New Visas and Permits Will Make Life Easier for Startups and Startup Employees

Sander Nõmmik
Author Sander Nõmmik

The Parliament is discussing a startup visas and permits scheme that is to go into effect in the following months in Estonia. The changes, if approved by the Parliament, will make it easier for non-Estonians to relocate or set up their startup in Estonia as well as enabling all startups registered in Estonia to recruit people from outside the EU. The draft has had its first reading in the Parliament and two more will follow.

Changes for startup establishers / developers
If the changes come into effect, both a short and long-stay visa may be applied for the establishment of a new startup or the development of an existing one. A short-stay visa grants a stay of up to 90 days, and a long-stay visa – up to 365 days. If a visa is granted, the same may be granted to the family of the one establishing or developing the startup.
If one has registered a start-up in Estonia, he or she may also apply for a temporary residence permit for entrepreneurship to develop the start-up. A temporary residence is issued for a period of up to five years. In applying for a residence permit, the general investment requirement does not apply. Start-ups are granted an exception to the rate of income.

Changes for startup employees
One may apply for either a short (up to 90 days) or long-stay (up to 365 days) visa for employment in Estonia if employed by a start-up registered here.
A temporary residence permit for work may also be applied for by startup employees and it is issued for a period of up to five years. The general salary requirement does not apply and the employee does not need to meet the Unemployment Insurance Fund’s permit requirement.

In case of startup establishers, developers and employees the immigration quota will not be applied if the changes to the Aliens Act come into effect.