Spain introduced its Digital Nomad Visa at the start of this year, generating significant interest, especially among individuals on student visas aspiring to prolong their stay in Spain post-graduation.
If you currently hold a student visa in Spain and are nearing its expiration due to the conclusion of your academic program, you might be exploring diverse avenues to either extend or alter your residency status. A contemporary avenue that has captured the attention of many lately is Spain's innovative digital nomad visa.
Wondering if you qualify for the Digital Nomad Visa (DNV) after being on a student visa in Spain? Additionally, what alternatives exist if eligibility criteria aren't met?
Primarily, the answer is affirmative – it's feasible to seek the DNV while on a student visa in Spain, though individual circumstances play a crucial role.
Significantly, some individuals who previously held student visas have been able to secure the DNV, ushering in a distinct chapter of residence in the country.
The DNV affords the opportunity for non-EU remote workers or self-employed individuals to reside and work in Spain, with the stipulation that a maximum of 20% of their work is derived from Spain. This visa is extendable for up to five years and can be pursued either from the Spanish consulate in your home country or while in Spain.
To initiate the DNV application process, two criteria must be met: either possessing a degree in the field of intended remote work or acquiring three years of experience within the relevant industry. Graduates from Spanish universities typically fulfill this prerequisite, whereas those who pursued distinct subjects, such as language studies, might face challenges without a relevant degree.
In the case of mature students, the possibility of possessing three years of industry experience or accruing it through part-time work during the student visa phase exists.
An additional criterion necessitates a minimum of three months of employment with the remote role's hiring company before submitting the DNV application. It's crucial to note that the hiring company should be registered outside Spain to maintain DNV eligibility, ensuring that over 20% of income doesn't originate domestically. Consequently, securing a remote job abroad while adhering to the permissible 30-hour work limit during the student visa term is paramount.
A further prerequisite is engagement with a company or clients operational for a minimum of one year to qualify for the DNV. While remote employees typically meet this condition, self-employed individuals must ensure their clients fulfill the year-long operational criteria.
Lastly, demonstrating a substantial income level is obligatory for DNV eligibility. Proof of earning a minimum of €2,500 per month or €30,000 annually is required. Meeting this financial stipulation might prove intricate for recent graduates endeavoring to establish a client base in self-employment or secure a remote job abroad.
Failure to satisfy the above requisites and substantiate claims might lead to DNV denial.
Learn more about the Digital Nomad Visa.
Alternative options for holders of a student visa
Alternative avenues for student visa holders contemplating prolonged residence in Spain include the option introduced in 2022 that facilitates visa transition after graduation, simplifying the shift from a student visa to a work permit. This alteration allows for immediate conversion upon completing studies, regardless of the initial visa duration. Formerly, this conversion necessitated a minimum three-year student visa term.
This modification process is delineated in Article 199 of the Immigration Regulations, enabling the transformation to residencia con trabajo pro cuenta ajena (employed work) or cuenta propia (self-employed work). Extended stays for job searches or internships are also accommodated.
Transitioning your visa status and initiating renewal mandates completion of pertinent forms – EX03 for work permit alteration and EX07 for self-employment pursuit. Supplementary to these forms, submission requirements include ID document duplicates, pre-employment contracts, qualification certificates, and financial substantiation if establishing a personal venture.
Opting for self-employment demands enrollment as an autónomo, entailing self-regulated social security contributions and quarterly income and expense declarations.
Choosing to be self-employed under the DNV involves autónomo registration as well. Opting for visa modification often presents a more streamlined route than commencing the nomad visa application from scratch, though seeking assistance from a gestor or lawyer is prudent to ensure accurate documentation and evidence submission.
Another option is for the student to apply for the job search visa which allows them to look for work for up to 12 months. Once a job is found a work permit can then be applied for.
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