Your Visa Options For Coming to Spain

With the introduction of the new so called Spanish Digital Nomad Visa or Remote Worker visa as we prefer to call it we are getting lots of enquiries as to which visa option is best for people who are coming from outside the European Union. Now obviously there is not a single "one size fits all" answer to this question. Everyone's circumstances are different and therefore the required visa may be different for each person. Therefore today we are going to look into the different visas for coming to Spain and who they may suit.

Apart from that we have some news from Valencia Property about our opening hours for Fallas and we look at what's happening with prices and availability of properties and why 200k is the new 150k, ie the minimum required for buying in Valencia city right now if you have relatively standard criteria.

Visa types

Your options as to which type of visa is right for you if you are coming into Spain from outside the EU are limited but varied. You have the Tourist Visa, the Student Visa, the Non-Lucrative Visa, the Highly Qualified Worker Visa, the Golden Visa, the Entrepreneur Visa and the Digital Nomad or Remote Work Visa.

One thing we need to clear up as I was asked the question this week is that with any of the visas you can buy property in Spain.

You do not need a specific visa for that.

What you do need to have in order to buy is a NIE number which is essentially a Spanish tax number so that the tax you pay on purchasing your property is registered to you. You can even get this without visiting Spain if you are buying remotely by applying for the NIE at your local Spanish embassy or consulate. Some will require proof of why you need the NIE number and others won't. Some will be easy to get appointments at and others maybe less so. So let's study what is available to you and which might suit you.

The Spanish Tourist Visa (Schengen Visa)

If you are from a non EU country and intend to spend less than 90 days out of 180 in the EU and more specifically Spain in this case and less than 180 days out of the year in Spain then this is the visa for you. You can buy your property in Valencia and then spend up to three months here out of any six consecutive months. This is sufficient for many people and is a simple visa to get. We have found this visa useful for those people who want to use their property for short periods of time and then either lock up and leave or even rent out the property for time periods that they are not going to be using it or that they have friends and family using the property in their absence.

It is important to note that if you can work remotely and intend to spend short periods in Spain then the Schengen Visa as it is also known allows you to work while in Spain (As opposed to the NLV for example). As long as you don't go above the 90 day in any 180 day period then you're good to go.

However if you want to spend longer periods in Spain, or even be here permanently then other options are available.

The Student Visa

The student visa is useful for those coming to Spain to study at an accredited institution on courses with at least 20 hours per week teaching. You can see all of the details here. You are allowed to work for up to 30 hours per week while studying as long as the work is compatible with the study, i.e, doesn't interfere with the course, and you must bear in mind that if you apply for the extension of a student visa into a second year then the income from the work done is not cosidered as part of the requirements for the student visa. In other words you have still to be able to prove that you have independent means to live without the job you are doing.

The application for you to work has to be done by the employer or if you are self-employed then it needs to be accompanied by a business plan (This is a difficult way of doing it but for those of you thinking of getting extra income and beer money through bar work, teaching English in an academy or anything similar then you will generally have an employer who can make the application. Make sure to let them know that you are here on a student visa). At the end of your student visa period you can change to a different visa and there is even one lasting a year called the Work Search visa which also lasts a year to extend your stay.

The truth is we don't get many people buying a property in Valencia using the student visa as their method to stay here but if this is you then there is no problem as long as you have your NIE number which you should get either before coming over or once you get here as it is useful for so many things. The most important part is that the course you sign up for has to be accredited by the Spanish government. Many Spanish courses are so that's a good place to start looking at what coming to Spain as a student might look like in your case.

The Non-Lucrative Visa

The non-lucrative visa, often referred to incorrectly as the retirement visa, is for those people who want to come and live in Spain and already have the means to live here through savings or monthly income without working. Of course this usually means that they have income from sources that are often pensions, thus it gets called the retirement visa, but it might also include investment income, dividends on shares and company ownership or other income from property ownership or passive income sources and also savings.

Most people do it with pensions or savings meaning they deposit a certain amount into a Spanish bank to show they have independent means to live in Spain or show their monthly income statements of their pensions. We have written about the requirements for the NLV previously so click through to this article to see what you need to provide (The article is specifically about Brits but is relevant to other non EU countries). The amount required has risen slightly since that article but is still around 2400 Euros per month for a single person and 600 euros for each family member extra (Numbers deliberately vague as by the time you read this they may change. This was written in March 2023 but maybe think of adding 5% per year to those numbers if you are reading this in future years)

The Highly Qualified Worker Visa

The highly qualified worker visa is for those in management and professional roles with a minimum salary of 40k per year. It can be applied for by companies looking to bring in "Talent" to help with running their companies, teachers at Universities or for Graduates and Post Graduates from prestigious Universities to carry out research in Spain. It is also available for intra company transfers where the visa applicant is brought in by a multinational company to gain experience in the Spanish "branch" of their operation. You can find out more about this visa here.

In Valencia at least this is a rare occurrence because those intra company exchanges usually go to the headquarters of companies which are most often based in Madrid or Barcelona. However, we have had a few people coming to Valencia on these visas and they usually ask for rentals because their secondments are often for a year or two after which they know they will be moving on.

The Golden Visa

Only a few weeks ago we wrote about the Golden Visa in this article. The Golden Visa is currently still available but might be worth getting your skates on to get it as soon as possible before the EU cracks down on it (This article will be updated as and when needed as reagrds this point).

