The new regulation of digital nomads

As a result of the covid-19 pandemic and confinements, remote working has become increasingly popular. The new law on Startups aims to encourage the arrival of workers who do so for companies based outside Spain, who previously had to make use of the more restrictive and time-limited tourist visa, in many cases having to make trips to change countries to be able to apply for a new visa to stay longer. In particular, the new law defines an international remote worker as:

”…the national of a third State, authorised to stay in Spain to carry out an employment or professional activity at a distance for companies located outside the national territory, through the use of computer, telematic and telecommunication means and systems”.

A distinction is made according to the nature of the work carried out by the taxpayer in question:

  • Employment activity: the holder of the remote working authorisation may only work for companies located outside the national territory.
  • Professional activity: the holder of the remote working authorisation will be allowed to work for a company located in Spain, provided that the percentage of such work does not exceed 20% of the total professional activity.

To apply for an international remote working visa, the taxpayer must be a graduate or postgraduate of prestigious universities, vocational training and business schools of recognised prestige or have at least 3 years’ professional experience.

The requirements for obtaining a visa for international remote working, in addition to those already mentioned, are as follows:

  • Existence of a real and continuous activity for at least one year of the company or group of companies with which the worker has an employment or professional relationship.
  • Documentation accrediting that the employment or professional relationship can be carried out remotely.
  • If there is an employment relationship, proof of the existence of this relationship between the worker and the company not located in Spain for at least the last three months prior to the submission of the application, as well as documentation that accredits the permission of the company to telework.
  • If there is a professional relationship, proof that the worker has had a business relationship with one or more companies not located in Spain for at least the last three months.

The visa will be valid for a maximum of one year. If remote workers are interested in continuing to reside in Spain, they may apply, within sixty calendar days before the expiry of the visa, for the residence authorisation for international remote worker.

The residence authorisation for international telecommuters will be valid for a maximum of three years, which may be extended by renewal for two-year periods, provided that the conditions that generated the right are maintained.

It is established that a specific website will be set up for those who wish to apply for residence authorisations by means of online appointments. 

If you have any doubts related to this or other tax, accounting, or legal issues, please do not hesitate to contact us at GM Tax Consultancy.

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