France wants to attract foreign entrepreneurs and startups.
Foreign entrepreneurs granted the new French Entrepreneur visa (also called French Tech Ticket) will be provided with a grant of12,500Euros which will be exempted of income tax and social taxation (CSG-CRDS) – as agreed by the French Parliament in the amendment of a law on international investment.
The French Gov and the city of Paris launched the French Tech Ticket visa this year to promote its startup eco-system worldwide. This financial incentive aims to attract and support foreign entrepreneurs starting innovative companies in France.
The French Tech Ticket acts as a comprehensive “Welcome Pack” for foreign entrepreneurs. Successful applicants will benefit from a fast track visa process to obtain a work visa and receive – on top of a grant of 12,500Euros per founder (maximum 3 people) – an office space in a partner startup incubator, support on settling down and discounts on Air France flights.
The grant of 12.500Euros is renewable after 6 months if the project shows traction. Next year, the French Tech Ticket should be extended to the whole country incubators. For now, the French Tech Ticket works only with foreign entrepreneurs wanting to relocate in Paris.
Making Economic Sense
This measure to exempt the grant of taxes comes as natural as the 12,500Euros are granted by the French Government through the BPI. Indeed, a taxation on a government subsidy would not make much sense.
Launched this May, the French Startup Visa is for non-French entrepreneurs who have an idea for creating or expanding a startup. During the call for proposals, which ended on 15 September, 722 startup projects were submitted, for a total of 1,372 applicants and 5,677 expressions of interest from over 90 countries.
It is a definite confirmation for Axelle Lemaire, Minister of State for Digital Affairs, that France has grown a strong “international appeal” she says and “for this fantastic startup momentum to continue” she adds “we now need to work with entrepreneurs from around the world and (…) later [expand the French Startup Visa programme] to other French Tech Metropoles throughout France.”
Paris, growing hub for international startups Buoyed by the success of forerunners such as Criteo, Withings, and Sigfox, the recent news of $200 raised by Blablacar, the acquisition of Leetchi, the plans for Deezer to go public, and with the support of the French government, which launched the French Tech initiative, French startup have reached cruising speed in recent years!
Paris is a world leader in the innovation economy: “Number one city in the world for innovation and intellectual capital” and “third most appealing city for foreign investment”.
The fifty winners of the first edition of Paris French Tech Ticket will be announced in December. Starting in January 2016, they will be welcomed into a dozen support structures and partner incubators.
Upcoming stages in the selection process: 1- By the end of September: a pre-selection process will choose 500 eligible projects, in order of submission
2- October: the 500 projects will be reviewed by a panel of experts. Seventy of them will be selected, and Skype interviews with the applicants will take place between 2 and 6 November
3- End of November: following the interview phase, the list of finalists and runners-up will be
4- January 2016: the 50 winning French Tech Ticket entrepreneurs will arrive in Paris
A new call for proposals will be launched early in 2016.
Have you been looking into what the visa options are to start a business in the UK?
Migreat spoke to Seedcamp, a London based pan-European accelerator funded by a group of 30 investors, about visa options and what is important to know about immigration before moving to London to start a company. Here’s a recap of the podcast.
What are the main things a foreign entrepreneur needs to know about UK visas & immigration? [Minute 4.09]
You have more options than just the Entrepreneur visa: Investor, Graduate Entrepreneur, Prospective Entrepreneur, Exceptional Talent visas are options for you to consider.
People should think about their visa choices strategically and about the long term. Migreat recommends that you always ask for expert advice from regulated experts – it will save you time and money.
How to make your choice between all visa options? [Min 5.45-6.30 & Min 8.50-11]
To make a solid and informed choice, Migreat recommends you consider:
your current visa situation
the capital you have access too
your plans and the time you want to spend in the UK
A better deal for the Entrepreneur visa? [Min 7.25] If you are accepted into Seedcamp or another endorsed incubator in the UK – you have to show £50K in capital to apply to the Entrepreneur Visa.
Make sure you get the paperwork right. [Min 13.30]
Most applications are refused because of paperwork mistakes. Understand that the UKVI judges your application by the paperwork you provide. They will not typically meet you or make a google search around how well you are doing with your business.
Immigration experts are big time (and life )savers in this regard:
Consider hiring a solicitor if you want to save time, money and minimise risks to get refused with your application.
The service of an immigration solicitor fluctuates in prices. [Min 17.21]
Check what is included in the price and if it is a hourly rate or a package. Always make sure that your immigration solicitor has the credentials and experience with the visa you are applying for.[Min 22.25]
It is an investment that is worth it. At Migreat, we strive to match foreigners with a solicitor that speaks the language, understands where you are coming from and has done similar work in the past successfully.
