Spain Digital Nomad Visa: Self-Employed VS Employed?


Which is the better route for a Spain Digital Nomad Visa application, self-employed or employed? I have the option through my employer to be either.


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

“Assuming you are from the UK, employed. You get to keep all of the benefits of being an employee (sick pay, holidays, it’s difficult to fire you etc.). Assuming you get the A1 form, you get to enjoy up to two years of not having tax taken out from your salary every month.

Instead, you put that tax in a high interest savings account and pay it to the Spanish government once a year. You and your employer pay NI rather than Spanish SS (which is more expensive). You don’t have the hassle of doing quarterly returns as an autónomo in Spain, paying tax quarterly and worrying about inspections and fines if you or your gestor forgets to do something.

You can apply for the Beckham law if you meet the criteria and it suits your circumstances, whereas the self-employed can’t. The only downside I can think of is that you only get a 2-year Spain Digital Nomad Visa rather than 3 years. So you have the hassle and expense of reapplying a year earlier.”

“What if you are employed or self-employed in the US but you are a fiscal resident of another country in Latam?”

“So if you are employed and paid in £, is the Spanish income tax FX conversion rate calculated as you get paid, or at one point at the year end, or an average across the year? Just trying to work out the best time to move tax £ to Spain…”

“You don’t have to move your money at all. When you do your tax return you have to declare your worldwide earnings, not just money in Spain. Your tax advisor will advise you of the exchange rate. I think it is fixed at a certain point every year.”

“The best time to convert would have been a few days ago when it was 1.17! The tax is due each June so you can keep an eye on the exchange rate during the months before and use Wise to convert.”

“If I was applied as autonomous and I am both an employee and a freelancer – can my employer open a social security here and pay it directly for me?”

“We are hoping to move from Qatar, we work both freelance and employed home office, both incomes are over the threshold. Freelance is banked through Wise, employed through Qatari bank. Which income is more likely to get us a visa? We have been told Wise bank statements aren’t accepted as proof of income.”

“What is the best option for Canadians? I am still confused about self-employed and employed…”

“From the UK. Employed. Every other country as a contractor/self-employed.”

“Even Mexicans? As far as I understood Mexico and Spain have an agreement on SS.”

“The only SS agreements that cover remote work are the UK and Russia.”


The discussion in Spainguru’s Facebook group indicates a slight preference for being employed over self-employed when applying for the Spain Digital Nomad Visa, especially for UK citizens. This is due to the associated benefits such as sick pay, holidays, easier tax management, and potential eligibility for the Beckham law.

However, the best choice depends on individual circumstances, including the applicant’s country of origin and whether their country has a social security agreement with Spain that covers remote work.

Applicants must consider their personal situation and possibly consult with a tax advisor to make an informed decision.