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What Is a StartUp Visa Program?
A StartUp visa program is a migration scheme for entrepreneurs interested in establishing a business venture in a foreign country.
The Portugal StartUp visa enables entrepreneurs from non-EU/EEA countries to develop a new or existing startup business in Portugal.
Portugal uses the StartUp visa to drive foreign investments, innovation, and employment that can significantly boost economic growth. The visa program was established in 2018 and has been fostering and developing the Portuguese economic ecosystem.
Establishing a business in your home country is unnecessary to qualify for a StartUp visa. However, you must intend to establish a startup business venture upon arrival in Portugal. Successful application for a StartUp visa will provide you with a residence visa.
The program allows you to travel as a team of entrepreneurs. A maximum number of five entrepreneurs can apply at a time. You can apply for family unification after you settle in Portugal if you wish to have your family with you.
- What Is a StartUp Visa Program?
- Who Can Apply for a StartUp Visa?
- What Are the Eligibility Requirements?
- What Are the Required Documents?
- How to Apply for Portugal StartUp Visa
- What Happens after Applying?
- What Is the Processing Time?
- What Does the Incubation Contract Entail?
- How Long Is the Incubation Period
- Can I Travel with My Dependent Family?
- How can IAS Help?
- Frequently Asked Questions
Who Can Apply for a StartUp Visa?
The following persons are eligible to apply for a StartUp visa:
- Entrepreneurs that intend to develop their entrepreneurial and innovative projects in Portugal.
- Entrepreneurs with already established StartUp business ventures in their countries and are interested in setting up a business in Portugal.
Note that you don’t necessarily need to have a StartUp business running already before applying for a StartUp visa.
What Are the Eligibility Requirements?
Portugal StartUp visa is open to an individual founder or solo founders as long as:
- You don’t have a residence in the Schengen area.
- You have met all your tax obligations regarding tax administration and social security (if applicable).
- You don’t have a criminal record.
- You are not under the age of 18.
- You have sufficient financial and subsistence resources equal to 12 times the Social Support Index in your bank account. You must have bank documentation as evidence.
As an applicant, you must prove that:
- You are genuinely interested in setting up an innovative business venture in Portugal.
- You plan to establish economic activities that are geared towards internationalisation.
- Your business project or company is knowledge- and technology-focused to develop innovative products.
- Your entrepreneurial project has been selected for physical incubation by an accredited business incubator.
- Your business has the potential to create employment opportunities, excluding the entrepreneurs included in your application.
- Your business has the potential to generate a yearly revenue of at least €325,000 or an assets’ value of over €325,000 per year five years after the incubation contract start date.
- You have the capacity to launch your business while undergoing the program (when applicable).
If you already have an existing business in your home country and wish to set up a business project in Portugal, you must demonstrate the following:
- Your business is a part of a StartUp company founded more than four years ago.
- You will develop economic activities in the country.
- Your business has the potential to create a minimum of 5 new jobs within two years. This excludes the existing positions of the project’s entrepreneurs.
- You must hold an executive role and/or equity capital in the company’s act of constitution or voting rights, all of which are at least 10% of social capital.
- Your company’s legal accounts of the most recent fiscal year before your application reflect a positive net situation.
To get more clarification for the Portugal Start-up visa, speak to one of our legal experts today by calling: +1 844 290 6312
What Are the Required Documents?
The following documents are necessary for the StartUp visa application:
- Bank statements proving financial support (three months preceding application).
- Business plan.
- Criminal record from your home country or country of residence. You must have been living in the country for more than a year.
- IAPMEI’s declaration affirming the signing of an incubation contract with a certified incubator.
- Motivation letter demonstrating reasons for choosing to establish a StartUp business in Portugal.
- Portugal taxpayer number.
- Project presentation detailing your business idea and strategy.
- Proof of health insurance.
- Proof of sufficient means of subsistence.
- Proof of adequate legal accommodation.
- Permission for SEF to check Portuguese criminal record.
- Social security number.
- Two recent photographs.
- Valid notarised passport copies or any official travel document.
Create a Business Plan
A StartUp visa aims to attract startup founders with innovative ideas that can accelerate Portuguese economic growth. Thus, you must have a business plan that demonstrates your business idea.
Your business idea must reflect innovation and strategic marketing. Your business must be practical, viable, and scalable in the Portuguese economy and overseas.
Get All the Require Documents Ready
Having your documents ready keeps you organised and makes your application process easier. The application is online, so you must have all your documents in soft copies. You can use a scanner or camera to convert your hard-copy documents to soft copies.
You can submit your documents in English or Portuguese language.
Get the Interest of Certified Incubators
An incubation contract is a crucial requirement to get a StartUp visa. Take your time to review the list of certified incubators and select the ones that best suit your project goals and development requirement.
