Startup Visa – Do you have an innovative business idea and plan to implement it in Portugal to obtain a residence permit?

John and Anne are from Austria and have an innovative business idea and intend to invest in Portugal but do not know where to start. They even want to know if, through the creation of the business in Portugal, they will be able to settle in Portugal and obtain a residence permit. In this article find out more about startups and the residence permits you can obtain through this startup visa program.

The Startup Program consists in a program aimed at foreign entrepreneurs, without residing in the Schengen area, who wish to develop an innovative and entrepreneurial project in Portugal, with the objetive of granting a residence permit. Each startup project can cover up to a maximum of 5 elements, so that the residence visas and the respective residence permits are also a maximum of 5. Therefore, the same entrepreneur cannot apply for StartUp Visa with two different projects and express interest to two different incubators.

Startups are regulated by Normative Order No. 4/2018 

The Startup process aims to take place in two phases:

1. The first step will be the certification of the incubator in order to ensure that these entities are able to welcome citizens of third states, as defined in Ordinance No. 344/2017, of 13 November, and amended by Ordinance No. 275 / 2018, October 4th.
The entity responsible for the applications and the execution of the program itself is the Support Institute for Small and Medium Enterprises and Innovation (IAPMEI). Currently, there is a list of certified incubators that foreign investors will be able to access;

2. The second step is to apply for entrepreneurs through the online platform.

The question is whether all innovative or entrepreneurial ideas will be accepted for the purpose of obtaining the Startup program?

Foreign entrepreneurs wishing to access the StartUp Visa program and obtain a visa or residence permit must comply with the following criteria, contained in paragraphs 2 and 3 of article 5 of Normative Order no. 4/2018, of 02 of February:

a) They intend to develop activities for the production of innovative goods and services in an internationalization perspective;

b) That their projects and / or companies focus on technology and knowledge, with prospects for developing innovative products;

c) That they have the potential to create qualified employment;

d) That they have the capacity to form a company, when applicable, for the duration of the program;

e) That have the potential to reach, within 5 (five) years after the term of the incubation contract, a turnover exceeding € 325,000 per year and / or an asset value exceeding € 325,000 per year. For the purpose of proving the turnover, the company is asked to indicate the turnover and assets, estimated in the 5th year of operation of the project.

But how does the evaluation process for accepting the program develop?

The evaluation of the application is carried out taking into account several criteria, namely the degree of innovation, the potential of the market, the capacity of the management team and the potential for creating qualified employment in Portugal.

After being approved by IAPMEI, the application cannot change with respect to the number of elements. If the initial entrepreneurs still intend to integrate new elements, they may withdraw from the initial application and formalize a new application in which they include the new elements.

The next step is to conclude the incubation contract.

Obtaining a Visa and Residence Permit:

After the entrepreneur’s acceptance of the Startup program, he can apply for a visa at the Portuguese embassy in his area of ​​residence by submitting all necessary documents. After entering the National Territory, the entrepreneur can apply for a residence permit at SEF (Foreigners and Borders Service). If so desired, the entrepreneur may subsequently request the reunification of his family with the SEF.

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