The Startup visa

Your background, knowledge, motivation and capacity for innovation may be essential to boost the development of the Portuguese economy.

StartUP Visa is a residence visa for non-EU startup founders who want to be part of one of the fastest developing startup communities in Europe.

The program is executed by the Portuguese Public Institute responsible for promoting competitiveness and business growth, ensuring support for the creation, implementation and assessment of policies directed to the industrial activity, aimed at strengthening innovation, entrepreneurship and business investment and involves the acceptance by one incubator enrolled in the National Network of Incubators (incubators located throughout the whole Portuguese territory and accredited by the Portuguese Government) that will ensure that your business will be set up next to a community of entrepreneurs already working in the ecosystem and acquainted with all the peculiarities of the both the Portuguese and European Union markets.

Your background, knowledge, motivation and capacity for innovation may be essential to boost the development of the Portuguese economy.

Who can apply for this VISA?

Once the Start-UP project is approved and a contract of incubation is signed, up to 5 founders will be able to be granted the resident card!


The evaluation of the application is based on the degree of innovation, the scalability of the business, the market potential, the capacity of the management team and the potential for creating jobs.


What is StartUP Visa?

StartUP Visa is a hosting program for foreign entrepreneurs who intend to develop an entrepreneurial and/or innovative business in Portugal, through the granting of a visa or residence permit to these foreign entrepreneurs. This programme is ruled by very specific regulation

To whom is it addressed?

Foreign entrepreneurs, who want to establish an innovative business, will access a residence visa, allowing the development or relocation of their StartUP business to Portugal. Applicable to entrepreneurs who want to develop their project in Portugal and still have no business company in their country of origin, and/or for entrepreneurs that already have their entrepreneurial projects developed in their country of origin and are looking forward to establish a business activity in Portugal.

How many members per project can you apply for StartUp Visa program?

StartUp Visa welcomes one entrepreneur or more per project, up to a maximum of 5(five) elements. Residence visas under the program shall also be granted up to a maximum of five elements, by project.

Is it necessary to have a project and a company setup outside Portugal?

Only one of them must be meet: either you are an entrepreneur with a project, or an entrepreneur with a company set up outside Portugal.

Which documents are to be presented as proof of the requirement “do not have permanent residence in the Schengen Area”?

The documents are the copy of the passport and the copy of the residence permit of the country indicated in the application, if the citizen has permanent or long-term residence in another country outside the Schengen area. It is considered as permanent non-residents in the Schengen area, all third-country nationals who are not qualified with a permanent residence permit valid for 5 (five) or more years, according to article 76th of Act 23/2007, oh 4th July, in its present edition ( Aliens Act).

Which documents are to be presented as proof of the requirement “have tax obligations fulfilled concerning Tax Administration and Social Security, when applicable”? Does it refer also to debts in the entrepreneur’s country of origin?


The information regarding the existence/non-existence of debts is always relative to Portugal. If the entrepreneur has a tax and/or social security number in Portugal, he/she must grant authorization to IAPMEI for online checking with Tax and Social Security Authorities, and enclose the certificates obtained from the related portals. For this purpose, the tax identification number of IAPMEI is 501373357 and Social Security number of IAPMEI is 200457827. In case the entrepreneur does not have a tax and/or social security number, he/she must provide a solemn declaration instead.

Which document is to be presented as proof of “no criminal records”?

The entrepreneur must provide evidence of the criminal record certificate, issued by the competent authorities, requested in the country of origin or residence, once a resident for more than a year. This must be presented properly translated and authenticated by the consulate office of the country of origin or apostille by the Hague Convention.

What is the purpose of having sufficient funds in a bank account in the total amount of €5146.08, equivalent to 12 (twelve) times the Index of Social Support (IAS) mentioned in the requirements?

The total amount works on a cumulative basis, representing the minimum amount of € 428.84/ per month (per person). This represents the value of the Index of Social Support (IAS) in Portugal for 12 (twelve) months, and ensures the subsistence of the entrepreneur in Portugal.

