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Spain Freelance/Self-Employed Visa

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Ease of Obtaining Visa Star rating: 44.0

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Spain Quick Facts

Living in Spain is an unparalleled experience. With its exquisite cuisine, beautiful sunshine, golden coastlines and bustling cities, Spain is a melting pot of cultural diversity and unlimited things to see and do. Madrid, Barcelona and Valencia are some of the most diverse, gorgeous cities in the world, boasting excellent shopping, dining and cultural hotspots.

Capital Madrid

Form of Government Unitary parliamentary

Population Population of 47.08 million

Climate Generally Mediterranean

Language Spanish

Currency Euro

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If you decide to freelance in Spain, you don’t necessarily have to commit to one location. Often, freelancing gives you the freedom to move around and explore the whole country if you want to.

But before you pack your suitcase, you’ll need to think about getting a freelance visa for Spain. The following guide will help you to better understand the process.

It’s suited to those who are applying from outside of the EU, as well as inside the EU and in the UK. Each process is different, with non-EU residents having the longest waiting time to obtain a freelance visa in Spain.

If you are a digital nomad and are specifically interested in the digital nomad visa, we have a separate page for the Spain digital nomad visa. Please check it out.

Spain Freelance Visa Overview

Non-Spanish nationals who move to Spain can set up a freelance business or work in self-employment as an autónomo. In English, the word autonomo means autonomous, but in the Spanish context it refers to the process of freelancing.

Once residing in Spain, foreigners and Spanish nationals are given the same freelancing guidance and rights, although all expats will require a foreigner’s identity number (NIE).

Other benefits of freelancing in Spain include:

  • Managing your workload flexibly so that you can spend your spare time enjoying the vibrant atmosphere.

  • Embracing the opportunity to learn a new language in your spare time, while working in your preferred language.

  • Immersing yourself in traditional Spanish customs, including having your afternoon siesta!

If you are not a EU/EEA/Swiss national, then in addition to the NIE, you will need a freelance visa to work in Spain. You will also be required to get a tax identification number, which can be obtained via a form 036, and liability insurance.

Becoming a freelancer in Spain is straight forward but may take time to arrange. You will be required to make tax contributions and apply for Spanish health insurance, so there are numerous steps to take, but once completed, the actual process of starting a freelance business is easy.

Spanish Immigration Lawyer

Need help applying?

Maryem - Spanish Immigration Lawyer

Book a consultation

Who Can Apply for the
Freelance Visa for Spain?

If you are from the EU/EEA or Switzerland, you can become a freelancer in Spain very easily and will not have to overcome any restrictions. If, however, you are from outside the EU/EEA, it’s likely you will need a visa to go and work in Spain, along with a residence permit and freelance work permit.

How Many Applications Do They Accept Each Year?

Good news! It turns out that Spain is one of the most welcoming countries in the world to foreigners. There is no set annual limit on how many applications are accepted for Spanish work visas. But thousands of people apply each year, with many being successful.

How To Apply For the
Freelance Visa For Spain?

Applying for a freelance visa for Spain requires some forethought, especially if you currently reside in a non-EU country, such as the United States. You can apply for a freelance visa to work in Spain from your home country with the help for your local Spanish consulate or embassy.

If you want to begin your freelance business before receiving residency, you can register a shareholder and allocate a Spanish resident to act as director. The shareholder you select doesn’t require a residency but should have a NIE.

Requirements for Applying

First and foremost, you will need a business plan and it is important to get this approved by a body recognised by Spain as an authority. This body will depend on which industry you plan to freelance in.

However, the main bodies are as follows:

  • Federación Nacional de Asociaciones de Empresarios y Trabajadores Autónomos (ATA)

  • Organización de Profesionales y Autónomos (OPA)

  • Unión de Asociaciones de Trabajadores Autónomos y Emprendedores (UATAE)

  • Unión de Profesionales y Trabajadores Autónomos (UPTA)

  • Confederación Intersectorial de Autónomos del Estado Español (CIAE)

It is important that you can prove you are genuinely going to set up a freelance business in Spain. You will need to be able to fill out a national visa form and form EX-07 and have identification (passport) and proof of adequate funds to ensure you won’t run out of money after arriving in Spain.

