Portugal StartUp Visa: The Definitive Guide
Portugal StartUp Visa offers residency to startup founders from non-EU-Schengen countries. It’s an opportunity for these entrepreneurs to be part of the fast-developing startup communities in Europe.
What Is the StartUp Visa Portugal?
Startup Visa is a type of visa allowing entrepreneurs from non-EU/EEA countries to do business in Portugal, as well as to move or develop their existing startup in Portugal. As an entrepreneur, you can obtain your Portugal Startup Visa if your company qualifies for it.
The main governmental agency that executes the program is Agência para a Competitividade e Inovação (IAPMEI). It works under the supervision of the Ministry of Economy. It basically performs economic policies aimed at Portuguese companies.
The Startup Visa program includes the National Network of Incubators within the whole territory. It makes sure that your business will be established next to a community of entrepreneurs who are already hacking in the ecosystem and familiar with all the specific features of the Portuguese and European markets.
- It is a fast track for foreign investors from non-EU countries to obtain a residence permit in Portugal
- Through Startup Visa, you can enter, live, and work in Portugal
- You can travel freely in the Schengen area
- You can include your dependents in the visa. The dependent family members are your: Spouse or common-law partner, children under the age of 18, children of 18 years of age or older who are mentally incapacitated, children of 18 years of age or older if they are unmarried, financially dependent, and will be full-time students in Portugal, financially dependent parents (they can be your spouse’s parents as well)
- There is no requirement for language or residency
- There is no business performance requirement
- You can apply for permanent residency and citizenship after five years*
*The additional requirements for this are:
- Proof of Portuguese language proficiency (CEFR A2). However, you may be exempt from this under certain conditions. For example, as in the case that the local immigration authorities decide that you are contributing to the economy and business venture in Portugal. Note that it is a possibility, not an official rule.
- For a citizenship application, you need to show a close connection to Portugal.
Eligibility for Applicants
As an entrepreneur, you can be eligible for the startup visa if you want to start a company or if you have already registered your business in a non-EU/EEA country. Let’s look at other requirements:
- You need to have at least €5,147 in your bank account for one year
- You must be over 18 years of age and have no criminal record
- You must not be a Schengen regular resident in the recent past.
Conditions for the Startup
First of all, as an investor, you should note that your startup or project must be focused on technology. The experts have agreed that you should concentrate on one of the following sectors, based on your background:
- Information technology (IT)
- Biotechnology and pharmacology
- Communication and media
- Industrial products
- Commerce and consumer products.
In addition to that, your project needs to make a minimum annual turnover of €325,000 per year within five years of entering into a chosen tech incubator. Also, this new business must have the potential to create new jobs. Other conditions include:
- Your startup needs to create and develop an innovative business venture
- You need to ensure the commitment of a business incubator which is governmentally supported in Portugal, and which is partnered with R&D facilities
- Your project or startup needs to undergo a 3-year incubation period. If it is refused, the incubation fees will be given back
- You need to make a start-up/entrepreneur investment into a business incubator. The amount is €175,000, and €25,000 of it will be used as share’s capitalization in the Portuguese business venture, as well as for the payment of the business’s required services. For each new Portuguese venture, the client will own around 95% and empowered around 5% of the share.
Your preferred incubator will be notified of your application and revise it
When your application is accepted, it means the incubator approved it; you then get a notification on the portal regarding the approval
You schedule a video call with the incubator in Portugal
Your incubator issues a Term Sheet
At this point, you need to fulfill all documentation requirements and transfer the incubation fee into a secured escrow account
Submit the application to the related Portuguese authority. Within around 15 days, you have an interview at the Consulate
Within around 90 days, you visit Portugal for the meeting with local authorities and the residence permit issuance
You meet with the incubator and government-supported R&D facilities for the incorporation and strategic planning
When all of these are complete, you need to go to Portugal for each renewal of the residence permit
You can submit your application on the online platform of Startup Visa, at any time during the year.
In addition to the documents mentioned in the previous section, you need to prepare the following documents before you apply for the visa:
- A motivation letter indicating your interest in developing a project in Portugal that is entrepreneurial and/or innovative
- Documents required for the eligibility process
- Identification and presentation of the entrepreneurial project.
You should note that there are certain criteria that they evaluate. For example, the level of innovation, the business scalability, the market potential, the potential for creating jobs, and the capacity of the management team.
Portugal has put a lot of emphasis on the tech sector and startup projects in recent years. It welcomes a diverse business environment through foreign investments to the country. So, as an entrepreneur, you can benefit from this dynamic environment in the best way. For further reading, check out our Startup in Portugal article.
Alternative Visa Types
Portugal has a wide array of visa types that you can choose from. Portugal Entrepreneur Visa is only one of these.
If you’d like to learn more about different alternatives, check out our comprehensive article on Portugal Visa Types.