There Is Definitely Something Wrong in Visa Land

Of all of the types of visa for coming to live in Spain (Which we wrote about in this previous post) there are three that stand out because they either excite people or, simply put, they get the job done. They are the Non Lucrative Visa (The NLV), the Golden Visa (The GV) and the Digital Nomad Visa (The DNV). The NLV is the one that gets the job done. It's for people who have savings or passive income, usually in the form of pensions, and can support themselves to live in Spain. Job done. It's the other two that excite people and none moreso than the DNV, the most recent addition to the Visa list, because it promises so much to so many people who are now able to work remotely from anywhere in the world. The GV is more the preserve of those with quite a bit of money.

But... there's something wrong in Visa Land and today we are going to look at the challenges of the latter two visas in light of what is happening on the ground in the case of the DNV and more generally in Europe and also Spain in the case of the GV. We'll start with the GV as that is the easiest to explain.

However, before we start I want to admit something... I'm not happy with this post. It reads in a confusing way and the reason it reads in that way is that it's a moving feast. Nothing seems to be set in stone at the moment. The GV is up in the air about the future, the DNV seems to depend on the whims of the civil servant assigned to your case at times and the companies and many lawyers offering you the services to get the DNV are in many cases chancers. Obviously we will update this post as events move on and probably return to this issue in another post once we know for sure the 100% certain easiest way to get the DNV.

The Golden Visa in Spain and Europe

The European Union wants to end people getting citizenship by investment. The Golden Visa is residency by investment which isn't quite the same. However the EU wants to make it either more difficult or more expensive so everybody can't do it, conveniently forgetting that not everyone has the odd 500k lying around. Already there have been changes to Golden Visa rules in certain countries and Portugal and Ireland have recently stopped their programmes completely.

For those who have not heard about the Golden Visa, you must have been hiding under a rock, typically it requires investment in a property or properties of over 500k without a mortgage in Spain. Once acquired the application can be made and the process is pretty seamless and quick to get it (As long as your lawyer is competent #JustSaying). For more information on the Golden Visa which we have written about many times just go to our search page here and click through to the articles.

The Golden Visa is currently still available but might be worth getting your skates on to get it as soon as possible before the EU or Spain goes through with this crackdown on it (This article will be updated as and when needed as regards this point) Transparency International says that GVs attract corruptly earnt money and are a magnet for delinquents. They have urged the EU to end Golden Passports (Citizenship by Investment) and restrict Golden Visa Residencies by tightening up the criteria.

Remember though we are in election season in Spain and sounding tough on this plays well to the crowd. It may go quiet after the elections but equally we might see an agreement between the government and smaller parties to end the current rules for the Golden Visa as the price of coalition and support. It might be worth getting in asap then as we said in our article about the Last Chance Saloon for the Golden Visa. If you can get it now then get it.

The Spanish Digital Nomad Visa

Announced to great fanfare last year then drip fed into law over the end of year period of 2022/3 the Spanish Digital Nomad Visa is very, very popular for people to think about and seemingly immensely frustrating to get. You can get one as an employee if your employer is happy with you working based in Spain (Supposedly) and as a freelancer as long as you have a relatively long term relationship with the companies that you bill.

You can see the requirements for each in our previous article here.

There are problems though and we look into them below, mostly for employed people but also a little matter of taxes for self employed and freelancers.

The Self Employed Route

This is the easiest way to get the Digital Nomad Visa as it is easier to apply, not requiring the participation of an employer and it is clearer what you need to show in order to be granted it.

However one of the big things about the announcement of the DNV was that applicants could possibly benefit from the Beckham law and get a flat tax rate of 24% on their earnings, much less tax therefore for people earning around 60k a year and more. It seems that it is almost impossible to qualify for the Beckham Law as a self employed person or freelancer. There are exceptions as described below from Louise Carr's Moving to Spain guide.

Can you qualify? Yes.

Will you qualify? Most probably not.

Does it matter? Not really until you get well above the 60k point when the divergence of tax rates might well mean you are paying considerably more in tax. I would say though that if you are earning more than 60k in Spain you will more likely than not have an amazing lifestyle upgrade.

