Healthplan Spain


Which Residency Visa Should I Choose To Move To Spain - Non-Lucrative Or Digital Nomad Visa? Expat Tips

Deciding between Spain's non-lucrative visa and the digital nomad visa can be a crucial choice when considering a move to the country. Previously, the non-lucrative visa (NLV) was a popular option for non-EU citizens, but the recent introduction of the digital nomad visa (DNV) has expanded the possibilities. In this article, we will compare these two visas and help you determine which one suits your needs.

The digital nomad visa, officially known as the "Visado para Teletrabajadores de Carácter Internacional," was launched in 2023, offering non-EU residents more opportunities to relocate to Spain. On the other hand, the NLV has been available for some time but may not always be the ideal choice for everyone. Let's explore the differences between these visas and help you make an informed decision.

Working in Spain

If you intend to work while in Spain, the digital nomad visa is the better option. Unlike the NLV, which does not allow any form of work within the country, the digital nomad visa permits work in Spain as long as it does not exceed 20 percent of your total income and is not derived from Spanish companies.

For individuals who were residents in Spain within the last five years, the digital nomad visa is not an option. In such cases, the NLV becomes the viable choice, as there are no restrictions based on prior residency.

Income requirements

When it comes to financial requirements, both visas demand substantial proof of income or savings. However, the digital nomad visa necessitates slightly more funds. For the NLV, you must demonstrate income equivalent to 400 percent of the IPREM.

In 2023, the IPREM is €600 per month. This means that for the NLV you will need an income of €2,400 per month, while the digital nomad visa requires 200 percent of the SMI (Minimum Interprofessional Salary). This equates to €2,520 per month in 2023, which amounts to just €120 more each month.

Tax residency

Both visas grant Spanish residency and establish you as a tax resident if you spend over 183 days in the country. Consequently, you will be subject to Spanish taxation on your worldwide income, whether it is passive income on the NLV or income from work outside Spain on the digital nomad visa. However, digital nomad visa holders benefit from a tax advantage. Despite being residents, they are charged the non-residents tax (IRNR - Impuesto sobre la Renta de No Residentes) at 24 percent, instead of the more progressive personal income tax (IRPF - Impuesto sobre la Renta de las Personas Físicas), which can reach up to 45 percent for higher earners.

Family members

Both the NLV and the digital nomad visa allow you to include family members in your application, such as spouses and dependent children. However, the financial requirements are higher for the digital nomad visa. With the NLV, you need to prove an additional 100 percent of the IPREM per family member (€600 per month in 2023), while the digital nomad visa requires an extra 75 percent of the SMI (€945 per month in 2023). Additionally, for each additional family member, such as a child, you must demonstrate an extra 25 percent of the SMI (€315).

You can work with the NLV, just not for 12 months

If you plan to switch your visa to another type after residing in Spain for a year, the NLV is advantageous. You can apply for a work permit or become self-employed (autónomo) through a process called residence modification. However, it remains uncertain whether this option is available for digital nomad visa holders, as it is a recent addition. Moreover, considering the tax advantages for digital nomad visa holders over a four-year period, becoming self-employed in Spain may prove to be more expensive.

Citizenship options

Both the NLV and the digital nomad visa can eventually lead to Spanish citizenship. Initially, both visas provide one-year residency, which can be renewed. The digital nomad visa can be renewed for up to five years, after which you can apply for permanent residency. The NLV can be renewed for an additional two years (and two more after that), provided you have the necessary funds to meet the increased financial requirement for the extended period. These renewals make you eligible for permanent residency as well.

Free movement

Enjoying free movement within the Schengen Zone is a significant advantage of both visas. Once you obtain residency in Spain through either visa, you have the freedom to travel throughout the Schengen Zone. However, keep in mind that you will not have residency in other Schengen countries, so it is essential to comply with the regulations of each country you visit.


Ultimately, choosing between the non-lucrative visa and the digital nomad visa depends on your specific circumstances and goals. Consider factors such as your intention to work, prior residency in Spain, financial capacity, family inclusion, future visa flexibility, and desire for Spanish citizenship. Evaluating these aspects will help you make an informed decision and select the visa that best suits your needs.