Self-Employed In Spain: Rates, Taxes, Visa Requirements & Tips to Find Clients


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 move to Spain – mainly due to its excellent healthcare system, rich culture and general quality of life. Read on to discover how you can move to Spain as a self-employed person!

Working as a freelancer in Spain

Working in Spain is a wonderful prospect for anyone and everyone. There is so much to take advantage of when working in this amazing country – the wonderful sites, rich culture, quality of life, not to mention the healthcare system, insurance and relatively straightforward invoicing and accounting processes.

Not surprisingly, most freelancers who move to Spain forge their new life in the sun-drenched coastal regions. Valencia, Andalusia, and the Canary and Balearic Islands, in particular, are quite popular.

There are close to 3.2M freelancers/self-employed working in Spain.

Statista, 2023

According to Statista, there are close to 3.2 million autónomos (freelancers) currently working in Spain, making up 16% of the total population. Almost 30% of these freelancers work in the following sectors:

  • Technology
  • Marketing and;
  • Management

Most in-demand freelance profiles in Spain

With more and more workers taking the leap into freelancing, Spain is experiencing a boom in freelancers and self-employed individuals. The tourist hub is quickly turning into a freelance spot and is on a mission to attract freelancers from every industry.

If you’re thinking of moving to Spain and are wondering what the highest-paying IT jobs are in the country, look no further. Below, we’ve highlighted some of the most in-demand jobs in Spain and given you a range of how much you can expect to earn in each role:

AI Developer€30,000 – €60,000
AWS Developer€20,000 – €50,000
Cryptocurrency Developer €45,000 – €120,000
Data Analyst €50,000 – €60,000
App Developer €75,000 – €115,000
Cybersecurity Specialist€17,000 – €46,000

It’s also worth mentioning that the roles mentioned above all belong to fields that have seen a considerable rise in importance in the past few years. And according to many freelancers, these technologies will continue to see a marked rise in the future.

Freelancermap Survey 2023 - Future's Top Tech
Freelancermap Survey 2023 – Future’s Top Tech

Majority of freelancers (78%) stated that AI in particular will see a growth in the next few years, followed by IT security (65%).

How much does a freelancer earn in Spain?

Here at freelancermap, we publish an in-depth report every year about the reality of IT freelancers. According to our latest results, we can see that the average hourly rate of freelancers is around €96 per hour.

Freelancermap Survey Average Hourly Rate 2023
Freelancermap Survey Average Hourly Rate 2023

In particular, if we do a search in our freelancer directory, we see that freelancers in Spain charge €44/hour on average.

Below is a comparative summary of some average rates for freelancers in Spain in different areas:

Consulting and Management€52/hr
Software development€39/hr
Graphic Design and Multimedia€30/hr
IT infrastructure €49/hr

Note that rates, like salaries in permanent jobs, will vary depending on different factors such as: the freelancer’s actual experience, industry, certifications, and specialisation.

How do I become self employed (autónomo) in Spain? 

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

Checklist how to become self employed in Spain

#1 Self employment work visa

Before moving to Spain, you need to apply for a freelance visa. This visa needs to be applied for in-person and can be done so at your local Spanish consulate or embassy. Before doing so, however, you need to fill out the EX – 07 form (temporary residence authorization request and self-employment request) and pay two fees in advance – the Modelo 790 código 052 and Modelo 790 Código 062.

You will also need a list of authorizations required for the professional activity, proof of your training for said activity and a defined business plan.

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

#2 Foreigner identity number

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

There are a few different ways that you can apply for the NIE. If you’re abroad, you can either apply for it via a Spanish consulate or a representative living in Spain.

