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How to Become a Self-Employed Autonomo in Spain

For years, self-employed workers have flocked to Spain to live there while running their business. They can register as an autónomo worker and remain in the country on a Self-Employed Visa.

This is no longer the only option as the Spanish government has launched a Digital Nomad Visa, giving Digital Nomads the right to live and work in Spain.

Please contact IAS if you need further information or assistance. Our phone number is (+44) 333 4149244 and you can also reach us online.


What is an Autonomo in Spain?

Autonomo is legally registered as a freelancer, self-employed worker, or small business owner. Having this status will mean you pay Spanish taxes on profits and charge IVA (VAT) to customers.

You will only need to register for Autonomo status if you are not contracted for your work.

The only exception is if your business is in partnership with another person. In that case, you will need to register for a ‘Comunidad de Bienes’ (CB), which is an agreement to share the profits and liabilities from the business with another person.

Self-Employed Visa for Autonomo Spain


This article first covers the Self-Employed Visa, which allows people over 16 years old to become Autonomos. There are two stages to getting a Self-Employed Visa. You will first need to get an initial residence and self-employed work permit. This is a temporary measure, and once these documents are in place, you can apply for the longer-term Self-Employed Visa.

Applying for your Initial Residence and Self-Employed Work Permit

Gaining your initial residence and self-employed work permit is a difficult procedure requiring you to provide several pieces of documentation. This will prove your identity, your business, and the capability to carry it out. Required documentation includes:

  • A completed EX-07 form. This document is in Spanish, so you may need to get help from a translator.
  • An original and a copy of your passport.
  • Legalized, government sealed, and officially translated copies of relevant qualifications for your business if training is legally required.
  • A list of the permits and licenses that you will need to obtain to establish your business.
  • A plan for how you will establish your business.
  • Proof that you have the financial means required.

You must submit the documentation to the Spanish Consular Office. You will need to make an appointment to do so. You will be provided with a copy of your application form and a receipt of payment as proof of receipt and submission.

You must also pay a flat fee at the Consular Office to have the application processed. The recipient of the flat rate depends on where you will need to have the self-employed work permit. If you live in Catalonia, it will be paid directly to the Catalan government. Anywhere else in Spain requires you to pay it to the Spanish government.

The Result of your Self-Employed Work Permit Application

Sometimes, applications for a self-employed work permit will be unsuccessful. You may still be able to become an autonomo in Spain because of the appeals process. You have a month to appeal for reconsideration at the Consular Office. If this is unsuccessful, you have two months to apply for judicial review with the High Court Justice of Madrid.

However, most legitimate applications are successful. You will receive your self-employed work permit and initial residence permit, allowing you to move to Spain and begin applying for a self-employed work visa.

Applying for a Self-Employed Visa

The next stage for prospective autónomo workers is to apply for a Self-Employed Visa. This also requires you to provide a good amount of documentation, but this information is personal rather than about your business. The authorities require:

  • A completed national visa application form.
  • A passport-style photograph.
  • The original and a photocopy of your passport valid for at least four months.
  • A criminal record check certificate.
  • A medical certificate proving that you are not carrying serious contagious diseases.
  • A proof of residence in the district in Spain you will be living in.

You will also need to pay a flat rate of 80 euros in most cases. However, the fee will be slightly different if you are from Australia, the UK, the USA, Canada, or Bangladesh to match the rates demanded of Spanish citizens by these countries. If you are from one of these nations, you can find out what the fee is from the Consular Office.

Processes of the Autónomo Workers Self-Employed Visa Application

All this documentation and the fee must be submitted to the Consular Office. Any minors applying for a Self-Employed Visa must have a representative apply on their behalf. Having made your submission, you will be given a code that allows you to track the progress of your application on the online system.

While you wait for a decision, you may be called into the Consular Office to submit any further required documentation or to attend an interview. The wait will usually be one month, but it could be longer if you need to be called in for an interview.

If your application is successful, you will be informed of the procedure to receive your application and for any original documentation, such as your passport, to be returned. With the visa, you may start your life as an autonomo in Spain.

However, some applications are unsuccessful, and the appeals process is the same for the previously mentioned self-employed work permit.

The Rights and Obligations of a Self-Employed Visa

The visa will be valid for three months and must be renewed to remain in the country as an autonomo. Within these 90 days, you must register with the Social Security System and apply for a Foreigner Identity Card at a Police Station or the Foreign Nationals’ Office within one month.

Ready to take control of your career? Register as a Self-Employed Autonomo in Spain today.

Spain’s Digital Nomad Visa


The Digital Nomad Visa is the newest addition to the visas offered to foreigners by the Spanish authorities. It came into effect on the 23rd of December, 2022. This is an exciting opportunity for Digital Nomads worldwide to live and work in Spain.

What is a Digital Nomad?

The technological revolution now means we are not tied to an office to work. So long as we have an internet connection and the correct authorization, we can work anywhere worldwide. A Digital Nomad is somebody who travels while they are working, able to live wherever they want. A Digital Nomad can be self-employed or employed and can work in any job that can be done with a laptop.

Requirements for the Digital Nomad Visa

The Digital Nomad Visa has similarly strict requirements as the Self-Employed Visa. They will ask for documentation proving your identity and that you have a working situation consistent with a Digital Nomad lifestyle. The other documentation needed depends on if you are self-employed or employed.

If you are self-employed, you will need the following documentation:

  • Proof of a self-employed income of over 2,200 euros a month for three months.
  • Proof of ongoing or future contracts that will maintain your income over several months.

You may access the Digital Nomad Visa as an employee of a foreign or Spanish company. Either way, you will need the following documentation:

  • Proof of an employment contract that has been in place for three months.
  • Proof you have worked at the company for over a year.

Some documentation is the same regardless of what type of employment you have. The following applies:

  • A copy of your passport and an original.
  • Authorisation from your employer to work remotely in Spain.
  • Proof that you have over three years of experience in your field or have graduated from an institution with a good reputation.
  • Evidence your work is possible remotely.
  • Proof that you have health insurance.
  • A criminal record and medical certificate to show that you will not be a danger to Spanish society.

Many Digital Nomads want to take their family members with them. There are further requirements to prove that you are related to the people you want to bring to Spain and that you have the means to support them:

  • An original and a copy of each family member’s passport.
  • Proof that you are related, such as a birth or marriage certificate.
  • Evidence that you have earnings of 970 euros a month for your first family member and a further 330 euros a month for each further family member you are bringing with you.
  • Proof of health insurance and medical and criminal record certificates.

Rights Under the Digital Nomad Visa

If you can provide this documentation properly, your application should be accepted. Success will grant you a year-long Digital Nomad Visa and a residency permit that is valid for three years but will need to be renewed every two years. This allows you to work remotely in Spain while living there permanently. You will also be able to access the Spanish social security system.

At the end of your Digital Nomad Visa, you will need to switch to a Digital Nomad Residency Permit, which will last for three years. Making the application for the switch should be simple as long as your circumstances are the same as when you applied for your Digital Nomad Visa.

Get the ultimate freedom to work and travel with ease. Apply for the Digital Nomad Visa now and embark on your next adventure.

How Can IAS Help?

To become a freelancer in Spain with autonomo status, you must choose between the two visas for self-employed workers. You will then need to go through the challenging process of applying for your chosen visa. This adds another level of complexity that needs to be negotiated without destabilising your client relationships.

IAS can help you work out which visa is best and can take the stress of applying off your shoulders. Our expert advisers can increase your chances of success. Please call us at (+44) 333 4149244 or contact us online to find out how we can help.

We offer immigration advice sessions as face to face appointments at all of our UK offices, or via the phone.

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