Startup and Entrepreneur Visa Index

There are 43 startup, entrepreneur, and digital nomad visa programs currently active internationally, allowing participants access and residence in 36 countries.

Visas targeting tech founders and remote businesses aren't limited to rising or low-profile countries. In fact, of the 27 EU countries, 16 countries currently offer some form of visa for entrepreneurs, whether they've got an established business or nothing but a business plan. Canada also offers a startup visa. The US startup visa was approved under the Obama administration, but canceled by the Trump administration before launch.

Here at NanoGlobals, we view these visas as keys to the increasingly international tech ecosystem. To that end, we're collecting data to break down each current program on the market: the cost, allowances, requirements, and how to take advantage as a tech founder.

26
Startup visa programs as of 2020
36
countries permit residence via startup, entrepreneur, or digital nomad visas

Top Startup and Entrepreneur Visa Programs by Region

RegionCountryProgramIdeal Applicant
North AmericaCanadaCanadian Start-up VisaExperienced startup founders with existing investement
AsiaTaiwanTaiwan Entrepreneur VisaEarly-stage founders seeking an incubator experience and investor access
South AmericaChileStartup ChileEarly-stage founders seeking an incubator experience and guaranteed seed funding
EuropeLithuaniaStartup Visa LithuaniaEarly-to-mid-stage founders seeking EU access and a self-directed tech ecosystem experience

Europe

CountryProgramVisa TypeApplication
AustriaRed-White-Red Card for Start-up FoundersStartupApply
CyprusCyprus Startup Visa SchemeStartupApply
DenmarkStart-up DenmarkStartupApply
EstoniaEstonia Digital Nomad VisaDigital NomadApply
EstoniaStartUp Visa EstoniaStartupApply
FinlandStart-up Entrepreneur Residence PermitStartupApply
FranceFrench Tech VisaStartupApply
GeorgiaRemotely From GeorgiaDigital NomadApply
GermanySelf-Employed Residence VisaEntrepreneurApply
IrelandStart-up Entrepreneur Programme (STEP)EntrepreneurApply
ItalyItalian Startup VisaStartupApply
LatviaLatvia Startup VisaStartupApply
LithuaniaStartup Visa LithuaniaStartupApply
NetherlandsDutch Startup VisaStartupApply
PortugalStartUP VisaStartupApply
San MarinoSan Marino Startup VisaStartupApply
SpainEntrepreneur Visa ProgramEntrepreneurApply
SwedenSelf-Employed Residence PermitEntrepreneurApply
United KingdomInnovator VisaStartupApply
United KingdomUK Start-up VisaStartupApply

North America

CountryProgramVisa TypeApplication
CanadaEntrepreneur Program Stream 1EntrepreneurApply
CanadaEntrepreneur Program Stream 2EntrepreneurApply
CanadaStart-up VisaStartupApply

Asia

CountryProgramVisa TypeApplication
JapanJapan Startup VisaStartupApply
MalaysiaMalaysia Established Entrepreneur PassEntrepreneurApply
MalaysiaMalaysia New Entrepreneur PassStartupApply
SingaporeEntrePass (Entrepreneur)EntrepreneurApply
SingaporeEntrePass (Innovator)StartupApply
South KoreaK-Startup Grand ChallengeStartupApply
TaiwanTaiwan Entrepreneur VisaStartupApply

South America

CountryProgramVisa TypeApplication
ArgentinaIncuBAteStartupApply
BrazilStart-Up BrazilStartupApply
ChileStartup ChileStartupApply
ColumbiaRuta NStartupApply
JamaicaStart Up JamaicaStartupApply
MexicoStartup MexicoStartupApply

Australasia

CountryProgramVisa TypeApplication
AustraliaBusiness Innovation and Investment VisasEntrepreneurApply
New ZealandEntrepreneur Work VisaStartupApply

Caribbean

CountryProgramVisa TypeApplication
BarbadosWelcome StampDigital NomadApply
BermudaWork From Bermuda CertificateDigital NomadApply

Startup and Entrepreneur Visa Programs Criteria

We've vetted each program listed to determine if it is truly geared at startups and entrepreneurs, or if it is simply a re-branded investement visa. We're striving to only include visas that are:

  1. Created to enrich the local tech ecosystem in a country.
  2. Do not require arbitrary payments or non-business investements.
  3. Are open to exceptional tech founders and not based purely on personal financial resources.

Entrepreneur Visa vs Startup Visa

Entrepreneur visa: residence permit for the purpose of operating a new or existing business in a country. Entrepreneur visas are granted to qualifying applicants who can enrich the economy through value and job creation. Entrepreneur visas are often, but not always, granted through sponsorship by an approved business or economic development organization. For the purpose of the NanoGlobals Visa Index, we strive to only include visas which are true economic development programs, not simply disguised "residence by investement" schemes or tax loopholes.

Startup visa: residence permit for the purpose of starting a new tech company in a country. Startup visas are granted to qualifying applicants who can enrich the country's innovation economy through value or job creation. Startup visas are often, but not always, granted through a government-appointed startup incubator. For the purpose of the NanoGlobals Visa Index, we strive to only include visas which are designed for early-stage founders.