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Updated on October 18, 2021

If you want to apply for the StartUP Visa in Portugal, the present Step by Step Guide to Portugal StartUP Visa will provide you with all information and guidance you need to submit your application.

Portugal launched the StartUP Visa Program in early 2018, intending to ease access to non-European entrepreneurs to the thriving technology and innovation ecosystem in Portugal. The StartUP Visa Program is defined and regulated by the Portuguese Legislative Order Number. 4/2018, 2nd February.

The Portugal StartUP Visa program aims to strengthen the Portuguese innovation ecosystem and ease access to non-EU citizens who possess the knowledge and capacity for innovation, bring investments to the Portuguese economy, and are committed to strengthening and enhancing national skilled human resources.

In case you are an entrepreneur or a founder willing to launch or relocate an innovative startup to Portugal, you should consider applying for the StartUP Visa that grants fast-track access to a residence Visa for highly qualified entrepreneurs. 

STEP 1. Eligibility Assessment

Before you start investing your time in putting together your StartUP Visa application, make sure that your project fulfills the following criteria:

  • Intend to develop business activities to produce innovative goods and services aiming its internationalization;
  • Projects and/or established companies focused on technology and knowledge, with prospects for developing innovative products;
  • Have the potential to create qualified employment, in addition to the entrepreneurs included in the application; 
  • Have the capacity to set up a company, when applicable, during the program; 
  • Have the potential to attain, 5 (five) years after the incubation period, a turnover over 325.000€ per year, and/or assets value over 325.000€ per year.

STEP 2. Account Creation

The first thing you will have to do to get started with your StartUP Visa application is to create an account through the following link

Please note that the above is the one and only official platform through which you can prepare, submit, and follow-up on your application, which the IAPMEI and Startup Portugal handle.

STEP 3. Identification of the Entrepreneurial Project

The first step will prompt you to enter the following details about the project you are planning to launch if you’re to receive the StartUP Visa:

Designation of the Project: 

You should choose a name that describes your project best. In this example, we will call it “My Innovative Project.”

Typology of the Project: 

You will have to select either option a) or option b). If you aim to relocate and expand your existing startup to Portugal and own a company elsewhere, you will have to select option b). If you choose that, make sure you have your current business documents, balance sheets, and any other evidence you will have to provide later within the application. If you don’t have a business yet, but you have some great ideas and intend to relocate and build an awesome startup in Portugal, you will have to choose option a).

In this example, we will choose option b)

Business Areas: 

You can select multiple options for the business field and area that best fits the project you want to submit as part of your Portugal StartUP Visa application.

In this example, we will choose the following: Tourism and ICT

Brief description of the project: 

In a maximum of 2500 characters (approximately 400 words), you will have to describe your project shortly and concisely. Consider this as the executive summary of your project that should answer the 3 Whys – Why, When, and Who – without getting into many details.

Expression of interest in developing an entrepreneurial or innovative project in Portugal:

You should upload a document that highlights your expression of interest in developing your project in Portugal. While there is no standard format for this document, we share the template below that you may want to use to build your expression of interest document for the Portugal StartUP Visa.

Pro Tip: We highly advise you to regularly click SAVE while filing your StartUP Visa application not to lose the content you have entered.

Step 4. Entrepreneurial Project

In the application process, there are two tabs before the entrepreneurial project. Nonetheless, we will leave the other two until the end and remain focused on the parts that have to do with your entrepreneurial project.

Innovative nature of the project

In a maximum of 2500 characters (approximately 400 words), you will have to elaborate on the project’s innovative nature. For you to do that, you may use the following questions that can help you develop your narrative:

  • How is my project different from any existing solutions in the market?
  • How and where does my project innovate? 

Justification of the internationalization business potential or potential for the export of goods and services

In a maximum of 2500 characters (approximately 400 words), you will have to justify that your project has a cross-border value proposition. In other words, you will have to elaborate on how you’re planning to sell your products or services to a client base outside of Portugal. If this is confusing, think of it as the next stage of your startups’ growth plan after you launch it in Portugal and how it is going to expand beyond the Portuguese market.

