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Author: Sarah Last updated: Tue 20 Apr 08:22
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How to register as an autonomo in Spain

How to become an “Autonomo” in Spain

Moving to Spain can be an exciting thing. Well, moving to any other country can be rather exciting! But one of the things we must keep in mind when moving to a new country is looking into what type of paperwork we need to be able to live in said country, to work or to buy properties. Most of them are common, like getting an equivalent of that country’s ID, registering on the government system, … Making sure you do not get caught out and find yourself living illegally. To find out this sort of information, it is probably a good idea to hire someone professional to tell you what to do, where to go and what paperwork is needed. Most of it is pretty simple. Starting fresh in a new country is not actually as daunting as it sounds…

So in between all this sorting paperwork, one of the things some people look in to is becoming what the Spanish call “autonomo”, which in short means working as your own business. This is what is needed for those who want to work in Spain but are not actually hired by a business or company. It means getting your own work. And to do this legally, you must sign up as an “autonomo”, which puts you on the system and gets you paying in.

This is not difficult to do, and it is more popular than most people think. Gets you doing the job you do, 100% legal and on the books. Normally an accountant can sort all this sort of paperwork out for you, and sometimes offers to be your accountant for other reasons and can get you a decent rate.

But nowadays, there are ways of sorting it out for yourself. But keep in mind, that if you do it this way, make sure it’s all done correctly, as it could cost you if it isn’t… So people would probably recommend using an accountant, or even just to proofread your application.

So that is pretty much a sum-up of what and how becoming an “autonomo” is all about in Spain but let us go on to see what is really needed to have and what is needed to do.

The process is different depending on or not you are a resident in Spain.

Requisites to comply:

If you are a resident:

First thing first, you must be over the legal age of 18. (Although you can become autonomo being under this age, the paperwork is slightly different and will have to be authorised by your parents)

You will have to have “economic activity”, which pretty much means you must state what job or jobs you have. This job must be run only by you, without any third parties or any organisations involved.

The job/jobs you state must be jobs that are done on a regular basis, as this will also prove your income.

If you are not a resident:

You must comply with the rules mentioned above for the people that are resident in Spain.

You must also have the qualifications of the job/jobs you are working to begin to work your job as an autonomo.

You must make sure that the job comes with enough income to be able to qualify to have this as your main job.

It is important to work out how much this job is going to earn you, and if it's going to be enough to maintain yourself and your business in Spain.

Under no circumstances can you have a criminal record.

And lats, it is especially important that you are not in Spain irregularly, which means you must be here permanently.


Next steps

Once you comply with all the requisites above, you can now continue to be doing your autonomo.

One of the most important reasons to do your autonomo properly, is to make sure you are registered on the system and you are paying your taxes correctly.

The first thing you must do is get yourself on to the “Hacienda” system, which is a tax system in Spain. To do this, you can fill out this form online (Modelo 036 or 037)

After doing this, you must sign up to “Seguridad Social”, which is the social security system in Spain, you be able to start earning in a legal form and not get into any work-related problems.

It’s also called “RETA” which is Regimen Especial de Trabajadores Autonomos, which translates as Special Regimen for Autonomous Workers.

 If you are going to work in a local or in a shop, you must ask for an “Alta” for the local town hall, which is basically just permission to go ahead. The paperwork you need from here is called “Licencias de Apertura y Obras”, which roughly translates at opening and work licences.

If you are going to hire someone to work for you, you must get them on the system at the social security as well.


Although you can do this online, it is highly recommended to do it in person to avoid any inconveniences.


How much is it to do?

One of the biggest fears for many people is how much it costs. To sign up as autonomo, the process is free, as it is a public service of the state. The only time you will have to pay something is if you hire someone.

BUT you will need to pay tax to Hacienda. This is at least 50euros. This is the minimum it will be monthly. What it is over this price will all depend on your earnings through your job and the costs of your local/shop.


It is particularly important to keep in mind when sorting out this paperwork for your autonomo, is to make sure there is not any mistakes, as this can cause a lot of problems for you and your work.


So there you have it, some of the most important information to know when it comes to being an autonomo in Spain. It might seem like a lot of paperwork, but you will be surprised how straightforward it can be. And if you find yourself having some difficulty, find a local accountant to help you out. Enjoy working in Spain!














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