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Countries Issuing Start-Up Visa and Their Advantages

By February 27, 2021 No Comments

Entrepreneurs and tech workers are some of the most mobile people in the workforce today; This situation makes the global struggle (war) of countries to attract talents more competitive than ever. These talented people are not content with just establishing their businesses or producing new knowledge; they also play an important role in creating employment and developing investments in their country of residence.
Countries are trying to develop some reformist policies in order to adapt to this rapidly changing new world and to exist in the global race. One of the most important of these is the entrepreneur visa or startup visa application, which is designed to attract international talents in order to have a qualified workforce. Legal regulations that allow people to start a business in a foreign country, commonly known as the “Startup Visa” have been in effect since the mid-2000s and have grown in popularity in recent years and have become an important policy tool for developed economies. In recent years, startup visas have become a necessary element for attracting talent and for the innovation economy. In 2015, while there were 5 countries that started visa applications to attract global entrepreneurs around the world, today this number is close to 15.
Countries around the world, from England to Estonia, from Finland to Latvia, are trying to attract entrepreneurs and technology workers to their countries with global “Startup Visas”.
Entrepreneur visas applied by the countries are briefly explained below.

1) Netherlands — Startup Residence Permit
It is a visa program that started in 2015. It gives entrepreneurs a 1-year residency in the Netherlands to set up an innovative company, including the option to extend it for 1 year. Entrepreneurs must be monitored by a facilitator recognized by the Dutch government.

There are some conditions for applying for this visa:
– Innovative and value-added product or service
-Inspected by a trusted Dutch approved facilitator
– Entrepreneur’s preparation of a business plan under the guidance of an approved facilitator
– Entrepreneurs participating in this program must have a certain financial resource to meet their daily living expenses.

2) United Kingdom

a) Start-up Visa
The UK Start-up Visa is a type of visa that does not require capital for entrepreneurs who want to set up their own business in the UK. The applicant who is eligible for a visa will have the right to reside and work in the UK for up to 2 years. At the end of 2 years, an Innovator Visa can be transferred.

– Spouse and children can benefit.
-No capital required.
-You can work in other jobs other than the business you will establish.
-B2 level English knowledge is required.
– Public funds cannot be used.

b) Innovator Visa

The UK Innovator Visa is granted to entrepreneurs with an innovative business idea and £50,000 capital for 3 years. At the end of the period, the right to apply for indefinite residency is gained.

– Spouse and children can benefit.
-At the end of three years, he can apply for indefinite residency.
– Requires £50,000 capital.
– It is necessary to know English at B2 level.


3) France — French Tech Ticket
It is a program designed to help entrepreneurs, employees and investors live and work in France for up to 4 years (including extension option). Candidates can also obtain the visa for their immediate family members, including their spouse and children. Spouses also have permission to live and work in France. No additional work permit is required.

There are some conditions for entrepreneurs, employees and investors for the French Tech Ticket visa.
The requirements for an entrepreneur visa are:
– To have a financial resource of 17,981.60 Euros, which is the annual minimum wage determined as of 1 January 2018 for living expenses.
– To have an innovative business idea
– Be able to get approval from incubators recognized by the French government
The requirements for an employee visa are:
– Have at least a master’s level education
– Having a business contract for at least 3 months with a French company that is included in the French Tech visa program
– To have a financial resource of 35,963.20 Euros, which is twice the annual minimum wage determined as of 1 January 2018 for living expenses.
Investor visa requirements:
– Have made an investment of at least 300,000 Euros, tangible or intangible
– Investing directly or through a company owned by at least 30 percent
– Owning at least 10% of the invested company
– Commit to creating or maintaining business opportunities within four years of the investment

4) Estonia — Startup Estonia
Startup Estonia is a program that helps entrepreneurs and startup employees from non-EU countries start and grow a company in Estonia. Entrepreneurs who have not yet registered their companies in Estonia can apply for a 3 or 12 month visa. Entrepreneurs who have already registered their Company Companies in Estonia can also apply for a temporary residence permit, which can be extended for up to 5 years. 12 month visas have the option to extend for 6 months after review. Successful applicants can also use their visas for their families.
Startups approved to recruit employees from non-EU countries are eligible to do so for 5 years.
Obtaining an entrepreneur visa requires certain conditions:
– To be able to show 2200€ in the bank account.
– Getting approval from the Startup Committee
– To have an innovative business idea with global growth potential
– Have a valid health insurance policy for Estonia or the Schengen area with a minimum coverage of 30,000 Euros
There are some conditions for a work visa for those coming from countries that are not members of the European Union.

