List of European tech visas for working and launching a startup

Many European countries have been working hard on implementing "tech visas" for foreign founders and/or tech employees to come work in their tech ecosystems.

European countries are facing an acute dearth of tech talent, and they are finding ways and means to address and fulfil the requirement. An article written in euractiv.com talks about the tech sector facing its next challenge, “The inflow of skilled workers is not sufficient to fill the long-standing shortage of skilled labour for European businesses.”

The tech companies are either trying to hire talent across the world through remote work or hire foreign workers and relocate them. The war for tech talent is on, and many European governments are rolling out generous tech visa schemes to invite the talent. Many European countries have been working hard on implementing “tech visas” for foreign founders and/or tech employees to come work in their tech ecosystems. The front runner is France, offering the “French Tech Visa“, which allows highly-skilled workers to work in the French tech ecosystem for four years with a possible extension.

Sneak peek at the list of European tech visas and their eligibility criteria 

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France

French tech visa – It is a four-year visa (+possible extension) for highly-skilled tech industry workers. This visa does not require a diploma or funding, and it will take a couple of days to several weeks to process the visa.

French tech visa for founders – This is a long-term visa for founders wanting to build their startup in France. It requires financial resources for at least or equal to the French annual minimum wage, €17,981.60 as of January 1, 2018. It takes three months to process the visa and costs around €368.

United Kingdom 

UK Tier 2 Work Visa – This is a long-term visa for foreign workers with a job offer from a company in the UK. The visa is for five years, takes about 15 days to process, and costs about €610. Check here for more details – https://www.gov.uk/skilled-worker-visa

Tech Nation Visa – is a long-term visa for technology workers or founders with demonstrated exceptional talent and/or promise. This visa is for five years, and only 2,000 visas are offered in a year; it takes about 15 days and costs about £456. For more details, check https://technation.io/visa/

UK Entrepreneurial Visa – This is a long-term visa for founders looking to start a startup in the UK. This visa is for 3.4 years and requires £50,000 from UK investors or £200,000 from any party; it takes 15 days to process and costs about £1021. For more details, check https://www.gov.uk/tier-1-entrepreneur

Austria 

Austria’s very highly qualified workers – This is a long-term visa for highly-skilled workers, the eligibility for which is determined through a points system. 6-Month “Job Seeker Visa” is available at the beginning. The requirement for the visa is a point-based system and costs about €160. For more details, check https://www.migration.gv.at/en/types-of-immigration/permanent-immigration/very-highly-qualified-workers/ 

Denmark 

Denmark’s Positive List Regime – This is a long-term visa for workers experiencing a shortage of qualified professionals in Denmark. Their visa requires a standing employment offer (exceptions apply), which takes one month to process and costs DKK 3,025. For more details, check https://startupdenmark.info/

Denmark’s Pay Limit Scheme – This is a long-term visa for workers offered a job in Denmark with a high salary. This visa takes one month to process and costs about DKK 3,025. For more details, check https://www.nyidanmark.dk/en-GB/Applying/Work/Pay%20limit%20scheme

Startup Denmark – This is a 2-year visa (+possible extension) for founders wanting to start up in Denmark. This visa is given for two years and takes six weeks or longer to get processed. For more details, check https://startupdenmark.info/

Estonia 

Estonia’s Work & Residence Permit – This is a simple, short to long term residence permit subject to minimum salary criterion, varying depending on the worker’s qualification. This visa is given for two years and costs about €64 (in Estonia)/€80 (in Estonian Representation). For more details, check https://www.workinestonia.com/working-in-estonia/work-permits/

Estonia Startup Visa – This is a medium-term visa for non-EU founders wanting to grow their startup in Estonia. This visa is given for 1.5 years and costs about €80, and the requirement is to be able to spend at least €140 for every month you want to spend in Estonia. For details, check https://startupestonia.ee/visa

Finland

Finland’s Work Permit – This is a long-term permit for workers “granted based on either temporary work or work of a continuous nature.” This visa takes one month to process and costs about €450. For more details, check here https://www.businessfinland.fi/en/do-business-with-finland/work-in-finland/visas-work-permits

Finnish Startup Permit – This visa is a long-term permit for non-EU founders wanting to build their startup in Finland. It is given for two years, takes about 38 days to process, and costs €350. For more details, check here https://www.businessfinland.fi/en/do-business-with-finland/startup-in-finland/startup-permit

Germany 

Germany’s Temporary Residence Permit for Employment – is a contract-long visa for workers in Germany issued for one year. For more details, check https://berlinstartupjobs.com/guide-working-in-berlin/types-of-german-work-permits-and-how-to-get-one/

Germany’s Blue Card – is a 4-year visa that requires a high level of German proficiency, and the job should allow you to earn at least €50,800 per year. For more details, check https://berlinstartupjobs.com/guide-working-in-berlin/types-of-german-work-permits-and-how-to-get-one/

Ireland 

Ireland’s Highly Skilled Occupations Regime – This visa is a medium-term permit for highly skilled professionals whose jobs should fall under Ireland’s Eligible Occupations List. The visa is issued for two years, takes 28 days to process and costs around €1,000. Please check here for more details https://enterprise.gov.ie/en/What-We-Do/Workplace-and-Skills/Employment-Permits/Employment-Permit-Eligibility/Highly-Skilled-Eligible-Occupations-List/

