READ THIS if you are thinking of applying for the innovator visa

If you are planning on applying for indefinite leave to remain at year 3 under the innovator visa (as opposed to simply extending for another 3 years), then you will need to meet two of the seven success criteria. This means that your endorsing body must confirm in their endorsement letter that you have achieved at least 2 of the following:

 

  1. at least £50,000 has been invested into the business and actively spent furthering the business plan assessed in the applicant’s previous endorsement
  2. the number of the business’s customers has at least doubled within the most recent 3 years and is currently higher than the mean number of customers for other UK businesses offering comparable main products or services
  3. the business has engaged in significant research and development activity and has applied for intellectual property protection in the UK
  4. the business has generated a minimum annual revenue of £1 million in the last full year covered by its accounts
  5. the business is generating a minimum annual revenue of £500,000 in the last full year covered by its accounts, with at least £100,000 from exporting overseas
  6. the business has created the equivalent of at least 10 full-time jobs for resident workers
  7. the business has created the equivalent of at least 5 full-time jobs for resident workers, which have an average salary of at least £25,000 a year (gross pay, excluding any expenses)

 

I have emboldened the three ones which are most likely to apply to you (and most innovator visa applicants). If you are going for the employment one (7) then the R&D one (3) becomes academic.

 

 

Proving “significant research and development activity” (and application for IP protection)

 

The most obvious example of a business that satisfies criterion (3) would be a business that does lab work on some kind of technology, which is then developed and there is an application for a patent to protect it. But in my view it would also in principle be acceptable to apply a conventional SaaS / software development cycle, such as:

 

  1. User research concerning an intended unique user interface for a platform;
  2. Development of a prototype user interface on the basis of the user research;
  3. User testing (including A/B testing) on the prototype;
  4. Applying this user testing to the release of an alpha and then beta version of user interface;
  5. An application for intellectual property protection for the user interface, in the form of an application to register it as a unique design.

 

In this example, you can see that there is a link between the R&D and the eventual application to protect the IP in the asset which is produced. This would mean in practice linking from the outset the software development function of the business with the R&D aspect of the business, so that it is all one continuous process. I do not think that an application for a trademark or simply automatically acquiring copyright would be capable of qualifying.

 

It is important from the outset to consider whether you will want to rely on this success condition, or whether it is going to be more straight forward for you to rely on the employment success condition (number 7). You could then start planning accordingly.

Whichever 2 of the conditions are going to be met, it will be important to involve your endorsing body at the beginning, since it will be them who you will eventually be asking to confirm (if it is the case) that you have met the conditions. Much better to involve them early rather than later.

 

In relation to each of the criteria, there will need to be a body of evidence documenting how they have been fulfilled. This will ultimately mean accountancy evidence. In relation to the financial and employment conditions, both your endorsing body and the Home Office will want to see evidence produced by an accountant to show that they have been met. So it is best to start planning this now.

 

 

Proving the investment of the £50,000

 

Before the end of the 3 year term it will need to be shown (if the £50k success condition below is chosen) that at least £50,000 has been invested into the business and actively spent furthering the original business plan as assessed in your previous endorsement. I would suggest that in many cases the most straightforward way to evidence this would be for £50,000 equivalent to go from a bank account in your (the applicant’s) name (i.e. your own personal bank account), into the company’s bank account, and then spent on specific matters which are identified in your original business plan as endorsed. These matters will need to be carefully specified and highlighted. General spending will not qualify, it must be only matters specifically referenced in the business plan. Then the invoices from the third parties who charge the sums which cumulatively amount to at least £50,000 equivalent will need to be collected into a presentable packages and referenced to the payments shown in the company’s business bank account statement.

 

This means that in the end you will have:

 

  1. Proof of you (as the applicant) having transferred the money from a bank account in your name, into the company’s bank account;
  2. Proof of invoices showing that same money being paid by the company to third parties (i.e. “actively spent”), i.e. this money must be traceable back to the minimum £50,000 which you originally transfer;
  3. Proof of the relevant invoices evidencing those sums;
  4. Proof that the invoices relate to matters which were specifically referenced in the business plan (e.g. specific software development work which was referenced).

