How to apply for a Freelancer visa to live in Spain

Visa Freelancer Espana Europa

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Spain has a self-employment visa that allows you to live in this country as a self-employed person or Freelancer. In this blog post, you will learn how to apply for it as a Mexican. If you are from another country, the process might be a little different so I recommend you to see the official website of the Embassy of Spain in your country.

With the fantastic culture, infrastructure, and quality of life in Spain, this country is perfect for any digital nomad.

My cousin Maythe applied for her Freelancer visa in 2017 and went to live in Barcelona in 2018.

If you have any questions you can contact her here:

  • Mail:
  • Instagram: @ma_i_te_
  1. My work as a Freelancer
  2. Requirements and documents
  3. My experience collecting the documents
  4. Is it necessary to contract a lawyer or an immigration agency?
  5. Costs
  6. My appointment at the Spanish consulate in Mexico
  7. Time to receive the visa
  8. Arriving in Spain (rent and living costs)
  9. Important expenses (health insurance and taxes)
  10. Visa renewal and residency 
Visa Freelancer autonomo Espana Europa 1

1. My work as a Freelancer

When I heard about the self-employment or freelancer visa in Spain I was working as a “service provider” in the marketing area of a technology company based in San Francisco prospecting clients.

This part is important because being a Freelancer you have to prove with your bills the income you have or in my case I had a work contract with a fixed salary that I could prove through my payroll receipts. It is essential to be able to prove your income.

My coworkers

2. Requirements and documents

On the official website of the Spanish Consulate in Mexico, you can see the complete list of documents that you will need to collect. This is a summary:

Work-related documents

a. Certification prooving that you have the required training to practice your profession: I submitted my university certificate with an apostille.

b. Proof of sufficient financial investment: this is in case your plan is to open an office. But if you are Freelance working on your own, you need to show that you have a minimum of 13K EUR (or according to the Table 1,075 EUR per month for 1 year) in your personal bank account or its equivalent in MXN. 

c. A project of your activities to be carried out, with investment, profitability, and jobs to be created (if applicable): this is the most complicated part, basically you have to make a document where you explain step by step how you are going to work, if you are going to hire employees, to whom your work is directed, how much money you have expected to earn that year, etc.

I presented a document of about 30 pages, like a dossier. Imagine that you are going to sell your project to an “investor”, then you have to convince him/her that you can generate money with your project and that it is in his best interest to bet on your success.

You can present it as you want, it can be as easy as a Word document. The contents depend completely on the activity. Start by explaining your experience, what you studied, how you started working on your current work, what inspired you, and where you want to go.

It is important to give a detailed explanation of the activity you plan to do, if it is something you are currently doing, it is good to include your current results, such as “I am a Blogger with more than 5 years of experience and 100K followers. I generate a monthly income of 1,500 Euros for x,y,z sponsorships, and activities”.

Give reasons that justify why you want to live in Spain, clear reasons that explain that you are going to grow your business there doing A, B, C activities, include the growth trends of your professional activity since you started (graphs help a lot) and what are the steps to follow for your company (yourself) to be successful.

d. Application for Residence and Self-Employment Authorization: You must provide the address where you wish to live in Spain (you can finish this part when you are living there, any tentative address will do).

e. Authorizations or licenses for the opening: This is only in case you are planning to open an office or business place in Spain. If you are not, you can skip this.

General Documents

f. Visa application

g. Form 790 (code 052) filled out.

h. Original passport

i. A current color photograph, passport size, front view, white background.

j. Medical certificate issued within the last 3 months attesting that you do not suffer from any of the diseases that may have serious public health implications.

k. Certificate of non-criminal record issued within the last 3 months.

Visa Freelancer Espana Europa
From my house balcony

3. My experience collecting the documents

  • Certified degree: I had a University certificate that said that I finished my degree and passed my professional exam. I apostilled that document.
  • Certificate of non-criminal records: You must process the certificate in Mexico City. You must make an appointment and have the whole morning free. The good side is that the process is not personal so in case you have difficulties, someone else can go on your behalf. This document must also be apostilled. You can read more information about how to get the Certificate of Non-criminal records HERE.
  • Medical Certificate: you can go to a “Farmacia de Similares” and the doctor will give you the certificate. It has to be signed by the doctor and contain the following text “YOUR NAME does not suffer from any of the diseases that may have serious public health implications under the International Health Regulations 2005”.


*Once you’ve gathered your University Degree and non-criminal record certificate, you must take them to Apostille. You can see the steps to perform the procedure HERE.

Barcelona Downtown

4. Is it necessary to contract a lawyer or an immigration agency?

My advice is that even if you don’t want to pay for a lawyer, if you have any questions you should still contact one and ask. As long as you don’t formally start the process they won’t charge you so they can answer a few questions before asking you to cover a fee.

The truth is that I paid a lawyer and I felt much more comfortable because he basically “led me by the hand” through the whole process so I recommend him, but it depends on each person and the process can definitely be done without problems on your own.

Visa Freelancer Espana Europa

5. Costs

  • Visa processing: costs 1,488 + 266 MXN (you can see the current cost HERE)
  • Immigration Lawyer: he charged me 450 EUR (11K MXN).
  • Color photograph: 100 MXN.
  • Medical Certificate: you can go to a “Farmacia de Similares” and the doctor will give you the certificate, the appointment costs about 40 MXN.
  • Apostille of professional title: 843 MXN (see current price HERE). 
  • Certificate of non-criminal records: it is free.
  • Apostille of Certificate of non-criminal records: 843 MXN (see current price HERE).  
Visa Freelancer autonomo Espana Europa
La Sagrada Familia

6. My appointment at the Spanish consulate in Mexico

You must present all the required documentation at window 2 of the Consulate General from 9:00 to 11:30, Monday to Friday.