If you’re already in Spain, however, you can apply for it by making an appointment with the local Immigration Office. You will need need the following:

  • Your passport
  • Two copies of the EX-15 form
  • Proof of legal entry into Spain (for non-EU nationals)
  • Two passport-sized photographs

#3 Bank account

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

Depending on how long you’re planning to stay in Spain, you can either open a non-resident bank account or a resident one. If you’re planning on staying for more than 6 months, you will need to open a resident bank account. The requirements for this are as follows:

  • Your passport or national identity card (for EU citizens)
  • Proof of address 
  • NIE number
  • Proof of employment status (eg. a contract)

On the other hand, if you’re planning on staying for less than 6 months, you will need to open a non-resident bank account. For this, you will require:

  • Your passport or national identity card (for EU citizens)
  • Proof of address
  • Proof of employment (eg. tax return)
  • Certificate of non-residency – this can be obtained by going to the police station or Foreign Office

Join our IT freelancer community today! Create your freelance profile in just 2 minutes.  

#4 Registration

It’s important to register as self-employed in Spain before starting any freelance work. You will need to register with both the tax agency and social security. 

Tax agency

The tax agency (Agencia Tributaria or Hacienda) is a public administration that collects taxes quarterly from an autónomo. You will need to book an appointment with the agency before you can register – you can do this via the agency’s website and choose an office that is closest to you. 

Registering at the tax agency requires you to have an NIE, a Spanish bank account and if you’re from outside the EU, a work permit or visa. At the office, you will be required to choose a category that corresponds to your freelance activity. Once you do this, you will be required to complete a form – either 036 or 037.

You will also need to register with the census here and choose your tax scheme.

Social security

Anyone working in Spain is required to contribute to the social security system. And so, after registering at the tax agency, you will need to register with your local social security office in Spain within 30 days. You need to sign up for the Special Regime for Self-Employed Workers (RETA) and will need to bring the following documents:

  • Your passport plus one copy
  • Form 036 or 037 (from the tax agency)
  • IRPF form (from the tax agency)
  • Local resident registration certificate (certificado de empadronamiento) – this can be obtained from the Padrón Office in your town or the town hall

#5 Health insurance

Once you’ve registered with the social security office, you will be able to access the state healthcare (Sistema nacional de salud or SNS), free of charge

However, you will need to apply for a health card (tarjeta sanitaria individual or TSI). The process for this depends on where you live in Spain, though usually, you can obtain it at a local health centre.

Autónomos that are citizens of non-EU/EFTA countries may be required to purchase private insurance when applying for their visa. Luckily, there are quite a few private health insurance providers in Spain that offer a range of packages that cater specifically to your needs and circumstances.

If you frequently work and travel, it may be a good idea to look into other options. SafetyWing’s Remote Health insurance can provide you with coverage in 175+ countries, no matter where you are living, working, or travelling. This means you will be covered in Spain, but also in Vietnam or Thailand if you spend some months there.

freelancermap has partnered up with SafetyWing to provide global health coverage for our members around the world with a 40% discount if you sign up through freelancermap. Check the plans available and your individual price.

Only abroad for a couple of weeks? Check their travel nomad insurance instead (sign up for Nomad Insurance before you depart or at any point during your journey abroad):

#6 Taxes

Working in Spain as a freelancer makes you liable to pay taxes on both your income and your assets

Income tax

The personal income tax (Impuesto de Renta sobre las Personas Físicas o IRPF) in Spain depends primarily on where you’re living. You are required to file your Spanish personal income tax returns between 6th April and 30 June in the following year.

You must also complete the Spanish tax form –  Modelo 130 every quarter (between the first and 20th day of each quarter) and then pay 20% of your profits to the tax office as advance payments.


Spain, like most countries, also has a VAT tax. These are divided in 3 categories:

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

You are required to submit all invoice data online to the tax agency within four days of the date of issuance.

Monthly quota

You also have to pay a monthly quota to the social security office each month. The exact amount you have to pay depends on the calculation basis you chose when you registered as a freelancer but usually, you pay a reduced flat rate for the first two years until you reach the real monthly quota. 

Currently, there are 13 monthly quota ranges that are directly related to your real earnings. 

FAQs related to freelancing in Spain

Can I freelance on the side while working full-time?

Yes, it is possible to work as a freelancer in Spain while also having a full-time job. If you choose to do so, you’re officially known as “pluriactividad” in this situation.

