Are you wondering how to start a small business in Spain? You've come to the right place.
In Spain, there are two ways to set up an independent trade:
- Autónomo Profesional, if you want to work as a freelancer
- Autónomo Empresarial, if you want to work as a sole trader in trading or commercial business
If you want to open a limited company and separate your personal and business assets, you need to register Sociedad Limitada.
Disclaimer: This article is not a substitute for legal advice. Please always check official websites or seek legal advice before you take action.
General Requirements to register as an independent contractor in Spain
Can I work in Spain as a freelancer or a self-employed person?
Any national from the European Union, the European Economic Area, or Switzerland can come to Spain and set up as a freelancer or self-employed without restriction. Any national outside this framework may need a visa to come and work in Spain.
Before starting any activity in Spain, you must deliver a residence permit and work permit, which will allow you to stay and work in the country.
Spain has a designated self-employment permit that allows you to live and work as a freelancer or self-employed person.
What are the requirements for the self-employed work permit in Spain?
As we already mentioned, if you are an EU, EEA, or Swiss citizen, you don't need to obtain a working permit. If you aren't a part of the group mentioned above, you will need to apply to get a work permit.
To apply, you will need a copy of your passport, criminal records, and the application Form EX-07. You will have to prove the legitimacy of your business idea by providing a business plan, for example. Additionally, proof of professional qualifications (copy of your diplomas, for instance) and sufficient funds are needed.
Where to apply for a work permit in Spain?
Applying for a work permit happens in your home country, through a local Spanish consulate. We suggest contacting them to gather information about the process as it may differ from country to country. Keep in mind that it can take up to three months to get an answer once you apply.
How long does the Spanish work permit last?
The work permit in Spain lasts one year. However, it can be renewed if the continuity of the economic activity is proven.
Responsibilities and financial liability of autonomo
As an autonomo profesional or autonomo empresarial, you will be personally liable for your business, including your business debts. That means that in the case of debts, your personal assets can be claimed by creditors.
If you want to separate your personal and business assets, you will beed to register sociedad limitada, or a limited company.