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These Countries Offer Visas for Entrepreneurs

These Countries Offer Visas for Entrepreneurs

We have written from time to time about the opportunities for entrepreneurs from other countries to obtain non-immigrant visas by investing in an existing business or by launching a new enterprise in the United States. These visas are part of the U.S. E-2 visa program.

Permanent residency is also available through the U.S. government’s EB-5 program for investors who, in addition to investing a substantial amount of capital, also meet several other important requirements.

We thought our readers may also be interested in learning about other countries that offer entrepreneur visa programs like the E-2 program in the U.S.

Most countries wish to increase the number of highly skilled people that immigrate to their nations. In addition, most countries wish to increase entrepreneurship which, in turn, will increase jobs. Many countries have found that an entrepreneur visa program is a very effective way to achieve both goals.

Our intent is not to provide all of the details of each program that we cite below. Rather, it is to give you a link to the websites that describe the programs in detail. You will then be able to compare programs and countries and decide which program best fits your specific requirements. We should mention that two things all of these programs have in common is that they each require a capital investment and they each require a comprehensive business plan that will document the nature of the business and how the business will successfully compete.

Here are the nations and programs we have identified:

  • United KingdomInnovator Visa. Requirements include a knowledge of English, at least £50,000 to invest, a valid passport, a business plan and at least £945 in your bank account for 90 consecutive days before you apply. The Visa is good for 3 years and it is renewable.
  • United KingdomStart-up Visa. You can apply for a Start-up Visa if you are endorsed by a UK higher education institution or a business with a history of supporting UK entrepreneurs. You must be at least 18 years old, speak English, and be able to prove that you can support yourself with at least £945 in your bank account for 90 consecutive days before you apply. This is a 2 year visa and it is not renewable.
  • DenmarkStart-up Denmark. Requirements include that your business idea must be approved by the government, proof that you can support yourself during the first full year, and you must participate actively in the management of the business.
  • SwedenResidence Permits for the Self-employed. Requirements include that you have experience in the business in which you intend to invest, knowledge of Swedish or English, that you will be running the business, and a capital investment of SEK 200,000 for you, SEK 100,000 for your spouse, and SEK 50,000 for each accompanying child.
  • IrelandStart-up Entrepreneur Program. Requirements include proof that your business has “high potential…in the innovation economy” and that you have access to €75,000 of funding.
  • SingaporeEntrePass. Requirements include a valid passport, past employment testimonials in English, a business plan, and $50,000 on deposit in a Singapore-based bank account.
  • New ZealandEntrepreneur Work Visa. Many detailed requirements must be met to qualify for this visa. The big ones include that you have minimum capital of NZ$100,000 and a business plan. Check out Sections L and O first.
  • AustraliaInvestors & Entrepreneurs Visa. There are 3 types of visas, and all require a substantial investment in capital and many other requirements including a business plan.
  • GermanyEntrepreneur Visa for Germany. “Entrepreneurs must have a strong Business Plan with a superior economic motive.” Other requirements include sufficient capital and past entrepreneurial experience and success. The government insists that there is “no threshold investment,” although €250,000 is recommended.
  • FinlandFinish Startup Permit. This is for innovative startup founders coming from countries outside of the European Union. After reviewing the eligibility criteria, if you are interested, you must also apply for a residence permit. Entrepreneur’s Residence Permit. “If you want to work as an entrepreneur in Finland, you will need an entrepreneur’s residence permit. If you do not have a permanent residence in Finland or elsewhere in the EEA area, you must register your business operations in the Trade Register of the Finnish Patent and Registration Office before applying for an entrepreneur’s residence permit.” A business plan is required for both the Startup Permit and the Entrepreneur’s Residence Permit.
  • SpainEntrepreneur Visa Program. There are two visa possibilities under the new laws – an entrepreneur visa (one year) and an entrepreneur residency authorization (two years annually renewable) that can extend the time you’re allowed in the country. Both options allow citizens from non-EU countries the opportunity to start and build a business while living in Spain.
  • PortugalStartup Visa. StartUP Visa is a residence visa for entrepreneurs, which aims to attract investment, talent, and innovation to Portugal. This is one of the most innovative entrepreneurship programs across Europe that is attracting international talent.

There may be other similar programs that we have unintentionally omitted. If you know of one, please write to us and we will include that program in a future update. There is a Canadian program that we did not include because the capital requirements are very large and because at least some of the capital must come from Canadian investors.

Which of these programs best suits you? Once you have identified the one you want, go after it. These countries want your skill, talent, energy, and imagination. And don’t forget, our firm will help you along the way by assisting you in preparing a comprehensive immigration business plan suitable for the country of your choice.

Avatar for Jimmy Lewin

Jimmy Lewin

Jimmy's background includes over 40 years in international, commercial, and investment banking, and nearly a decade as the principal shareholder and CEO of a rapidly growing manufacturing and distribution business in California. Today, Jimmy spends his time advising and consulting with entrepreneurs on matters related to business planning, as well as capital markets and funding strategies. Jimmy works with clients throughout the world in industries that include financial services, real estate, manufacturing and hospitality. View details.

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This Post Has 33 Comments

  1. Hi,

    I am an Indian national inteteated in exploring entrepreneur visa option with investments ranging between usd 50000 to usd 75000. Location not being a constraint.

    Look forward to hear from you.


  2. hello sir,i am from india. i looking sweden. what kind of business can i start with low investment?which countries have freedom for immigrants ? please tell me about ? thanks.