You can also be eligible for certain social security deductions if you contribute to the tax system twice (as a freelancer and an employee).

Where do I find clients in Spain?

There are various ways in which you can find clients in Spain. Let’s take a look at some of these methods down below:

#1 Freelancer platforms

The best way to find clients is through freelancing platforms. 

Here at freelancermap, most of our clients are Europe-based and so the chances of finding clients in Spain who are looking for dedicated IT professionals are high. 

Plus, the more specialised your profile is, the more you’ll get in touch with people who fit your ideal client profile.

#2 Social networks

The next best place to look for ideal clients is on professional social networks such as LinkedIn. By marketing yourself and your business, you’ll be able to connect with clients who are not only located in Spain but all over the world.

It can also help to be a part of social network groups that share job-related content and news.

#3 Personal brand 

Personal branding is crucial when it comes to building your business and attracting new clients. Your goal here should be creating a branding so memorable that clients come to you instead of you going to them.

Plus, it also doesn’t hurt that having a personal brand can increase conversion rates and set you apart from your competition. 

#4 Network in person

The power of word-of-mouth is unmatched. Make it a point to attend conferences, fairs and networking events to meet people in real life and make connections. 

Not only will this help put you in contact with potential clients, it can also help you connect with like-minded individuals and grow your brand. 

What will happen if I don’t register as a freelancer in Spain?

Registering as a freelancer is mandatory in Spain for all freelancers who make a profit.

While it may be tempting to forgo official rules and just start working as a freelancer, we strongly advise against it. Not only will there be legal ramifications, you will also be hit with a 20% surcharge on top of your outstanding payments by the “Tesorería General de la Seguridad Social” (social security agency).

What information does my Spanish invoice have to contain?

In order for your invoice to be legal and submitted, it needs to contain the following information:

  • Invoice number
  • Date of issue
  • Your name, address, and tax ID number (NIF)
  • Client name, address, and NIF
  • Description of the services you’ve provided and their value
  • Type of VAT and income tax (IRPF) applied
  • Amount after taxes and payment method

Can I work remotely and live in Spain? 

Yes, you can work remotely and live in Spain thanks to Spain’s new digital nomad visa scheme. With this visa, you can live and work in the country for up to one year with an option to renew for up to five years.

You will, however, need to have a monthly income of €2,160 and have full health insurance along with proof of a clean criminal record. You will also need to show proof of your remote working status.

Useful Spanish words related to freelancing

If you’re not a native Spanish speaker, it may seem difficult trying to move to Spain and making sense of all the words related to freelancing. Below is a helpful guide that will help you get familiar with common Spanish words you need to know as a freelancer and their translations.

Local immigration office Extranjería
Unique identification number (NIE) Número de Identificación de Extranjero
Tax agency Agencia Tributaria or Hacienda
Local resident registration certificate Certificado de empadronamiento
State healthcare Sistema nacional de salud or SNS
Tax on Economic Activities Impuesto de Actividades Económicas or IAE
Health card Tarjeta sanitaria individual or TSI
Personal income taxImpuesto de Renta sobre las Personas Físicas o IRPF
Special regime self-employed (RETA)Régimen Especial de Trabajadores Autónomos
VAT Impuesto sobre el Valor Añadido or IVA

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

More useful guides:

Stefania Volpe

Stefania joined the international team at freelancermap in 2020. She loves marketing, the digital world, foreign languages and meeting different cultures. She moved from Italy to Germany thanks to an exchange program at the university and worked as marketing manager for several startups. Now she focuses on helping freelancers and IT professionals to find jobs and clients worldwide at


  • Do you guys have any agent or someone reliable I can work with?

    I wish to move to Spain and am a blogger by profession.

    • Hi Daniel, thanks for your message.

      Spain is probably one of the best countries to live. You could register as “autónomo” there and still work with clients worldwide. You don’t have to work with Spanish companies if you already have clients elsewhere.

      We wish you all the best and hope you can fullfil your dream of moving to Spain!

By Stefania Volpe

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