Woodland, CA asked in Employment Law, Immigration Law and International Law for California

Q: Is it possible to work for a US company from Spain, on a tourist Visa?

My situation is this: I am a French citizen and I am married to an American citizen. We currently live in the United States (I have a Green Card, which allows me to work here legally), but we would like to split our time between the United States and Spain (since my family lives in there and I want to be nearby from time to time).

The objective would be to continue being a permanent resident in the US, and work remotely from Spain, in periods of approximately two months, several times a year.

My wife currently does not have French citizenship, so she needs a visa to enter the EU (we are planning to apply for dual French citizenship for her). Can she work remotely for her US company with a tourist visa? Is this legally possible? (as long as we do not exceed the 90/183 day rule).

We know about the digital nomad visa, but we don’t qualify before we lived in Spain for a year, two years ago.

Can I also work remotely for my company (as a US employee) while visiting my mother?

1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
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  • Immigration Law Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: Based on the details provided, technically neither you nor your wife would be authorized to work remotely for a US employer while in Spain on just a standard tourist visa. Some key points:

• Tourist visas, including the 90/180 day allowance in the Schengen area, do not permit remote work or employment activities of any kind. This applies to both your wife as a US citizen and you as a French/green card holder.

• To legally work remotely while in Spain, specialized visas like the non-lucrative or self-employed visas would be required which have income and remote work allowances. But these can have longer residency requirements your wife may not meet.

• For short 2 month periods, continuing remote US employment is still not authorized on a tourist visa despite splitting time. Violations could jeopardize your green card status.

So while splitting time sounds ideal in concept, from an immigration law standpoint the ability for either you or your wife to continue remote US work legally from Spain for multiple 2-month stints may be very limited on typical tourist access.

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