Work as a freelancer in Spain


Spain is one of the most unique countries in Europe and is particularly famous for its architecture and artistic culture. More and more freelancers are looking to Spain – mainly because of the excellent health system, rich culture and general quality of life. Read on to find out how you can move to Spain as a self-employed!

  1. Be self-employed in Spain
  2. How do I become self-employed (autonomous) in Spain?
    1. Self-employed work visa
    2. Foreigner identification number
    3. Bank account
    4. registration
    5. Health insurance
    6. steer

Be self-employed in Spain

Working in Spain is a wonderful prospect for everyone. There is so much to be gained from working in this amazing country – the wonderful places, rich culture, quality of life, not to mention the healthcare system, insurance, and relatively simple billing and bookkeeping processes.

Unsurprisingly, most freelancers moving to Spain forge their new lives in the sun-drenched coastal regions. Valencia, Andalusia, the Canaries and the Balearic Islands are particularly popular.

Almost 3M freelancers / self-employed work in Spain.

Statista, 2019

How do I become self-employed (autonomous) in Spain?

There are a few things that you need to do as a freelancer, both before and after moving to Spain. These are as follows:

# 1 self-employed work visa

Before moving to Spain, you need to apply for a self-employed work visa. This visa must be applied for in person and can be applied for at your local Spanish consulate or embassy. Before doing this, however, you need to fill out Form EX – 07 (Application for Temporary Residence and Application for Self-Employment) and pay two fees in advance – the Modelo 790 código 052 and the Modelo 790 Código 062.

You will also need a list of the permits required for the professional activity, evidence of your training for this activity and a defined business plan.

Once you have the above, you can apply for the visa by presenting the following documents:

# 2 alien identification number

For any freelancer or self-employed person who wants to work in Spain, it is essential to obtain a Número de Identificación de Extranjero (NIE). This is a unique identification number for foreigners and is required for every official procedure in Spain. This includes renting a property, buying a car, paying your taxes, and so on.

There are several ways to apply for the NIE. If you are abroad, you can apply either through a Spanish consulate or a representative living in Spain.

However, if you are already in Spain, you can apply for it by making an appointment with the local immigration office. You will need the following:

  • Her passport
  • Two copies of the EX-15 form
  • Proof of legal entry into Spain (for non-EU citizens)
  • Two passport photos

# 3 bank account

Before registering as a self-employed person in Spain, you need to open a bank account. Fortunately, the process for doing this is relatively simple and straightforward.

Depending on how long you want to stay in Spain, you can either open a bank account for foreigners or an account based in Spain. If you want to stay longer than 6 months, you will need to open a resident bank account. The prerequisites for this are as follows:

  • Your passport or identity card (for EU citizens)
  • Proof of address
  • No number
  • Proof of employment status (e.g. a contract)

On the other hand, if you want to stay for less than 6 months, you need to open a foreign bank account. To do this you need:

  • Your passport or identity card (for EU citizens)
  • Proof of address
  • Proof of employment (e.g. tax return)
  • Certificate of non-residency – you can obtain this from the police or the Foreign Office

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# 4 registration

It is important to register as a self-employed person in Spain before starting any freelance work. You have to register with both the tax office and social security.

Tax authority

The tax authority (Agencia Tributaria or Hacienda) is a public administration that collects taxes from an autonomous person on a quarterly basis. Before you can sign up, you need to make an appointment with the agency – you can do so through the agency’s website and choose a branch near you.

To register with the tax office, you need a NIE, a Spanish bank account and, if you come from outside the EU, a work permit or a visa. In the office, you need to choose a category that suits your freelance work. Once you do, you’ll need to fill out a form – either 036 or 037.

Social Security

Everyone who works in Spain has to pay into the social security system. So after registering with the tax office, you have to register with your local social security office in Spain within 30 days. You must register for the special regime for the self-employed (RETA) and bring the following documents with you:

  • Your passport plus a copy
  • Form 036 or 037 (from the tax office)
  • IRPF form (from the tax office)
  • Registration certificate (certificado de empadronamiento) – you can get this at the Padrón office in your city or at the town hall

# 5 health insurance

As soon as you have registered with the Social Insurance Office, you can take advantage of the state health care system (Sistema nacional de salud or SNS) free of charge.

However, you must apply for a health card (tarjeta sanitaria individual or TSI). The procedure for doing this depends on where you live in Spain, but you can usually get it at a local health center.

Autonomous citizens of non-EU / EFTA countries may need to take out private insurance when applying for their visa. Fortunately, there are some private health insurances in Spain that offer a range of packages specifically tailored to your needs and circumstances.

Health insurance for digital nomads

# 6 taxes

When you work as a freelancer in Spain, you are liable to tax on both your income and your assets.

Income tax

Income tax (Impuesto de Renta sobre las Personas Físicas o IRPF) in Spain depends primarily on where you live. You must file your Spanish income tax returns between April 6th and June 30th of the following year.

You will also need to fill out the Spanish tax form – Modelo 130 quarterly (between the first and 20th day of each quarter) and then pay 20% of your profit as an advance payment to the tax office.


Like most countries, Spain also has a VAT. These are divided into 3 categories:

  • General – 21% (goods and services)
  • Reducido – 10% (transportation, non-basic foods, health products, etc.)
  • Superreducido – 4% (important items)

You are obliged to submit all invoice data online to the tax office within four days of the date of issue.

Would you ever consider moving to Spain to work as a freelancer? Tell us in the comments below!

📌 Further instructions:
🇩🇪 How to: Freelancing in Germany
🇬🇷 How to: Freelancing in Greece
🇵🇹 How to: Freelancing in Portugal
🇬🇧 How to: Freelancing in the UK


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