Portugal Visas

Startup Visa Portugal: What Is It and How Do I Get It?

Ana Fankhauser
June 7, 2021

Have you ever dreamed of your European vacation lasting a lifetime? Well, dream no longer!

Portugal, with its gorgeous weather and culture, has an option for you. Available even to non-EU citizens, you can get a Portugal visa through their StartUp program.

By meeting a few simple requirements, you could soon be growing your business while exploring Portugal. Follow this simple guide to learn how you can apply for a Startup Visa Portugal!

What is a Portugal Startup Visa?

The Portugal Startup Visa is also known as the StartUp Visa. This is a residence visa in the business arena. Since 2016, Portugal is looking to expand their promotion of entrepreneurship.

Not only is this program available to non-EU citizens, it's actually aimed at those outside of the European Union. Portugal is working to attract global minds looking to set roots and grow their startup in Portugal.

The visa is under the umbrella of the Ministry of Economy - so that really tells you they want to help you, and Portugal, to grow. Operated by the Agência para a Competitividade e Inovação (IAPMEI), the economy is the primary focus of their programs.

It is a fast track visa, meant to get you on the path to living and working in Portugal quickly. It's family-friendly, meaning you have the ability to bring your spouse and dependents with you.

Requirements other than those directly related to your business are relatively few. No language requirements, you only need to be 18 years old, and the minimum you must have in your bank account for the year is low.

Applications are open at all times of the year. Now that you have a good idea of what the Portugal Visa program looks like, let's find out if you are eligible!

Who is Eligible?

Both those who already have a startup or are looking to begin one can apply for this visa. Even if you have already registered your company in another country, you can be eligible for this visa. It's all about your vision!

Basic Requirements

As mentioned above, there are some basic personal requirements to meet. You must be over 18 years of age and have no criminal background.

You cannot be an EU citizen, permanent resident, or have had a regular residence in the Schengen area in the recent past. Check here for more information on what the Schengen Area is.

Finally, for one year, you must have at least €5,147 in your bank account. There are other monetary requirements, but they are related to your business and not your personal account.

Per project, you can have up to five entrepreneurs applying for this residence visa. So you are not limited to just yourself when designing your business!

Business Requirements

As the main goal of the StartUp Visa is that you are growing a business in Portugal, the business requirements are much higher. One of the main factors is that your business should fall into the general realm of technology and knowledge.

More generally, you must be producing innovative products. This means your business must focus on subjects such as:

  • Electronics
  • Information Technology (IT)
  • Energy
  • Pharmacology
  • Biotechnology
  • Health
  • Communications
  • Commerce
  • Producing Innovative Goods and Services

The field is likely wider than you think, almost everything can become tech-related if you keep that goal in mind.

You must meet yearly turnover requirements to the tune of over €325,000 annually (or an asset's value of over €325,000). Don't worry, you have five years to achieve this once you enter a tech incubator.

Tech Incubators

Speaking of the tech incubator, you must have a government-sponsored business incubator. After the first part of your application, you can apply to one or more incubators. In order to move forward with the application, at least one incubator must provide positive feedback.

The average amount charged, or required to be invested in the incubator, varies. However, you can expect the initial investment to be around €175,000.  €25,000 of this investment will be used as share's capitalization in the business venture.

There are many different incubators to apply to. Check out this list!

Other Requirements

Aside from meeting the eligibility requirements, the success of your application will depend on some more vague points. Primarily, your business must be able to show that it has the ability to create jobs.

Remember, this visa is designed not only to help you move to Portugal but to help the Portuguese economy grow. That means your business design must include plans to hire employees.

As mentioned above, your company is generally expected to be innovative. You need to be able to interest tech incubators.

Market potential is also important. Your business needs to have the potential for monetary success, or you won't be able to meet the annual turnover requirements.

Essentially, when making your application, it is important to focus on specifics. Expect to explain how your business is innovative, likely to be successful, and has clear job creation potential.

With these requirements out of the way, let's move forward to the actual steps you need to take. Don't meet these requirements? There are many other visa options to help you move to Portugal.

Movingto can assist you with all your Portugal visa needs!

Steps to Take

The process to get a StartUp Visa is not as mired in bureaucracy as you might think. Rather, everything takes place in clear stages as outlined by the IAPMEI.

First, you should contact us as we can make the entire process of moving to Portugal much smoother and less stressful. Check out what we offer! All nationalities are supported.

The Application

Next, you need to fill out the IAPMEI StartUp Visa application. After filling out the basic information, you will upload several documents. These documents are:

  1. Your letter of motivation
  2. Copy of passport
  3. Certificate/Document of Criminal Record check
  4. Your resume or CV
  5. A bank statement proving you have the required €5,147
  6. A statement that you do not have a Portuguese Tax or Social Security number

If you already have a Portuguese Tax or Social Security number, then you will need to wait for online consultation with IAPMEI. Once this is done, you must identify your number in an attachment.

Incubator's Interest

You can also attach your project presentation, which can help the incubators to evaluate this stage of the application. You must request at least one incubator to evaluate your startup.

You should provide a letter of your interest to each incubator. In this declaration, you should lay out how your business fulfills the StartUp Visa requirements.

As previously discussed, these are the more vague requirements. You should explain how your startup intends to create employment opportunities and how it is innovative. It should also explain the potential for growth, both for your business itself and its market potential.

The Second Stage

In order to progress in your application, you must have received positive feedback from at least one incubator. Once that feedback has been received, you can proceed to finish the application.

A video call with the incubator will be scheduled. After this, a Term Sheet will be issued. At this point, you must have finished compiling your documents to upload.

After completing the application, you can upload it to IAPMEI's online platform. All that's left is to wait for their approval!

Once approval is received, you transfer the investment to the Portuguese incubator. You will have an interview with the Consulate.

Within 90 days of this interview, you can expect your residence permit, and you will go to Portugal. Once in Portugal, you will meet with the relevant authorities, as well as your incubator team. With your team, you can expect to draw up strategic plans and visit the government-supported research and development facilities.

It's sure to be a whirlwind, but carefully managed with Movingto!

Beyond the Startup Visa

If you are interested in moving to Portugal permanently, it is possible to obtain citizenship through this visa. After renewing your residence permit in Portugal for five years, you can apply for citizenship.

You will need to speak Portuguese at an A2 level. Although, there are exceptions. Individuals who are successfully contributing to the Portuguese economy through their startup may sometimes be considered exempt.

You will also need to demonstrate that you are tied to Portugal. If you're looking to move to Portugal, you're probably wondering where you should live. Check out this list of the best places to live in Portugal!

Startup Visa Portugal: What Next?

Now you know everything there is to know about a Startup Visa Portugal! With that sorted, you should look into other information about the next steps for moving to Portugal.

What about SIM cards? Electricity and Gas bills? All these questions and more can be answered by our team at Movingto!

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Ana Fankhauser

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