Business Immigration to Portugal on a Start-up Visa

Portugal is a country of high technology and great opportunities. A European state that is popular with investors and business immigrants.

Portugal is the 25th among 190 countries for the attractiveness of doing business, according to the World’s Bank Doing Business ranking. A high image makes the country interesting enough for investment, which creates a favorable investment climate. The level of investment in real estate in Portugal in 2018 increased by 24%.

To stimulate the influx of promising entrepreneurs, the government has enabled business immigrants to realize themselves in Portugal. For example, the Golden Visa program for investors provided businessmen with a chance to obtain a residence permit in Portugal. However, soon the popularity of the program began to decline. Then the country decided to give foreigners a chance to realize themselves in Portugal without huge investments, but with an interesting idea.

Therefore, the Ministry of Economics launched the Start-up Visa program in Portugal. This is an opportunity for progressive people from other countries to open a branch of their start-up in Portugal or to establish it from scratch. The uniqueness of the program lies in the fact that to get a start-up visa, it is enough to have an innovative idea which is useful for the country’s economy.

Since 2018, foreign citizens who want to get a start-up visa to Portugal can apply online to their local agency. The applicant should worry about a well-written business plan. A business immigrant must convince the commission of the prospects, innovativeness of the start-up and its usefulness for the Portuguese economy.

So, a start-up must meet these criteria:
  • High degree of project innovation;
  • A business immigrant must have the potential to manage a team;
  • Innovation and usefulness of a start-up;
  • Business scalability;
  • Creation of new jobs;
  • Importance of a business immigrant in a start-up team.

The applicant must prove that he is going to move an existing start-up from abroad, or to establish a new one in Portugal.

With a start-up visa in Portugal, a business immigrant has the same privileges and benefits as foreign investors have. Quite low interest rates on loans can also be an advantage for business immigrants. The preferential tax regime contributes to the expansion and development of the Portuguese start-up ecosystem.

However, one of the prerequisites is the availability of sufficient financial resources to establish a start-up. At first, Portugal has business angels, European investors, venture capital funds and government grants to provide financial assistance. It is worth noting that the competition for their attention is quite high.

Documents should be duly executed in Portuguese. The process of translation and certification by a notary, as a rule, is not a problem and labor.

After three years of start-up functioning in Portugal, a business immigrant must demonstrate its effectiveness. So, it is necessary that the project reaches a capitalization of 325,000 euros. Or, during this time, the start-up should find investments and show income of 500,000 euros per year.

Together with a start-up visa to Portugal, the applicant receives a residence permit for one year. It can be updated and renewed annually up to 5 years. However, to extend a temporary residence permit in Portugal, a start-up must meet the following criteria:

  • Have an intention to develop a start-up in Portugal
  • Do not have residence in the Schengen area
  • Do not have a criminal record
  • Be over 18 years old
  • Have enough money for a comfortable stay (5146 per year for 1 person)

If all the requirements are met and at least 10 jobs are created for the Portuguese, a business immigrant can get permanent residence in Portugal after 5 years of living there. And a year later, after 6 years of residence in the country, a start-up founder can be applied for Portuguese citizenship.

Thus, Portugal offers interesting and promising opportunities for progressive business immigrants. As in Canada, upon obtaining a start-up visa, the applicant receives permanent residence, and then Canadian citizenship. However, when applying for a start-up visa in Canada, there is no need to invest personal capital. What is important, it is not so difficult to attract state or investor co-financing for a Canadian start-up.

If you are interested in getting a start-up visa in Portugal, do not miss your chance now.