WHAT IS THE PORTUGAL START-UP VISA?
The Portugal Start-up Visa Program is designed for entrepreneurs with innovative ideas who will spur economic growth and entails the consequent commitment from a designated organization. This program requires a financial commitment of at least EUR 175,000. Successful applicants will be granted a renewable residency permit. The current processing time is around 5 months.
Advantages of Portugal Startup Visa
- Fast track for foreign investors from non-EU countries to obtain a Residence Permit in Portugal
- The applicant can enter, live, work in Portugal
- Allows the investor to travel freely in the Schengen area
- Dependents included after residence permit is issued:
- Dependent children
- No language or residency requirement
- No business performance requirement
- Eligible to apply for PR/Citizenship after 5 years
- Proof of Portuguese language proficiency (CEFR A2) – (can be waived under certain circumstances)
- For citizenship – must show a close connection to Portugal
- PORTUGAL Startup Visa/Entrepreneur Investment into Business Incubator of EUR 175,000 including EUR 25,000 of capitalization into the venture
- Working together with a Business Incubator for 3 years
- Supported by Portugal immigration authorities
- Will provide operational, legal and accounting support in Portugal for selected projects
- Research and Development of the idea will be supported by governmentally backed Portuguese research facilities
- The incubation fee is refundable in case the Residence Permit is denied
Requirements for the Portugal Startup Visa
- Creating and developing an innovative business venture
- Securing the commitment of a governmentally-supported business incubator in Portugal partnered to R&D facilities
- Undergoing a 3-year incubation period
- Proof that the applicant has no criminal record
- Recent change = renewal of residence permit after 2 years for a further 3 years
- Submit initial documentation, inclusive of a detailed resume, passport copy and basic startup idea
- Schedule a video call with the incubator in Portugal
- Incubator issues a Term Sheet
- Meet all documentation requirements and transfer incubation fee into secured Escrow Account
- Submit application to the relevant Portuguese authority (with interview at the Consulate, approx. 15 working days)
- Within approx. 90 days, landing in Portugal for the meeting with local authorities and issuance of the Residence Permit
- Meeting with the incubator and government-supported R&D facilities for the incorporation and strategic planning
- The applicant is required to visit Portugal again at every Residence Permit renewal subsequently
WHAT KIND OF INDUSTRY/SECTOR OF BUSINESS ARE SUGGESTED BY EMPOWERED FOR THE SUV PORTUGAL PROGRAM?
Empowered will suggest a business idea, typically based on the client’s background, in one of the following sectors:
- Biotechnology and pharmacology;
- Commerce and consumer products;
- Communication and media;
- Industrial products;
- Information technology (IT);
- Medical / health.
WHERE WILL THE INCUBATION TAKE PLACE/WHERE WILL THE R&D FACILITY AND EMPOWERED BE LOCATED?
Bragança, Portugal (a little to the Northeast of Porto, which is the closest international airport).
HOW MUCH OF THE INCUBATION FEE/CAPITAL WILL BE DEPLOYED FOR THE START-UP PROJECT (HOW IS IT BROKEN DOWN)?
The Incubation Fee is EUR 175,000, of which EUR 25,000 will be used as share’s capitalization in the Portuguese business venture and pay for the business’s required services.
From one venture to another, the required services will be different, but certain basic services will be taken care of by Empowered Startups for all using the capitalization, including making the connection and obtaining authorizations with the government body and R&D facility, preparing the necessary business presentation documents together with the client, taking care of accounting, incorporation, corporate bank account opening, etc.
WHAT PERCENTAGE SHARE WILL EMPOWERED STARTUPS TAKE IN EACH NEW PORTUGUESE VENTURE?
The participation of Empowered will be minimal and no third party will be involved in the shareholding, so it is to be expected that approximately 95% will be owned by the client and 5% by Empowered.
HOW LONG IS THE INCUBATION TERM?
The Incubation has a 3-year duration, starting from the approval of the client’s Residence Permit application. In case of refusal, of course, the Incubation will not start, and the incubation fees will be refunded to the client.
HOW LONG IS THE RESIDENCE PERMIT VALID AND DOES IT NEED TO BE RENEWED?