Identification of the technology/ knowledge that supports the innovation of the product/ service and demonstration of its associated potential

In a maximum of 2500 characters (approximately 400 words), you should provide more details on the technology or knowledge behind your innovative project. If you’re building a SaaS, you may want to talk about the technology stack you’re using and how it’s a good fit for your product. You may also want to address its scalability in the case of tech-related projects. Please note that innovation isn’t only about technology and that your project might be proposing a novel business model and innovative processes. Ensure you highlight the main drivers and base of innovation within your project and talk about it in a clear and structured way.

Job Creation Potential:

In this section, you should click ADD JOB CREATION and enter the required data on the jobs you plan on creating in Portugal in the upcoming two years. It’s essential to note that you will have to provide a forecast on job creation that doesn’t include you and your co-founders. Whenever you enter a job, make sure you hit the SAVE JOB CREATION button.

Justification of Job Creation Potential

At this stage, you will have to justify and provide necessary arguments for the jobs you plan to create through your startup in Portugal. You will have to provide logical explanations for the numbers and positions you have listed in the above section.

Estimated turnover in 5th year expressed in euros. 

You will have to enter the value of the expected turnover in your fifth year of operations. The input should be in Euros and reflect your project’s financial projections, assuming that you obtain the Portugal StartUP Visa.

Estimated assets in the 5th year expressed in euros. 

You have to provide the value of the expected assets in your fifth year of operations. The input should be expressed in Euros and reflect the value of the assets your company expects to own by that time. Please note that assets can range from anything the company possesses, such as offices, facilities, software, intellectual property, etc.

Justification of the estimated values

In this field, you will have to justify the values entered in the two precedent fields. Consider this as the explanation of the financial plan of the project you intend to launch in Portugal. 

Planning of the steps to carry out until the creation of the company for 12 months

At this step, you will have to provide a more concrete plan on the steps you will carry out in the first twelve months after you obtain the StartUP Visa up to the day you will incorporate your company in Portugal. Think of this as your short-term objectives and what you are planning to do. 

STEP 4. EXISTING COMPANY (If you answer b) in Question 3)

In here, you should fill in your existing company’s information as per its official incorporation documents. Make sure that the Company Name matches the name on the public records. For VAT or Equivalent, take into consideration that every registered company in the European Union has a VAT Number. For this field, you will have to provide your company incorporation or commercial registry number as per the official documents. Be careful while filing the Date of Establishment of your company as this also has to match official and public records. For the field Head Office, you may simply want to enter your company headquarter’s city. Furthermore, it’s worth mentioning that the Structure of the Mother Company relates to the juridical nature of your existing company such as; Limited Liability Company, etc. For the Turnover of the year preceding your StartUP Visa application, make sure that you indicate the amount in Euros rather than in your own currency.

After you fill in all the required information, you will have to upload an Official Balance Sheet together with a P&L Statement from the financial year preceding your StartUP Visa application. Finally, you will have to fill in the Justification of the activity to be developed in Portugal where you’re expected to provide evidence on the relationship between your existing company’s activity and the rationale behind its expansion to Portugal via the StartUP Visa Program.

Pro Tip: We highly advise Portugal StartUP Visa applicants to upload their Official Balance Sheet and P&L Statement together with a certified translation in English or Portuguese.

STEP 5. IDENTIFICATION OF THE ENTREPRENEURS

The maximum number of co-founders currently allowed is five. In here, you will have to provide your consent by answering YES to the first question: Do the entrepreneurs grant to IAPMEI and the entities involved in the evaluation and monitoring the right of access and processing of the data provided?

After that, you should click on ADD ENTREPRENEUR that will redirect you to another page where you will have to provide a couple of personal details on the founder(s) such as the First Name, Last Name, Date of Birth, Gender, Country of Residence, Passport Number, etc. You will also have to answer three questions that relate your Tax Situation, Criminal Record, and Financial Means.

Afterwards, you will have to upload five documents; Passport Copy,