 

The safest approach is that the money is money to which you (as applicant) are legally and beneficially entitled at the point that it is transferred to the company. The money should not be in the form of a loan either:

 

  • to you, i.e. you should not have received it as a loan;
  • to the company, i.e. it should not be a loan to the company; or
  • from the company to the third party (i.e. that must be “actively spent” and not in the form of a loan).

 

It may be expedient depending on the facts to have a specific company business account set up for the qualifying minimum qualifying £50,000 investment. Otherwise the qualifying £50,000 investment pay become ‘mixed’ with sums from other sources and it then may be difficult to trace the spending back to the £50,000 which was invested by you into the business. It may be that the initial £50,000 is paid as share capital in the first instance, and then the spending tracked and evidenced against the invoices in the way I have suggested.

 

 

Proving that the business has created the equivalent of at least 5 full-time jobs for resident workers, which have an average salary of at least £25,000 a year (gross pay, excluding any expenses)

 

I would suggest that you have a buffer here both in terms of the number of workers (in case one drops out) and in terms of the timeframe. I would suggest that it would be optimal:

 

  1. to have the five people in their roles at the point of application (i.e. that they not be historical roles where one or more have since resigned);
  2. to have engaged them each for at least a year at the point of application;
  3. [it follows from this that] to initiate recruitment immediately so that by year 1.5 you have engaged the full team of 5 (or 6 or more depending on the buffer needed) by year 2.5. Of course, this will be led by your commercial considerations, but some element of immigration forward planning may be appropriate.

 

 

Other important points: “active and trading” and “significant achievements”

 

Remember that in addition to the success conditions, you will need to meet the other criteria at page 24 of the guidance, including:

 

  • the applicant has shown significant achievements judged against the business plan assessed in their previous endorsement
  • the applicant’s business is registered with Companies House and the applicant is listed as a director or member of that business
  • the business is active and trading
  • the business appears to be sustainable for at least the following 12 months based on its assets and expected income, weighted against its current and planned expenses
  • the applicant has demonstrated an active key role in the day to day management and development of the business

 

“Active and trading”

 

Possibly the most important aspect of this is ‘active and trading’. Trading denotes buying and selling. So you will need to have started selling and have paying customers, and be able to show accounts / business bank account statements to prove this. Since these visa routes are about scalable businesses, I would expect the sales to be sales of the actual product, rather than, e.g. consultancy-type services. For this reason, from a visa perspective I would plan to have the actual product / platform actually built and to have started receiving income before you get to the point of applying for indefinite leave to remain. Again, the accountancy evidence would be needed to prove it.  To be on the safe side, I would recommend planning to do this by year 2.5 of the visa to avoid any last minute rush.

 

If the name of your business ends up being different from the name specified in your business plan, then I would recommend getting your endorsing body to confirm when you apply for indefinite leave to remain that it is the same enterprise as covered in the original business plan that was endorsed.

 

“Significant achievements”

 

You would need to also show that you have made ‘significant achievements’ under the business plan which was endorsed. Again, the endorsing body would be confirming this so it makes sense to plan it out now with your endorsing body contact, i.e. your plan for how you will do what you said you would do in your business plan.

 

If, rather than applying for indefinite leave to remain, you wanted to simply extend your visa for another 3 years, then you would need to apply under the criteria set out at page 21 and 22 of the guidance. You would not need to satisfy the success criteria but you would still would still need to show for this that you had made ‘significant achievements’ under the business plan which was endorsed, and that the company was active and trading, etc.

 

“Active key role in the day to day management and development”

 

You will need to look ahead to see how you can evidence this upon any challenge. Ideas you may want to consider (besides producing reams of emails) are:

  • Minutes of any director meetings;
  • Records of Zoom / other video calls;
  • Calendar print outs covering material periods.

 

Feel free to email me if you have any questions.

