If your dream is to escape the cold, grey weather of the UK and live and work in Spain you can! Whether you want to become a resident of Spain or work under a Digital Nomad visa this is your chance to enjoy the sunny lifestyle and work remotely.
The good news is that the Digital Nomad visa has been approved by the Spanish government, making it much easier to live and work in Spain than it was immediately after Brexit. We’ll explain more about this below and give you our best tips on remote working in Spain.
Why telework in Spain?
Remote working, or teleworking as it’s also known, has become the norm since we all locked down during the COVID-19 pandemic. Employers are much more amenable to employees working remotely and several surveys carried out have shown that it improves productivity, which is a winning situation for everyone.
With the cheap cost of living, more affordable property than in the UK, and the daily sunshine, why wouldn´t you choose Spain for remote work? You can either work remotely in Spain for a UK company, thanks to the new law, or you can choose to work as self-employed and benefit from the visa.
Enjoy the relaxed lifestyle
Imagine waking up to blue skies, taking breakfast on the terrace, working at your laptop for a few hours, and then spending the late afternoon on the beach or walking in the mountains.
A remote working job allows you to work from anywhere instead of commuting through busy traffic to an office every day.
Spain is an outdoor country, so working from a terrace or even on the beach will allow you to make the most of the sunny weather. This is also good for your stress levels as it’s proved that sunlight can elevate your mood and make you feel good which can make you more productive.
Lower cost of living
Working in a room with a sea view and enjoying a late lunch before a leisurely siesta or a swim in the pool is something many people aspire to. With the many options for remote working-from-home jobs that exist today and the cheaper cost of living in Spain, it’s possible to turn this dream into reality. Here’s an idea of some of the current average prices in Spain compared to the UK, converted to £:
|Spain £||UK £|
|A meal in an inexpensive restaurant||10.70||15.00|
|A bottle of wine||4.46||7.00|
|A one-way ticket on local transport||1.29||2.50|
Whether you choose to buy a Spanish property or rent in Spain, property prices are cheaper than in the UK. The average UK house price is £290,000 (January 2023), so you’ll get a lot more property for your money in Spain where you can buy an inland property for €100,000 or spend up to €500,000 for a villa on the coast. Looking at this in more detail, the average price per square metre for a 3 bedroom apartment outside a city in Spain is €1,737 while the equivalent in the UK is €3,2900, making it 47% cheaper to buy an apartment in Spain.
Utility bills are also cheaper in Spain. The average monthly bill for gas, electricity and water is £128.44 (€ equivalent) compared to £190.22 in the UK.
This makes moving to Spain and taking advantage of the remote working-from-home lifestyle a viable option for many couples and single people.
Tip 1: The best places to telework in Spain
With its pleasant climate and choice of destinations, Spain has a great choice of remote working locations. Many cities have dedicated co-working spaces and you can find high-speed Internet connections virtually everywhere.
If you prefer the buzz of a city, you’ll find plenty of teleworking offices in Madrid. Many have free coffee. When you need a break, you can take a stroll through the city or one of Madrid’s green parks to refocus your mind. You’ll also meet plenty of other digital nomads which will expand your network. Choose from the Puerta del Sol area near the city centre, or Melasaña or Lavapiés if you’d prefer a more traditional spot.
As Spain’s second-largest city, Barcelona is a great choice for remote working. This is a perfect city to get your work-life balance just right. You can work in the morning when it’s cooler and discover the attractions this city has to offer later in the day. Why not live like the Spaniards and take a long lunch then a siesta before enjoying the buzz of Barcelona in the evening? Nowhere else in Spain will you see such unique architecture. This is exemplified by Gaudí’s works. The city is geared up to remote working and even offers a Workation card that gives you free or reduced prices for admission to many of the cultural sights of the city. Barcelona has plenty of coworking spaces to choose from including in the trendy Born district and the traditional plazas of Gracia and Sants with easy access to the airport and railways.
Located on the coast, this Costa Blanca city is easy to navigate and full of Spanish culture. You can spend your mornings working at one of the many co-working spaces and head for the beach in the afternoon. If you want to work in the bustling city centre, choose a remote working space in El Carmen in the old town. Alternatively, Ruzafa is great for working from an outdoor terrace with a beer and a dish of tapas. Mestalla is quieter but perfect if you love football as it’s home to Valencia’s stadium.
