Want to know how to apply for an Estonian startup visa? Read on to know all about moving to Estonia with a startup visa.
Estonia may be one of the smaller countries in Europe but for startup founders, it is one of the most lucrative destinations. It is a rising center of innovation and a dynamic environment for growing businesses.
The low cost of living and safe community further add to the country’s appeal. In 2017, the country instituted the Estonia startup visa to attract talent from outside the EU. Here’s what you need to know about this visa program and how to apply for it.
Read: The Estonian E-Residency Program – Paving the Way to Development
What Is The Estonian Startup Visa?
The Estonia Startup Visa is designed to attract entrepreneurs from outside the EU who want to establish businesses in Estonia or work at an existing startup in Estonia. The visa is available as a short-term visa with 3-month validity and a 1-year long-term visa.
It can be further extended for a total of 18 months. In addition to empowering individuals to set up a business and work in Estonia, this visa also provides visa-free access to the rest of the Schengen region.
A startup visa may also be granted to the applicant’s spouse and dependent children. The validity of these visas is connected to the validity of the main applicant.
Eligibility For The Estonian Startup Visa
To be eligible for the Estonia Startup Visa you must meet the following conditions:
- The proposed business must be technology-based, scalable and innovative. Thus consultancies, restaurants and other such business ideas will not make the entrepreneur eligible for this visa.
- The business idea must be approved by the Startup Committee
- You must have a minimum of €200 in the bank for every month you plan to live in Estonia
You can assess your business idea for eligibility here
Documents Required For An Estonia Startup Visa
The key documents to be submitted along with the visa application are:
- Valid passport
- A recent color passport photograph sized 35x45mm
- Confirmation letter from the Estonia Startup Committee
Confirmation of acceptance to a qualified accelerator program
- Insurance of at least €30,000 for the duration of the stay
- Evidence of having sufficient financial support
- Evidence of accommodation in Estonia
- Document confirming payment of state fees
- Evidence of intention to leave the Schengen area at the end of the visa validity duration
Estonian Startup Visa Fees
When applying for a long-term visa, a fee of €100 is payable per application.
Applying For An Estonian Startup Visa
There are two stages to applying for an Estonia Startup Visa. Your idea must first be approved by a startup committee and then you can apply for the visa.
- Phase 1
In the first phase, you will need to introduce your business model to the Startup Committee and provide all the details required to assess the value of the business. The application can be submitted online here.
All information must be provided in English and the business must be at a stage where an MVP or prototype is available. Idea phase applications are often rejected. The application must include a detailed business plan and ideally, contain links to your Linkedin profile and website.
The application is reviewed over a period of 10 working days after which a verification letter with a unique application code is given.
- Phase 2
Once the business model has been approved, you can submit a startup visa application with the unique application code as issued. This application and the supporting documents can be submitted at any Estonian embassy or service point for the Estonian Police and Border Guard Board.
Moving Towards Citizenship
Once you arrive in Estonia, you may apply for a residence permit in-country before the visa expires. After living in the country for at least 5 years with a residence permit, you may apply for permanent residence and after another 5 years, apply for Estonian citizenship. Estonia does not permit dual citizenship.
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