5) Denmark — Startup Denmark
It is a program for entrepreneurs in non-EU countries with innovative, scalable and technology-driven companies. The program is open to applications in teams, with a maximum of three people. Successful applicants are granted a 2-year visa, which can be extended for another 3 years at a time. Visa extension allows family members to be included in the visa coverage as well. A total of 50 visas are issued each year.
There are some conditions for obtaining a visa:
Having an innovative idea
Presenting the business plan (Startup Denmark experts evaluate the business plan in about 6 weeks)
Obtaining an official confirmation letter from Denmark to apply for a work and residence permit
-To be able to show 138,648 DKK in their bank account.
Proof that you have a certain financial resource to cover living expenses
Obtaining an official confirmation letter from Denmark to apply for a work and residence permit


6) Italy — Startup Visa
Entrepreneurs are accepted into the program through direct application or an application to one of the incubator programs in Italy. Successful candidates are entitled to a 1-year entrepreneur visa, including a 2-year extension option.
There are some conditions to get the visa:
Making an online application with the required documents (Startup Committee evaluates it within 30 days.)
The company must have been operating for a maximum of 5 years and have an annual turnover of less than 5 million Euros.
Personally invest at least 50,000 Euros in companies
The company should not be making any profit distribution.
The company must be innovative based on the following criteria.
Annual costs or more than 15 percent of turnover should be spent on R&D activities.
At least one-third of the employees must be at the doctoral and researcher level, or two-thirds must be at least at the master’s level.
The company must be the owner of a proprietary patent (industrial property), license or original proprietary software.

7) Lithuania — Startup Lithuania
Unlike other visas, Lithuania does not expect entrepreneurs to have a specified capital or fulfill employment criteria to be able to obtain a visa. Entrepreneurs and their families are provided with a 1-year residence permit. Entrepreneurs who fulfill the general immigration conditions during this period are provided with the right to extend their visa for 1 more year, as well as the right of permanent residence.
There are some conditions to get this visa:
– Startup; work in the field of biotechnology, nanotechnology, information technology, mechatronics, electronics or laser technologies
– Owning a certain share of a legally established new company
– To have sufficient financial resources for the Startup to reach the targets it has determined for 1 year (There is no set amount for capital. The entrepreneur can decide for himself how much capital he needs.)

8) Canada — Startup Visa Program
This visa can issue a visa to an entrepreneurial team of 5 people. In this respect, it is one of the most entrepreneurial visa types. This visa does not have a fixed duration as it gives permanent residence. Canada has allocated 2,750 visas each year for this program.
There are some conditions to apply for this visa:
– Have the ability to communicate in English, French, or both, according to a certificate of approval from Citizenship and Immigration Canada
-Having a startup team of up to 5 people
– At least 10 percent in company management for each co-founder; have voting rights corresponding to more than 50 percent weight for all founding partners in total
– Having a certain financial resource for other individuals who want to come to Canada with the applicant (For example, an entrepreneur who wants to go with his wife must prove that he has 12,475 Canadian dollars per year.)
– Receiving investment of CAD 200,000 from an accredited venture fund or $75,000 from a designated angel investment network (Company does not need to receive investments of the amount specified above if included in a listed incubator/accelerator program.)

9) Germany — Self-Employed Business Visa
The German entrepreneur visa is applied to encourage foreign investment in the country and to create new jobs. According to some reforms made in 2012; There is no certain investment limit requirement, but it is recommended to invest at least 250,000 Euros, although it is not mandatory. In order to start a business in Germany, it is necessary to demonstrate that you have sufficient funds and financial resources. Visa and residence permits are issued for 3 years. It also gives the opportunity to extend the visa. It also provides the right of permanent residence after 5 years.
There are some conditions to be able to apply for a visa:
– Entrepreneurs should have a strong business plan.
– Must have managed to get sufficient investment with a strong business idea and have worked with investors with past entrepreneurial success and experience.
– The business can be safely financed with its own capital or loan approval and must always be transferable.
– Must have previous entrepreneurial experience. (Business connections in Germany will increase the chances of obtaining a residence permit.)
– Committed to providing an international new product or service that meets the requirements of an innovative business plan.