Increasingly, European governments are easing access to EU residence status and citizenship to wealthy foreigners. Spain is one such country – since September 2013 offering residency to foreigners in return for a significant investment in the country.
The requirements The legislation is quite straightforward; in return for an investment of €500,000 EUR in real estate (taxes not included); or €2,000,000 in Spanish Debt or; €1,000,000 in Spanish company shares or Spanish Financial institutions, non-EU nationals and their families can be granted a resident permit for a year, renewable every two years if the investment is maintained. It does not grant citizenship, but can lead to it later on.
The requirements to fill – excluding the capital – are minimal; a clear criminal and immigration history, subscription to a health insurance and proof that the applicants have enough money to sustain themselves. It should not be difficult for high net worth individuals to prove they will not be a burden on States’ finances!
Benefits The new legislation waives the previous requirement of six months of residency. Applicants to the visa only need to have visited Spain once before applying. The permit gives investors the right to live in Spain and travel freely inside of Spain as well as within the 26-countries in the Schengen area. Family members can access schools both state and private – and given the strong internal links between European universities, will be granted easier access to universities in Europe including the UK.
An attractive offer This new legislation has opened the door to thousands of potential investors – mainly Russian and Chinese – looking to benefit from Spain’s low property prices and the benefits of the Mediterranean lifestyle.
The initiative has revived the sagging property market which surplus inventory of between 700,000 and 1 million unsold homes as recently as 2012. Airports are now covered with real estate wall advertisements translated into Mandarin.
However, there are still some important questions that remain unanswered such as:
How soon can you sell the property without losing the residency status?
How can one become naturalized and obtain a Spanish passport after obtaining residency through this program?
Can foreign investors enjoy the resident status if they lease the property, in whole or in part?
Migreat experts provide answers to these questions in a single webinar happening September 2nd 2015, online at 3PM London Time. To attend, register now on Migreat Immigration Webinar page.
Spain offers a specific immigration route for entrepreneurs called “Ley de Emprendedores” or Entrepreneurs’ Law. It makes it straightforward for migrant entrepreneurs to get the permission to live and work in Spain. Here is Migreat’s practical guide to the visa. If you need assistance or have questions – ask @Migreat on twitter or see below for more resources.
Who can apply under the “Ley de Emprendedores” ? Any non-EU national that wants to start an innovative business or company that will create innovation and local jobs in Spain. Applicants do not have to meet a minimum investment capital threshold (unlike entrepreneur visas in most other countries). However, applicants are required to show a valid business plan that demonstrates the economic benefits for Spain and sufficient funds to be financially independent.
“It is all about the idea and the project” says Ana Garicano Solé, Spanish Immigration lawyer at Sagardoy. “If you are not confident your idea can prove to be innovative and creating jobs – you might want to apply to another visa: investor visa or highly skilled visa.”
How to apply? The process is slightly different if you apply from within Spain or before arriving.
1. Applying from outside the country: If you currently reside outside of Spain, you must apply for a Spanish Entrepreneur visa. The visa will give you a year to establish the business in Spain. To do this:
Get in touch with your local Spanish consulate
Submit your business plan to the Spanish Economic and Commercial Office (Secretaría de Estado de Comercio)
Wait 10 days (maximum) for the decision on your business plan. If approved, you will obtain a report on Entrepreneurial Activity of Interest – an essential document for you to apply for the visa.
Go to the consulate with the documents listed below as well as a visa form dully completed and pay the fee (make sure to double check with the consulate on the documents required – it can vary from a consulate to another):
Copy of all your passport pages or ID
Documents demonstrating a clean criminal record in your home country
Proof of health insurance
Proof that you have sufficient funds to sustain yourself in Spain
Your report on Entrepreneurial Activity of Interest
When in Spain, you can apply right away to an Entrepreneur Residence permit as specified below.
2. Applying from within Spain: If you already reside in Spain with a valid visa (it can be just a tourist visa), you must apply for a residence permit authorisation (valid for two years and renewable).
