A Startup Visa Guide

India is witnessing a boom in startups and small businesses. Having a startup is no longer viewed with skepticism. In fact, it is one of the most noteworthy careers these days. Indians markets are ripe for new products and services. However, startups are not limiting themselves to Indian terrains anymore. They are testing the international waters and expanding their business beyond the borders.

What is a business visa?

A Business visa is a non-immigrant visa meant only for business purposes. You need to get a business visa to conduct business-related activities and is not for setting up a new business. If anyone is accompanying you when you are travelling on a business visa then it is customary for them to be a part of the business activity for which you are visiting the country. Do not confuse work permits with a business visa. Issuance of work permit does not guarantee any approval of a business visa in the host country.

Documents required for Business Visa application

Here are the mandatory documents you need to get a business visa

  • A business letter of invitation from your destination country
  • Letter of employment
  • Company letter of intent
  • A valid passport
  • Date of return

Startup Visas

New businesses are no longer satisfied with being a local favourite but aim to grow leaps and bounds and take their business overseas. To help startups expand their businesses to foreign lands, few countries have started giving out a special startup visa, which is meant exclusively for new entrepreneurs and young companies. Some countries also allow you to establish your company with an entrepreneur’s visa. Check out start-up visas offered by some countries.

Canada’s Startup Visa Program

Canada has always been an all-time favourite destination for Indians to migrate. So, for those who were looking to expand their startups in a country where 3.8% of the overall population is Indian, Canada is offering a special startup visa program. Canada’s startup visa can be extended to 5 founders, provided that each of them owns at least 10% shares in the company individually. About 2,750 visas are given out to aspiring entrepreneurs every year who wish to set up their businesses in Canada. The biggest benefit of this visa is that it grants you permanent residence.


  • Ability to communicate in English or French
  • All the founders must have sufficient funds to support themselves in Canada
  • Investment of $200,000 CAD from an accredited venture fund or $75,000 from a designated angel group

French Tech Visa

The French government has opened its doors to tech entrepreneurs to come and stay in France for expanding their business or to start a new venture. This Visa lets you stay for business purposes in France for 4 years, which can be renewed further if the startup is functioning well. This visa can be acquired by investors, founders as well as startup employees. Spouses of employees and founders can also accompany them with this visa and they also get a free work permit to work and stay in France. 

French Tech Ticket

The French Tech Ticket is a visa-cum-accelerator programme for young startups. 50 startups are selected every year for a 6-month long accelerator programme where founders are given office space to establish their startup ideas. A funding of €12,500 to €25,000 is also given to the founders along with a startup visa.


  • A plan to develop economically feasible startup in France
  • A graduate degree for employees
  • Employed under an annual gross salary of at least €35,526

Startup Denmark

Denmark’s startup visa program is a great incentive for tech startups. This visa grants about 2 years of stay permit which can be extended to the 3rd year. Denmark hands out about 50 visas every year to promising tech entrepreneurs from around the world.


  • An approval by the Denmark Startup panel for the business plan
  • An invitation from the Startup Denmark to apply for a work and residence permit
  • Evaluation by Danish Agency for international recruitment and integration

Startup Portugal

This visa is specifically given only to Indian entrepreneurs. Startup Portugal and Invest India have signed Memorandum of Understanding to incubate Indian startups in Portugal and to let them expand their services to this country. With a valid visa for startup co-founders, this programme also gives an office space for up to 3,500 employees and financial support from some venture capitalists.

Ireland Startup Entrepreneur Programme

Ireland’s Startup Entrepreneur Programme offers a visa to startup founders from around the world to establish their businesses in Ireland. The founders and the employees are given a visa for 2 years initially, which can be later extended to another 3 years if the startup is well-functioning.


  • The startup needs to be less than 6 years old
  • A potential to create at least 10 well-paying jobs in Ireland and probable sales of €1,000,000 within 3-4 years.
  • A funding of €50,000 for the founder’s personal expenses in Ireland and €30,000 for other co-founders for a capital requirement.

Italy’s Startup Visa

This startup visa grants a permit to stay for 1 year with a possible extension of 2 years. This is a self-employment visa and therefore, you won’t have to get any other work permits.


  • A letter of approval from the Startup Visa Technical Committee
  • The startup must be less than 5 years in operations and should have an annual turnover of less than €5,000,000 with no history of distributed profits.
  • Must fulfil certain criteria such as – 1. 15% of costs or turnover attributed to R&D activities 2. Over ⅓ of the total workforce is Ph.D., Masters students or researchers 3. Right to any kind of intellectual property.

Sweden Self-employment Residency

This visa is meant for people who want to stay beyond 3 months in Sweden while running their own business. As a result of self-employment residency visa, you get a permit to stay for 2 years which can be later extended for a permanent stay if the startup thrives successfully.


  • Past experience of being in the same industry
  • The founder needs to own at least 50% of the business
  • The goods and services sold by the startup needs to be sold in Sweden
  • A personal fund to sustain the founder and his/her family

Singapore Entry-pass Service

This visa is entrepreneurs from outside the European Union. Consequently, after careful evaluation, successful candidates are granted 1 year of residency. 


  • Regular stay on Spanish soil
  • A report of the business plan needs to be submitted to the Commercial office to evaluate a business’s intentions.

How Thomas Cook can help

Thomas Cook’s expertise will make it easy for you to apply for any of the business visas mentioned above. Apart from the business plans and reports required to apply to some of these countries, Thomas Cook will take care of all your visa application procedures. Here’s how you can book your visa online with just a few clicks. 

4 easy steps to get your visa 

  • Get Quote
  • Pay Online
  • Submit Documents
  • Receive Visa

Why book with Thomas Cook

Thomas Cook provides you with an end to end facilitation and appointments with the embassy. You also get real-time updates and as a result you can track the status of your visa application. Get these startup visas with Thomas Cook’s help and finally make your startup dream come true without barriers or borders.

Also Read: 7 Ways Thomas Cook Can Make Your Life Easy

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