Healthplan Spain


Self-Employed Visa Spain - How To Become A Freelancer In Spain Expat Tips

If you're looking to successfully obtain a residence and self-employment permit or visa in Spain without facing setbacks or rejections, you've come to the right place. In this article, we will provide a detailed analysis of all the requirements and offer insights to make the entire process as smooth as possible.

We'll also discuss the important changes introduced by the recent update to Spanish immigration law pertaining to this work permit. So, let's dive in and explore the essential information you need to know.

Understanding the Self-Employment Visa

The self-employment work permit is a temporary residence authorisation sought by non-European Union citizens who wish to establish their own business or work as independent professionals in Spain. To legally set up a company, foreigners must first obtain the necessary legal capacity. This involves applying for a specific type of work permit which is different from the one required for employment with a company as an employee.

Therefore, the first step is to apply for the self-employment permit, register as self-employed in Spain, and complete all the necessary procedures for incorporating and launching the business. Many of these procedures are closely linked to the foreigner's permit application.

Validity and Duration of the Permit

Initially, the residence authorisation is granted for a period of one year, and a temporary card is issued upon the initial application. After the first year, provided all the requirements are still met, the permit can be renewed.

The renewal period has now been extended to four years (previously two years). The renewed card allows you to work both as an employee and as a self-employed individual without any additional paperwork.

What’s the difference between the Self-Employed Work Permit, the Entrepreneur Visa and the Digital Nomad Visa?

It's crucial to note an important distinction between the self-employed work permit and the other visas that are currently available. Foreigners who intend to establish their own business in Spain have a number of options.

Firstly, they can choose the general immigration regime and apply for the self-employment visa. Alternatively, they can opt for the Entrepreneur's Law and apply for an entrepreneur visa. Lastly, they can apply for the newly introduced Digital Nomad visa, however, these three procedures differ significantly in their requirements.

So, what's the difference, and which authorisation should you obtain?

The entrepreneur visa is designed for foreigners who wish to create an innovative company with a strong technological foundation. If your business idea involves introducing something unique that doesn't exist in the market yet, it's likely that you'll need to obtain your residency under the Entrepreneur's Law.

On the other hand, if you plan to engage in activities that already exist on a regular basis (e.g., a restaurant, cafe, hair salon etc.) or establish a business that has been in the market for several years, the self-employment path is the appropriate choice.

The digital nomad visa was introduced at the end of 2022, and although it has already become very popular with foreign workers looking to set up in Spain, there are drawbacks in that only 20% of your income must be derived from Spanish Territory. So it is ideal for those with foreign clients and customers, but not a great solution for those who want to tap into Spanish consumers.

So if you want to establish yourself as a freelancer in Spain and target Spanish consumers, you will need to apply for a self-employment permit.

Key Requirements for a Successful Application

To successfully obtain your self-employment permit, three key requirements must be fulfilled. Each of these requirements is of utmost importance, so let's take a look at them.

1. Business Plan

Developing a comprehensive business plan is one of the most crucial requirements. The authorities will assess your business plan to determine its viability and whether it meets the necessary criteria for granting the authorisation.

Your business plan should include an exhaustive analysis of various aspects related to your business. It should cover the nature of your business activity, its market value, unique selling points, competitive advantages, target customers, marketing and communication plans, financial projections, and more. Remember, the more detailed your plan, the better.

Additionally, your business plan must be validated by designated business associations such as the ATA (Association of Self-Employed Workers in Spain).

2. Sufficient Investment for Business Start-Up

Every business requires a minimum investment to get started, regardless of its scale. Thus, demonstrating that you have adequate financing to launch your business is another essential requirement.

However, it's important to note that there is no specific minimum or maximum amount established by law. The amount of investment you need to demonstrate will depend on the type of business you plan to establish and its specific requirements. Certain businesses may have higher initial fixed cost requirements compared to others.

For instance, if your business requires a physical location, such as a local storefront, you'll need to prove that you have enough funds to purchase or rent the property. The recent Spanish Immigration Law Reform has eliminated the need to provide personal financial means to support yourself while starting the business. Now, you only need to prove funds related to the launch of your professional activity or company.

3. Applicant's Profile and CV

The third key requirement pertains to your profile and work experience. It's essential to demonstrate that you possess the necessary education and/or training to carry out the required work activity for your business or company.

Your experience should directly align with the challenges your business will face. For example, if you're establishing an accounting firm, your CV should highlight relevant training and experience in the accounting field.

Completing the Application Process

Applying for this authorisation can often be a lengthy and somewhat tedious process. To get started, you'll need to gather the required documentation, including your passport, criminal record certificate, medical certificate, business plan, and a favourable report from the ATA or a similar association.

Next, you'll need to fill out the EX-07 application form and submit all the documentation to the Spanish consulate in your country of origin or the country where you legally reside at the time. It's important to note that the application process must be initiated from the country of origin and not directly from Spain.

The consulate will forward your application to the appropriate foreigner's office based on the Spanish region where you plan to set up your company. Once your application is accepted, the consulate will issue your visa, providing you with a 30-day window to travel to Spain and enter the country.

Upon arriving in Spain, you'll need to register with your municipality (known as "empadronamiento") and schedule an appointment for fingerprinting and the collection of your TIE (Tarjeta de Identidad de Extranjero) or physical card.

Additionally, you'll need to complete the registration process as a self-employed individual, becoming an "autónomo," by registering with the Social Security and the Tax Authorities.

For a comprehensive step-by-step guide on registering as a self-employed individual and starting your professional activity as a freelancer, check out our complete guide.

By following these guidelines and meeting the necessary requirements, you can increase your chances of successfully obtaining a residence and self-employment permit in Spain.

How much is the self-employed visa?

In order to fulfil the payment requirements at the Consular Office, the applicant is required to provide two completed copies of form 790 (code 052), indicating box 2.1 for the initial temporary residence permit, and form 790 (code 062), indicating box 1.5 for self-employed work permits. These forms must be duly filled out and signed.

Alternatively, the fee can be paid online using the provided links for forms 790-052 and 790-062. In such cases, the applicant must attach the proof of payment obtained from the respective webpage.

At the time of writing the fee is 203.84 euros.


Obtaining a residence and self-employment permit in Spain is a significant step towards establishing your own business or working as a freelancer. By understanding the requirements and following the proper procedures, you can enhance your chances of a successful application. Remember the key points outlined in this article:

1. Understand the distinction between the self-employed work permit, the entrepreneur visa and the digital nomad visa. Choose the appropriate option based on the nature of your business and its level of innovation.

2. Develop a comprehensive business plan that demonstrates the viability of your business idea and includes all relevant details, such as market analysis, competitive advantages, and financial projections.

3. Ensure you have sufficient investment to start your business, tailored to its specific requirements. The recent immigration law reforms have simplified the financial means needed, focusing on the launch of your professional activity or company.

4. Highlight your profile and relevant experience in your CV, showcasing your qualifications and expertise directly related to the challenges your business will face.

5. Complete the application process meticulously, gathering all necessary documents and submitting them through the proper channels, starting from the Spanish consulate in your country of origin.

6. Upon arrival in Spain, follow the necessary steps, including registering with your municipality, obtaining the TIE card, and completing the registration process as a self-employed individual with the Social Security and Tax Authorities.

By adhering to these guidelines, you can navigate the application process smoothly and increase your chances of obtaining a residence and self-employment permit in Spain. Best of luck as you embark on your journey to become a freelancer in Spain!