Differences between Spanish Non Lucrative Visa and Digital Nomad Visa Explained

Spanish Non Lucrative Visa and Digital Nomad Visa

Spain continues to be an increasingly attractive destination for people looking to move abroad, particularly for remote workers, digital nomads, retirees, and families in search of quality time together. 

If you fall into any of these categories, the Spanish Non-lucrative Visa and Digital Nomad Visa present two viable options for an extended stay in Spain. By understanding the key differences between these visas, you can make better-informed decisions about which option suits you best.

Spanish Non Lucrative Visa and Digital Nomad Visa, in a nutshell …

The non-lucrative visa is designed for individuals who do not intend to work in Spain. This visa is suitable for retirees, and individuals with sufficient savings. To obtain this visa, you must demonstrate that you have enough financial resources to support yourself during your stay in Spain. You must also provide proof of private medical insurance and a clean criminal record.

The digital nomad visa is intended for remote workers who can work from anywhere in the world. To qualify for this visa, you must demonstrate you are self-employed or work for a company based outside of Spain. You must also provide proof of income and a clean criminal record.

Both visas cater to different requirements, with the Non-lucrative Visa targeting those who do not intend to work in Spain, and the Digital Nomad Visa intended for those who will earn an income remotely. When comparing and contrasting these visa options, you should consider your employment situations, financial capabilities, and long-term intentions to make the best choice for your own specific needs.

Key Takeaways

  • Spanish Non-lucrative Visa and Digital Nomad Visa cater to different applicant requirements.
  • Digital Nomad Visas are tailored for remote workers with foreign employers, while Non-lucrative Visas do not permit working in Spain.
  • Applicants should consider their specific situation and intentions when choosing the appropriate visa.

Spanish Non Lucrative Visa

Quantifying Time Commitment

The Spanish Non-Lucrative Visa (NLV) allows non-EU citizens to reside in Spain without the right to engage in any form of work or business activities. This visa grants the holder a temporary residence for up to 5 years (including two renewals) after which “permanent reisdency” along with an entitlement to work can be applied for.NLV applicants are required to prove their intention to maintain their regular stay in Spain.

Eligibility Critique

To be eligible for the NLV, applicants must fulfil a number of requirements. These include proving you financial capacity to support yourself and your dependents without working in Spain. In 2023, the minimum monthly income requirement was set at €2,400 ($2,615.88) per month and €600 ($653.97) for each additional dependent included in the application. Applicants must also have a clean criminal record and valid health insurance coverage in Spain. (Read mre specific details here)

Expense Analysis

In addition to the financial means requirements, the visa application process involves certain costs, such as attorney fees, translation costs, health insurance premiums, and visa fees. The latter may vary depending on the applicant’s nationality and the Spanish consulate’s processing fees. Overall, applicants should be prepared to cover a range of expenses prior to and during their stay in Spain under the NLV.


One of the biggest advantages of the Spanish Non-Lucrative Visa is that it allows you to live in Spain for an extended period of time without the need to work. This can be particularly appealing to retirees and individuals who have the financial means to support themselves without the need for employment.

Additionally, the visa allows individuals to travel freely within the Schengen Area, which includes 26 European countries. This can be particularly appealing to individuals who wish to explore Europe during their stay in Spain.


One potential disadvantage of the Spanish Non-Lucrative Visa is that it does not allow you to work in Spain. This can be a significant drawback if who wish to supplement you income during your stay in the country.Additionally, the visa can be difficult to obtain, as applicants must demonstrate that they have sufficient financial means to support themselves and their dependents during their stay in Spain. The application process can also be time-consuming and require a significant amount of documentation. But do not worry, we are here not only to assess your viability but also to help you with the application process!

Digital Nomad Visa

Identifying Scope of Flexibility

The Spanish Digital Nomad Visa allows foreign nationals to live and work remotely in Spain for up to one year initially. It offers a significant degree of flexibility, as holders can potentially extend their stay up to five years by renewing their visa annually. We recommend you submit your application in Spain as then the initial visa is valid for THREE years (Contact us about this)

Examining Eligibility

To be eligible for the Digital Nomad Visa, you must first meet certain requirements (read more details here) . You must have either a university degree or three years of professional experience. Additionally, this visa is primarily designed for individuals who plan to work remotely, contrasting with the Non-Lucrative Visa, which prohibits applicants from working while residing in Spain.