10) Israel — Innovation Visa
The innovation visa enables foreign entrepreneurs from around the world to develop their innovative technological projects in Israel. During their time in Israel, foreign entrepreneurs will stay in one of the 12 designated technology zones (Landing Pad) in Israel. During this time, entrepreneurs have Israel’s startup ecosystem, workplaces, technological infrastructure, as well as business and logistics support opportunities.
There are some conditions to be able to apply for a visa:
– In order to apply for the Innovation Visa, it is necessary to apply to 12 Technology Regions (Landing Pad) with a project idea.
– Approval of a professional evaluator and the Israel Innovation Committee is required.

11) Spain — Residence Visa for Entrepreneurs
It is a program to provide residence permits to talented and experienced employees and investors outside the EU. Successful candidates are rewarded with a 1-year residency.
There are some conditions to apply for this visa:
– regular stay on Spanish territory
– Presenting the business plan to the Trade Office so that the visa request can be approved
– be over 18 years old
– Have financial resources of 2,130 euros per month (plus 532 euros per person extra for each family member) to cover daily living expenses

12) Sweden — Self-Employment Residency
It is a type of visa for those who want to stay in Sweden for more than 3 months and start their own business. The visa has the option of permanent residence and initially gives the right to work and reside for 24 months.
There are some conditions to apply for this visa:
– Have a successful entrepreneurial experience in the past
– Owning at least half of the company
– To show that the product / service related to the venture can be sold in Sweden
– Have a financial source showing that the living expenses of the entrepreneur and family members can be covered (200,000 SEK for the applicant, 100,000 SEK for the spouse and 50,000 SEK for each child)
– The job is to be able to support the applicant and his family after two years

13) Portugal — Startup Portugal
The Portuguese Government is implementing a visa program specifically for Indian entrepreneurs, in line with a Memorandum of Understanding signed between Startup Portugal and Invest India. However, it is a visa program open to other foreign entrepreneurs as well.
There are some conditions to apply for this visa:
– Developing commercial activities to produce innovative, technology-oriented products and services
– To have the potential to create qualified employment;
– Have the potential to generate a turnover of 325,000 euros or more than 500,000 euros per year, three years after the incubation period
– Not having a regular residence at the borders of the Schengen area in the recent past
– No criminal record

14) USA — International Entrepreneur Rule
If the International Entrepreneurship Regulation is evaluated as planned; There are some conditions for obtaining a visa.
– The company must be less than five years old.
– A minimum investment of $250,000 or a government grant of at least $100,000 is required from US investors.
– The founders must own at least 10 percent of the company and take an active part in the management of the company.
– Commitment that the work to be done has rapid growth potential and will create new jobs in the USA

15) Finland — Finnish Startup Permit
Finnish Startup Permit is a visa program that aims to establish a startup company in Finland for entrepreneurs with international growth potential and to include them in Finland’s dynamic ecosystem. This visa is for innovative startups from countries outside the European Union.
Before submitting your “Startup Permit” application to the Finnish Immigration Service, it is necessary to obtain an appropriate assessment approval document from Business Finland. Business Finland is assessing whether the business model, team and resources can show potential for rapid and international growth. After the evaluation, a “Declaration of Conformity” is given to be attached to the “Startup Permit” application document.
The visa is issued for a maximum of two years and gives the right to re-extend the visa at the end of its term.
There are some conditions to apply for this visa:
– Having an entrepreneurial team of at least two people with different characteristics and expertise
– Having the desire to establish a company with rapid growth potential
– Preparing an innovative business plan
– Commitment to the business idea and committing to establishing a business with this business idea
– To have at least 60% shares and rights of the company to be established after approval
– Have adequate finances and resources for the early stage development of the company
– Having a resource to cover daily living expenses

16) Latvia — Start-Up Visa
Latvia grants 3-year residence and work permits to startups with innovative business ideas. The visa must be renewed every year with a report to be submitted. There are some conditions to apply for this visa:
– Have a valid Schengen Visa throughout the application process
– To be able to show a deposit of 2200€ in the bank account
– To have an innovative and growth potential business idea.

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