Are you an ambitious entrepreneur looking to launch a start-up but struggling to navigate the complex web of visa requirements? You’re not alone. Fortunately, forward-thinking countries have recognized the importance of attracting global talent and have established start-up visa programs to make the process smoother.

With a start-up visa, you can unleash your entrepreneurial spirit, tap into new markets, and create innovative products and services that drive economic growth. You can also take advantage of permanent residency abroad for you and your family and the excellent opportunities and benefits it will bring.

It should be noted however, that visas are temporary and political change can leave the future of your business venture and ideas in jeopardy. Legal residency and citizenship can be superior options in many cases, especially those that involve unlimited future value. An Astons expert can provide more information about these options. 

In this article, we provide an overview of some of the best start-up visas in the world.

Canada’s Start-up Visa Program

Canada’s Start-Up Visa Program attracts global entrepreneurs to leverage Canada’s robust tech and innovation ecosystem, fostering economic growth and diversity. The program is for any province or territory outside of Quebec.

Eligibility for Canada’s Start-Up Visa Program requires:

  • An innovative business idea which will create employment for Canadians and be able to compete globally
  • Sufficient language proficiency
  • Applicants will need to have pitched their business idea to a designated organization who will provide a letter of support, including a Commitment Certificate

Applicants must also be able to prove they have enough funds to live in Canada with their family (if applicable) for 52 weeks. Applicants do not need to invest any of their own money – the minimum required investment will come from a designated Canadian venture capital fund or angel investor group.

Applicants and their immediate family members can benefit from permanent residency in Canada. Applicants can also work temporarily in Canada while the application for permanent residency is being processed.

Australia’s Business Innovation and Investment Visa

Australia’s Business Innovation and Investment Visa is designed for people with a history of operating a successful business who wish to establish, develop and expand an innovative business in Australia.

Applicants must meet certain minimum requirements, including:

  • The ability to demonstrate that their proposed business or investment will benefit the Australian economy
  • Have achieved at least 65 points on the Australian Government’s points test
  • Possess at least 3 years business experience
  • Demonstrate innovation capability

Applicants also need to be nominated by an Australian body to apply.

Applicants and their immediate families can stay up to 5 years on this visa allowing them to live and work in Australia and access high-quality education, as well as one of the best healthcare systems in the world. After 3 years, applicants can apply for permanent residency.

Singapore’s EntrePass

Singapore’s EntrePass work visa is designed for foreign entrepreneurs who are planning to or have already started a business that is venture-backed or owns innovative technologies.

To qualify for the EntrePass, applicants must submit a comprehensive business plan that demonstrates innovation, potential job creation, and contribution to the local economy. Successful applicants are granted a two-year visa, which can be renewed as long as the business remains viable.

The EntrePass offers several advantages, including the ability to bring in family members and access to government support and grants for business development. Additionally, EntrePass holders have the flexibility to work for their own company without needing a separate work permit, which allows for more efficient operations.

Singapore also offers a favorable business environment with low taxes, robust infrastructure, and a strong legal framework, making it an attractive location for foreign entrepreneurs looking to expand their businesses.

Britain’s New Innovator Founder Visa Program

The British government has recently introduced the new Innovator Founder Visa, which replaces earlier programs such as the Innovator Visa and Start-up Visa and offers more flexible conditions for aspiring entrepreneurs.

Applicants will need to have a unique business idea which has been endorsed by an approved body. Applicants also need to prove to the endorsing body they are sufficiently funded, unless the business is already established and endorsed for an earlier visa – or if the business has undergone a change that has been approved by the endorsing body.

Applicants must meet the English language requirement, be at least 18 years of age, and be able to prove that they hold enough personal funds to support themselves while in the UK – a minimum of £1270, plus £285 for a dependent partner, £315 for a first child and £200 for each additional child.

Applicants may work outside of their business, providing it counts as ‘skilled work’. The Innovator Founder Visa leads to permanent residency after three years – known as indefinite leave to remain, allowing access to public funds, free healthcare, and acts as a route to citizenship which will give holders the opportunity to bring family with them to the UK.

France’s French Tech Visa and French Tech Ticket

The French government offers two separate visa programs for tech start-ups – the French Tech Visa and French Tech Ticket.

The French Tech Visa is designed to support start-up founders, employees, and investors in the tech industry to live and work in France for up to 4 years, with renewal options and the possibility to extend the visa to immediate family members.

The founder of the start-up must be selected by a French Tech Visa partner, incubator, or accelerator and obtain approval from the Direccte (a French public organisation) and have a plan for an economic innovation start-up in France.

The French Tech Ticket program is a shorter-term acceleration program for early-stage start-ups, lasting for 6 months with an option for a 6-month extension.

Applications require at least two co-founders, one with French citizenship. They must partner with a French incubator or accelerator. They must also be fluent in English and focus only on the start-up as means of employment while in France for the 12-month visa period. Each founder will be provided with funding of €12,500 to €25,000 and free office space.

The Netherlands’ Start-up Visa

The Netherlands’ Start-up Visa is a residency permit that allows foreign entrepreneurs to start and run an innovative business in the Netherlands.

To be eligible, applicants must have a scalable business idea that meets a need in the Dutch market, and be supported by a designated facilitator, such as a start-up accelerator, incubator or university. Applicants must prove they have at least €13,000 to support themselves.

The visa allows entrepreneurs to stay in the Netherlands for one year, with the possibility of a two-year extension. The Netherlands Start-up Visa also provides the option of bringing family members to the Netherlands, and allows the entrepreneur to work on their start-up without restrictions.

Additionally, the program provides access to a network of business advisors, mentors, and investors who can help with developing the business and seeking funding opportunities.

The above-mentioned visas are some of the best start-up visas in the world, each with their unique advantages and conditions.

If you are an entrepreneur looking to start a business abroad and obtain permanent residency, then exploring these visa options – as well as the residency and citizenship programs offered by Astons – is a great way to get started.

This information is provided for informational purposes only. Astons does not provide assistance with StartUp programs, we are global experts in the field of investment immigration – programs which have been leveraged by the world’s most successful entrepreneurs for decades.

For questions about obtaining an Innovator Founder visa in Great Britain, you can contact our partners from Immigration.UK for advice from qualified lawyers

For more information about how to leverage the power of residency and citizenship – instead of a visa – to provide more permanence, security, and control over the future possibilities of your company, ideas, and investments, Schedule a Free Consultation with an expert at Astons now.