Every citizen of the European Union is entitled to set up a business in any EU country, as well as Iceland, Norway, and Liechtenstein.

So, how can founders from the outside of EU launch or relocate their startups to Europe? There is a broad variety programs helping founders, such as:

In this article, we are going to cover the latter.

What are startup visa programs exactly?

Startup visa programs are supporting initiatives for entrepreneurial individuals who have innovative business ideas and who would like to start a venture in any given country.

Are you a startup founder from outside the EU looking to relocate and develop your business in Europe?

Or, would you like to launch a venture in a European country?

The good news – some European countries offer visas for foreign entrepreneurs. These programs allow to launch, relocate and run businesses and often are the first step to getting permanent residence in these countries. Each of these countries has different criteria and the visa duration varies as well.

Here is the list of countries offering startup visa programs in Europe sorted alphabetically:

Program Location The offer Duration Upcoming deadline
Red-White-Red Card for Startup Founders Austria As a third-country national you can apply to establish a company to develop and launch on market innovative products, services, processing methods, or technologies 2 yearsRolling basis
Bulgaria Startup Visa Bulgaria An entry visa for foreign citizens outside the EU with a hi-tech and/or innovative business project to receive a long-term residence permit. 1 year Rolling basis
Cyprus Startup Visa Cyprus The scheme allows talented entrepreneurs from countries outside the EU and EEA individuals or a team, to enter, reside and work in Cyprus to establish/operate/develop a Startup with high growth potential. 2 years with the possibility of renewal May 31, 2024
Startup Denmark Visa Denmark A visa scheme by the Danish Government aimed at innovative and scalable businesses with clear growth potential. It allows talented non-EU, non-EEA, and non-Swiss citizens entrepreneurs to relocate and grow high-impact startups in Denmark. 2-3 year period, with the opportunity to extend Rolling basis
Estonian Startup Visa Estonia The Startup Visa is aimed at tech-driven startups that solve big problems, disrupt industries, and serve millions of people. Up to 12 months with the possibility to extend to five years Rolling basis
Finnish Startup Permit Finland For startup teams with at least two founders with versatile expertise and who are planning to move and establish a fast-growth company in Finland. Maximum of 2 years and it can be renewed Rolling basis
French Tech Visa France A simplified, fast-track scheme for non-EU startup founders to obtain a residence permit for France. 4 years  with the possibility to extend Rolling basis
D-Visa Germany A residence permit for self-employment for Non-EU nationals businesses that have a positive effect on the economy, and there is an economic interest in or a regional demand for your product or service. Up to 1 year Rolling basis
Hungarian Entrepreneur Program Hungary A program designed to allow members of non-European National states to gain temporary residence whilst establishing their commercial business enterprise within the country. 3 years Rolling basis
Italian Startup Visa Italy For non-EU innovators who are in their home countries, and wish to join the Italian startup ecosystem to establish their innovative business The whole startup’s life cycle (up to 4 years) Rolling basis
STEP Start-up Entrepreneur Programme Ireland This Irish Government program allows innovative entrepreneurs to apply for permission to establish their businesses and reside in Ireland on a full-time basis. 2 years, it is renewable for another 3 years Rolling basis
Latvian Startup Visa Latvia Officially a temporary residence permit is offered to all non-EU startup founders who are willing to come and develop their startup ideas in Latvia. One startup can have up to 5 founders with a startup visa. Maximum of 3 years Rolling basis
Startup Visa Lithuania Lithuania A talent attraction scheme that provides innovative non-EU entrepreneurs with a streamlined entry process to the Lithuanian startup ecosystem 1 year, with the possibility to extend it to 3-5 years Rolling basis
Residence permit for self-employed third-country workers Luxembourg A third-country national who wishes to come to Luxembourg to carry out an activity as a self-employed worker for more than 3 months must apply for residence for self-employed third-country workers. 3 years Rolling basis
Malta Startup Residence Program Malta This competitive program is specifically designed to facilitate the setting up of innovative startups and scale-ups in Malta whilst supporting the immigration process of their founders/co-founders, core employees, and respective immediate family members. 3 years extendable for additional 5 years Rolling basis
Portugal Startup Visa Portugal For young entrepreneurs from all over the world who want to open an innovative company will have quick access to a residence visa that gives them the possibility to create or move their startup to Portugal. 4 months and the period can be extended Rolling basis
Entrepreneur Visa Spain Visa for foreigners moving to Spain to carry out the procedures necessary to undertake an innovative, entrepreneurial activity of particular economic interest for Spain. 1 year Rolling basis
Dutch Startup Visa The Netherlands A residence permit for people from outside the European Union (EU), who are looking to start an innovative business 1 year Rolling basis
Innovator Visa The United Kingdom You can apply for an Innovator visa if you want to set up and run an innovative business in the UK – it must be different from anything else on the market. 2 years Rolling basis

Have you applied for a startup visa before? Or maybe you know programs for founders allowing to set up a venture or relocate to an European country that are not listed here?

Let me know in the comments below or share it with us via the contact form.

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