The Startup visa represents a programme under which Portugal actively attracts foreign investment and talented entrepreneurs from all over the world.
Who can obtain this type of visa?
- Persons who intend and are willing to reside in Portugal for 183 days per year,
- Persons who have set up or plan to set up a start-up business.
This type of visa is intended to promote the development of fast-growing business areas. It is essential for the proposed project to be innovative and focused on the creation of additional jobs in Portugal. Startups help to reduce unemployment and as a consequence they enjoy a number of benefits:
Government of Portugal provided the best possible environment for the development of innovative businesses. There are a number of government initiatives and programmes that help to support businesses. Each start-up is assigned a responsible facilitator (accelerator or incubator), giving comprehensive support to start-up companies. Furthermore, their duties include coaching, networking, attracting potential investors, searching for partners, grants, etc. Meanwhile, the salary of such an employee will be a nominal 50 euros/month.
- No extra costs are required until you arrive in Portugal,
- No need to take a Portuguese language exam,
- No need to register the business idea in advance,
- This type of visa is granted to up to 5 applicants and their family members at the same time. The start-up visa is issued for a period of 2 years with an extension of 3 years thereafter.
- After 5 years, the entrepreneur is entitled to apply for Portuguese citizenship.
The necessary conditions for participation in the Startup Visa Programme are:
Be a foreign (all countries of the world) entrepreneur and intend to open an innovative business in Portugal.
Selection criteria for applicants:
In order for the application to be successful, the following selection criteria must be met:
- the presence of an idea and a clear vision of creating an innovative project and conducting its business activities,
- the presence of a technology-related innovative business which is already operating in another country and the wish to relocate the company to Portugal in order to establish a high-tech product in the country,
- the intention to start a new company focused on innovative products and services,
- a clear vision and plan for the creation of jobs for qualified personnel,
- After the 5-year period of the company’s work in Portugal (incubation period), turnover of the company must be at least 325.000 euros per year and/or the value of its assets must exceed this amount.
List of documents required to obtain a “Start-up Visa” to Portugal:
- a properly prepared motivation letter which states clearly the vision for the development of the innovative project in the territory of Portugal,
- a copy of the passport (and the original), a valid residence permit or other document verifying the identity of the applicant,
- tax number (NIF) and national insurance number (Segurança Social),
- IAPMEI authorization for online consultation with the tax and social services,
- certificates of tax and social status*,
- In the absence of a tax number (NIF) and national insurance number in Portugal, you will need to attach the corresponding declaration,
- a certificate of absence of criminal record from the country of citizenship/residence of the entrepreneur,
- a bank account statement indicating that you have your own financial resources for basic expenses and accommodation**,
- project presentation (video-pitch),
- project summary.
*these documents can be downloaded from Finanças website
and Segurança Social ,
**minimum amount of funds is €5146.80 (for 2022).
Procedure for applying for a “Startup Visa” to Portugal.
- Complete the online forms with a detailed description of the project.
- Attach the required documents* for each individual project participant,
- Send a request** to the startup incubators,
- Once you have received a positive reply from the incubator (at least one), complete the online application form on the portal and send it for evaluation by IAPMEI Institute https://www.iapmei.pt.
*full list of documents can be found on our website,
**an official letter addressed to one or more incubators for reviewing the project idea and evaluating it according to the selection criteria.
The deadline for a decision is 30 working days after submission of the final completed application.
The applicant has the opportunity to follow the application process through his/her personal account on the online platform. A positive response from IAPMEI https://www.iapmei.pt indicates that the Start-up Visa has been approved.
The procedure for obtaining a residence permit is:
- Concluding a contract with an incubator.
- How to do it? You need to select “Incubation Requests/ Incubation Contracts” in your personal account on the online platform.
- Incubators accepts the request and loads the concluded contract on the platform within 5 working days.
- Afterwards, the entrepreneur gets access to the “Admission to Startup Visa” declaration.
- Applying documents for opening a “Startup Visa” to the Portuguese Consulate at the place of residence.
- This type of visa is valid for 2 entries and entitles the entrepreneur to stay in Portugal for 4 months (it is also valid for the entire period of waiting for a decision on a residence permit, even if it exceeds the period of validity of the visa).
- Application for a “Startup visa” has an average processing time of 30 to 60 days (the time varies depending on the country of application/country of residence).
- Getting a residence permit in Portugal.
Upon arrival in Portugal with a “Startup Visa”, the entrepreneur must make an appointment at the SEF (the Immigration Department) https://www.sef.pt regarding the issuance of a residence permit.
A residence permit through the opening of a “Startup Visa” entitles the entrepreneur to family reunification in Portugal. Thus, the entrepreneur can legally bring the family (spouse and children) to Portugal.
A residence permit through the opening of a “Startup Visa” entitles the entrepreneur to apply for Portuguese citizenship after 5 years of official residence in Portugal.