Pros and Cons of Spain’s Digital Nomad Visa for Filipinos

In the ever-evolving landscape of remote work, Spain has emerged as an enticing destination for Filipino digital nomads seeking to blend work with the allure of European culture. With the introduction of Spain’s Digital Nomad Visa, an exciting opportunity has arisen for Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) to extend their professional boundaries beyond the familiar. This visa promises a chance to embrace the Iberian lifestyle while continuing to contribute to the global workforce.

However, as with any significant decision, there are both advantages and challenges associated with Spain’s Digital Nomad Visa. In this article, we delve into the intricacies of this opportunity, exploring the potential benefits that lure Filipino professionals and the potential pitfalls that may require careful consideration. Join us as we weigh the pros and cons, providing valuable insights for Filipino digital nomads contemplating the leap into the Spanish work landscape.

pros and cons of spains digital nomad visa

Disclaimer: The information posted here is based on the personal experiences shared by the OFW in the video below. Please let this post serve as a guide only. If you have specific questions, you may ask the OFW by commenting on their video on their accounts.

Navigating Spain’s Digital Nomad Visa – A Guide for Filipino Workers

This article is based on a YouTube video from the channel Everything is Boffo. If you want to watch the full video, then click on the link below:

Advantages of Applying for the Digital Nomad Visa

Here is a summary of the advantages of applying for the Digital Nomad Visa:

  • Social Security Bilateral Agreement: A Unique EdgePermits continuation of Social Security contributions in the Philippines while working remotely from Spain, a rare benefit not universally available.
  • Direct Access to Manila-based Social Security TeamProvides a personalized assessment of eligibility for the digital nomad visa certificate, offering a streamlined approach for Filipino applicants.
  • Effective Bilateral Agreements: Not Universally AvailablePositions Filipino applicants uniquely, enjoying practical implementation of bilateral agreements, unlike some countries facing challenges in execution.
  • Successful Cases: Experience with Colombia and South KoreaHighlights positive outcomes in obtaining the Social Security certificate for countries like Colombia and South Korea under similar bilateral agreements.
  • Convenient Driver’s License ExchangeFacilitates an effortless exchange from a Philippine driver’s license to a Spanish one, eliminating the need for an exam in Spain.
  • Path to Spanish Citizenship: A Journey After Two YearsOffers the opportunity for Filipinos to pursue Spanish citizenship after two years, emphasizing language and history tests as key elements.
  • Exclusive Visa for Filipinos and Former Spanish ColoniesTailored for Filipinos and individuals from former Spanish colonies, extending benefits to regions like Latin America (Brazil and Guinea Equatorial).
  • Fast-Track Nature of the Visa ProcessRecognizes the expedited nature of the visa process, providing a unique advantage for fortunate applicants seeking this exceptional opportunity.

1. Social Security Bilateral Agreement: A Unique Edge

One of the most significant advantages for Filipino citizens applying for the digital nomad visa in Spain is the Social Security bilateral agreement between the Philippines and Spain. This exclusive pact permits individuals to continue their Social Security contributions in the Philippines while engaged in remote work from Spain. Notably, this is a rare benefit, and not all countries extend such privileges to their citizens.

2. Direct Access to Manila-based Social Security Team

When you initiate the application process, your direct point of contact will be the Social Security team based in Manila. This direct interaction ensures a personalized assessment of your situation, offering insights into your eligibility for the digital nomad visa certificate. This direct engagement distinguishes the Filipino experience, providing a streamlined approach to navigate the visa process.

3. Effective Bilateral Agreements: Not Universally Available

Unlike some countries, the Philippines is not only a participant in a bilateral agreement but also enjoys its practical implementation. In contrast, certain nations, such as the United States, may have similar agreements on paper but face challenges in their effective execution. This positions Filipino applicants in a unique and advantageous position, strengthening their prospects for a successful visa application.

4. Successful Cases: Experience with Colombia and South Korea

Drawing from successful cases, it’s evident that the Philippines is not alone in its advantageous position. Countries like Colombia and South Korea, also under bilateral agreements, have seen positive outcomes in obtaining the Social Security certificate.