You can find the Form EX-07 here. Unlike applying for a work visa to enter employment, a freelance visa requires you to be over the age of 18.

Spanish Immigration Lawyer

Need help applying?

Maryem - Spanish Immigration Lawyer

Book a consultation

How much does it cost?

To apply for a freelance visa, you will be looking at an application fee of 250 Euros. If this application is accepted, you will then need to pay for a medical certificate to prove you are in good health, and a proof of visa fee (60 euros).

You will also need to present your criminal record for the last five years, which is likely to come with an admin cost depending on where you live. In total, you can expect to pay around 400-600 Euros in total throughout the whole process, depending on where you currently live.

Paying Taxes on a Spain Freelancer Visa

If you register yourself as a freelancer in Spain you will be liable to Spanish income taxes. The amount of taxes will depend on your personal situation and the region you will settle in. If you want a more precise idea of the tax consequences, you can book a call with our tax advisor to get personalized advice.

Timeline for Applying

In total, you can expect to spend about 6 months sorting your freelance visa. The process, as you have read so far, can be a bit confusing and complicated depending on where you currently live.

If you are applying for a freelancing visa in Spain from outside of the EU, the timeline for applying is as follows:

  1. Write your business plan. Ensure it is detailed, thorough and easy to follow. You can find some business plan templates here. It should show the expected investment, your expected profit and the possible employment opportunities. You must also provide details of the licenses that authorize the building, opening and operation of the planned projects.

  2. Get your business plan approved at a recognized organization.

  3. Obtain all relevant forms from your nearest Spanish consulate. In most circumstances, the forms will include A national visa application, Form EX-07 (you can find an English guide to filling it out here), a Form 790-052 for tax purposes and a Form 990062 to process your work authorization form. However, check with your nearest consulate to find out if all of these forms are required for your specific circumstances. You must also sign a disclaimer.

  4. Put together evidence that you have the financial means to move to Spain. You can find more details on this here.

  5. Obtain a copy of your criminal record. The background check can be issued by the US Department of Justice-Federal Bureau of Investigation, Federal Bureau of Investigation, and must be legalized by the Secretary of State of Washington, DC through the “Apostille of The Hague”.

For more information about background checks or The Hague Apostille, please see FAQ. Once you have this document, it is valid for 3 months from the date of publication. It must be translated into Spanish.

  1. Obtain a certification of good health from your medical practitioner. This must be provided in a specific format, which you can find here.

  2. Once you have all your documentation and have translated it into Spanish, you will need to book an appointment at your nearest Spanish consulate. The time it takes to get an appointment depends wholly on the area you live in, the Covid-19 restrictions and current waiting list.

If you have a partner, they should submit their own Visa application, together with all necessary documents and a marriage certificate certified by “Apostille of The Hague” and translated into Spanish. If you are taking your children, their birth certificate will also need to be translated into Spanish.

  1. Once you have your appointment, go to the consulate in person with all of your documentation. It is important that you go in person and don’t send anyone else, as there may be a short interview required.

  2. Your documentation will be checked and sent off. The application must be submitted no later than 90 days before the estimated travel date. It could be that you are asked for further documentation, in which case you will need to do this ASAP to avoid delays. You won’t need another appointment if you are asked to provide additional documentation. You can simply post this off yourself and will receive confirmation once it is received.

  3. Collect your certification from the embassy or consulate once it arrives. The visa must be collected within one month, counting from the date of notification. If it is later than 30 days, the visa will be cancelled.

  4. As soon as you land in Spain, you’ll need to apply for a foreign identity card. You can apply for this at an immigration office or police station. You will then be able to set up a Spanish bank account and begin your freelancing transactions! Business activities must be started within the valid period of the Visa.

Spanish Immigration Lawyer

Need help applying?

