Startup Visa, Portugal


StartUP Visa is a residence visa for entrepreneurs from outside of the European Union’s (EU) Schenghen Zone. It started accepting applications in March 2018.


The StartUP Visa is part of the StartUP Portugal Programme, which contains 25 initiatives that aim to stimulate entrepreneurship and innovation in Portugal. The initiative was launched to stimulate economic growth, innovation and job creation following the economic crisis. The StartUP Visa aims to help attract investment, talent and innovation to Portugal.

Key activities

The Visa is available to entrepreneurs who are over 18 years old and meet the following conditions:

  • Intend to develop a new start-up in Portugal or intend to set up a branch of an existing foreign company in Portugal;
  • Do not have regular residence in the Schengen area;
  • Do not have a criminal record;
  • Had at least EUR 5146.08 in a personal bank account for at least 12 months (per person).

Applications can be submitted in Portuguese or English using an online form. Interested entrepreneurs must also be able to demonstrate that their start-up is focused on technology, has potential to generate an annual turnover of at least EUR 325 000 within five years and create jobs for others. Evaluations of applications assess (i) the business’ potential for growth and generating innovation, (ii) the capacity of the management team, and (iii) the potential for creating employment.

Once applicants are selected for the Visa Programme, they must then apply to a certified incubator to incubate the start-up.

The Visa application process is managed by the Agency for Competitiveness and Innovation (Instituto de Apoio às Pequenas e Médias Empresas e à Inovação – IAPMEI) and involves the National Network of Incubators.


Pre-applications were accepted during the week before the programme’s official opening and 46 were received. Following the programme launch, efforts were concentrated on building a national network of certified incubators; 65 incubators were certified during the first half of 2018. Programme managers will now process more visa applications.

This case study was adapted from material published in: OECD/European Union (2016), “Inclusive Entrepreneurship Policies, Country Assessment Notes: Portugal, 2016, available at: