How to Start a Business in Spain when you are an Expatriate

Starting a business in a foreign country like Spain can get you nervous, and rethinking a lot of things. However, it only appears that way because you’re at the early stages and as soon you’re able to wrap your head around the minimum requirements and key regulations, things start looking different. For the highest chance of succeeding, it is important that you know all about starting a business in Spain.

How to obtain a work visa in Spain?

Contrary to popular belief, starting a business in Spain doesn’t have to be a daunting process. As long as you have a clear idea of what to do, you would find the journey rather easier.

EU citizens can jump into setting up businesses easily in Spain, however, for expats, you’d need a work permit to relocate to the country and set up a business. You would need to apply to a Spanish consulate or embassy under the self-employed or freelance worker category for a work visa by submitting the following:

  • Proof of enough finance to fund your stay in the country
  • Evidence of the relevant skills and experience required
  • A comprehensive business plan if applicable
  • Proof of contracts or commissions from companies
  • Licenses and registrations necessary to carry out the work in Spain
  • Details on your potential to create employment opportunity in Spain

After your work and residency permit are successful, you can then proceed to apply for a visa to travel down to Spain. Note that work permits are valid for a year, after which you’d have to renew them if you still meet the conditions.

What type of license or permit is required?

Another thing you should know is that before setting up a business in Spain, all residents and non-resident foreigners are required to have a foreigner’s tax identification number (NIE). Your NIE is important for finance-related transactions in Spain.

The tax identification number for foreigners, which is NIE, differs from that of citizens, who are issued a NIF rather than an NIE number. You can apply for a NIE through a processing office for foreign citizens (Oficina de Extranjeros) at any national Spanish police station (comisaria).

How to register your business?

The very first step to take when starting a business in Spain is to obtain a certificate that verifies that the company name you intend to use isn’t already taken. The document is called a no-name coincidence certificate and can be gotten from The Mercantile Registry (RMC).

You can apply for this directly on the RMC website. After receiving a response from the RMC by courier, then you can then proceed to set up a business bank account in Spain. During this process, you’d need to provide your tax code and certificate of no coincidence.

Business accounts in Spain have a minimum share capital requirement of €3,000 which you’d open with the account. Note that evidence of payment can be obtained from the bank. You would need this later on.

Registering the deed of incorporation

The next step is to apply for the deed of incorporation for your company. Essentially, the deed of incorporation is a document that outlines the key details of the company.

All you need to do is to arrange a notary appointment to sign the deed of incorporation through the official notary website. Also, you would need to submit the following:

  • Tax form 036
  • Certificate from the Mercantile Registry
  • Your NIE
  • Evidence of sufficient fund in your account issued by the bank

This could take about one to three days depending on the appointment given by the notary.

Consideraciones fiscales y de seguridad social

To successfully run your business in Spain, there are certain tax and social security considerations you should know. First, Spain’s standard working schedule is 40 hours per week, and each employee contract must be registered with social security before he or she resumes.

Also, employees must be paid monthly, with at least a minimum wage of €1108 as of 2020. Employers must also deduct income tax from employees’ salary accordingly.

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