Founder Application
Estonia has a busy, supportive and open startup community eager to welcome more ambitious individuals and startups. Top-notch e-services, great ease of doing business, ideal testing ground, low levels of bureaucracy, entrepreneurial people and high quality of life at a low cost are just some of the keywords describing Estonia and why it is a great country to run a startup in - with the highest startups per capita ratio in Europe to show and prove it.


Am I eligible?

To be eligible for the Estonian Startup Visa as a startup founder, you must have:

  • Financial resources of at least 130 EUR for every month you want to spend in Estonia. For the 1-year visa this amounts to 1560 EUR.
It is the very bare minimum one can get by in Estonia demanded by the law. However, we strongly recommend you to have more funds to enjoy life in Estonia comfortably.
  • Innovative scalable business. You are working on an innovative and repeatable business model with great global growth potential
Take Facebook, Airbnb, Uber as examples of highly scalable businesses. Startup Visa is aimed at technology-based products/ services that have the potential to grow globally very quickly. Restaurants, online shops, IT service providers and sole proprietors are not considered startups.
  • Approval from the Startup Committee stating that you match the definition of a startup and can pursue the Startup Visa.

People working with startups on daily basis will sniff out startups from more traditional companies in a heartbeat.


To run your startup in Estonia, you have one of the two options: 

  • In case you do not yet have a registered company in Estonia, you can apply for a long-term (up to 12 months stay) or short-term (up to 3 months) visa for startup business;
  • In case you already have a registered company in Estonia, you can apply for either a visa (both short-term or long-term) or a temporary residence permit for startup business (allowing an up to 5 years stay).


How to apply?

  • Step 1 - Fill out an application about your startup for the Startup Committee - think of it as applying for an accelerator program or presenting yourself to a potential investor.
  • Step 2 - Startup Committee, consisting of members of the Estonian startup community, will review the application about your startup and make a decision within 10 working days whether your company qualifies for pursuing the startup visa or not. You will get the verification letter with your unique application code, have this at hand for the next steps.
  • Step 3 - In case your company qualifies for pursuing the Startup Visa, you can go on fill out an application for a visa or an application for a temporary residence permit at an Estonian Embassy in a city of your choosing or at a Service Point for the Estonian Police and Border Guard Board, using your unique application code;
  • Step 4 - In case of a successful application, get ready to move to Estonia - three helpful tools for that can be found over at the pages of Work in Estonia , Welcoming Programme and Teleport!


Required Documents

Documents to be submitted along with your visa application:

  • a valid travel document
  • confirmation letter from the Startup Committee regarding qualification as a startup or confirmation regarding participation in qualified accelerator program
  • 1 color photo with measures 35x45 mm
  • a document confirming the payment of the state fee
  • an insurance policy valid for Estonia or for the Schengen area with a coverage of at least 30 000 EUR for the entire duration of stay
  • evidence of sufficient means of subsistence
  • evidence regarding accommodation
  • any information which supports an applicant’s intention to leave the Schengen area before the expiry of the visa, such as the return flight tickets


Documents to be submitted along with your temporary residence permit application:

  • a valid identity document
  • data on close relatives and family members (if applicable)
  • confirmation letter from the Startup Committee regarding qualification as a startup
  • color photo with measures 40x50 mm
  • a document confirming the payment of the state fee
  • a health insurance contract for the whole duration of the temporary residence permit and sufficient legal income, minimal 130 EUR per every month of stay in Estonia

Costs

For a long-term visa, the state fee is 80 EUR. Ukrainian and Belarusian residents are exempt from paying the fee.

The state fee for a temporary residence permit is 64 EUR (when applying in Estonia) or 80 EUR (when applying in Estonian representation).


Bring your family with you

If a startup is granted a visa, the same may be granted to their family - spouse, minor children, and children that have reached the age of maturity but who due to their health status or disability are not self-reliant. The same applies to the family when the Startup Visa is extended.


Have any questions? Take a look at the FAQ or ask us at visa@startupestonia.ee!