23 April 2024

Launch Your Dreams In Europe: Portugal's Start-Up Visa Program

Dixcart Group Limited


Dixcart provides effective wealth preservation solutions. We has been providing professional expertise to individuals and their families for nearly fifty years. Professional services include setting up and managing family offices, and structuring, establishing and managing companies. We are an independent group.
Are you an aspiring entrepreneur with a groundbreaking idea and the drive to see it flourish...
Portugal Immigration
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Are you an aspiring entrepreneur with a groundbreaking idea and the drive to see it flourish? Look no further than Portugal's Start-Up Visa Program! This initiative welcomes foreign innovators like yourself, offering a streamlined path to residency or citizenship, and the chance to establish your business in a thriving European hub.

Why Portugal?

Portugal has rapidly become a magnet for entrepreneurs and is lauded for its:

  • Supportive Ecosystem: A network of business incubators, co-working spaces, and government agencies provide guidance, resources, and funding opportunities to help your start-up take root.
  • Favourable Tax Environment: Portugal offers competitive tax rates for both companies and individuals:
    • Individuals: under certain conditions, individuals may benefit for the favourable tax regime called the NHR – see here for more details. Other advantages may still exist for those not eligible for NHR.
    • Corporate: Taxes from 12.5% apply to start-ups in Portugal mainland – however, making use of the Madeira International Business Centre is an alternative option which provides an attractive tax rate of 5%. Read here for more details.
      • Further, government support programs are available in Portugal to support start-ups.
  • High Quality of Life: Portugal boasts a stunning coastline, rich culture, and a welcoming population, making it an ideal place to live, work, and raise a family.
  • Doorway into Europe: a gateway into the world's largest trading bloc with access to a favourable business with clients, suppliers, grants and beneficial tax regimes

Furthermore, Portugal is rapidly emerging as a significant player in the global start-up landscape, with several companies achieving unicorn status and attracting significant investment. This thriving ecosystem presents a compelling opportunity for ambitious entrepreneurs seeking to establish their businesses in Europe.

The Start-Up Visa: Your Gateway to Success

The Start-Up Visa Program streamlines the visa application process for foreign entrepreneurs, allowing you to:

  • Gain residency in Portugal: This visa allows you to live and work in Portugal, granting access to the European Union market.
  • Bring your family: You can extend your visa to include your spouse and dependent children.
  • Focus on your business: With residency secured, you can devote your energy to building your dream company.
  • Obtaining Portuguese citizenship. After having lived in Portugal for five years, you and your family can apply for citizenship or permanent residency.

Eligibility and Requirements

To qualify for the Start-Up Visa, your business must meet the following criteria:

  • Innovation: Your business idea must be deemed innovative by IAPMEI, the Portuguese public agency responsible for innovation in the economy and who evaluates applications. This typically involves presenting a unique product or service, deemed innovative, with high growth potential. Eligible criteria includes:
    • Opening or relocating a company in Portugal;
    • Focus on technology and knowledge;
    • Have the potential to attain, after five years after the incubation period, a turnover over 325.000€ per year, and/or assets value over 325.000€ per year.
  • Job creation: Your business plan should demonstrate the potential to create qualified jobs in Portugal.

Portugal has many incubators to mentor and support new businesses. Explore a certified incubator and ask for a quotation of services. A signed contract with an incubator will be required when submitting for this type of visa option. A complete list of eligible incubators for the purposes of the start-up visa may be found here (IAPMEI – Página Inicial).

Minimum Stay Requirements:

  • You must be present in Portugal, within a 24 months period, for 18 months in a row or 16 intermittent months to maintain your residency status.

Minimum Payments:

  • There is no minimum investment required for the Start-Up Visa, unlike other residency programs in Portugal. However, you must demonstrate sufficient funds to support yourself and your dependents for the first year (as referred above).

Evaluation of the Visa

IAPMEI reviews and approves applications for the start-up visa. The evaluation of the visa is based on the degree of innovation, the scalability of the business, the market potential, the capacity of the management team, the potential for creating qualified employment in Portugal and the relevance of the applicant in the team.

The processing time is at least 6 months to a year.

Taking the Next Step

At Dixcart Portugal, we are passionate about helping aspiring entrepreneurs like you navigate the complexities of international business ventures. We offer comprehensive guidance and to ensure a smooth and efficient journey.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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