    1. Pawan, I am pleased that you found our blog post useful. There are two next steps that you should pursue when you are ready. First, you should hire an immigration attorney in the UK who will guide you through the process. Secondly, you should begin working on the business plan requirement. If you would like our help in creating a professional, comprehensive business plan, please complete the Contact Us form by clicking on the Get Started Now button at the top of this page. Thank you.

  3. The information you have shared is very useful. Thanks for that.
    I want to go to Berlin (Germany), spend some time with tech community over there & then establish my startup. Can you help me on what kind of visa I should apply for?

    1. It sounds as if you are a good prospect for an Entrepreneur Visa in Germany. My concern is that you say you intend to spend some time with the tech community before establishing your startup. I wonder if the government will issue an entrepreneur visa to you prior to establishing the startup. Perhaps you can go to Berlin on a visitor visa and while there apply for the entrepreneur visa. This will give you a chance to assess the market opportunity and really understand the business culture before making a big commitment. That is a common strategy for prospective entrepreneurs who intend to immigrate to the United States. Good luck.

  4. Nope. For Ireland you need to have access to 75000euros as the business capital as well as partner with an EU national or Company.

  5. I found your blog very useful. I am Vishal I can invest more than 100000 usd. Location is not a constraint. I have pursued masters from UK aroud 5 years back and currently residing in India. Can you please help me with suitable country and visa issues?

    1. Vishal, as you read in our post, there are many countries that encourage the in-migration of entrepreneurs. In considering the most suitable country, firs you must consider your personal preferences. For example, climate or level of infrastructure or access to health care. Secondly, you must consider the nature of the business you intend to launch or acquire. Once you have made those decisions, they you will be able to focus on the country. With respect to visa issues, you are best to get the advice of a qualified immigration attorney. I wish you good luck.

  6. Hello Sir

    I am ready to invest in UK.
    But for that shall I looks fo Indian agents who does all A-z including business plan.

    Can I do it myself all this instead of hiring agents as they charge 2000£ per case ? I will take Naric services for my MBA degree authentication with english Medium letter .


    Shall I look for Solicitor from UK itself instead of Indian agents.

    Also any link to download Business Plan .
    I need a sample business plan.

    Please advice.



    1. Hello Vikram, I do not have a definitive answer for you. These are good questions and you need good advice that I am not qualified to provide. My best suggestion is to seek advice from someone you trust and someone who can help you get through the entire process with a successful result. When it is time to prepare your business plan, I hope you will come back to us. Good luck.

  7. Hi Sir

    This is kumar from India

    I am interested in New Zealand .I am ready to invest 100000 Nz Dollars .I need some advice and clarity .kindly guide me sir
    Thank you

    1. Hi Kumar,

      The first step is to think about what kind of business you want to invest in. You can search online for “franchise opportunities in new zealand” for lists of opportunities. The next step is to find an hire an immigration attorney in New Zealand so that they can guide you through the legal requirements. If New Zealand requires a business plan to be part of the application process, you are welcome to hire us to help you with that.


  8. Hi there
    My name is Pitanjal sharma and currently I’m living in Ireland as a student. I wanted to know about start up entrepreneur visa. Can a student apply for this visa during study and what business it should be. Thanks

  9. Hi Jimmy,
    Pretty quick read and to the point informative post.
    However, I think you just forgot to mention Italy as a country providing entrepreneur visa.


  10. Hi.
    I run my own financial advisory website with turnover of $100k. However I want to move from India to a better standard of living country.
    I had looked up Australia due to the warm climate. UK and US can get very cold. So are european countries. That leaves Australia.

    Let me know if financial blog running succesfully over the last many years can be considered. I have no plans to work for any bank or any company. Also my wife is a pyshio and kids are small. When I check the skilled list in Australian site, they only need manual job people like plumbers and electrician etc. That is more manual job in India and they consider it highly skilled.
    I am a MBA and BTECH but will these educational qualification be considered ?


  11. Hi. thank you for this very useful post. I’m actually looking for a co-investment program in Netherlands so I can get visa and join an early stage startup as Co-Founder without the need for capital investment from my side. I’m myself an entrepreneur in my country and have enough experience in running a business.
    Would you please advise me if this idea can be workable.

  12. Hi, thanks for your question. We do not have fixed fees since every project requires a different amount of effort. If you would like a quote, please complete the Contact Us form on our website. After a brief discussion with one of our consultants (and after reviewing any of our existing materials, if available), we can determine our fees.

  13. Hello Sir,
    I have an existing startup in India and I plan to move to Europe. I have been researching the Netherlands as an option and I didn’t see it listed here. Is there any specific reason for it? As in, they do not encourage startup visas or something else?

    My next option is Germany.

    Thank you.

    1. The Netherlands has a start-up visa program for entrepreneurs. It is a bit more complicated for citizens of non-EU and non- EEA countries. The Dutch government requires a solid business plan, proof that your business is innovative and proof that you have enough financial resources to be able to sustain yourself for one year in Holland. Also, you will need to find yourself someone called a ‘facilitator’. This mentor-like person will help you with advice on management, marketing, and other business matters.

      However, like many countries in Europe, first you must meet the Dutch residency requirements and this can be a bit more challenging. Our recommendation is that you contact a Dutch immigration attorney. Once you have decided to move forward with the residency permit, you are welcome to contact us for assistance with your business plan.

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