From Spain Non Lucrative Visa to Self Employment in Spain

From Spain Non Lucrative Visa to Self Employment in Spain

Spain non lucrative visa is a great choice for those wanting to relocate to Spain without immediate plans for employment. It’s a straightforward option, provided you have adequate savings and/or passive income at the time of your application at your local consulate. It can usually be obtained rather quickly, since the usual timeframe to obtain it doesn’t usually exceed 90 days from the time of application.

However, a major drawback is that this visa does not permit leveraging active income (or at least, that is how Spanish Consulates interpret the rules at the time of application), requiring residents to live off their savings or passive income.

There is still a gray area regarding working remotely for Non-Spanish customers under a Spain non lucrative visa, as expert immigration Lawyer Ainhoa Manero from Sterna Abogados points out in my interview to her in May 2024 (Link to the specific part of the interview)

From Spain Non Lucrative Visa to Self Employment in Spain

So, what happens if, after arriving in Spain on a non-lucrative visa, you decide you want to work? Thankfully, there are processes to convert the non-lucrative visa into either a work permit (allowing you to work for an employer) or a self employment visa, enabling you to legally work for yourself.

And, as of January 2023, you can also transition from a Spain Non Lucrative visa to a digital Nomad Visa as well. This transition may sound contradictory, since the requirements for the Digital Nomad Visa include proving previous work activity for at least 3 months prior to the application and a certain income level. (Link to the specific part of the interview). More about this: “A successful transition from Spain Non Lucrative Visa to Spain Digital Nomad Visa

In this article, we will explain the self employment option that allows you to set up a business or become a freelancer in Spain, serving Spanish customers. This option is known as “Cuenta Propia” in Spanish, and the official name for this procedure is “Modificación de la situación de residencia a la situación de residencia y trabajo por cuenta propia inicial.”

Requirements for Conversion or “Modificación” to Cuenta Propia

To convert a Spain non lucrative visa to a self employment visa (cuenta propia), several requirements must be met:

  • Residency Duration: The applicant must have lived in Spain on the non-lucrative visa for at least one year. Exceptionally, applications can be made before one year if there is a proven need to work due to unforeseen circumstances.
  • Clean Criminal Record: The applicant must have no criminal record in Spain.
  • No Entry Prohibition: The applicant must not be prohibited from entering Spain or other countries with relevant agreements.
  • Compliance with Business Regulations: The applicant must comply with all legal requirements for starting and operating a business.
  • Professional Qualification: The applicant must have the necessary qualifications or experience for their intended business.
  • Sufficient Investment: The applicant must prove that their investment is adequate and positively impacts job creation.
  • Financial Stability: The applicant must demonstrate sufficient financial resources to support themselves and their business.

Required Documentation

The process requires several key documents:

  • EX-07 Form: This form must be completed manually.
  • Passport Copy: A full scan of the passport is needed.
  • Proof of Qualifications: Verified and translated qualifications must be provided.
  • Financial Proof: Bank statements showing sufficient investment are required.
  • Business Plan: A detailed business plan including investment details and job creation potential must be submitted.
  • Payment of Fee: A fee of approximately 201 euros must be paid.

The Conversion Procedure

  1. Business Plan Approval: Engage one of the self-employment worker organizations in Spain to review and approve your business plan. Examples include the National Federation of Associations of Entrepreneurs and Self-Employed Workers (ATA), the Union of Professionals and Self-Employed Workers (UPTA), and others.
  2. Client Letters: Obtain letters from future clients expressing interest in your services.
  3. Documentation Submission: Compile all required documents into a PDF and email them to the local immigration office.
  4. In-Person Appointment: Attend an appointment to verify the documents.

Timeline and Potential Challenges

The conversion process can take longer than expected, averaging four to six months. The procedure involves waiting periods and may overlap with visa renewal deadlines, requiring careful planning to avoid expiration. Additional documents, such as proof of social security registration and business activation, may also be needed.

From Spain Non Lucrative Visa to Self Employment in Spain

For a first-hand experience and detailed guide of a modificacion a cuenta propia procedure, please read “Self-employment visa timeline: Becoming an “autónomo” (freelancer) in Spain

Final Steps

Upon approval, it is crucial to email proof of social security registration before scheduling a fingerprint appointment. At this appointment, bring all necessary documents for the TIE card application, including the payment receipt, Certificado de empadronamiento, passport, current TIE card, and carné-sized photos.


Converting a Spain non lucrative visa to a self employment visa in Spain is a detailed and time-consuming process. By following the guidelines closely and seeking assistance from relevant organizations or immigration experts, individuals can successfully navigate the requirements and begin working legally in Spain.

The previous information is for information purposes only. Please consult with immigration experts.

Official page with the requirements: “Modificación de la situación de residencia a la situación de residencia y trabajo por cuenta propia inicial (HI 71)”