And this is what you will need in order to apply for it, taken from our previous blog post.

You can get a copy of the application form here. It is a simple one page form and should be accompanied by all of the other proofs required above which we list below here too:

  • The Completed Application Form
  • A copy of the payment made for the application (Modelo 790 038. Currently €89,96)
  • A Passport Copy (And we expect this to be a notarised one with the Hague Seal but this is not yet confirmed)
  • Professional Qualifications or Proof of Professional Relationship with Employer/Clients.
  • A Clean Criminal Record Form from your current country of residence for the last two years and a sworn statement that you don’t have a criminal record from any other country you may have lived in during the previous five years. These papers need to be legalised and notarised (with the Apostile of the Hague)
  • Private Health Insurance Contract.
  • Proof of income or funds.
  • A copy of your degree certificate or professional qualifications or evidence of your experience in the job you bring with you.
  • A letter from any company you work for authorising you to work from Spain and giving details of your job, salary and any other relevant details.
  • Proof that any company you work for has existed for more than one year.

The Employee Route

The employee route is a little more complicated and the required paperwork is the sticking point normally. And when I say the required paperwork I'm talking about the required paperwork from your government. The major problem tends to be the status of your social security. Your employer might be very happy to tell you that you can work from anywhere up until the point that you ask them to supply you with paperwork beyond the letter saying you are allowed to work remotely.

The big one is the social security agreement. In the UK the CA3821 and CA3822 forms that you require are taking 9 weeks and longer to be processed (Because nothing works in the UK post Brexit) so it's worth getting your skates on to apply for them. However the situation is not clear with some people being refused due to their application time of three years initially for the DNV being longer than the two years that these forms are valid for!

The situation in the States is actually worse. It seems that Spain is just not accepting US Social Security certificates at all. Therefore many people are looking at the workaround of becoming self employed and billing their current employers but this obviously delays their application as they need to have been doing this for at least three months and the change in working relationship with a long term employer is scary for many. Others are hoping to continue with their employer paying their SS in the States while registering in Spain with the social security just like self employed applicants have to do. As usual, time will tell whether this is a reliable workaround.

In the first quarter of the year the UGE (who deal with the DNV in Spain) had over 1400 applications. The vast majority of those approved were from self employed applicants. Only the UK (And Russia!!!) were giving out A1 social security certificates because when you try and get one in the States they ask for the address of the company and if that address is a co-working place or a residential home (The addresses given out by the applicant) the UGE then rejects the application from the employee as there is no Spanish base for the company applying! Go figure. It's all very confusing. (Kafkaesque doesn't even begin to describe that situation)

The Lawyers and New Companies Promoting the Visas

There is an SEO battle to be the first results in Google for the Spanish Digital Nomad Visa. The companies at the top are spending a lot of money, not only on SEO but also on promoted ads. Why would they do this? Well, there is a lot of money in those clicks. The average price being charged for "helping" with the process of getting the DNV is around 1500 Euros and we have heard of lawyers charging up to 5000 Euros with "Guaranteed success". That is a lie. You can't guarantee success without two things:

1) Experience of doing it. They haven't got this, it's new.

2) The right paperwork. And that social security issue might be a biggie for many people.

Above I called them chancers. That's about right. Many of them have just seen a bandwagon to jump on and a gravy train to bathe in. I'm not even going to recommend someone who has lots of experience and a high success rate yet. The lawyers we know of who are doing this have had a few successful cases so far but it is not a major part of their business and others are in the pipeline and we'll see if they turn out successfully.

Currently anyone who says they guarantee you will get the DNV is probably lying. They are definitely lying if they tell you that before seeing ALL of your paperwork.

Dreams Versus Reality

Your dream to make a seamless move to Spain and get everything right straight away might be a bit further off than you think. But don't get frustrated! The situation will get clearer as time moves on. There will be a clear pathway to the DNV that becomes the most popular way of getting it and the chinks in the legislation such as the social security issue will be ironed out. You may have to resign yourself to paying more tax due to the restrictions on the Beckham Law beneficiaries but as we have said before in these posts the rest of your cost of living in Spain might well more than compensate for this increase.

