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Methods of Obtaining the Portugal Start-up Visa

November 2017, 30
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The Ministry of Economy in Portugal has made an announcement, that in 2018, it will offer a Portugal Start-up Visa, to attract foreign start-ups, to move to the Iberian coast. It is an addition to the D7 Residency Visa, which is an easy way to obtain residency in Portugal.

Features of the Portugal Start-up Visa

The Portugal Start-up Visa program helps the entrepreneurs in a rapid manner, to establish their business ventures in Portugal. The government aims for increasing local hiring, creating a new source of tax revenue, and to showcase Portugal as the center of technology in Europe. Its timing is remarkable and follows the success of Web Summit. There is a talk of opening the Hub Criativo do Beato.

The entrepreneurs prefer Portugal due to the low tax regime, availability of local talent, and the fine weather. Moving to Lisbon offers more opportunity, as it is a great city, and has major office spaces. The applications are scheduled, to begin in January 2018, and should be submitted, using the IAPMEI managed online platform.

Who are eligible for the Start-up Visa?

The first norm of eligibility for the Portuguese Visa is that the overseas entrepreneur must agree to move the business activities to Portugal.  The categories of business are Innovation Knowledge Services, Information Services, and Manufacturing of Goods.  After the establishment and incorporation stages in Portugal, they can employ people.

Another norm is to show that the start-up has a value of €325,000 in 3-years, or show annual revenue of €500,000.  This can be achieved by the start-ups when they raise a seed investment or begin to show real growth of revenue.  

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The Program is regulated by a Joint Ordinance, involving the Ministries of Economy and Internal Affairs.  Having a major bureaucratic process is expected because of this.  All official documents are required to be in Portuguese, as per the law, but many websites publish English translations.  Hiring a Portuguese lawyer, with knowledge of English is recommended.  The Online Application Form will be activated in early 2018.

Entrepreneurs on the lookout to create a start-up in Portugal, who can hire people, and open a bank account, are eligible for the fast track.  Through it, the Entrepreneur is eligible, to stay in Europe for 90 consecutive days, and also for 180-days annually, and can access great talent, and a business-friendly tax regime. Moreover, the loan rates are low, with interest at 5% or even less. The business can be capitalized.  The IMPMEI gives a tax benefit, up to €3 million, for a period stretching to 2020. 

Having a Portuguese subsidiary to go through European dollars, or moving an early staged start-up, is a good idea. The special tax for start-ups has not been released, but the standard tax rate is 21%.

Other notable features are Portuguese are English speakers, and helpful with the process of arranging the business in Portugal. One can hire developers and interns, free of charge, for the probationary period. Funds are available, for joining an incubator (the Start-up Incubator Voucher) and also in building up an office. Relocation services and advice are also provided.

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