Remote workers everywhere have been anxiously awaiting the arrival of Spain’s long-promised digital nomad visa, which is expected to launch in January 2023.
To make the most of the immense increase in remote working prompted by the pandemic, the new visa scheme will enable non-nationals hailing from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) who work for foreign employers to live in Spain without the need to procure a full work visa.
Announced after the Spanish parliament approved it in early November, the new visa program is awaiting final ratification by the Senate before it actually comes into force.
The new program is bundled into the country’s new Startup Law, aimed at growing the country’s budding tech industry, under the broader framework of the Spain Entrepreneurial Nation strategy.
While the various details of the new program are still being finalized, Spain’s digital nomad visa is set to be initially valid for 12 months, with the option to be renewed annually for up to five years.
To qualify, applicants must work for a non-Spanish company operating outside the country, or can be self-employed with a maximum of 20 percent of their income derived from Spanish clientele.
Under terms of the new Startup Act, digital nomad visa recipients earning under €600,000 a year will benefit from a reduced income tax structure, paying a special non-resident rate of 15 percent for up to four years (as opposed to the usual 24 percent), according to Business Insider.
While Spain has not yet announced what the minimum income requirements will be for non-EEA remote workers, some experts have predicted that the figure will be twice as much as the national minimum wage amount of €1,050 ($1,113) per month. That would mean digital nomads will need to bring in at least €2,100 ($2,226) monthly to qualify.
Other prerequisites—including proof of planned accommodation, private health insurance, and higher education or three years of related work experience—are likely to apply, Lonely Planet reported. Visa holders will also be given the option of bringing along partners and children, and possibly other close family members.
Of course, Spain already has competition on the Iberian Peninsula when it comes to attracting new tech startups, digital nomads and other remote workers to boost its post-pandemic economy. Neighboring Portugal offers its own special visa program for remote workers and its idyllic Madeira Islands even created the world’s first dedicated Digital Nomad Village last year.
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