How to spend the £50,000 on an innovator visa (and prove it)

Before the end of the 3 year term it will need to be shown (if the £50k success condition below is chosen) that at least £50,000 has been invested into the business and actively spent furthering the original business plan as assessed in your previous endorsement. I would suggest that in many cases the most straightforward way to evidence this would be for £50,000 equivalent to go from a bank account in your (the applicant’s) name (i.e. your own personal bank account), into the company’s bank account, and then spent on specific matters which are identified in your original business plan as endorsed. These matters will need to be carefully specified and highlighted. General spending will not qualify, it must be only matters specifically referenced in the business plan. Then the invoices from the third parties who charge the sums which cumulatively amount to at least £50,000 equivalent will need to be collected into a presentable packages and referenced to the payments shown in the company’s business bank account statement.

This means that in the end you will have:

  1. Proof of you (as the applicant) having transferred the money from a bank account in your name, into the company’s bank account;
  2. Proof of invoices showing that same money being paid by the company to third parties (i.e. “actively spent”), i.e. this money must be traceable back to the minimum £50,000 which you originally transfer;
  3. Proof of the relevant invoices evidencing those sums;
  4. Proof that the invoices relate to matters which were specifically referenced in the business plan (e.g. specific software development work which was referenced).

The safest approach is that the money is money to which you (as applicant) are legally and beneficially entitled at the point that it is transferred to the company. The money should not be in the form of a loan either:

  1. to you, i.e. you should not have received it as a loan;
  2. to the company, i.e. it should not be a loan to the company; or
  3. from the company to the third party (i.e. that must be “actively spent” and not in the form of a loan).

It may be expedient to have a specific company business account set up for the qualifying minimum qualifying £50,000 investment. Otherwise the qualifying £50,000 investment pay become ‘mixed’ with sums from other sources and it then may be difficult to trace the spending back to the £50,000 which was invested by you into the business.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact me by email using the contact details above.

The Portugual D7 visa – what is the minimum stay requirement?

A frequently asked question: Can you tell me the residency requirements related to the D7? Is there a minimum number of days I need to spend in Portugal? Could I only be there for say 30 days a year and still get such a visa or is there a fix term in law that is required as a minimum.

Answer:

The minimum stay requirement is that one does not spend more than 6 consecutive or 8 non-consecutive months out of the country during the validity of each temporary permit, except under duly justified professional or force majeure circumstances. i.e.: during the first year, one has to spend at least 4 months in the country, and during each 2-year subsequent period, at least 16 months provided, in each case, that no absence exceeds 6 consecutive months. For the holder of a permanent residence permit, this is increased to a minimum of 6 months per 3-year period, provided no absence exceeds 24 consecutive months.

The residence permit must be renewed at the end of the second year and then every two years; but, subject to passing a language test of basic Portuguese, its holder may apply for permanent residency and/or for Portuguese citizenship at the end of 5 years.

Feel free to reach out to me with any questions about the D7 visa. I have a course on the subject developed with the Portuguese lawyer on my network.

How to satisfy the ‘success criteria’ for the innovator visa (UK)

If you are planning on applying for indefinite leave to remain at year 3 under the innovator visa (as opposed to simply extending for another 3 years), then you will need to meet two of the seven success criteria. This means that your endorsing body must confirm in their endorsement letter that you have achieved at least 2 of the following:

  1. at least £50,000 has been invested into the business and actively spent furthering the business plan assessed in the applicant’s previous endorsement
  2. the number of the business’s customers has at least doubled within the most recent 3 years and is currently higher than the mean number of customers for other UK businesses offering comparable main products or services
  3. the business has engaged in significant research and development activity and has applied for intellectual property protection in the UK
  4. the business has generated a minimum annual revenue of £1 million in the last full year covered by its accounts
  5. the business is generating a minimum annual revenue of £500,000 in the last full year covered by its accounts, with at least £100,000 from exporting overseas
  6. the business has created the equivalent of at least 10 full-time jobs for resident workers
  7. the business has created the equivalent of at least 5 full-time jobs for resident workers, which have an average salary of at least £25,000 a year (gross pay,excluding any expenses)

What is “significant research and development activity”?

