Spain’s new digital nomad visa: everything you need to know

Spain’s new digital nomad visa: everything you need to know

It’s a genuinely fascinating and exciting time to be digitally nomadic right now. If you have the wherewithal to become self-employed, and the sense of adventure to work around the world, the timing couldn’t be better.

The world is truly opening up again. Travel restrictions owing to the pandemic are no longer, and governments around the world are looking for ambitious self-starters to work in their countries on a self-employment basis.

This is particularly true in Europe, where 16 countries so far have digital nomad advantages. If you’re a teacher of English as a foreign language, this is an acutely tempting time to get the show on the road and travel while you work. Yes, you have to earn over a certain threshold – different countries have different contribution minimums – but if you’ve already started as an online teacher, and you have all the equipment you need (including a passport), then you’ll be delighted to know Spain has joined the movement.

Yes – the fascinating, beautiful and culturally diverse nation of España has launched its own digital nomad programme . Like its European counterparts, visas are being offered to self-employed travellers who make over a certain threshold, and we’ll discuss just what that means for TEFLers!

A young woman sitting outside a cafe

Who is eligible to be a digital nomad in Spain?

According to the Spanish government’s list of criteria, “[The Spanish Digital Nomad Visa] is for any foreigner planning to live in Spain as a resident, working remotely for a Company or an employer (or self-employed) located outside of the Spanish national territory, and using exclusively computer telematics and telecommunication media and systems.

“When the applicant is self-employed, he/she can also work for a company located in Spain, as long as the percentage of this particular work doesn´t exceed 20% of the total amount of his/her professional activity.

“The applicant must have an undergraduate or postgraduate degree from a University, College or Business School of prestige, or have at least 3 years of work experience in his/her current field of activity.”

Spouses/unmarried partners and dependent children are also eligible.

Furthermore, applicants “must be from outside the European Economic Area and be able to demonstrate that they have been working remotely for at least a year. They must have a contract of employment or, if freelance, show that they have been regularly employed by a company outside Spain.”

Initially, these digital nomad visas are valid for a year but can go for up to five years. In that time, you can apply for permanent residence, if you start to feel at home and want to ditch the “nomad” part of being a digital nomad. You don’t need experience to teach abroad in Spain . Non-native English speakers are welcome to apply for jobs there, and the same rule applies if it’s your own business.

You must be earning at least 200% of the Spanish minimum wage (“approximately £2,140 per month or £25,700 per year”), while there are also financial rules for additional applicants, such as partners. For a full list of the requirements and documentation, check the Spanish government’s information on digital nomad visas.

What do I need to be a digital nomad in Spain?

Let’s break it down into specifics. What do you need to be a digital nomad in Spain?

To be eligible, applicants must meet certain criteria. These criteria include:

  • Proof of employment or self-employment with a foreign company or clients
  • Proof of remote work capabilities and a stable income
  • Health insurance coverage for the duration of the stay in Spain
  • No criminal record
  • Sufficient funds to support oneself during the stay in Spain
  • Compliance with Spanish tax and social security obligations

Health insurance and proof of income are probably the biggest things to consider. To demonstrate proof of income, you’ll need to supply a bank statement, which includes any savings you have, and/or a tax return with pay stubs. This way, the Spanish authorities can be certain of your motivations and ability to generate income.

Meanwhile, health insurance depends on how you apply. If you’re not in Spain already, you’ll need to arrange health insurance with a Spanish healthcare provider before setting off, and your digital nomad visa will only be valid for a year. Make sure your health insurance agreement recognises the duration of the visa. If you’re re-applying from within Spain, you’re normally granted three years of visa cover, and as such, you’ll need the same amount of cover from a provider.

Colourful buildings in Barcelona

How do I apply to be a digital nomad in Spain?

The application process is relatively straightforward, provided you have all the documentation you need, or you’re easily able to attain it. 

The first thing to consider is documentation. Gather all the required documents, including proof of employment, income, health insurance, a clean criminal record, and records of your finances. 

Then, it’s time to start the application. Submit a completed application form, which can be provided by your nearest Spanish consulate, and provide all the necessary documents. These will need to be apostilled and translated - this is absolutely crucial. Though the idea of hiring an immigration lawyer or expert can sound costly, it’s worth it in the long run if you’re able to. This is both for translation purposes and for checking you’ve submitted everything that you need to.

After that, Spanish authorities will review the application and make a decision. It can be a bit of an anxious wait, so make sure you’ve given yourself plenty of time prior to moving over. Or, if you already live in Spain, make sure you’re well away from your visa’s deadline. 

Got all that? Good, because the next part is being issued a digital nomad visa in Spain. Vamos!

Other ways to teach English in Spain

Not sure the digital nomad lifestyle is for you? That’s fine, too, you know. 

Spain is a major TEFL destination, and it’s no surprise. The fantastic weather, the proximity to both mainland Europe and northern Africa, and the fantastic range of cultures, dialects and traditions mean that no two trips to Spain are ever the same.

So, what about teaching English? Well, it’s important to look at the different schools on offer. Public schools are the most obvious choice, being that they’re the state-run schools in Spain. There are also specific language schools that teach English, as well as international schools stretching from Pamplona to Gran Canaria .

A great way to get into teaching in Spain is through a Language Assistant programme. The most famous of these is Meddeas , where student teachers are paid a monthly stipend, and given free access to the Spanish medical system and visa guidance in exchange for some English knowledge. 

Similarly reputable is the British Council ’s placement programme for Spain, while for non-EU citizens, ​​the NALCA program (North American Language and Culture Assistants in Spain), employs around 2,500 Americans and Canadians as classroom assistants. For more on placements, check out our TEFL Org Guide to Spanish jobs .

Find out everything you need to know about teaching English online with our ultimate guide !

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