Non Lucrative Visa Spain: Can YouTubers Leverage It for Living and Working?

Question

I’m a YouTuber with wanderlust in my veins and Spain calling my name! But before I pack my vlogging camera and tapas cravings, I need to figure out the visa situation. Two options are on the table: the Non Lucrative Visa Spain and the new Digital Nomad Visa. Both let me live in Spain long-term, but the details are a bit blurry.

Non Lucrative Visa Spain: I’ve heard it’s good for passive income folks, but will it work for a YouTuber? Can I still create content and monetize it? Digital Nomad Visa: This one sounds ideal for remote workers, but does YouTube count as a “remote job”? And what kind of income proof do I need to show?

Answers

These are the answers of Spainguru’s Facebook group members:

“Oof. I don’t think you can justify YouTubing as ‘passive income:’ you’re literally creating content to make money off of, like, say, a lawyer does, but on a different medium.”

“When people click and view the videos that were created whenever and wherever, the creator will keep getting income from the platform.”

“Spain taxes the worldwide income of its residents.”

“Creating new content while in Spain, and monetizing it, is work.”

“You are not allowed to work or earn an income on a Non lucrative visa Spain. When you renew after your first year, they will question where the income has come from?”

“You can absolutely earn money, it just a) can’t be from work done while in the country and b) can’t be the financial means with which you’ll support yourself in the country.”

“Can you rent rooms out or receive rental income in Spain whilst on the Non lucrative visa Spain? Yes, but it depends. If you’re actively involved in the management, no. If not, yes.”

“Agree that YouTube income wouldn’t be considered passive income hence not the NLV.”

“If you were to create a company in the US (say, a LLC) that then employed you as a video creator for it, and that company (1) existed for a year, (2) employed you for three months, and (3) agreed in writing to pay into the Spanish social security system on your behalf, you could do what you want to do on the DNV — about 16 months from the date when the LLC is incorporated.

Some of the legal beagles here might know reasons why this wouldn’t work, but there are a few “W2 employees” of their own companies who have done this successfully. (You could alternatively be a freelancer for your LLC, but then would have to be autónomo in Spain, which has its own set of headaches. On the up side, you could hire yourself out as a videographer or do other kinds of freelance work if you went that way.)

But all of these are big commitments of time and money, and assume you really want to stay in Spain long term. My impression of most travel vloggers is that they depend on frequent changes of location and scenery to keep engagement up, so not sure if Spain is really going to be “it” for you. (Keep in mind that aside from the golden visa, every residency visa requires you to live in Spain for minimum six months of the year, preferably 9-10 months of the year if you want to stay for good.)”

“We have the Spanish non lucrative visa with Google Adsense. I am impressed to find someone else here (finally) with something similar in this thread.
To address some points I often get:
Yes we pay taxes.
Yes we were approve with this as our income at a Spanish consulate.
Yes it is considered passive by my government and apparently Spain’s as well, other wise why did they approved us based on it?
Yes we have renewed with this income.
No we did not have to sign any “non working” paperwork as someone eluded to.
No we did not apply in the U.S. or the UK.
No questions about income sources have ever been asked since our actual move to Spain.
We had to show ownership of all the websites we own. I assume you’ll have to do the same for your YouTube channel(s).
I think you’ve been given some ideas in this thread on how to set yourself up for either visa. My suggestion is to go for the easiest option, and if you get denied, try the other one. My other suggestion is to follow your consulates rules, and take FB guidance with a grain of salt. If we had made our decisions based on what people said we could and couldn’t do, we would have never even applied. The general population does not understand digital marketing at all.”

Conclusion

Navigating the complexities of Spanish visas for YouTubers reveals a nuanced landscape. The Non-Lucrative Visa (NLV) and Digital Nomad Visa offer pathways to living in Spain, though not without their challenges. The key takeaway is the distinction between passive and active income, with the former being a requisite for the NLV.

While some YouTubers have successfully navigated these waters by categorizing their income as passive (e.g., through Google Adsense), this path is not straightforward and requires careful planning and legal advice.

Meanwhile, the Digital Nomad Visa might offer a more fitting solution for content creators, provided they meet specific criteria. For those in similar situations, consulting with immigration experts and leveraging community knowledge can provide invaluable insights and strategies for achieving their relocation and work goals in Spain.