I have emboldened the ones which are most likely to apply to you (and most innovator visa applicants). If you are going for the employment one (7) then the R&D one (3) becomes academic.  The most obvious example of a business that satisfies criterion (3) would be a business that does lab work on some kind of technology, which is then developed and there is an application for a patent to protect it. But in my view it would also in principle be acceptable to apply a conventional SaaS / software development cycle, such as:

  1. User research concerning an intended unique user interface for a platform;
  2. Development of a prototype user interface on the basis of the user research;
  3. User testing (including A/B testing) on the prototype;
  4. Applying this user testing to the release of an alpha and then beta version of user interface;
  5. An application for intellectual property protection for the user interface, in the form of an application to register it as a unique design.

In this example, you can see that there is a link between the R&D and the eventual application to protect the IP in the asset which is produced. This would mean in practice linking from the outset the software development function of the business with the R&D aspect of the business, so that it is all one continuous process. I do not think that an application for a trademark or simply automatically acquiring copyright would be capable of qualifying.

It is important from the outset to consider whether you will want to rely on this success condition, or whether it is going to be more straight forward for you to rely on the employment success condition (number 7). You could then start planning accordingly.

Whichever 2 of the conditions are going to be met, it will be important to involve your endorsing body at the beginning, since it will be them who you will eventually be asking to confirm (if it is the case) that you have met the conditions. Much better to involve them early rather than later.

In relation to each of the criteria, there will need to be a body of evidence documenting how they have been fulfilled. This will ultimately mean accountancy evidence. In relation to the financial and employment conditions, both your endorsing body and the Home Office will want to see evidence produced by an accountant to show that they have been met. So it is best to start planning this now.

Remember that in addition to the success conditions, you will need to meet the other criteria at page 24 of the guidance, including:

  • the applicant has shown significant achievements judged against the business plan assessed in their previous endorsement
  • the applicant’s business is registered with Companies House and the applicant is listed as a director or member of that business
  • the business is active and trading
  • the business appears to be sustainable for at least the following 12 months based on its assets and expected income, weighted against its current and planned expenses
  • the applicant has demonstrated an active key role in the day to day management and development of the business

Possibly the most important aspect of this is ‘active and trading’. Trading denotes buying and selling. So you will need to have started selling and have paying customers, and be able to show accounts / business bank account statements to prove this. Since these visa routes are about scalable businesses, I would expect the sales to be sales of the actual product, rather than, e.g. consultancy-type services. For this reason, from a visa perspective I would plan to have the actual product / platform actually built and to have started receiving income before you get to the point of applying for indefinite leave to remain. Again, the accountancy evidence would be needed to prove it.  To be on the safe side, I would recommend planning to do this by year 2.5 of the visa to avoid any last minute rush.

If the name of your business ends up being different from the name specified in your business plan, then I would recommend getting your endorsing body to confirm when you apply for indefinite leave to remain that it is the same enterprise as covered in the original business plan that was endorsed.

You would need to also show that you have made ‘significant achievements’ under the business plan which was endorsed. Again, the endorsing body would be confirming this so it makes sense to plan it out now with your endorsing body contact, i.e. your plan for how you will do what you said you would do in your business plan.

If, rather than applying for indefinite leave to remain, you wanted to simply extend your visa for another 3 years, then you would need to apply under the criteria set out at page 21 and 22 of the guidance. You would not need to satisfy the success criteria but you would still would still need to show for this that you had made ‘significant achievements’ under the business plan which was endorsed, and that the company was active and trading, etc.

I hope this is helpful. I have helped many clients under the start up and innovator visa pathways (more than any other UK lawyer that I am aware of). So feel free to reach out to me by email if you would like to speak with me or ask any questions.

Cyprus – citizenship by investment – Frequently Asked Questions

QUESTION: Cyprus is a full member of the EU, so will have the freedom to work, travel, study and live anywhere within the EU. However, Cyprus is not part of the Schengen Area. So, what kind of restrictions would that pose?

ANSWER:

The rights to work, travel, study and live anywhere within the EU are provided to the European citizens. Therefore, an individual who holds a Cypriot passport (as Cyprus is an EU country) can enjoy these rights.