The residence permit will be valid for 2 years, then renewed for a period of 3 years until the 5-year mark for the PR. Empowered’s incubation covers 3 years and as such they will help with the renewals of the permit
CAN FAMILY (DEPENDENTS) JOIN THE APPLICANT’S RESIDENCE PERMIT APPLICATION? WHO ARE CONSIDERED DEPENDENTS?
Once the Applicant has been granted a residence permit, it is possible to apply for residence permits for the following family members:
- The spouse or common-law partner
- Children under 18 years old
- Children of 18 years old or older who are mentally incapacitated
- Children of 18 years old or older as long as they are unmarried, financially dependent and would be enrolled as full-time students in Portugal
- Parents financially dependent (can be spouse’s parents too)
IS THERE ANY RESIDENCY REQUIREMENT TO APPLY AND OBTAIN THE PORTUGAL PR AFTER 5 YEARS?
No, there is no physical time requirement in this program to meet the “resident” standard of the permanent residency. What matters is that the main applicant and the family:
- Have had a residence permit for at least 5 consecutive years with the SUV Portugal program;
- Have received the letter of support/contract through Empowered Startups of the Portuguese public body and R&D facility for the business venture;
- Have declared taxes in Portugal and have a social security number;
- Have kept a clean criminal record;
- Have reached a Portuguese language proficiency of CEFR A2 (can be waived under certain circumstances, notably showing personal active efforts to contribute to grow the business venture in Portugal).
DOES THE MAIN APPLICANT NEED TO GO TO PORTUGAL? IF SO, HOW MANY TIMES?
The main applicant will need to attend in person at the SEF (immigration authorities) to activate the residence permit in Bragança once the landing visa is received and to provide biometrics, in addition to meeting with Empowered and other members of the R&D facility for strategic planning. The main applicant will also need to be present for each residence permit’s renewal (after year 2), but is of course encouraged to spend more time in Portugal to develop the business venture.
IS IT NECESSARY FOR CLIENTS TO BE PROFICIENT IN PORTUGUESE TO OBTAIN THE PR AFTER 5 YEARS?
The language requirement can be waived for PR, at the discretion of local immigration authorities, upon the advice of local officials if it is judged that the client is trying to contribute to grow the business venture and the economy. Empowered Startups will help with their public body partner in Portugal, but it cannot be guaranteed as it is a case-by-case situation.
WHAT ARE THE STEPS FOR THE SUV PORTUGAL PROGRAM?
Step 1. Gather the following documents for KYC (+ sign MOU):
– Detailed CV indicating professional background;
– Passport information page;
Step 2. Schedule a Video call with incubator to make introductions and discuss the potential business idea;
Step 3. Incubator issues Term Sheet (+ sign HLG’s Service Agreement);
Step 4. HLG confirms the client’s money is in the HLG client’s account and sends back the signed Term Sheet to incubator;
Step 5. HLG processing team and client work through completing the application document checklist. Concurrently, the incubator helps writing client’s business action plan for Portuguese authorities AND securing the R&D letter from their public body/R&D facility partner facility who will work with them to develop the client’s proof of concept;
Step 6. Application with the incubator’s supporting letter and invitation letter from the public body is submitted to the responsible Portuguese Consulate. Within approximately 15 working days, the client will be asked to go to the Consulate for an interview to get the landing visa.
Step 7. Within approximately 90 days of the landing visa’s issuance (i.e. while the landing visa is valid), the client will travel to Bragança, Portugal to meet with local SEF authorities to complete the residence permit application’s procedures. The residence permit should be issued and activated on the spot;
Step 8. The client and the incubator meet for strategic planning, incorporation in Portugal, and to meet the public body/R&D facility partners to convert the invitation letter into the official contract of services. Incubator will help to settle the tax/social security/address matters as well.
Read also: Portugal Golden Visa
The present document is intended for guidance and general information only and does not constitute or purport to provide you with legal advice. Such information is subject to changes without notice. Each case is unique and depends on the facts and circumstances of the individual and due consideration should be taken if applying the general information to your personal situation. For an evaluation of your personal circumstances one of our legal team would be happy to assist.