You must schedule an appointment HERE

When I went, they only received my papers without telling me anything. The Spanish Embassy in Mexico City has a reputation for being a little hostile, I don’t know about other cities.

Visa Freelancer autonomo Espana Europa

7. Time to receive the visa

I had to wait three months for my visa. I was told that it was ready by phone and I went to pick it up at the same office where I started the process.

It is very important that you consider that this procedure can last from 1 to 6 months. So if you don’t live in Mexico City, you have to ask for your passport back. This part is important, if you don’t ask them for the passport they will keep it at the embassy by default.

When I did the paperwork I was living in Buenos Aires, Argentina so it was a big deal. At the embassy the paperwork is personal, so I had to travel twice to Mexico City (actually 3 times, one was by accident since I failed to sign 1 document – one of the forms you have to fill out).

Visa Freelancer autonomo Espana Europa

8. Arriving in Spain (rent and living costs)

Prices in Madrid and Barcelona are considerably higher than the rest of the country, very comparable to any other European city. However, cities like Valencia or Santander are excellent options at much lower prices.


I arrived in Barcelona, I found an apartment in which is by far the most recommended website to search for shared renting or single apartments. I used to pay 700 euros for a room in a 5-bedroom, 5-room shared apartment in the Plaza Catalunya area, but now the rents have dropped considerably.


Shopping at the supermarket cost me about 30 EUR once a week.


To move around I used the subway, I used to buy an 8 EUR ticket which was worth for 6 trips but I still used it very little because you can walk everywhere.

Other costs

For the GYM I paid for an app called ANDJOY. For 50 EUR per month I had access to many gyms in the city and different types of classes, I used to go to the GYM to do functional training and yoga.

Visa Freelancer autonomo Espana Europa

9. Important expenses (health insurance and taxes)

To keep your visa you will need to pay monthly health insurance and taxes.

a. Registration

Before starting the procedures you have to go to register at the Town Hall of the city where you live. There they will give you a type of official proof of address that will allow you to continue with the rest of the procedures.

b. NIE (Foreigners’ Identity Number)

The NIE is required for all foreigners who wish to live in Spain or reside in the country for more than 3 months. To process the NIE you must follow the following steps:

  • Request your appointment HERE
  • Fill in and present all the necessary documents.
  • Go to the office with your documents.
  • Pay the NIE fee (more or less 10 EUR, varies by region).
  • Return to the office to pick up your NIE when you are notified by email.

c. Social Security

In Spain you are not required to have private health insurance, regardless of whether you have one or not, you have to pay the costs of Social Security. The first year, you have to pay 50 EUR per month, and every year the cost increases.

This is because all of Europe has a “free” or state-run health system, so if you have a work permit of any kind you have to make a monthly contribution.

To make the payment you have to open a bank account in Spain and the money is automatically withdrawn every month. I chose Bankia because it has debit accounts where you are not charged anything to open or maintain the account, check that because many banks are very expensive. (Note: In order to open a bank account you have to have your NIE ready).

You can see more details about the Social Security requirement HERE.

d. Taxes

I had to register with the Treasury under the Special Regime for Self-Employed or Autonomous Workers. You have to go directly to the Ministry of Finance, with an appointment.

I recommend that you contact an accountant to help you make your statements.

The procedure depends on the part of Spain where you are going to live. For Catalonia, you can read more details HERE

10. Visa renewal and residency

The visa is first granted for 1 year, then you renew it and it is valid for 2 years, then if you renew it for 2 more years, on the 5th you can apply for your permanent residence.

As you can see HERE “Foreign citizens who have had a temporary residence in Spain for five years continuously and who meet the conditions established by regulations will have the right to long-term residence”.

In the Work Abroad section, you can find more experiences earning internships and full-time job positions abroad! If you had a similar experience and want to inspire others to apply please send an email to

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Freelancer visa work spain

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  1. 26/07/2023 / 3:52 AM

    Wow, what an incredible and informative article on obtaining a freelancer visa to work and live in Spain! TheLifestyleHunter has truly outdone themselves with this gem. The step-by-step guide and valuable tips provided make the entire process seem not only attainable but also exciting. I’m inspired by the prospects of experiencing Spain’s rich culture while pursuing my freelancing career. Kudos to the author for shedding light on this opportunity and empowering aspiring freelancers like me to chase our dreams in such a beautiful country!

  2. habib ullah
    24/04/2021 / 5:01 AM


  3. Kate
    11/02/2021 / 1:49 PM

    Would you mind sharing the name / cost of your lawyer?
    I have found a few options online but with fees over E1500…
    many thanks

  4. Lisa
    10/08/2020 / 10:26 PM

    Hola Pilar,
    Thank you for your valuable information.
    I would like to know your lawyer. Would you tell me his contact number?

    Thank you for your help.

    All the best,

  5. Anil
    15/07/2020 / 4:45 AM

    Hi Pilar,

    I am really greatful to your valuable information. I applied successfully and been waiting for more than 7 months, i have not received any response from them yet, the pandemic might be cause for that. Is there any way that i can contact them to request them to make my application process go quick.


  6. Teresa
    10/07/2020 / 5:38 PM

    Hola Pilar,
    me inspiro mucho leer tu blog, mil gracias por compartir tu experiencia! yo vivo en Estados Unidos y junto con mi marido nos gustaria aplicar a esta visa de freelancer para poder trabajar como psicoterapeutas en Madrid. Mencionas el beneficio de consultar con un abogado y queria preguntarte si recomiendas a alguno ya que hay tantos y es dificil escoger.
    Gracias por tu tiempo.


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