To do this you will need to:
Get in touch with the Directorate-General for Trade and Investment – (Unidad de Grandes Empresas y Colectivos Estratégicos (UGE-CE)) via this email firstname.lastname@example.org to obtain the right contact to submit your business plan and ask for any other form you may need to supply with it
Submit your business plan with the correct application form if needed to the Spanish Economic and Commercial Office (Secretaría de Estado de Comercio)
Wait 20 days (maximum) for a decision on your business plan. If approved, you will obtain a report on Entrepreneurial Activity of Interest – an essential document, like a certificate that guarantees your business idea is entrepreneurial, for you to apply for the residence permit
Gather the following documents and apply for a residence permit from your local police station (make sure to double check with the police station on the documents they require – it can vary from station to station):
Copy of all your passport pages or ID
Documents demonstrating a clean criminal criminal record in your home country and in Spain
Proof of health insurance
Proof that you have sufficient funds to sustain yourself in Spain
Your report on Entrepreneurial Activity of Interest
Timings & Extra Information
Processing times varies but the Spanish government has been pretty good at sticking to its promise of 10 days for visa applications, 20 days for residence permits.
All documents need to be translated in Spanish by a licensed translator.
You can come with your children, spouse or civil partner on this visa or residence permit. You can file applications for each dependent at the same time you are applying for the entrepreneur visa or residence permit. Dependents are allowed to work.
If you have any questions about the process or if you need the help of an immigration expert to proceed, please contact Migreat at solicitorconnect (at) migreat (dot) com – we will connect you with the right expert who will call you and answer your general questions.
France launched on wednesday a Startup Visa called the French Tech Ticket – a full package for entrepreneurs from all over the world willing to set up their startup in Paris.
What’s the programme?
The Programme targets entrepreneurs who may or may not already have a business in France, and who are, for example, completing their education and looking to create a startup. Teams must comprise one to three founding members, and a maximum of one French person per team.
The program provides
Funding of €12,500 for 6 months, renewable so to give a year funding of a EUR 25K total to each team member.
Free space in a partner incubator. What you find in spaces as such is access to training session, dedicated network and mentors to support a start-up growth.
FrenchTech event access
A Help Desk to provide assistance with red tape; and god knows how it can be useful in France.
On top of things – and so so french: you get lower prices on Air France flights, a Gold loyalty card and advertising for the startup via Air France!
So what are you waiting for to apply? And who should apply?
Any entrepreneur with a scalable or innovative idea is welcomed in the programme – with a team of three people maximum and willing to give Paris incubator a try for six to a year.
Applications opened in June online with a questionnaire and a video pitch to submit. They close by end of September when a videoconference with selected applicants will be interviewed to develop the idea of the project. The final selection will be made by a committee comprising members of the French Tech Initiative, the Paris City Council, Bpifrance, Business France, the Directorate General for Enterprise (DGE), partner incubators and leading personalities of the tech & entrepreneurship scene.
France eco-system has grown over the years to be a significant player on the world map of start-up eco-systems: there are over 40 business incubators, 80 co-working spaces, 20 fab labs, and close to 1,500 startups being set up annually. It has made itself famous thanks to the success stories of Critéo, Blablacar and Sarenza. A 33,000m2 incubator space, la Halle Freyssinet will open in November this year in the centre of Paris.
In most European countries, to be provided with citizenship rights will cost you to prove numerous years of legal residence within the country.
Exception made of a few islands in the Caribbeans, Malta and Cyprus where a handful of investment can get you a passport and full new citizenship straight-away.
This grant of citizenship – also called economic citizenship – is sought after by wealthy people as a way to escape political unrest, manage the value of their wealth and enjoy greater flexibility to travel the world.
We list here below and compare these five island where you can buy your way in. They are ranged from the most expensive to the least.
Cyprus: €2,500,000 to €5,000,000
Requirements Applicants are required to either
– make an investment of at least €2m in shares and/or bonds of the Cyprus State Investment Company and donate at least €0.5m to the Cypriot Research and Technology Fund, or;
– make an investment of at least €5m in Cyprus. The following types of investments qualify
Property (but not undeveloped land)
Cypriot businesses or companies
Bonds, securities, debentures
Investment or participation in public works, or;
– deposit at least €5m in a Cypriot bank for three years on fixed terms.
– own, or partly-own, a company which has paid a certain amount taxes and other fees to the Cypriot government and which employs a certain number of people in Cyprus.
Benefits Cyprus is part of the EU. As such, you gain the right to live, work and study in the EU and the right to travel to 157 countries visa-free, including the EU.
Malta: starting at €1,050,000
Requirements: Applicants are required to make
– a non-refundable contribution of €650,000 to the National Fund and Economy of Malta,
– an investment in property of at least €350,000,
– finally, an investment of €150,000 in Gov bonds for the next five years.
Benefits: Malta is part of the EU. As such, you gain the right to live, work and study in the EU. As well as gain access to travel to 166 countries visa-free, including the EU.