Cost Evaluation

One of the main attractions of the Digital Nomad Visa is the reduced non-resident income tax rate. Employees holding this visa are subject to a 24% tax rate for earnings up to €600,000. Earnings beyond this threshold are taxed at a 47% rate . This attractive tax scheme is an important consideration for potential applicants, particularly when comparing costs with other visa options.


One of the main advantages of a Digital Nomad Visa is that it allows you to work and travel in a foreign country legally. This can provide a unique opportunity to experience a new culture and way of life while still being able to earn an income. Additionally, many countries offering Digital Nomad Visas have favorable tax systems for remote workers.


One potential disadvantage of a Digital Nomad Visa is that it may not provide the same level of security as a traditional work visa. Digital Nomad Visas are often temporary and may not allow for long-term residency in a foreign country. Additionally, there are strict regulations on the types of work that can be done while on a Digital Nomad Visa.

Key Differences Between Spanish Non Lucrative Visa and Digital Nomad Visa


The Spanish non-lucrative visa is intended for those who wish to live in Spain without engaging in any professional or commercial activity. It is ideal for retirees or those who have sufficient savings to support themselves without working. Or, families looking to spend quality time together whilst experiencing life in another country. The digital nomad visa is designed for remote workers who want to live and work in Spain while providing services to clients outside of Spain.

Scope of Work

The Spanish non-lucrative visa holder is not allowed to work in Spain, either for a Spanish or foreign company. You are not allowed to engage in any professional or commercial activity, including freelance work. The digital nomad visa, on the other hand, allows remote workers to work for foreign clients while living in Spain. However, you are not allowed to work for Spanish companies or provide services to Spanish clients.

Eligibility Factors

When it comes to eligibility, the main difference between the NLV and DNV is the permission to work in Spain. Under the Non Lucrative Visa, applicants are not allowed to work in Spain, even if they are working for an employer abroad.

On the flip side, the Digital Nomad Visa is specifically designed to accommodate remote workers and freelancers who work for companies outside Spain or are self-employed. This is as long as their income meets the minimum requirements outlined by Spanish authorities.

Application Procedure

The Non Lucrative Visa can only be applied for in your country of residence. You cannot apply for the NLV when residing in Spain. The Digital Nomad Visa can be applied for in your country of residence or in Spain. We advise you to apply in Spain as the initial visa granted is for three years rather than one!

Flexibility of Visas

You can use the Non Lucrative Visa as a passage of entry into Spain for your initial 12 month period. Once in the country, you can easily switch to another type of visa that better suits your situation ie, golden visa, digital nomad visa or even a work visa.

If you enter Spain on a Digital Nomad Visa you can apply for the Golden Visa if purchasing property. However, if you decide to change to the NLV you will be required to return to your home country to submit the application. We advise you to seek professional guidance before using the DNV solely for initial entry into Spain.

Expense Rundown

Taxes: The Digital Nomad Visa offers tax benefits, such as a reduced rate of non-resident income tax. Employees on a DNV pay 24% tax on income up to €600,000. Income above this threshold is taxed at a 47% rate. In contrast, the Non Lucrative Visa does not have any specific tax benefits. NLV applicants will need to adhere to the general tax rates in Spain.

Cost of living: Both visas require applicants to have sufficient financial means to support themselves while living in Spain. Since the DNV allows for remote work, visa holders may be able to cover their living expenses through their income. In contrast, NLV holders must rely exclusively on their savings or other non-work-related income sources. Application fees and renewal costs: Application fees, documentation and legalisation requirements also vary between the two visas. It’s essential to research and review all the relevant fees and requirements specific to your situation when applying for either visa.

Choosing the Right Visa for You

Choosing the right visa can be a daunting task. It is important to get professional guidance to ensure that you make the right decision. With the backup of our chosen immigration lawyer, we can help you navigate the complex visa application process. We provide you with advice on which visa is best for your specific situation.

Remember, both visa types allow you to travel within the European Union and bring family members to Spain with you. The choice between the two visas ultimately depends on your own work-related needs and financial situation.

If you are thinking of applying for a Spanish Non-Lucrative Visa and Digital Nomad Visa, complete the relevant form below. We will arrange a free initial consultation to assess your case…