Portugal StartUp Visa

The Portugal StartUp Visa focuses on entrepreneurs from outside the European Union, both those already owning or considering launching a startup but aiming to set it up and grow it in Portugal.

This Program, created by Agência para a Competitividade e Inovação (IAPMEI) and regulated by the Ministry of Economy and Internal Affairs of Portugal, was developed to strengthen the innovation ecosystem and affirm Portugal’s positioning as a country open to entrepreneurship and all those who possess knowledge and innovation capacity.

The Startup Visa program includes the National Network of Incubators within the whole territory. It makes sure that your business will be established next to a community of entrepreneurs who are already hacking in the ecosystem and are familiar with all the specific features of the Portuguese and European markets.

Entrepreneurs can apply through the online platform and the Incubators will receive the projects that are considered relevant in their evaluation and criteria. The procedure will be supervised by the IAPMEI, and the application’s final decision will take a maximum period of 30 working days from its submission.

Who can apply to StartUp Visa

All entrepreneurs wishing to develop their project in Portugal, even if they do not have a company incorporated, and/or entrepreneurs who already have business projects in their countries of origin and who wish to pursue their activity in Portugal.

The program may cover a maximum of 5 entrepreneurs per project who will be granted residence visas.

Qualifying for Portugal StartUp Visa

The application for this visa requires solid business and financial plans demonstrating that the Startup has strong potential to create jobs and will be able to generate effective yearly turnover.


On a very brief note, a successful application must meet the following requirements:

Personal Requirements

The applicant must be over 18 years old and no criminal record; and cannot have permanent residency in the Schengen Space.

Financial Resources

Proof of financial resources corresponding to €5,150.00 in a private bank account in Portugal.

Innovative Project

Develop an innovative project with potential for international growth, focused on technology and knowledge and, with the capacity to create skilled employment.

Project Feasibility

Demonstrate the project has the capacity to achieve, in 5 years, a turnover of over €325,000.00/year and/or an asset value of over €325,000.00/year.

Approved Business Plan

Present a business plan, which then must be approved by one or more accredited incubators and the business must be physically incubated at one of them, under an agreement made in accordance with the Startup Visa programme.

Benefits of the StartUp Visa

  • The right to establish a business and live in Portugal.
  • Free entry and circulation within the Schengen Area, comprised of 26 European countries, without a Visa. The StarUp Visa essentially grants you the travel rights of all European Union citizens. This is perfect for those who want to travel through Europe to network and build corporate connections.
  • The possibility of family reunification in Portugal: the family (including spouse, children, parents, or siblings dependent on either spouse) of the holder of a Portuguese residence permit can also live in the country.
  • The option to apply for Portugal’s Non-Habitual Resident (NHR) tax regime, which is open to anyone who has the right to reside in Portugal (an EU/EEA/Swiss citizen or a holder of a residence permit) and has not been a tax resident of the country in the previous 5 years.
  • Qualification for permanent residence or citizenship in Portugal: after 5 years of being a legal permanent resident, you may be eligible for permanent citizenship in the country, as part of Portugal residency program. Please note that citizenship is subject to a basic Portuguese language test.

How to renew the StartUp Visa

This residence permit must be renewed at the end of the first year and then every 2 years. After 5 years of legally authorized residence, you can apply for permanent residency and/or for Portuguese citizenship, subject to passing a language test of “basic Portuguese”.

How to apply to the StartUp Visa

The application should be kick started by:

01  Requesting a “letter of intent” from one or more appropriate incubators.

02 Submitting an online preliminary application, which should include:

  • A “letter of motivation” explaining the reasons for developing the entrepreneurial innovative business in Portugal.
  • A copy of your passport and, if applicable, a copy of the residence permit issued by your country of residence.
  • Criminal record
  • Bank statement having in excess of €5,150.00
  • Portuguese tax and social security Id numbers, or a declaration that they will be obtained in due course.
  • Your curriculum vitae.
  • The business plan demonstrating that the business meets the above-mentioned basic requirements.
  • The incubators’ letters of intent.

03 Incubation Agreement: the preliminary application should be assessed by the authorities within 30 days and, if approved, you then have 40 days to sign an Incubation Agreement with an appropriate incubator, which may or may not be one of those that issued a letter of intent.

Documents you will need

The exact requirements of each Consulate may vary, but as a rule you will be required to present at least the following documents when attending the interview at the Consulate:


  • A passport that is valid for at least 6 months after the expiry date of the Visa you are applying for (which will expire after 4 months).
  • Two recent passport-size colour photos.
  • A declaration outlining the reasons for the Portugal residency.
  • A Health Insurance Plan valid in Portugal or else an affidavit stating that one will be bought in Portugal within 90 days of arrival.
  • A criminal record certificate or Police clearance letter (FBI report in the case of US residents) issued no more than 90 days before the date of submission to the Consulate.
  • Documentary evidence of having accommodation in Portugal (property title deed or tenancy agreement).
  • Documentary evidence of having sufficient funds available to the applicant’s subsistence in Portugal (e.g., a local bank statement).
  • Online access details for the Consulate to confirm the publication of the Incubation Agreement on the Startup Visa Platform.


After receiving the notification that the special purpose residence visa has been granted by the Portuguese Consulate, you will have one month to collect it. Once you do, the visa will be issued for four months, during which you must travel to Portugal.

As soon as you arrive to the country, you must schedule your appointment before SEF, The Immigration and Border’s Service

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