.
Plus, your electronic equipment is your lifeline as a remote worker. The loss or damage of a laptop can be devastating if your job completely revolves around it. Nomad insurance can sometimes provide coverage for this type of equipment, so you can get back online in no time.
Getting a Digital Nomad Visa
So, how can you go about getting approved to work remotely in Spain? One way is with the Digital Nomad Visa. This visa allows you to stay and work remotely in Spain without having to jump through the endless bureaucratic hoops that tend to discourage would-be expats.
Plus, you can apply directly from Spain while you’re visiting on a tourist visa, so you don’t have to leave yet if you’re not quite ready to say goodbye.
One of the most enticing features is the tax advantage. Successful applicants will be taxed through a Non-Resident Income Tax Regime, which adds up to just 24% of your income. This financial incentive may encourage more expats to choose Spain as their remote working destination over surrounding countries.
Once you receive the visa, it is considered valid for up to one year. After that, you can extend your stay by turning your Digital Nomad Visa into a temporary residency permit. This permit will allow you to stay in Spain further for up to three years. There are then additional renewals you can apply for if you want to extend your stay even further.
How to Get a Digital Nomad Visa in Spain
There are a few requirements you need to meet before you can try to get a digital nomad visa. Here’s what you need to know about qualifying and applying.
There are two foreigner profiles that can take advantage of this opportunity:
- Employed workers: These individuals work for a company that allows them to work remotely from another country—in this case, Spain.
- Self-employed workers: These individuals may work with multiple clients across the globe. Or, they may have several diverse sources of income from online activities. These clients do not inherently have to be from Spain, though.
As long as you fit one of these profiles, you should be eligible to apply for the visa, as long as you meet the additional requirements below.
Visa Work Requirements
You also need to consider the type of work you’re planning to do in Spain before applying for a visa.
Firstly, the company (or companies) you’re working for must be based outside of Spain. If you do work for a company inside Spain, you can’t have more than 20% of your total income sourced from Spanish companies. The majority of your income must come from a company based outside of the country.
Before submitting your application, you’ll need to collect proof of a working relationship with your company or freelance clients over the course of at least three months. This helps prove your professional relationship with clients or employers.
You’ll also need to show a contract with a duration of at least one year to prove your ability to continue this remote work during the course of your visa.
Spain will also want to look more deeply into your professional background. Applicants need to demonstrate sufficient experience and education to fulfill their role, whether working for an employer or freelance. This means having either:
- Three years of prior professional experience in your role
- A degree from a reputable university or vocational school
Applicant General Conditions
Additional conditions for visa approval include having a clean criminal record and buying private health insurance that provides full coverage within Spain. You’ll have to submit a criminal records certificate for all countries you lived in within the last 5 years, fully legalized and apostilled.
You also need to prove that you’re financially stable, which can tell officials that you’re likely to remain financially stable during your stay. You will have to prove this by having at least €25,000 in your bank account up-front. This is 200% of the minimum wage in Spain!
For every family member you plan to bring with you as part of this visa, an additional €9441 per person will need to be in your bank account. This is to help demonstrate to Spanish officials that you are financially ready to pursue working remotely within the country.
Additional Requirement Caveats
Finally, here’s the last bit of criteria to follow:
- Employed Workers: The company you work for must have been operational for at least a year and allow remote work. If either of these conditions isn’t met, you’re not eligible for the visa.
- Self-Employed Workers: Your contract with clients must specify that you are allowed to work remotely. Always check the wording of your contracts between yourself and your clients carefully to ensure they’re up to the proper standards.
How to Apply
If you apply from your home country, you can obtain a 1-year visa that can later be modified to residency. But if you apply directly from Spain, you can get a 3-year permit while on a tourist visa, which is then renewable for 2 more years.
You’ll need to submit your application, essential documentation for the above requirements, and the application fee.
After applying, you’ll benefit from a fast-track application process, receiving a final response in just 20 days. The last steps involve a visit to the local police office to register your fingerprints and collect your physical residency card.
Working remotely from Spain can be a fulfilling and life-changing experience. If you’re a remote worker interested in experiencing an incredible new culture, consider giving Spain a try. As long as you follow all of the above requirements and follow our tips on successfully working remotely, you may find yourself relaxing in a vibrant Spanish city before you know it.
To prepare for your stay, check out our article on the 10 Most Surprising Things You’ll Find When Moving to Spain.