Ireland General Employment Permit – This visa is a medium-term permit (+possible renewal) for workers whose job is not under the “Highly Skilled Eligible Occupations List”. This visa requires a minimum salary of €30.000 and is issued for two years. It takes about 28 days to process and costs about €1,000. For more details, check https://techlifeireland.com/moving-to-ireland/immigration-to-ireland/

Ireland Critical Skills Employment Permit – This is a medium-term visa permit for highly skilled professionals whose jobs are under Ireland’s Eligible Occupations List, especially for ICT professionals, engineers and technologists. This visa is given for two years and requires a minimum salary of €30,000. It takes 28 days to be processed and costs about €1,000. For more details, check https://enterprise.gov.ie/en/What-We-Do/Workplace-and-Skills/Employment-Permits/Permit-Types/Critical-Skills-Employment-Permit/

Ireland Startup Visa – This visa is a permanent/indefinite visa for founders who have innovative business ideas with a minimum funding of €75,000; it costs €350. For more details, check https://www.citizensinformation.ie/en/moving_country/working_in_ireland/migrant_workers/coming_to_set_up_a_business_in_ireland.html

Israel 

Israel Long Term Working Visa – This visa is a permit for foreign highly-skilled workers issued for up to 63 months for an employee who will have to submit a request by the company. For more details, check https://www.tel-aviv.gov.il/en/WorkAndStudy/Pages/Work-Visas.aspx

Medium-Term Visa (+possible renewal) for founders looking to launch a startup in Israel – This visa is issued for only two years, and the project has to be launched in Israel.

Italy 

Italian Startup Visa – This is a short-term visa for non-EU founders who wish to startup in Italy. It is issued for one year and requires €50,000 in funding. For more details, please check https://italiastartupvisa.mise.gov.it/#homepage

Latvia 

Startup Latvia Visa – This is a long-term visa for up to five founders who wish to launch their startup in Latvia. It is issued for three years and requires an investment of €30,000 in 6 months and another 30000 in another 18 months. Check this link for more details https://startuplatvia.eu/startup-visa

Lithuania 

Startup Visa Lithuania – This is a short-term visa for non-EU founders who wish to launch a startup in Lithuania. It is issued for one year, where the startup must operate in one of the eligible fields. For more details, check https://startupvisalithuania.com/

Netherlands 

Highly-skilled migrants – This is a long contract visa for highly skilled professionals who meet the requirement. It is issued for the duration of the contract and the salary required goes up with age. This visa takes 90 days to process and costs about €2,638.

Dutch Startup visa – This is a short-term visa for non-EU founders who wish to launch a startup in the Netherlands. The visa is offered for one year and must fulfil five conditions; it takes 90 days to process the visa and costs about €326. For more details, check https://business.gov.nl/coming-to-the-netherlands/permits-and-visa/startup-visa/

Norway 

Norway’s Work Immigration Permit – This visa is a contract-long permit for foreign workers where a standing job offer is usually required in advance. It is issued for the duration of the contract. This visa takes four weeks to process and should require a job offer. It costs NOK 5.400 for the visa; for more details, check https://www.udi.no/en/want-to-apply/work-immigration/

Self-employed person visa – This is a short-term visa for highly skilled self-employed workers with a company outside of Norway. This visa is issued for just one year and requires an earning of NOK 30,000. It takes six weeks to process the visa and costs about NOK 5.400; for more details, check https://www.udi.no/en/want-to-apply/work-immigration/skilled-workers/#link-834 

Portugal 

Startup Portugal – This is a medium-term visa for founders who wish to launch or expand their startups to Portugal. It is issued for just two years and requires the potential to generate a turnover of €325,000/year; it takes a maximum of 30 days to process. For more details, check https://startupportugal.com/programs/startup-visa/

Spain 

Spain’s Residency Visa for highly skilled professionals – This is a short-term visa for highly skilled professionals who meet a minimum financial resources requirement of €2.130/month. This visa is issued for just two years and requires sufficient financial resources; it takes ten days to process the visa and costs about €57.00.

Spanish startup visa – This is a short-term visa for founders looking to launch a startup in Spain. It is issued for one year, takes ten days, and costs about €72.00.

Sweden 

Sweden’s Residence Permit for self-employed – This is a short-term visa for highly skilled self-employed workers where the company should be involved in the Swedish Economy or should be willing to start one. It is issued for two years and requires earning SEK 200,000. It takes 13-15 months to process the visa and costs about SEK 2,000. For more details, check https://www.migrationsverket.se/English/Private-individuals/Working-in-Sweden/Self-employment.html

Sweden’s work permit – This visa is a contract-long permit for foreign workers, and a standing job offer is required in advance. It is issued for the contract duration and requires earning SEK 13,000 per month and a standing job offer. This visa can be processed in 2 months and costs about SEK 2,000. For more details, check https://www.migrationsverket.se/English/Private-individuals/Working-in-Sweden/Employed/Work-permit-requirements.html

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Poornima Nataraj
Poornima Nataraj has worked in the mainstream media as a journalist for 12 years, she is always eager to learn anything new and evolving. Witnessing a revolution in the world of Analytics, she thinks she is in the right place at the right time.

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