Immigration. Travel. Living.

Visa based on Start-up in Estonia


You can find all the necessary information about this program in this article.

Estonia is a European country with a digital economy. The government annually invests money and efforts in the development of modern technologies and opens up wide opportunities for the implementation of innovative projects on its territory for everyone. Start-up Visa in Estonia has been operating for 3 years, according to which about 700 companies from all over the world have moved to the country, which is undoubtedly considered the best result among the EU countries.

Last year, the average monthly gross salary of employees who came using this program was € 1951. This is significantly higher than the average Estonian salary, which at that time was € 1407.

Benefits of an Estonian Start-up program:

  • simplified procedure for migration and obtaining a temporary residence permit;
  • no overhead costs; 
  • inexpensive accommodation and comfortable living conditions in an almost Scandinavian country; 
  • excellent infrastructure;
  • access to European investment funds.

Features of the Estonian startup program

silver steel flower pot on white table

Start-up Visa in Estonia aims to attract founders of startups from the fields of information technology, biotechnology, laser technology, nanotechnology and electronics to the country.

Applicants who are not residents of the European Union can apply for a temporary residence permit in Estonia under a startup program for a period of 1 to 5 years.

To obtain a residence permit in Estonia under this program, the applicant’s project must undergo a verification procedure at the Estonian Ministry of Economy. Applications are accepted in English and Estonian and are processed by the Estonian startup committee within 14 days. The obtained status (verification code) “Startup” entitles the applicant to further appeal to the Estonian Embassy or the Estonian Police Department to obtain a residence permit for the founders of the company, all team members and their families.

Since 2019, Estonia has stopped issuing visas for projects at the Idea stage. To apply for an Estonian startup visa, the applicant must have at least an MVP or prototype.

If the applicant has not had a registered Estonian company, he can apply for a long-term (12 months) or short-term (3 months) visa. After establishing an Estonian company, the applicant can apply for a start-up visa (short-term or long-term), or a temporary residence permit (up to five years).

Applying for a residence permit under a Start-up Visa in Estonia

To apply for participation in this program, you need to collect the following set of documents:

  • Bank statement confirming that the applicant has the minimum income required for comfortable living in Estonia (€ 140 per month or € 1680 per year);
  • Technological, innovative and scalable business with great growth potential;
  • Approval of the application from the Startup Committee with the status of “Startup” assigned to the project;
  • Insurance Estonia + Schengen countries with the coverage of at least € 30 thousand;
  • The residency proof;
  • Paid state fee for a temporary residence permit (€ 160 when filing documents in Estonia, € 180 when filing at an Estonian mission in your country).

Approval of the Start-up Visa application in Estonia by the Committee and assignment of the “Startup” status to the project

The key to successful project verification in the Estonian Ministry of Economy is a strong team, competent presentation, and a detailed business plan.

You have to convince the experts of the commission that your project is a godsend for their country.

Examples of highly scalable enterprises include Facebook, Uber, Google. Start-up Visa in Estonia targets technology products or services that can grow rapidly globally. Restaurants, e-shops, IT service providers, and sole proprietors are not considered start-ups.

A detailed business plan, a well-described technology, metrics-markets-sales channels, the financial model of the project and plans for its development for the next 5 years – all this will have to be prepared and submitted to the Startup Commission for consideration.

For approval by the commission, you must:

  • submit an application in English or Estonian;
  • prepare a compelling project presentation;
  • develop a strategy for 5 years.

The application for obtaining the status is considered within 10 days. After approval and obtaining the status of a startup, the entrepreneur and his family can receive a residence permit. 

Thus, Estonian Start-up Visa not only helps enterprising business immigrants to realize their business in an EU country and join the start-up ecosystem. It is also a chance to provide yourself and your family with living in an advanced country with e-government and developed infrastructure and obtain citizenship there. There are also venture capital funds available to help with advice and information.

The official terms of participation in the program are available on the website

Countries where you can also move on a start-up visa are Netherlands, Great Britain, Portugal, Germany, Spain, Finland, Poland, Switzerland, and Canada.

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