Digital Nomads in Spain: Recognition of a Reality by the Spanish Government

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Digital Nomads in Spain

Digital Nomads in Spain: Recognition of a Reality by the Spanish Government

Let’s imagine for a moment Mr. Kapoor (fictitious name, but real case), an Indian engineer specialized in refrigeration systems design. After two years of studying in Spain (where he completed a master’s degree), he returned to his home country and has successfully established himself as a freelance consultant, providing his services remotely to clients in the United States, United Kingdom, and Singapore. Now, Mr. Kapoor wishes to settle in Malaga, a city that has captured his imagination and where he yearns to live with his wife and children.

However, it is the year 2020 and Spain does not offer any immigration category that fits Mr. Kapoor’s situation within the broad catalog of visas and residence permits provided by Spanish law. Applying for self-employment residence would have been unfeasible, due to the lack of a business location in Spain and the absence of Spanish clients. Likewise, he could not apply for a non-profit residence, as this modality prohibited him from carrying out lucrative activities from Spanish territory, despite having enough income to sustain himself in the country.

By 2023, Mr. Kapoor’s situation has radically changed. He now resides in Spain with his family, thanks to the granting of a residence for international remote workers, commonly known as “Digital Nomads”. This new immigration regulation, which recognizes a labor reality that has prevailed for many years and only became evident after the pandemic, benefits not only Mr. Kapoor but also many other families.

This type of residence, which is processed in a record time of 20 business days – being equated with residence for investors (Golden Visa) – allows the applicant to live and work in Spain for their remote clients. It is designed for workers and self-employed individuals with at least three months of seniority and who have sufficient income to support themselves and their dependents in Spain.

However, it is important to point out a limitation of this new law: it excludes those entrepreneurs who operate through a limited company, a common situation for those business people who invoice their services to various clients through their limited companies without maintaining an employment relationship with the company.

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