A Cypriot Residency Permit provide the holder the right to live in Cyprus (and not anywhere else in the EU). Also, the Cypriot residency permit does not come with the right to work in Cyprus.

On the other hand, the Schengen Agreement has been signed between many countries of the EU and allows people to travel freely in the Schengen Area / pass freely across the borders of each country without passport controls. Given that Cyprus is not a member of the Schengen Area, people cannot travel from Cyprus to any other EU country which is a member of the Schengen Area without a visa (except if the traveler holds a Cypriot passport, as mentioned above).

QUESTION: If I go for the Cyprus permanent residency program, can I still become a citizen after so many years?  What is the stay requirements during the PR period then?

ANSWER: Foreign Nationals, who have completed 7 years of legal residence in Cyprus prior to the date of application are eligible to apply for citizenship.

The 8 BEST visa options for Europe

The 8 BEST European visa options are:

1. Visit visas / automatic ‘non-visa permissions’. The scope of visits is quite broad. For the UK for example:

A visitor may:
(a) attend meetings, conferences, seminars, interviews;
(b) give a one-off or short series of talks and speeches provided these are not organised as commercial events and will not make a profit for the organiser;
(c) negotiate and sign deals and contracts;
(d) attend trade fairs, for promotional work only, provided the visitor is not directly selling;
(e) carry out site visits and inspections;
(f) gather information for their employment overseas;
(g) be briefed on the requirements of a UK based customer, provided any work for the customer is done outside of the UK.

Also if you have a company set up in the US, and in the UK, you can do intra-corporate activities:
6 An employee of an overseas based company may:
(a) advise and consult;
(b) trouble-shoot;
(c) provide training;
(d) share skills and knowledge; on a specific internal project with UK employees of the same corporate group, provided no work is carried out directly with clients.
7 An internal auditor may carry out regulatory or financial audits at a UK branch of the same group of companies as the visitor’s employer overseas.

There are a number of other options that my clients go for:

2. The start-up visas, there are a number of them;
3. Freelance visas, e.g. for Germany and Spain;
4. The entrepreneur visas, which go beyond just tech companies;
5. Partner-based visas. Right now for the UK, for example, if you have an EU partner working in the UK, you are actually in a stronger position than a UK national vis a vis coming on a partner or married basis, and also in relation to bringing in dependent parents.
6. Investor visas – only Cyprus and Malta are offering CIB programs in the sense of a straight up investment in resulting in a passport. The others are residency programs which do not generally put you in a better position than if you came in on some other visa. The Portugal program for example allows you a pathway to permanent residency for an investment of 350k euros or 500k euros;
7. Retirement visas: there is the D7 visa for Portugal – it allows you to work in Portugal as well – and also the ‘non-lucrative’ visa for Spain;
8. Student visas – some lead to PR and involve not only a free education but also a right to work part-time – like in Germany.

☎️ I am happy to speak with you about your visa and citizenship options. Email me 📧 at tom.bradford@freeths.co.uk or call or message me on 📞 Whatsapp 00447398657846

DISCLAIMER: This video is for general information purposes only and does not constitute legal or professional advice. It should not be used as a substitute for legal advice relating to your particular circumstances. Please note that the law may have changed since the date of this video.