St Kitts & Nevis* & Antigua & Barbuda: $250,000
Requirements Applicants to St Kitts & Nevis Citizenship are required to make either
– a non-refundable contribution of US$ 250,000 to the national Charity
– an $400,000 investment in real estate in the country.
Exceptions* The program is now closed for applicants from Afghanistan and Iran.
Applicants to Antigua & Barbuda Citizenship are required to make either
– a contribution to the National Development Fund (NDF) of a minimum non-refundable amount of US$200,000 (for a single applicant), or;
– an investment of at least US$400,000 into one of the approved real estate projects, or;
– an investment of a minimum of US$1,500,000 directly into an eligible business as a sole investor or a joint investment involving at least 2 persons.
Along investments, both programs include significant administrative fees to be paid to the Government.
Benefits Citizens of Antigua & Barbuda and St Kitts & Nevis can travel like to 132 countries without the need to obtain a visa.
Applicants are required to make
– an non-refundable investment of $100,000 to the Dominican Government and;
– Pay administrative fees associated with the application.
Dominica is a Commonwealth nation. Its citizens get special privileges in the UK, and can travel up to 91 countries, including Switzerland, without a visa.
Dominica’s economic citizenship does not require residency terms. Dominica allows dual citizenship.
This second citizenship is a legal way to reduce taxes; revenue generated outside of Dominica is tax free, it is not subject to capital gains tax, or inheritance tax or any other tax. The application process is strictly confidential, with no disclosure or exchange of information
Many more countries are joining the list of countries with specific immigration and tax policies targeted at entrepreneurs. Here is an updated list for 2015 – that will make global global entrepreneurs think twice about heading to the US first. [Last edited June 2015]
From the cheapest to the most expensive Entrepreneur visa application
Most Entrepreneur visa schemes ask for entrepreneurs to show investments in the range of $40,000 to $100,000. Lucky are the successful applicant to the Chilean and French Entrepreneur Visa: with the visa comes a grants of 20 million pesos (approx $35K) and EUR 12,5K (approx $14K) per applicant respectively provided by each country government.
Which countries have the easiest Entrepreneur Visa process?
It is difficult to say, as rules are not always matching reality.
On paper, the Italian, Dutch and Spanish visa look very attractive. Both countries promise a quick processing turnaround (30 days maximum). In Spain, all documentations submitted have to be translated in Spanish. In Italy, the application is reduce to the strict minimum: sending electronically a CV and filling out an online application form. The application form can be filled in English.
Entrepreneur visas with a specific advantage
Canada’s Startup visa provides permanent residency. It is the only visa among all to do so. Ireland Innovative Startup visa is the only one flexible in the time allowed to entrepreneurs to prove their business and achieve the renewal requirements in terms of job created and revenue generated. It also has a flexible immigration system that makes it easy and simple for start-up to hire foreigners. New Zealand Entrepreneur Work visa offers a two steps visa: more time for entrepreneurs to get settle and start their business in the country, with good support from the Government. France offers lower price on Air France flights – and special promotion from Air France. Interesting… !
What are other advantages of these visas I should know?
Most visas are easier to get if you have been accepted in an accelerator. It is especially true for Startup Chile, Canada and the UK. In Italy, the startup visa route is not only simplified but after entering Italy you and your innovative start-up will also benefit from a range of tax and labour regulation benefits:
– Fail fast policy
– Access to crowd-funding
– Special taxation on start-ups that are favourable to investors
Italy created and launched a groundbreaking Italian Startup Visa last June 2014. Read more information below to be eligible and apply to the Italian Startup visa.
Italy has long offered resident permits to entrepreneurs to Italy and this time decided to concentrate efforts on offering innovative entrepreneurs a new and better process to start a company in the country.
The Italian startup visa allows non EU citizens to come to Italy to start innovative business ventures and benefit of certain advantages in taxes and investment.
To be eligible, applicants must present an innovative business idea that will be evaluated by a specific committee, along showing evidence of a minimum of €50,000 in start-up funds.
Both routes offer the entrepreneur a priority application and certain benefits in Italy.
The Ministry of Economic Development and Ministry of Foreign Affairs communicated that the special startup visa will be granted in about 30 days; and the procedure can be quicker if the applicant already has a been accepted within a certified incubator.
With this Startup visa, Italy wants to further develop its startup ecosystem to support innovative entrepreneurs and to open doors to innovative and global entrepreneurs. Especially, the geographical position of Italy made the initiative a unique opportunity in the region to create and connect with the wider innovative and startup ecosystem developing around the Mediterranean sea.
