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:
- Startup accelerators
- Startup competitions
- Startup visas
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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