Residency in Spain – Registering as self-employed/freelance (Autonomo)


Residency in Spain – Registering as Autonomo (self-employed/freelance)

Not a decision to be taken lightly, but if you are planning a new life in Spain, becoming self-employed or going freelance could be the way forward.

There are literally thousands of UK citizens registered as self-employed in Spain. It’s a relatively straightforward process and there are some key advantages:

  • using an accountant or ‘ Gestor ‘ can facilitate a quick set up.
  • You can ‘pause’ so you don’t have to pay social security when you have no income (if you are in receipt of a reduction to your social security this could affect the amount you pay)
  • By paying social security, you obtain certain coverages through the state, like:
    – health insurance coverage for yourself, your spouse and children
    – coverage in case of an accident at work
    – coverage if you have to stop your activity under certain conditions
    – Training

However, there are downsides:

  • After an initial low cost set up period, the monthly costs of social security for most professions are up to and above €280
  • The state pension scheme for an autónomo could be less than if you worked for a company, so think about having additional private pension provision
  • You completely depend on the income you generate, so carefully research what happens in the event you become ill and cannot work (there are some benefits available)
  • 20% of your income is retained quarterly and offset against your annual income tax return the following year. 

How to register as self-employed/freelance
While you can of course go through the registration process yourself (here’s some information from the Junta de Andalucia about how to proceed), we would strongly recommend taking professional advice right from the start, especially if you are new to the complexities of Spanish bureaucracy. This will make sure you have everything set up as it should be. 

Documentation you’ll need to get started:

  • NIE certificate 
  • Passport
  • Address in Spain
  • A detailed description of the business activity, or even better a business plan if you have one, which helps select the most suitable activity code with the Tax Office and register correctly with Social Security
  • Spanish IBAN bank account number

As well as these basics, you’ll also need to register a Digital Signature to login into the Tax Office and the Social Security Office.  

Once you’ve registered as autonomo, these are the documents you’ll need to submit for a residency application: 

  • RESOLUCIÓN SOBRE RECONOCIMIENTO DE ALTA: Régimen Especial de Trabajadores por Cuenta Propia (registration with social security )
  • MODELO 037 (registration with tax office ) 

Normally, with these three documents you should be covered for your residency application for income and healthcare for yourself and your spouse/family. That being said, the Immigration Authorities may want to see more proof that you can support yourself and could ask for additional documentation, they may ask also to see you first payment to the social security through the bank. 

How can Upsticks help with becoming self-employed/freelance and gaining residency?

We have accountants in place which can support you through the whole process, from collating documentation and arranging Digital Certificates, right through to registering with an accountant and the tax authorities.

Once you’re registered, we can submit your residency application to the Immigration Office, monitor progress and go with you to any appointments if necessary. 

You can book a call with us here to discuss becoming resident as an  ‘Autonomo’ 

The information in this article was current on the date published.
Article last reviewed 10.08.2022

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