This list is timely because the UK has just launched an exceptional talent visa last April for entrepreneurs and startup employees in the Digital Industry and there is a growing trend across European countries to try to attract foreign investment and entrepreneurial migrants to start businesses in Europe and create jobs.
Lastly, our company has been much involved in speaking at conferences and in the media about the opportunities for highly skilled migrants in the UK and have launched a report on applicants to the UK Entrepreneur visa. Countries with specific visas for Entrepreneurs & Startup Founders In the UK, entrepreneurs and start-ups founders can come on one of the three following visa options:
The choice between them depends on your personal situation and visa history as well as the length of their stay and the stage at which they are with their business. The most difficult to get is the Entrepreneur visa because you will have to prove either access to 50K or 200K investment. For others, you will just have to prove a business model that works and to be genuinely motivated to build a company in the UK.
There has been a growing demand for those visas for the last five years; and stricter rules are being implemented throughout time to check the genuineness of applications. The latest changes in July 2014 are pushing entrepreneurial students to apply for the graduate entrepreneur visa instead of the main Entrepreneur Visa. In Ireland, entrepreneurs and startups founders can apply to the startup visa targeted at innovative companies. You will have to show €75,000 in funding investments. No job creation targets have been set as it is recognized that such businesses can take some time to get off the ground.
The intention of the programme is to support high potential start-ups. The scheme is not intended for retail, personal services, catering or other businesses of this nature. More information can be found on the following link: http://www.inis.gov.ie/en/INIS/Guidelines%20for%20Start-up%20Entrepreneur%20Programme.pdf/Files/Guidelines%20for%20Start-up%20Entrepreneur%20Programme.pdf
The Italian startup visa is aimed at attracting and promoting innovative global entrepreneurs and was launched in June 2014. It offers a simplified visa procedure for entrepreneurs by cutting red-tape and providing a range of tax and labour regulation benefits. To qualify for it, the entrepreneur applicant must prove the innovative character of the business idea ; and show access to €50,000 in investment capital for the business. The visa is granted for a year and renewed each year.
Migrant Entrepreneurs to Italy can also choose to enter the country via the ‘standard’ self-employed visa. The process requires the applicant to apply for a work permit (nulla osta) from within Italy. Italian entrepreneur visas can be given for economic activities in any sector. The minimum funding investment to show is a mere €4,962.36 which contrasts to the €50,000 investment required for the Italian Startup Visa.
Nevertheless, you must pay careful attention to demonstrate you are contributing to the Italy’s economic growth by the amount of investment you are bringing in, the amount of revenue you are planning to generate and how many jobs you plan to create. As such, working closely with the Italian Chamber of Commerce can greatly help you make your application successful.
The Italian Entrepreneur work permit allows you to stay for two years. You can renew your permit by submitting an application at least 60 days before the permit expires. Countries without a specific visa for Entrepreneurs
Currently France does offer two visas for entrepreneurs:
a resident permit called Compétences et talents (Competencies and Talents).
a FrenchTech Ticket or Entrepreneur visa
It grants visa for entrepreneurs that “are likely to make a significant or lasting contribution, to France’s economic development or to its prestige, and directly or indirectly, to that of their country of origin”.
In other words, your business must have show a clear contribution to France’s economic prosperity and to your country of origin back. Very very few of these visas have been issued.
What is a most often used solution for entrepreneurs in France that want to start a company is to come under the EU Blue Card rather than apply for a Competencies and Talents resident permit.
The only advantage of the Competencies and Talents resident permit is that it will grant you a stay as long as 6 years, one year more than the EU Blue card.
The French Ticket or entrepreneur visa, is granted to entrepreneurs selected by specific Paris based incubators and starting a business related to technology and the digital industry. Learn more about the FrenchTech Ticket application process.
This will allow you to start a business in Germany legally for three years at the end of which, you can apply for permanent residency if the business is viable and successful.
Recently, Spain created a specific fast-tracked visa route for entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs are offered the normal resident permit, requiring them to have a government-vetted business plan, health insurance and enough money to support themselves while living in Spain. Visa decisions are promised within 10 working days, and residence permit decisions in 20 days.
This visa gives you two years legally in the country and is renewable.
This list is an overview of major European countries’ immigration policy towards entrepreneurs.]
You will eventually have to renew it and most renewal can lead to residency. You will just have to prove that you have been successful at the business.
For more information about those schemes, you can always ask Migreat online or below in the comments.