I get a lot of questions about both registration as a resident in Spain and the cheap health insurance offered by IKEA family in Mallorca. For many digital nomads this might be a solution to get a registration and/or insurance without too much hassle or consequences usually associated with registration. I am happy to share the steps to get this fixed.
NB: The registration process described in this blog works anywhere in Spain. The IKEA family health insurance described in the next blog is only available on the Spanish islands (Baleares and Canary islands, not mainland Spain).
Death and taxes
They say there are only two certainties in life: death and taxes. Well, those certainties can cause a lot of trouble…
When I got ‘fired’ from my home country The Netherlands for traveling too much (seriously!), I ran into many problems. The two most annoying were health insurance and the tax service.
HEALTH INSURANCE. Because I wasn’t registered anymore, I lost my right to the Dutch compulsory health insurance. Expat insurance would not cover me, because I was not living in any other specific country. For months I traveled the world uninsured, until I got into a car accident in the Caribbean. That made me realize how vulnerable you are in case something serious happens. By coincidence I found out about the health insurance offered by IKEA family in Mallorca and now I have world wide coverage at an incredible price (only €62 per month).
TAXES. Even though I had lost all my rights tied to registration and was living abroad, the Dutch Tax service refused to admit that the government had actually kicked me out of the country. So they still wanted me to pay taxes, even though I had no rights to a retirement pension, social security or any other services offered to Dutch citizens. In vain I tried to prove that I had left the country without a permanent residence, but they refused to accept that. Only when I presented a NIE (Spanish Tax number for foreigners), they could finally fit me into their system as ‘moved to Spain’ and our dispute was settled.
Getting registered in Spain
The NIE tax number for foreigners (Numero de Identification Extranjeros) from the Spanish Government is required to make any kind of financial transaction. It can also serve as proof to the government / tax office in your home country that you have really left the country and are now residing in Spain (even though you might not spend the required 6 months in Spain to have to pay taxes there…)
Let’s set one thing straight: my tips are not meant for tax evasion. I am just trying to help a growing group of people whose lifestyle causes a mismatch with the current system. Until ‘the system’ provides solutions for location independent entrepreneurs, we have to find practical workarounds. Each situation is different. Your home country might have different rules. This blog is not official advice; no extensive research has been done. I just point out what I have done, give practical hints and tips, but no guarantees. Please check and seek expert advice about what works best in your situation.
Getting (tax) registration in Mallora
When I got my NIE a few years ago, I had to stand in line all night (or pay somebody to do that for me) to get an appointment at the NIE office. Fortunately the process has been automated and it now takes a lot less time for European citizens. No need to stand in line anymore. However, there is still a limited number of appointments: one day it might say’ no dates available’ the next it may work. And all forms are in Spanish.
Apply for a NIE number
- Make an appointment at: https://sede.administracionespublicas.gob.es/icpplus/citar
- Fill this online form and print it: https://sede.policia.gob.es:38089/Tasa790_012/
- Take it to any local bank to pay the fee (€10,60). The bank will stamp the formBring the stamped form, your passport or identity card plus a copy of your ID to the appointment at the NIE office. Oficina de Extranjería, Calle Felicià Fuster, 7, Poligono de Levante, Palma de Mallorca
- You will need to provide a local address. This will not be checked: you can use your Airbnb address for example.
You can also get your NIE without traveling to Spain. This professional agency makes applying for a NIE easy (everything in English) and gives a €10 discount, or an additional €30 when applying for two NIE numbers at the same time (as a couple), with code “esther10″.
Do I now have to pay taxes in Spain?
If you want to become an official resident of Mallorca/ Spain, you officially have to get a NIE, register with the Spanish tax service and register in the village of your residence; but these systems do not seem to be connected.
A NIE number is very easy to get, and does not mean you have to pay taxes in Spain. Only if you spend more than 6 months a year in Spain, or earn an income in Spain, you have to register with the tax service.
Easy passport renewal and ‘residents’ travel discounts within Spain
Dutch digital nomads: with this NIE form (the original paper, not older than 6 months), you can get a passport or European ID card at the ‘Haarlemmermeer Gemeenteloket’ at Schiphol airport. Make an appointment through their website first. Many other countries will also accept the NIE as proof of fiscal residence in Spain.
A nice incentive to register in a Spanish village is the travel discount, offered to Spanish residents. In many cases this only takes 1 minute at the ‘ayuntament’or town hall. It doesn’t mean anything more than that you are eligible to vote in the local elections (LOL). It also means that the village has one inhabitant more, thus entitling them to more money from the government/ EU; so they are generally very willing to help.
For €1 I got a form, stating that I am a resident of Mallorca, which entitles me to a discount (half price) on most flights within Spain (also to the Canary islands!). A great ‘nice to have’, even though it’s only valid for 6 months.
More info about location independent living and entrepreneuring?
Check out my next ‘digital nomad workshop’.
I have collected many tips and experiences in the guide Digital Nomads: how to live, work & play around the world.