At this stage, you can reach out to more than one. If two or more indicate interest in your project, it is okay. You can submit the names of the incubators during your application. However, you will have to choose one if your application gets approved.
The incubators you apply to will consider the following factors:
- Innovation aspect of your entrepreneurial project.
- Business growth potential.
- Business scalability.
- Prospect of launching your business venture in Portugal once the incubation program is over.
Create an Account
The application is online, so you need to create an account on the startUP Portugal platform (IAPMEI’s online platform). You need to provide your passport and personal details to register your account.
Apply for the Startup Visa
Log in to your account to apply. To apply, you will get a form that requires information on your entrepreneurial project. Follow the instructions and provide accurate information. You are to submit the following along with your application form:
- Letter of motivation expressing your interest in an entrepreneurial and innovative project in Portugal.
- Documents proving adherence to the visa requirements.
- Identification and presentation of your entrepreneurial project, demonstrating the fulfilment of the requirements.
- Confirmation of one or more certified incubators interested in the incubation of your project.
- Other required documents.
What Happens after Applying?
After completing your application, IAPMEI, I.P will review your application and check if you have met all requirements. The official in charge of your application may contact you for additional information or documents.
You must submit it within three working days following the request through the online platform.
If your application is approved, you must sign an incubation contract with one of the incubators that indicated an interest in your project.
Once you sign the incubation contract, the business incubator must register it through the online platform within five working days. If the incubator does not meet the deadline due to valid reasons that are not attributable to you, your application will not be cancelled.
As soon as the business incubator registers your incubation contract, the IAPMEI, I.P will upload an online declaration indicating the agreement to incubate.
What Is the Processing Time?
It will take the IAPMEI, I.P a maximum of 30 working days to provide the final decision on your application. You will get feedback on your account within three working days after the decision. You need to check your account for updates consistently.
The incubation contract must cover the following areas:
- The responsibilities of the entrepreneur.
- The responsibilities and services of the business incubator.
- The value of the contract.
- The person who is responsible for monitoring the incubation program during its validity.
The Responsibilities of the Entrepreneur
The following are the responsibilities you must uphold as an entrepreneur:
- You must participate and complete all the activities of the incubation program as described in the scope of the incubation process.
- You must provide all the information with the IAPMEI, I.P. and the Foreigner and Border Service (SEF)requires of you and cooperate with its auditing initiatives.
- You must inform the IAPMEI, I.P. and the Foreigner and Border Service (SEF) about any relevant information or alterations to the requirements.
The Responsibilities and Services of the Business Incubator
The following are the responsibilities the business incubator must fulfil during the incubator period:
- Register the incubation contract after it has been signed.
- Develop, follow up, and complete a customised incubation plan that schedules and describes the type of support that will be given to the project.
- Provide mentorship and support services to the StartUp entrepreneurs.
- Provide a trimestral progress report on the incubation activities.
- Choose a member of the incubator to oversee the program’s monitoring.
- Provide all the information with the IAPMEI, I.P and the Foreigner and Border Service (SEF) requires and cooperate with its auditing initiative.
How Long Is the Incubation Period
The incubation contract is valid for a year, after which you can renew it for another year based on the parties’ agreement. The incubator must be certified.
Can I Travel with My Dependent Family?
You can travel with your dependent family with the StartUp visa. Dependents are your family members who rely on you, especially for financial support. Your dependent family members include:
- Spouse or civil partner.
- Children below 18 years (under age) or incapacitated children under your guardianship.
- Adopted minor children. The adoption procedures must have been through a legal process, and the appropriate authority in the country of origin and Portugal must recognise the adoption.
- Children of 18 years and above under your parental care, financially dependent, and will be studying Portuguese education establishment.
- Adult children under your parental care, single or studying, during the time of your residence permit.
- First-degree ascendants such as siblings and Portugal parents financially dependent on you or your spouse.
- Underage siblings under your tutelage provided the authority in your country of origin, and Portugal recognises such guardianship.
Choosing a Portuguese incubator, contacting them, and deciding on a contract favouring your entrepreneurial and innovation goals in Portugal are crucial in the StartUp visa application. IAS is a team of lawyers with profound knowledge and experience in the StartUp immigration route of Portugal. We can assist you in getting the best incubator that suits your business needs.
IAS Application Checking Service is your surest guide to a smooth and successful application. With the aid of our Application Checking Service, you will get assistance in providing accurate information in the application form, motivation letter, and supporting documents.
Advice Package helps you clear all doubts and confusion during your application. We will evaluate your situation and give you personalised guidance.
Last modified on August 16th, 2023 at 4:27 am
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StartUp visa does not require an investment in Portugal for residency. You are eligible for a residence permit upon successful application.
You can apply through the IAPMEI website and submit your application and other supporting documents using the online platform.