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Obtain Startup Visa for Portugal

Obtain Startup Visa for Portugal

Entrepreneurs without permanent residence in the Schengen area who wish to do business in Portugal, relocate or develop an already created startup in the country can do so through a special program. If their company qualifies, they can obtain a startup visa in Portugal that will allow them to do business in an environment that will allow them to grow.

The Portugal startup visa is a program that offers residence, hoping to attract investment, talent and innovation.

Our agents who specialize in immigration to Portugal can also help you with information about how to open a business or relocate a startup and benefit from the advantages Portugal has to offer. If you happen to be interested about another type of visa, for example the golden visa in Portugal, or a residence permit in Portugal, our immigration lawyers can help you obtain it.

Who can apply for the Portugal startup visa?

Entrepreneurs are eligible for the startup visa in Portugal if they wish to start a company in Portugal or develop their own innovative entrepreneurial project even if they have not created a company yet. The program can also include those who already have a company in their country of origin and wish to also do business in Portugal.  

As part of the benefits in the program for obtaining the Portugal startup visa, the applicant will obtain a residence permit from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Immigration and Borders Service. Apart from the option to reside in the country, an important feature of the program it that is offers access to a network of certified incubators. This can greatly increase the entrepreneur’s ability to succeed as he will have access to a number of specialists, like-minded investors, advice, and assistance, as it is common to find in business incubators.

The list of certified incubators for the startup visa, as approved by the IAPMEI (the Agency for Competitiveness and Innovation) visa included well over 50 listed incubators that are active in their support for technology-based and innovative new companies. They are based all over Portugal, and those interested in selecting an incubator with particular experience, such as in fintech, can explore the available options. The incubation process, as well as the signing of the contract and the conditions thereof, is under the competence of the chosen certified incubator. Some of the conditions can include the need to submit quarterly reports on the evolution of the business.

Your start up visa will also mean that you will be granted residency in Portugal. However, the residence permit will have a certain validity period and your activities in the country will be outlined by the purpose of this particular permit. For more information about the renewal of the permit, as well as how to change from one residence permit type to another, please reach out to our team.

If they are accepted for the program they can comply with the requirements for minimum residence in order to be able to apply for Portugal citizenship, should they wish to relocate to the country permanently.

What are the conditions for the applicants?

The entrepreneur will need to comply with the following criteria:

  • be over 18 years of age and have no criminal record;
  • non-Schengen regular residence in the recent past;

Our Portugal immigration agents can help evaluate your application to see if you satisfy all of these conditions and provide more information about the general regime for the residence permit in Portugal.

If you do not wish to or cannot fund a start-up at this moment, you can relocate to Europe if you are a non-EU/EEA national based on a nomad visa for Portugal. This is possible if you are self-employed or work for a foreign company and if you meet the minimum income requirements, calculated as several times the minimum monthly wage in Portugal. Our team can give you more details.

What are the conditions for the startup project?

Investors willing to explore the Portugal immigration options they have through this program should know that their startup or project needs to be focused on innovative goods and services and needs to be able to generate an annual turnover of a certain amount.

We list the main requirements for the Portugal startup visa below:

  • annual turnover of 325,000€ per year within 5 years of entering into a chosen tech incubator; or
  • create new jobs for qualified employees;
  • the entrepreneur will conclude a contact with the incubator within 40 days; the parties will need to observe the physical incubation model;
  • if not developing a new business activity for the production of innovative goods and services, then relocate a project or open a company focused on technology and knowledge that will focus on the development of innovative products.

The applications can be submitted all year and they can be submitted online, on the Startup Visa portal. The IAPMEI usually issues a decision within 30 working days after the receipt of the complete list of documents.

The evaluation of the proposed business plan will take into account the degree of innovation, the scalability of the business, the available market and its potential, the qualification and capacity of the management team, as well as the potential to create new jobs in Poland. This is an evaluation that takes into account several important factors and we advise those who wish to apply for the Portugal startup visa to reach out to our immigration experts if they need more details.

Portugal is a country that offers a dynamic business field and investors in the technology sector can explore the options and benefits offered by this special program. Investors who qualify can also choose to apply for Portugal citizenship if they have lived long enough in the country.

The application for the visa and the residence permit

The application for the Portugal startup visa includes the evaluation of the business project by the IAPMEI, as well as the receipt of the visa and residence permit by the Foreigners and Borders Service. This means that two separate Portuguese agencies are involved in the approval process. The first part of the application, the one during which the business is evaluated, has two phases:

  1. registering the project and proving its value; during this stage, the applicants will submit documents that will provide details about the business project, the fact that it qualifies to the aforementioned criteria, and the fact that the applicant has sufficient financial means; the goal of this stage is to receive a favorable response from one incubator, at least;
  2. apply with the IAPMEI after the entrepreneurs receive a response from at least one incubator; the submission takes place online and the information submitted during this phase does not substitute the assessment that is made by the other involved agencies that are concerned with immigration (the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Immigration and Borders Service).

Once the applicants have received a favorable response from the IAPMEI, they will be able to sign the incubation contract.

Once the business evaluation for the Portugal startup visa is complete, the entrepreneur will be able to contact the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Immigration and Borders Service for the purpose of starting the second phase, during which he will receive the residence permit. According to law, the immigration authorities shall issue a decision regarding the visa application within 60 days.

The visa application will include the declaration of acceptance for the proposed business, the applicant’s valid travel document, valid travel insurance, criminal record, proof of sufficient financial means, as well as other documents as needed.

The issued visa is valid for 4 months and allows for 2 entries in the country, until the holder obtains the residence permit.

If you are ready to start a business and the Portugal startup visa offers conditions that are suitable to your project as well as your relocation criteria, our team specializing in immigration can help you.

A startup visa can be the starting route for those who are ultimately interested in gaining Portuguese citizenship. A foreign national who has been lawfully living in the country for five years can choose to apply for Portuguese nationality if he also meets a set of other criteria. Our team can give you more information about citizenship by naturalization, if remaining in the country is your purpose.

For detailed information for those who also want to move to the county, not just start a business here, you can contact our Portugal immigration agents.