Hi guys thanks sorry I just want to check that this live stream is working before I get into the content if someone could drop me a message that would be awesome okay according to YouTube it seems that I’m it seems that we’re live now so um so thanks so much for connecting I’m going to cover some hopefully really useful content on this stream the title of this is the is the eight best European uh visa options and um I’m not going to make you wait I’ll just go straight through them and just connect with some conversations I’ve been having with people uh this week and some useful insights so the first one is uh visit visas and there’s actually a lot that you can do on on-visit visas and in particular if you’re a non-visa national and you don’t need to make the visa application first you’re exercising automatic permission um even if you’re doing something in relation to business as long as you respect the work uh prohibitions in other words prohibitions on actually taking employment you can actually structure your visits quite effectively so I’ll get into that but then the second is start-up visas and there are a number of them um on the uh academy I’ve got which is which is linked now I’m sorry for not putting the link on the last live stream uh you can actually sign up for free and there’s various uh courses on their um which you can take which is which are the key courses including the key European uh start-up visa courses there’s actually some more um they’re going to be published soon but you can see that the key start-up visa roots and all of those are with a successful visa applicant so you can hear their stories and see example documents um and all the uh sample documents you would need and application walkthroughs so the third one is freelance visas and I’ll get into that then we got entrepreneur visas so not just the start-up visas which usually targeting tech but broader entrepreneur visas where you can do other businesses then you’ve got partner-based visas then investor visas then you’ve got retirement visas and then about number eight is student visas so um plenty to get through so let’s just start with the visit visas now um the rules for the up and I just highlight of course and all of these matters do take specific legal advice if you want to speak with me or them by European partner lawyers then I’m very happy to assist this is just for information purposes only now if we just go to the visitor rules for the up for example we are still within Europe notwithstanding um Brexit I think there’s something there’s some good um some important points to be illustrated um and I was speaking to some Americans this week about how they could structure their visits as well looking to set up a business in Europe and first of all there are specific general activities which you can do on as I say in this case a up visit visa you can attend meetings conferences seminars and interviews what you can’t do is this which is um you can’t take employment in the up do work for an organization or business in the up establish or run a business as a self-employed person unless it’s expressly allowed by the uh permitted activities so the permitted activities are here so as I say you can do you can attend conferences seminars or interviews you can and this is this was the important one for my clients negotiate and sign deals and contracts you can attend trade fairs for promotional work only providing you’re not directly selling so in their case that was actually quite important because there were there was a particular product that they were selling which they would want to use there would be a number of trade fairs but the u’s as I say in that example individual coming over would be doing the promotional work but wouldn’t be speaking directly with our prospective customers and then you’ve got carrying out site visits and an expense and inspections and then being briefed on the requirements of a up based customer provided any work for the customers done outside of the up so in this case we were using that as well because they can come in be briefed on the requirements of the customer and then go back to the us and actually work with the customer on you know zoom calls uh or whatever and with the advent of corona in Europe uh you know a lot of work can be done uh remotely so basically you can structure your business affairs so you’re coming in for a specific limited purpose um for the up you do need a letter when you come in which you can produce upon uh challenge or that’s what most of my clients do and that letter will just set up the itinerary of exactly what you’re doing when and that will evidence that you’re complying with the rules if you’re a non-visa national like a u’s national for example you can still apply for a visa and ask for express clearance through that process for the activities you’re going to be doing but it just depends on how far you’re going to be you know pushing any boundary or how far you’re going to be close to any boundaries about what you can cannot do where there’s being prudent I think but where there’s any scope for risk then it’s better to ask for clearance beforehand but I do have a number of uh American uh clients who for example who do quite a lot within the up uh simply under the visitor rules now the next aspect of that so as I say number one being numb number one option being a visit visa and just again sticking with the up for the moment um is the intra-corporate activities so here if you have a u’s entity or if you’re setting up a us entity um sorry let me just go over to the screen share so if you have a foreign entity or you’re going to be setting one up and you also have a up entity then you can do these things advise and consult troubleshoot provide training and share skills and knowledge so that’s quite that’s quite important that’s quite broad and it allows you to do more than the activities you’d be able to do just as a general visitor so although there is that prohibition against work the that prohibition is subject to these exceptions and if you if you do have two related companies or you know a parent company has two subsidiaries or your foreign entity is a parent company in