What visa do I need to work remotely?

The two years of the corona virus pandemic and an advanced telecommunication system has forced people from all over the world to stay and work from home. Recent studies have shown that employees are happier and more efficient working from home that in turn have left many employers satisfied and willing to accept work from home on a regular basis or a mix of work from home and office presence. The other realization is that one can in fact work anywhere in the world, but what visa is required to work remotely?

What is a digital nomad?

This new lifestyle has brought about the existence of the digital nomad. A digital nomad is a person whose job allows him or her to work remotely and change residence regularly, combining highly skilled work with immersive tourism in the country of preference. This has increasingly become the best way to bring experienced and skilled tech workers into a country. Many countries all over the world have created programs to attract the digital nomad.

Visa to work remotely

The digital nomad visa or remote worker visa or temporary resident visa allows a person the opportunity to live in a foreign country for an extended period of time without being subject to that country’s tax laws and without having to go through the often long and laborious process to obtain a residency visa or citizenship.

Most digital nomad visas require the applicant to have the financial means to support themselves and have a certain amount of funds in the bank as they cannot apply for local jobs.  Other requirements are no criminal record, travel and health insurance. The digital nomad visa allows the holder to stay in a particular country for a minimum of one year to a maximum of two years and is renewable.

There are presently twenty four countries all over the world that offer the visa for digital nomads. Countries in the Caribbean that offer the digital nomad visa are Anguilla, Antigua, Bahamas, Barbados, Bermuda, Cabo Verde, Dominica and the Cayman Islands.  There is also Costa Rica and Curacao in Central America; Australia and the United Arab Emirates. In Asia, only Taiwan offers a digital nomad visa.

In Europe, the following countries offer the digital nomad visa – Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Malta, Mexico, Montserrat Portugal, Romania, Spain, Seychelles, and Norway.

Digital nomad visa Spain

In February 2021, Spain’s Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez announced the Startup Act, a pro-start-up legislation as part of Spain’s 10-year strategy of turning the country into a global hub for entrepreneurship in 2030. Included in this proposed law is the digital nomad visa.  This program is most advantageous to Spain as it will help Spain’s economic sector to recover from the crisis that the corona virus and its different strains has imposed on the country.

To encourage an international workforce to live and work in Spain particularly those working in technology sectors, a new special visa has been created for digital nomads that will allow them to stay in Spain for one year with the possibility of renewing for another two years or longer without the right to residency.  Digital nomads can be defined as foreigners who work in Spain for a company outside Spain or foreigners who work online, have multiple sources of online income, and who travel from one country to another or foreigners working in a foreign company located in Spain.

The number of non-profit residents or persons who work for a foreign company, such as start-ups, or offer their services to international clients while living in Spain has increased along with the rapidly growing ecosystem of entrepreneurs, angel investors, early-stage incubators and venture capital funds.

An added benefit for the digital nomads living and working in Spain is that they can also avail of a reduced non-resident tax rate or IRNR of 20% to 15% for a maximum period of four years for up to €60,000 and can be enjoyed and extended from 5 to 10 years for residents currently not paying taxes.

Why Choose Spain?

  • Spain has excellent telecommunication facilities
  • Spain offers tax incentives for the digital nomad
  • A digital nomad can work anywhere in the country
  • Spain has an excellent healthcare system
  • Spain boasts of a healthy Mediterranean diet
  • Spain is conducive to a relaxed and stress-free lifestyle
  • Spain experiences good weather and sunshine for most of the year

General Requirements for Applying for Digital Nomad Visa

  • The applicant must be employed by a non-Spanish company that exists and has had continuous activity for at least a year
  • The applicant must have an income of less than 20% earned from Spanish companies
  • The applicant must show documentation that certifies that his or her work can be carried out remotely
  • The applicant must show documentation that he or she has been with the company for at least three months as an employee or in a professional capacity