5. Convenient Driver’s License Exchange

The vlogger emphasizes a significant advantage – a treaty between Spain and the Philippines concerning driver’s licenses. This allows for an effortless exchange, enabling the vlogger to transition from a Philippine driver’s license to a Spanish one without the need for an exam in Spain. The exchange process becomes available upon obtaining the residency card (TIE) in Spain, as exemplified by the vlogger’s experience.

6. Path to Spanish Citizenship: A Journey After Two Years

One of the digital nomad visa’s unique advantage for Filipinos is the opportunity to pursue Spanish citizenship after two years. The vlogger’s active pursuit of this path, including language and history tests, highlights the visa’s dual role as a remote work facilitator and a pathway to Spanish citizenship.

7. Exclusive Visa for Filipinos and Former Spanish Colonies

The vlogger highlights the exclusivity of the digital nomad visa, tailored specifically for Filipinos and individuals from former Spanish colonies. This extends the visa’s benefits to people in regions like Latin America (Brazil and Guinea Equatorial), showcasing its unique advantages for a select group.

8. Fast-Track Nature of the Visa Process

The vlogger acknowledges the fast-track nature of this visa process, recognizing the fortunate few who can capitalize on this exceptional opportunity.

Disadvantages of Applying for the Digital Nomad Visa as a Filipino

1. Schengen Visa Requirement: A Necessary Hurdle

If applying directly from Spain, Filipino passport holders encounter a notable disadvantage. They must secure a Schengen tourist visa lasting at least 30 calendar days or with multiple entries into Europe. This requirement is crucial to maintain legal status while the digital nomad visa application is in process. The same holds true for family members, as they also need a Schengen visa to enter Spain.

2. Social Security Certificate Challenge

Another drawback pertains to the social security certificate. If ineligible for this certificate, applicants must opt for self-employment in Spain, known as Autonomo. This entails paying taxes similar to a Spanish citizen. However, many clients, especially those from the US or the UK, often find themselves ineligible for tax benefits and end up paying taxes as autonomo, making it a less favorable aspect of the visa process.

Applying Inside vs. Outside Spain

1. Application Venue: UGE in Spain vs Consulate in Home Country

When applying directly in Spain, the process involves submitting the application to the Unidad de Grandes Empresas (UGE). On the contrary, applying from the home country requires submitting the application at the consulate. This initial step sets the stage for the divergent experiences that follow.

2. Processing Time: Spain vs Consulate

The timing is a crucial factor. Applying in Spain typically yields a response from the UGE after 20 business days. In contrast, the consulate application process can take up to three months for an answer. This substantial difference in processing times can significantly impact planning and timelines.

3. Family Application Process: Spain vs Consulate

For those opting to apply directly in Spain, the main applicant can initiate the process, and family members can apply later. However, if applying at the consulate, all family members must apply together. The criteria within Spain remain uniform for all applicants, regardless of citizenship, while consulates may have varying criteria and timelines.

4. Application Submission: Online vs. Consulate Visits

Choosing to apply in Spain allows for online submission, eliminating the need for in-person visits. On the other hand, applying at the consulate requires two visits – first for the NIE number, and later for the visa application. The online submission process offers a streamlined experience without the need for an interview in Spain.

5. Visa Duration: Spain vs. Consulate

Direct applicants in Spain may receive a visa for up to three years, a notable advantage. In contrast, consulate applicants receive a one-year visa, necessitating renewal and repeating the initial requirements. The extended duration in Spain simplifies the process for the applicant.

6. Application Fees: Covered vs. Self-Payment

Applying directly in Spain, utilizing certain services, often covers expenses. However, applying at the consulate, such as in Manila, requires self-payment of all government and consulate fees. This financial consideration adds another layer to the decision-making process.

From the insights shared, it appears highly advantageous to apply from within Spain. The streamlined process, extended visa duration, and covered fees present compelling reasons for applicants to consider this route.

Choosing between applying in Spain or at consulates involves considering factors such as processing times, family application criteria, and the overall convenience of the application process. While applying in Spain offers advantages like quicker responses and the possibility of a three-year visa, consulate applications may take longer, and the visa duration is limited to one year, requiring renewal.

Ultimately, the decision rests on individual preferences and priorities, weighing the unique advantages against the challenges. Spain’s digital nomad visa presents a tailored opportunity for Filipino passport holders, offering a gateway to remote work in Spain with its distinctive set of advantages and considerations.