If I do not have these funds in my StartUP, is the application submission at risk of not moving forward?

Yes, the compliance with this requirement is mandatory to submit the application, and shall be proven through a bank statement. This requirement must be proven individually by bank statement if there is more than one entrepreneur.

If my project and/or company are not accepted by an incubator, can I submit a declaration of interest to another?

Yes, you can, since there is no limit for presenting declarations of interest to the incubators. You can send several, once for moving forward with the application submission you have to be accepted in at least one incubator.

Can the same entrepreneur apply for the StartUp Visa with two different projects and express interest in two different incubators?

No, each entrepreneur can only apply for one project at a time. If this is not respected, two of the eligibility requirements will be affected. This defines that candidates have to demonstrate that they have an effective interest in developing an entrepreneurial project, namely through the creation of an innovation based company, and the individual contribution of each candidate is essential to the development of the entrepreneurial project. Only in case of the application´s rejection or withdrawal, may the same entrepreneurs apply for another project.

How does the evaluation process for admission in the program occur?

The evaluation of the economic and innovative potential is based on the degree of innovation, scalability of the business, the potential for the market, the capacity of the management team and the potential for creating qualified employment in Portugal.

What is the time for the evaluation of the applications?

The final decision on the application in the maximum period of 30 (thirty) working days from its submission, making  it available on the electronic platform within 3 (three) working days”, after the decision.

After favourable evaluation, is it possible to integrate new elements or entrepreneurs in the application?

It is not possible to integrate new elements or entrepreneurs into the application after a favorable evaluation. The evaluation of the application, after its submission, results from the fulfilment of all the eligibility requirements. Failure to comply with the requirements, a t the date of submission of the application, as well as the acceptance of subsequent elements to a project already decided, calls into question the evaluation decision on the project and / or team that initially integrates it. As an alternative to this situation the entrepreneurs may cancel the initial application and formalize a new application, including the additional elements and / or entrepreneurs in the new application.

Is the visa only granted after all the investment of the company in Portugal has been made?

The visa must be requested at the Portuguese consulate section after the approval of the entrepreneur in the programme, after being formalized the incubation contract and issued the Acceptance Statement. The company does not have to be set up in Portugal for this purpose, once its establishment should take place already during the process of incubation. The residency visa is intended to allow the holder to enter the Portuguese territory in order to apply for a residence permit. This visa is valid for 2 entries and entitles its holder to stay in national territory for 4 months.

What is the length of stay in Portugal under the visa granted by StartUP Visa?

StartUP Visa is a residence visa valid for 4 (four) months. The visa can be extended, within national territory for a period of 90 (ninety) days  and grants the right to apply for a residence. This way, the holder of the StartUP visa, newly arrived in national territory, will have an appointment to request for residence permit with Immigration and Borders Service, booked by us and accompanied by one of out attorneys.

What is the possibility of granting a residence visa to the family of the entrepreneurs, so that they can move along with them under the scope of the program?

Only holders of valid residence permits are entitled to family reunification with family members, and must be requested from the SEF. Therefore, the application for a residence visa for the purpose of family reunification can only be carried out after the SEF has approved the referred family reunification.

What is the guarantee of family reunification?

Family reunification may be requested, being its approval namely conditioned to the granting of the right of residence to the holder/ entrepreneur.

Being accompanied by my wife, can she have a professional activity in Portugal?

Obtaining a favorable evaluation of the family reunification request, can the family of the entrepreneur develop their regular and professional life in Portugal, during the validity of the entrepreneur’s visa.

Is it possible to request a visa for a minimum number of qualified employees, during the start-up period of the company in Portugal?

Downstream of the project and/ or company integrated in the scope of the program, and granting of visas to the entrepreneurs, it might apply other appropriate visa requests. Those shall respect the period and the reason of the stay of the other applicants, integrating them in the company project in Portugal.

If you need more information please contact us.