the up one is a subsidiary for example then you can either apply for a visit visa or if you’re a non-visa national simply come on that basis as I say usually with a with a letter that would protect your position upon any challenge as unlikely as that may be um now would I highlight that before you before you set up a business um in the up but also for some of the European roots you lose the opportunity to apply for a start-up visa because generally there’s a requirement that you have not set up a company already and the start-up well it’s targeted to people who are setting up new businesses but they don’t have any history in the country in question and certainly that’s true of the up so if you already if you set up an entity and that’s trading then you wouldn’t then be able to apply for the start-up visa so uh so be careful about that um but that but you can you can still set up entities for example in the up but I would just do your visa a bit eligibility checks first so that’s option number one is first of all just check whether you can come on a visit visa to do what you want to do because there’s there isn’t necessarily much of a point going through some of the more involved processes if you haven’t um first checked whether you can do that a on a visitor visa be very careful about infringing any uh work prohibitions in the in the process so that’s visit visas next one is the start-up visas and as I say there are um a number of them so the ones on which I’ve done like full complete walkthrough courses are include at the up Estonia Denmark France um and also we’ve got one coming we’ve got some others coming out soon on Denmark and Netherlands which should be out in the next week or so there are a number of them and it’s it yeah so it’s worth checking those out I’m generally there’s an emphasis on tech um but most businesses being start in my experience most businesses that are being started now have a strong tech element or certainly ought to have a tech element to be competitive it’s not for more traditional businesses and for uh for the uh some clients I was speaking with this week who are looking to bring a more traditional product uh to Europe then you might be better off with one of the routes rather than the start-up routes and I would definitely think about this if you have a software background and most of them have the emphasis on uh software as a service but before you before you do that and before you go through the process of looking to get endorsed and everything which is one of the areas that my courses touch on uh you can as I say just sign up to the platform for free and get some more information about them uh before you go through all that process check that you can’t come in on some other basis not necessarily just a visitor basis but an but another visa that would still allow you to do what you want to do but without necessarily having to be assessed on your start-up you know or you know on its success and one of them is the like the passive income visas and retirement visas which I’m going to come to in a moment because one of them for example for Portugal allows you to work uh allows you to work in the country and just demonstrate a certain amount of passive income so if you can do that you might it may not be necessary for you to go through an endorsement process if you can qualify for that so they’re the start-up visas obviously I’ve got lots of more like detailed videos and walkthroughs on this channel and uh on the courses which you can check out but the next one is the freelance visas for uh and the reason I mentioned these as a separate category is you don’t for these have necessarily have to go through an endorsement process and always be supported by an incubator or be supported by uh venture funding so for the freelance visas um there’s usually some approval uh process in other words some government assessment or you know that assessment might be delegated to a chain to a chamber of commerce there is some assessment of what you’re doing but as a freelancer you’re not expected to have like a hugely scalable business you could have say a digital agency of some kind that would only get to a certain size or a business that’s premised on your ability to provide services rather than having a scalable sass product so that’s the next category the one after that so we’re on number five now is the partner based visas and this is super important if at the at the moment especially if you’re if you’re looking at the up if you have a European partner then there’s this limited window of opportunity to come into the uh to the up and secure what they call uh pre-settled status you’ve got to be residing in the up by the end of the year now the odd thing at the moment is under up law you have more rights as a European national living in the up than a British national does in this respect that it’s much easier to bring in number one dependent parents or dependent family members and that could include say you as a not non-European national bringing your parents in and it’s also much easier to just bring in a spouse and it’s easier to bring in a partner and that’s because a European national in the up is exercising treaty rights or rights under the under the exit arrangements and those include rights to bring in non-Europeans uh non-European family members and the scope of that is much broader than if a British person was looking to bring in their dependent parents or say you know mother-in-law father-in-law and also bringing in a spouse so that’s definitely worth checking out and if you are in a position where you’re looking at you know investor visas for example different residency programs I’m always check first as I do when I’m speaking people or to people always check first there’s not another there’s not a European family member who can exercise treaty rights in some way and I say that in connection with the up but it’s also true in some other European countries as well and the basis for that is that the EU treaty allows freedom of movement and that freedom of movement can’t be effective if someone who’s say moving from France to Spain is not able to bring their non-European family members with