For those who have not heard about the Golden Visa before, it requires investment in a property or properties of over 500k without a mortgage in Spain. Once acquired the application can be made and the process is pretty seamless and quick to get it (As long as your lawyer is competent #JustSaying). For more information on the Golden Visa which we have written about many times just go to our search page here and click through to the articles.

The Entrepreneur Visa

I'm yet to meet somebody in Valencia who has come here on the Entrepreneur's visa. I'm sure they exist but I haven't met them yet. This is one of the reasons we have never written about this option. However there is a list of what you need on the consulate website. The main thing is as follows (Copied from the consular website):

4. Favourable report on the project. Original and a copy of the favourable report issued by the corresponding Economic and Commercial Office in this consular district or by the Directorate-General for International Trade and Investments. The report must take into account:

  • Especially, and as a priority, the creation of jobs in Spain.
  • The applicant's professional profile, their professional training and experience, as well as their involvement in the project.
  • The business plan detailing the project, product or service, the market analysis and the financing.
  • Added value for the Spanish economy, innovation or investment opportunities. 

And this is why most business owners fail to get approval for the Entrepreneur's Visa. Your business is judged by a Spanish Government Civil Servant of whether it is worthy and they honestly don't have a clue. I know of one applicant in Barcelona whose business plan was rejected (despite it already being a hugely successful company in their own country) because the Civil Servant didn't understand what SEO or online marketing was or how the company could scale or create jobs. If you decide to go down this route then make sure to use a competent lawyer who has successfully presented other projects through this route. Nevertheless, they are few and far between.

The Digital Nomad or Remote Worker Visa

Now up and running for applications from within Spain and should be ready to go for applications from outside Spain by the end of the month (March 2023), the Digital Nomad or Remote Worker Visa is aimed at those looking to work in Spain remotely for an employer in another country or freelancers who can work from anywhere. Obviously we have written about this too so take a look at the articles on our blog but start here. We have also done a podcast about the Digital Nomad Visa which you can listen to below.

The big advantage of this visa over the others mentioned above is that if you are working as a freelancer for example then you become a tax resident here paying your social security here and your tax rate is fixed at 24% up to 600k per year for a maximum period of up to five years. You have to make sure to register with the tax authorities (Hacienda) in the first six months of your stay to be eligible for this advantage which is based on the law known as the Beckham Law. Don't overlook this because if you do then you go into the general taxpayer category which if you are a higher earner may be up to 48%.

UPDATE 3rd May: It seems there are bureaucratic problems with the DNV for remote workers for foreign companies (As opposed to freelancers) Take a look at this post from the Local. We always said there would be problems to iron out and this is a major one it seems.

And that's it. There are other lesser known visas for special collectives, people fleeing persecution etc... but these are the most common ways to come into Spain from outside the EU and, as we always say now, yes, that includes you Brexit loving UK.

News From Valencia Property

This week it's the Fallas Fiestas and we are closed from the 15th to the 19th of March. We reopen on the 20th of March. However it is highly likely that there will not be a blog on Monday the 20th as it gets written in the days before and we are taking some time off for Fallas of course. It may come out the following day or we may take our pearls of wisdom over to the following week depending on what is happening and how busy we are. Equally, I may write it before and schedule. (Ahhhh! The joys of organisation which I will never know).

The 200k Lower Limit For Buying In Valencia

We used to say that if you want something decent in the city with typical characteristics such as 3 beds, 100m2 minimum, in a good area, in decent condition and with a lift you needed at least 150k. There are currently just three properties for sale between central Valencia and the sea with those characteristics so bear that in mind.

If we increase the amount to 200k then there are 33 properties between central Valencia and the Mediterranean (Although some are repeat listings). In central Valencia there are exactly zero.

Therefore 200k is the new 150k.

You'll need 200k and above to get a decent selection of properties in Valencia that may suit those basic requirements. If we just add one requirement in, a terrace, then we are down to 7 between the town hall and the sea and of those seven, three are the same listing in one of the worst roads in Valencia and only one isn't first floor and that one doesn't have a terrace as such, it's basically a balcony. In other words a 200k budget now doesn't get you three bedrooms and a terrace in Valencia.

Therefore, if your dream property has three bedrooms, a lift, a good sized terrace above first floor and in a decent area in good condition you might need to change your mindset and look outside the city. Public transport is good and you are never far from the city but you get a lot more for your money outside and at the same time your lifestyle may well be improved with more space, less noise and fewer people around but with equal access to great facilities at a much lower price.

If you insist on the city then maybe you'll need to be paying between 200-300k for those requirements now. And if your dream is sitting outside in your penthouse apartment with friends enjoying Valencia's enviable climate then the number starts with a 4 or 5 or higher. There are currently just 37 penthouses with a terrace and three bedrooms of 100m2+ for sale in Valencia under 600k and again, many of those are repeat listings so in reality not that many eg there is a 260k place in El Grau as I write this listed 6 times so really there are just 32. Oh, and by the way, the owner of that particular place is an absolute barnpot so good luck dealing with her. We gave up! (And if you click on that link above the number may well be lower)

If You Liked This...

Then maybe take a look at some other posts where we talk about areas around Valencia and prices. Just click on the images to go to the posts.

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