To be eligible for the Startup Visa as a founder, you'll need:
A Technology based, innovative and scalable business. Your business model is expected to pack global growth potential. Think Airbnb and Uber, not restaurants or one-man consultancies. The Startup Visa is aimed at tech-driven startups that solve big problems, disrupt massive industries, and will serve millions of people.
Approval from the Startup Committee stating that you meet the definition of a startup and can pursue the Startup Visa. Your application will be reviewed by people who work with startups on a daily basis. They have eagle eyes, so traditional companies won't make the cut.
At least €160 for every month you want to spend in Estonia. This translates to €1920 for a one-year visa. It is the bare minimum required by law. That said, with decent rental flats costing €500+ a month, plus other living expenses, you'll need more money to enjoy a comfortable life in Estonia.
To run your startup in Estonia, you have two options:
If you don't yet have an Estonian company, you can apply for a long-term startup visa (up to 12 months) or a short-term visa (up to 3 months)
If you you've already set up an Estonian company, you can apply for either a startup visa (both short-term or long-term) or a temporary residence permit for startup business (up to five years).
Introduce your company to the Startup Committee, giving as much useful information as you can. Think of it as applying to an accelerator program or pitching to a potential investor.
The Startup Committee consists of members of the Estonian startup community. It will review the application and make a decision within 10 working days. You'll get the verification letter with a unique application code. Save this code for the next steps.
Apply for the visa
If your company passes qualification, fill out the startup-visa application or the application for a temporary residence permit, using your unique application code. Apply in person at an Estonian embassy in a city of your choosing, or at a service point for the Estonian Police and Border Guard Board. If you need assistance, please contact the Migration advisory service.
Confirmation letter from the Startup Committee regarding qualification as a startup or confirmation regarding participation in a qualified accelerator program
A color photo sized 35 x 45 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 for the entire duration of your stay
Evidence of sufficient means of subsistence
Evidence regarding your planned accommodation in Estonia
Any information that supports your intention to leave the Schengen area before the expiry of the visa, such as return flight tickets
For a long-term visa, the state fee is €80.
The state fee for a temporary residence permit is €160 when applying in Estonia, or €180 when applying at an Estonian embassy.
Bring your family with you
If a startup is granted a visa, the same may be granted to their family – spouse, minor children, and adult children 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 more questions? That's cool. Here are some we get quite often.