Can I work remotely for a US nonprofit from Spain while on a student visa through the NALCAP program without a work permit?


Can I continue working remotely for a US-based nonprofit while on a student visa through the NALCAP program, and do I need to apply for a work permit in order to do so?


These are the answers of some Facebook group members:

”My friend had a freelance job in the USA, she was able to keep her freelance job and still work as an aux with no problem”

”They changed the law in August 2022 so that student visas allow you to work 30 hours as long as it doesn’t interfere with your studies. This should be automatic without any need to apply for a work permit. When you receive your TIE, it should say “autoriza a trabajar”

”Honest answer, no one will ever know. Just do it, and you will not get in trouble. Spain has no access to your American bank account. I don’t know a single aux who didn’t have a side job and I’ve known many”

”Legally, no. realistically, yes”

”I think a possible issue is if the American company lets you work abroad. I did the same for a non-profit and when I came to Spain and they said they couldn’t have my work abroad because they would have to pay some crazy tax if I was based here”

”If it’s 1099 freelance income I would just work the job and report it on American taxes. The NALCAP program is a student visa and you’re considered effectively non-resident (you’re given an “estancia por estudios” and your salary is formally a “scholarship” to pay your maintenance and practica costs). I would say the vast majority of people that work in that program either teach private classes for cash under the table or teach online as 1099 freelancers for English-teaching programs like Cambly or VIPKids (RIP) to supplement their income. I don’t like to say “don’t worry about it, the Spanish tax authorities won’t care,” but this practice is widespread and NALCAP workers don’t receive Spanish Social Security, so you’re not seriously expected to have tax obligations. In fact, as a non-resident, you’re actually eligible to ask the government for a return of all the sales taxes you’ve paid during your stay when you leave if you keep all your receipts. Just report your Spanish “scholarship” income as foreign-earned income, which won’t be liable to US taxes, or “other” income, and report your marketing work as 1099 income as usual. If you’re an actual employee… well, that’s more of a problem for the non-profit’s tax liability and thus whether they’ll even let you keep that job since most companies don’t like touching that stuff with a 10-foot pole”

”Yeah, I have “a friend” doing this right now (10 hours a week) without issues. You can message “her” if you have any questions haha”

In conclusion, according to Spainguru Facebook group members, it seems that working remotely for a US-based nonprofit while on a student visa through the NALCAP program is a common practice among students. While technically not allowed legally, it appears that many students have done so without facing any consequences. The recent change in the law allows student visa holders to work up to 30 hours as long as it doesn’t interfere with their studies, and obtaining a work permit may not be necessary. However, it is important to consider the potential complications such as tax liabilities and the willingness of the nonprofit to allow remote work. It is advisable to consult with others who have similar experiences and consider the specific circumstances before proceeding.