The digital nomad visa and social security – what is the A1 form?

The digital nomad visa and social security - what is the A1 form?

If you are employed by a UK company and want to work remotely in Spain on a digital nomad visa, to make sure that you don’t end up paying social security in both the UK and Spain, you’ll need an A1 Certificate.

What is an A1 Certificate?
The A1 Certificate is issued under the rules of the European Union (EU). If you work overseas or are temporarily posted to work outside the UK, you may well have come across the A1 Certificate already.

As long as there is a “convenio” (a social security agreement) between the country you’re employed in and the country you work in overseas, you can apply for the A1 Certificate to demonstrate that you are already covered for social security payments, preventing both worker and employer from paying contributions in two countries. The good news for British passport holders is that Spain has a convenio with the UK,  allowing remote workers and digital nomads to use the A1 Certificate as part of the visa application process. 

How to apply for the A1 Certificate
You will need to work together with your employer to do this. 

In the UK, HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) is responsible for issuing A1 Certificates and here’s what you need to do to get one: 

Step 1: Fill out the necessary form 

To apply for an A1 Certificate in the UK, the employee will need to fill out a CA3822 Application form.
You can find this form on the UK government website or by contacting HMRC. You’ll need to apply using a Government Gateway user ID and password – if you do not have a user ID, you can create one when you apply.  When filling out the form, you’ll need to provide some basic information about yourself, your employer, and your employment situation. This may include your name, address, National Insurance number, employer’s name and address, and details as to why you need the form. 

Step 2: Employer also needs to complete a form

At the same time as you submit your CA 3822, your employer will need to fill out a CA3821 form using their Government Gateway account. Here is the info published by HMRC on how to do this

Step 3: Submit the forms

Once you’ve completed the form, both parties submit it to HMRC. You can do this by mail, fax, or email, depending on the instructions provided on the form. However, submitting these forms online is by far the quickest way to get them processed.

Step 5: Wait for processing

The processing time can vary depending on the workload of HMRC, but it typically takes over 10 weeks. You can chase up applications up by phone, using number (0044) (0)300 200 3200 which is a good idea if you are already in Spain and running out of Schengen days.

Step 6: Receive the form

Once your A1 Certificate has been processed, HMRC will send it to you by mail to the address provided, so make sure the address you provide is correct and receives postal deliveries (many addresses in Spain struggle to receive post to the door,  especially in rural areas). 

IMPORTANT: HMRC say it will take around 10 weeks to process the forms, so bear this in mind if you are applying for your visa from within Spain and are limited by Schengen days.

At the moment, Upsticks don’t offer a support service for the Digital Nomad Visa, but we are working hard behind the scenes to put this together as soon as we can.

In the meantime, there are plenty of useful Facebook groups offering support and advice.

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