Maryem - Spanish Immigration Lawyer

Book a consultation

For EU Nationals moving to Spain

Thanks to the freedom of movement within the EU, you can move to Spain for up to a period of 3 months without a visa. If you’re staying longer than 3 months, you will need to register with the authorities and get a residence certificate. Much in the same way as non-EU nationals, you will need to prove that you can support yourself financially and also get Spanish healthcare insurance.

For British Nationals moving to Spain

If you are living in the UK, you know that you are in uncertain times when it comes to your country’s relationship with the EU. Unfortunately, the UK is no longer an EU country, but negotiations continue. It is therefore not yet known exactly how applying for a freelance visa in Spain in 2021 will work. However, you can keep a close eye on the latest Brexit news as it unfolds.

Spain flag painted on stairs

Within the first 3 months of living in Spain, you’ll need to visit the Foreigners’ Office (Oficina de Extranjero) to apply to go onto the Central Register of Foreign Nationals.

At this stage, you will need to have your documentation, evidence of your healthcare insurance, proof of financial resources and your ID. If everything is in order, you’ll receive a residence certificate (Certificado de registro como residente comunitario) and foreign identity number. This number will allow you to make financial transactions in Spain.

If you are from the USA, UK, or EU, there is a good chance that you can live and work legally in Spain. While the system in Spain isn’t as clear-cut as other nations, there is likely a program that will accommodate digital nomads

¡Que te vaya bien!

FAQs for the Spain Freelance Visa

Does Spain Have a Freelancer Visa?

Yes, Spain has a specific visa category for freelancers and self-employed workers, also known as the "autónomo" visa. This visa allows non-European citizens to work as self-employed individuals in Spain.

What Is Spain Freelance Visa?

Spain freelance visa is a special residence permit that permits independent professionals to provide their services as self-employed individuals for one year.

What Is the Difference Between a Spain Freelance Visa and a Tourist Visa?

A Spain freelance visa, also known as the "autónomo" visa, is specifically designed for individuals who plan to work as self-employed or freelance workers in Spain. This visa is different from a tourist visa, which is meant for short-term stays in the country for tourism or other non-working purposes.

A freelance visa typically requires applicants to demonstrate their intent to start a business or work as a freelancer in Spain and show proof of financial support and health insurance. On the other hand, a tourist visa is usually granted for a shorter period of time, and the requirements may be less stringent. Tourists cannot engage in paid employment activities during their stay in Spain with a tourist visa.

What Is the Length of the Spain Freelance Visa?

12 months.

Is It Possible to Extend the Spain Freelance Visa?

Yes, up to two times.

Extending your Spain freelance visa typically involves renewing your residency and work permit, which can be done through the Spanish immigration authorities.

To extend your freelance visa, you will typically need to demonstrate that you have continued to work as a self-employed individual in Spain and that you have maintained sufficient financial resources and health insurance. You may also need to provide evidence of any changes to your business or work status during your stay in the country.

How Long Does It Take to Complete the Entire Application Process?

You can expect to spend about six months sorting out your Spanish freelancer visa.

Can You Apply for Spain Freelance Visa While Abroad?

Yes, you can apply for the Spain freelance visa from wherever you currently live.

What Currency Should You Pay for a Spain Freelance Visa With?

You must pay in Euros (€).

How Can You Pay the Visa Fee?

You pay for the visa fees at the embassy or consulate where you submit your application.

Will You Get a Refund for Your Visa Application If You Are Denied?

If your application is rejected, you won’t get this money refunded, so make sure you complete your application correctly!

Can U.S. Citizens Travel to Spain Without a Visa?

Yes. U.S. citizens can enter Spain for up to 90 days for tourism or business without a visa.


Andy Stofferis is a digital nomad blogger:

He is a contributing writer for various organizations and media involved in the digital nomad industry (AllWork.Space, e-Residency Estonia).

Andy has been running a fully remote digital marketing agency over the past nine years while traveling to more than 50 destinations.