Conclusions and What to Do

Collect the required paperwork and keep up to date with people going through the process. It might be useful to join the Facebook group by the aforementioned Louise Carr about the Digital Nomad Visa in Spain. There are plenty of questions, experiences and opinions given in there including people who have successfully got their DNV and it is a generally very supportive group.

As long as the DNV is on offer people will be interested. Spain is an attractive destination to live and work and Valencia tops that as it has been voted many times the best place to live and work in the World. So don't lose the faith and remember there are also other visas that may suit you to come and live and work in Valencia. Take a look at the options here.

Golden Visa Property of the Week

Based on everything we have written above this might be a section of the blog that we lose in future. However for now, we continue to give you the Golden Visa Property of the Week and this one is a fantastic property in Ribarroja.

It's that time of the year when we are enjoying warmer days and lighter nights then a cooler breeze in the afternoon, neither hot or cold, a perfect climate, a fantastic month to be in Valencia, this week we took a look at this wonderful house in Ribarroja and as we sat in the shade of the enormous Carob Tree on this corner plot and quiet leafy street chatting with the owners it was no surprise when they told us that they spend most of their time outdoors, enjoying the oasis they have created.

The inside doesn’t disappoint either, this superb 3 storey Villa with 5 Double Bedrooms plus Loft space/Office/Workout room, 3 Bathrooms and W.C, a Large and newly renovated Kitchen, Split Level Living and Dining Room and covered terraces on all sides of the property that provide light and shade depending on the time of day and time of year is a fantastic and well maintained home that should tick every single requirement you could ever wish for, couple that with a wonderful pool, garden and superb location and environment for family life, well connected with a short walk to numerous metro stops and the towns of L’Eliana and Ribarroja, it’s also an easy drive to many of the international schools you may be considering when you move here.

We urge you to come and see for yourselves why many of our clients choose this part of the world.

In or out, it’s always better.

Property of the Week

One thing before we start, the photos are terrible!!

Levante are definitely the second football club in Valencia but that's probably because their debt doesn't amount to somewhere north of 1 billion Euros unlike their most famous rivals. They are more of a family club who tend to bounce between the first and second divisions and yours truly is a season ticket holder as are other members of the Valencia Property team.

This property is right by the Levante stadium in the northern part of the city just a couple of kilometres from the beach and right near the metro line to Alboraya and Central Valencia. And you get a lot for your money here. 107m2 of apartment with four bedrooms, two bathrooms, living room, kitchen and a small balcony terrace on the second floor with a lift. For an optional 20k you also get a rather huge garage place.

Great value for money, good location and a car parking place for when 15000 mates turn up for a football match. What more can you ask for?

News From Valencia

It's election time next week, regional, and the posters are up all over the city and political parties are promising stuff they either have no intention or no chance of putting into practice. One thing I'll never understand about political posters in Spain is that they say "Vota (Party name here)" with the big smiling insincere face of someone you'll never see again (In many cases hopefully). They never ever say why you should vote for them. I spend most of my time with a sharpie drawing on the worst types.

Tip of the Week

Yet again it's be careful of Facebook recommendations. Many people are not who they seem. The poster who only ever pops into a group to recommend a particular agency and in the background actually owns that agency. while never declaring that fact. The person who recommends a legal firm on every single post and turns out to be the social media manager for that legal firm. The person who recommends a building company without telling you they are the plasterer. The person who replies to a post with "DM".

Be better people. If you have a vested interest then tell people. Let them choose your company or service because you answer their questions and help others out. I once read that if I walk into a room and tell everyone that I'm the best then I'm a bit of a tw*t. However if everyone else in a room tells you that I'm the best and then I walk in, I'm Elvis. Just be careful of who is conveying that message to you.

If You Liked This...

Then you should read our previous posts where we get into more depth on these subjects. Just click on the images below to get more blog post goodness.

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