If you’re looking for a mix of beach and city life, then Alicante is ideal for remote working. You can enjoy a warm Mediterranean climate with plenty of sunshine even in the winter. What could be more relaxing than switching your computer on from a coworking office in Alicante? You’ll find plenty of coworking spaces in the city centre. These modern offices often have good air conditioning, which is essential in this region in the summer.
While we’ve only listed four of Spain’s cities that are ideal for remote working, coworking spaces do exist in most large towns. This form of working is sure to become more common, particularly with the introduction of the digital nomad visa. In some cities, leisure groups organise team-building activities such as paintballing, paddleboarding and walking tours for remote workers.
Tip 2: Find out about the legislation for working remotely from Spain
The new Digital Nomad law is a Spanish remote working visa that allows you to work in Spain remotely for up to a year if you are a non-EU national. This means that you can work in Spain after Brexit without becoming a permanent resident.
Who can apply for the Digital Nomad visa?
Under the rules of the visa, if you are from the UK you can work from Spain for a UK or foreign company while living in Spain. You can also apply for the visa if you are a freelancer and travel the world to work but want to settle in Spain for a while.
The requirements are:
- You must prove you are an international remote worker
- Up to 20% of your income must come from Spain (for example if you have Spanish clients), and the rest must originate from companies outside Spain
- If you are employed by a company, they must certify that they will allow you to work remotely
- You must have a minimum contract of 1 year with your company
- Your income must be at least the equivalent of 200% of Spain’s monthly minimum wage (currently €1,260)
- You must have not had a criminal record in the last 5 years
- You must take out private healthcare
Once you have your Digital Nomad visa, you can work remotely and live in Spain for up to 5 years without having to follow the 90/180 day Schengen Visa rule. After 5 years, you have the right to apply for Spanish residency.
Alternatively, if you are a Spanish resident (live in Spain for over 90 days in a single period), you can work remotely from anywhere in Spain. It is important that you are registered with the tax authorities if you are self-employed, and you have a TIE (residence) card which you apply for on the government website.
Are there tax benefits?
As a digital nomad, you will pay lower taxes than a permanent resident. The visa to work in Spain requires you to pay a flat rate of 24% tax on your worldwide income up to €600,000, compared to the flexible rate self-employed residents must pay which can be as much as 48%. To enjoy this advantage, you must spend at least 6 months in Spain each year.
How do I apply to become a digital nomad in Spain?
There are two ways to apply for a digital nomad visa:
- Apply via the Spanish Embassy in London
- Enter Spain on the 90-day (tourist visa) rule and apply once you are there using a gestor
In both cases, you will have to visit the local Foreigner’s Office where you live to collect the visa and have your fingerprints taken. You will need an appointment to do this. We recommend you book well in advance.
Tip: 3: Find a fast internet connection
Remote working relies on smooth connectivity and a reliable internet connection is essential to increase your productivity. If you need to answer an email or send a document, you won´t want to wait for files to load or be stuck looking for somewhere to connect. Additionally, a fast internet connection allows you to meet with colleagues online, wherever they’re based.
You’ll soon find that using data on your phone to connect to the Internet is expensive unless you have unlimited data. Finding somewhere to connect that is cheap is the answer. Many coworking spaces include an internet connection for the all-in price. If you just want to catch up on messages, then head for a café with Wi-Fi. This website gives you the location of almost 1,000 co-working spaces in Spain.
You’ll also find free Wi-Fi hotspots in public places, even on the beach, but they don´t always have a good connection.
Tip 4: Invest in your dream home
If you plan to move to Spain permanently to work remotely then talk to our property specialists. We can advise you on the best area to buy a property and what the best cities are for working remotely.
Perhaps you see yourself working in the garden of your villa by the sea, on the terrace of your apartment in Barcelona or Madrid, or from your home office in your Spanish townhouse. We have a vast selection of properties for sale in Spain to suit all budgets – we look forward to meeting you!
Whether you’re thinking of applying for work remotely jobs or considering asking your employer if you can telework, now is the time to do it. Who wants to be employed when you have all these advantages as a remote worker? Plus, you will get to live in one of the most beautiful parts of Europe, learn a new language if you don´t speak Spanish already, and experience a new culture.