Two visa options for moving to Spain, but which is the best for you?


  • Canarian Weekly
  • 20-09-2023
  • Business
  • Photo Credit: Stock Image
Two visa options for moving to Spain, but which is the best for you?

In 2023, Spain introduced a game-changing addition to its visa offerings - the digital nomad visa (DNV). For non-EU citizens looking to relocate to Spain, including the Balearic and Canary Islands, this new visa has opened up fresh possibilities, raising questions about the choice between the previously popular Non-Lucrative Visa (NLV) and the DNV.

Here are the key differences between these two visa options to help you decide which is the better option for you.

Working in Spain: Digital Nomad Visa v Non-Lucrative Visa:
Perhaps the most significant distinction between the NLV and the DNV is the permission to work within Spain. Under the NLV, working in the country, even for an employer abroad, is technically prohibited. In contrast, the DNV is tailored for those seeking employment opportunities within Spain, with the caveat that their income from Spanish sources does not exceed 20% of their total earnings.

Financial Requirements: Proving Your Means of Support:
Both visa options require applicants to demonstrate their financial stability. However, the DNV necessitates slightly higher financial proof compared to the NLV. For the NLV, applicants must provide evidence of income or savings equal to 400 times the IPREM, amounting to €2,400 per month in 2023.

The DNV, on the other hand, demands 200% of the Minimum Interprofessional Salary (SMI), equivalent to €2,520 per month in 2023, requiring applicants to prove an additional €120 per month compared to the NLV.

Taxation in Spain: Implications for Both Visas:
Both the NLV and the DNV grant Spanish residency, making applicants liable for taxes on their worldwide income if they spend more than 183 days in the country.

This includes passive income for NLV holders and income derived from employers or clients outside of Spain for DNV holders. Additionally, those on the digital nomad visa will be subject to taxation on their freelance or remote income.

Including Family Members: Costs and Criteria:
Both visa options allow applicants to include family members, such as spouses and dependent children, provided they can demonstrate the financial means to support them. For the NLV, an additional 100% of the IPREM, equivalent to €600 per month in 2023, is required for each family member.

Meanwhile, the DNV necessitates providing an extra 75% of the SMI or minimum wage, which currently amounts to €945 per month. For additional family members, such as children, an extra 25% of the SMI, equivalent to €315, is required.

Changing Visa Types: NLV Offers More Flexibility:
One advantage of the NLV is that, after residing in Spain for one year, you can apply for a different visa that permits employment, such as a work permit or self-employment status through a process called residence modification.

It remains uncertain whether this option is available for digital nomad visa holders, but it's worth noting that the DNV offers tax advantages for four years, making self-employment potentially more costly.

Spanish Citizenship: Both Visas Lead the Way:
Both the NLV and the DNV can eventually lead to Spanish citizenship. Initially providing one-year residency, both visas are renewable. The DNV can be renewed for up to five years, after which permanent residency can be pursued.

Similarly, the NLV can be renewed for an additional two years (and then another two years after that) with proof of the required funds, making you eligible for permanent residency.

Schengen Zone Mobility: A Shared Perk:
One notable benefit of both visa options is that once you obtain residency in Spain, you gain free movement within the Schengen Zone. While you won't have residency in other Schengen countries, this privilege allows for convenient travel and short breaks within the zone.

In conclusion, the choice between the Non-Lucrative Visa and the Digital Nomad Visa depends on your specific circumstances and objectives. Consider your work plans, financial situation, family status, long-term goals, and tax implications carefully before making your decision.

Both visas offer unique opportunities for those looking to call Spain their new home, and your choice should align with your individual needs and aspirations.

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