Until the advent of the Digital Nomad Visa, the Non-Lucrative visa was one of the most accessible ways for non-EU nationals to move to Spain. Of these, which one would you recommend and why?
The Spanish visa for international teleworkers, the long-awaited Digital Nomad Visa (DNV), which was introduced at the end of 2022, offers non-EU nationals additional flexibility to relocate to Spain.
Although once a popular option, the Non-Lucrative Visa (NLV) has disadvantages and is not the best solution for everyone. But is it worth going to Spain now that the digital nomad visa is an option? Which one is best and which one should you choose?
1— Want to work remotely? You need a Digital Nomad Visa.
The key difference between the Non-Lucrative Visa and the digital nomad visa is that the former does not allow you to work legally in Spain. In practice, many people have worked in Spain while employed by companies abroad, although this is not entirely accepted, and at the same time it is not officially prohibited (people pay their taxes in Spain on this income they earn abroad, and no one has put any obstacles in the way of this). However, the Digital Nomad Visa is adapted to people who want to work in Spain on a self-employed basis, as long as they do not obtain more than 20% of their income from Spanish sources.
2- Do you want to apply for your residency from Spain, avoiding Spanish consulates? I recommend a Digital Nomad Visa.
This can only be done with the residence authorization for digital nomads, as long as you come from a country that does not require a visa to enter Spain. On the other hand, the non-lucrative residence can only be requested from the country of origin, through the consulates.
In this article, we discuss everything you need to know about Spain's digital nomad visa
3— It is unclear whether you will be able to demonstrate sufficient financial resources. Both types of visas require extensive proof.
To apply for both the NLV and DNV, you have to provide evidence of substantial income or savings. However, the digital nomad visa requires evidence of significantly greater financial stability. To qualify for the NLV, applicants must prove that they have four times the IPREM (€2,400 per month in 2023 for one person). And for the digital nomad residency, €2,160 per month must be proven. This means that you have to prove a little more for the non-profit visa: 240 euros per month to be exact.
4— You're worried about where your tax dollars will go. Both solve it.
If you want to stay in Spain for more than 183 days, you can obtain any type of visa and you will be considered a tax resident in Spain. Both NLV passive income and assets from DNV employers or clients outside Spain are subject to taxation. However, those with a digital nomad visa have an economic advantage, as they are not subject to IRNR (the tax paid by non-residents) even if they live in the country.
The digital nomad visa offers economic advantages because it is subject to Non-Resident Income Tax (IRNR) instead of the standard progressive income tax (IRPF) paid by permanent workers in Spain. IRNR is usually 24% in Spain (for residents it ranges between 25% and 50%). However, only those with income above 55,000 euros will be taxed under the Beckham Law (if the income is below this amount, it is not suitable), but if you are within the Digital Nomad Law you will not pay for income from real estate assets, dividends from companies, etc., generated in your country. You will only pay Wealth Tax on assets located in Spain. Please note that this regime can only be used during the first 6 years.
5— Do you want to bring the kids? You can do either, but with the Digital Nomad Visa it will cost you more.
If you can demonstrate that you have the financial means to support your spouse and dependent children, they can apply with you for any type of visa. To qualify for an NLV, you must prove that your family has access to an income equal to or greater than 2,400 euros per month for one person or 3,600 euros per month for three family members. When applying for a nomad visa, you must prove that you have access to funds equivalent to 200% of the Minimum Interprofessional Wage (MIW), i.e. about €2,160 per month for one person or €3,240 per month for the family group of three members. Therefore, the financial means of non-profit individuals are a little higher than those of the residence for digital nomads.
6— You want to change your visa for another one: Better the Non-Lucrative Visa
After one year of stay in Spain with a NLV, applying for another visa, which allows you to work, will be much easier. Changing your immigrant status will allow you to work legally or create your own business (self-employed). As the digital nomad visa has only recently been issued, it is not yet known if this is allowed, although following immigration regulations, we believe it can be changed within a year of obtaining residency. However, being self-employed would almost always be more expensive, and you probably wouldn't want to do this while enjoying the tax advantages of a digital nomad visa for six years.
7— Do you want to acquire Spanish nationality? Both are valid.
You can apply for Spanish nationality by accumulation of residence time in both the NLV and the DNV. In both cases, you are granted a residence permit, which is extendable. Depending on your nationality, you will need 2 or 10 years of residence to be able to apply for Spanish nationality. It is important to remember that you must have at least 9 months of "effective residence" of each year for which the authorizations are granted.
8— Do you want to travel freely within the Schengen Area? Both are right for you.
Having residency in Spain allows you to travel without a visa in the Schengen Area, which is an advantage in both types of authorization. But you will not be granted residency in those countries; for example, you could not enter Spain on a digital nomad visa and then go to France to live.
For many years, Spain has been a popular place for digital nomads due to its pleasant climate, amazing cities, reasonable cost and reliable Internet speeds. However, until recently, many digital nomads could only stay in Spain for a maximum of three months as tourists. Now this restriction has been lifted. Not only did this mean that they could not stay for an extended period of time, but also that, from a legal standpoint, they were not allowed to work from Spain if they were here as tourists.
As the number of remote jobs and digital nomads continues to grow, especially as many people started working from home during the pandemic, more and more countries have started to grant visas to digital nomads.
The so-called Startups Law, which the Spanish government finally approved in November 2022, after a long 16-month process, is Spain's attempt to attract digital nomads, remote employees and startups.
It's been a long wait and there's been a lot of hype, but Spain's long-awaited digital nomad visa is finally available.
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