them to Spain that’s why the uh the relevant regulations allows a European uh citizen to move from one European member state to another and bring their non-European family members because if they were inhibited from doing that then free movement of European citizens within the EU would be in would be inhibited and so in order to secure that non-European family members exercise what can be viewed as secondary treaty rights which are often much more powerful than if they were simply applying under the relevant domestic legislation without relying on EU treaty rights so that’s definitely something to consider before your European move the next one is the is investor visas and uh I think firstly in terms of citizenship by investment it’s really only Cyprus and Malta who offer you know true citizenship by investment programs in the sense of a straight up investment which results in relatively short term in securing a passport although there’s various you know quite rightly safeguards involved where someone say for Cyprus for example you need to first now secure a Schengen visa and the other investor visas are residency programs um which don’t you know result in in in a passport but secure you a pathway to residency permanent residence and then citizenship at some point thereafter and that’s often subject to local language requirements so when it comes to the investor visas uh I definitely exhaust all other options first in terms of your visa options because in most investor visas within the uh within Europe do not uh are not true citizenship by investment programs and very importantly they don’t put you in a position which is any better than if you were to apply for one of the other visas that I’m talking about and if you go on to a residency route you’re not treated any more favourably for example for Portugal there is the 350 000 euro pathway where you uh purchase a qualifying uh property in the developing area or a 500 000 euro option where you invest in property and it’s great for some as quite popular with applicants from certain jurisdictions because you only have to be in in Portugal for uh seven days per year so you can effectively have a have a holiday in Portugal and maintain your residency there however if you do that because you’re not really living in the country you can’t it doesn’t provide a pathway to citizenship you’d need to actually be in the country for longer and have true you know local ties and for a lot of so the reason I say exhaust all other options before you do that is that it’s not for everyone and a lot of people are happy to be in Portugal for uh six months per year or is this the case four months in the first year and then six months from year years two to five and if you can do that then you don’t need to an investment unless you wanted to do for other purposes you don’t actually you don’t actually need to you could apply for the d7 visa and secure that relying on passive income or rental and although it’s at the moment uh shut down for example if you’re u’s applicant you can’t apply but these are all sort of temporary uh corona based uh suspensions but these programs like the d7 visa for example will be you’ll be able to apply for it again very soon um so I would exhaust the retirement type visa options before you go for an investor visa option obviously it may be a cheaper for you but also be involved less investment risk if any investment risk now the so that brings me nicely on to the retirement visas so on the uh in the academy you can again just uh we’ve got the non-what’s referred to for Spain as the non-lucrative visa we’ve got a course on that so again feel free to sign up so it’s the Spanish residence visa it’s called the non-lucrative visa is based on the experience of Kurt who was successful in securing the visa and he’s got the example documents and so forth to allow you to apply and that’s basically a retirement visa but with some working restrictions but that secures residency and I just think the retirement or basically passive income visas are worth looking at first before you go down an investor visa route or citizenship by investment pathway and the next one is student visas and I think this is super especially uh for uh Germany and I’ve got a course that’s coming out shortly on this and I have some YouTube content on this as well so uh Germany and incidentally my um my wife and my daughter are German citizens as well I learned German and um I have a lot of connections with Germany and uh the student visa is I think a fantastic option because it hits a number of uh areas that other visas don’t within the EU include including the up so within the EU or the up so for Germany you can um first of all you can secure visa options which are either free or at very little expense or which involve you actually being paid so with a with a grant that so that’s the first one is the cost of the actual degree for non-Europeans you can spend uh you know huge sums of money in certain in certain countries and certain institutions but there’s there are options which especially for Germany which involve you paying little or nothing or actually being paid with a grant it also involves a right to work part-time you have that in the up as well um but that’s available and also a pathway to permanent residence which is very important so in the up for example you if you have a student visa then you don’t have a pathway to permanent residence and you’ll do you will have the post study work option starting soon but the post study work is um that will be for two years after your tier four studies but then you’d need to switch into a sponsored route so you don’t have from the beginning a pathway to permanent residence which you do for Germany so I definitely recommend uh checking it out as I say I’ve got a course coming out on that so if you sign up you can if you enrol in the academy and you can get details about that um so yeah so those are those are the eight options um I think it’s great to look at it like that and if you run through that as a broad sort of checklist to start with then um hopefully that provides a really helpful basis for starting to research things if you if you do want to touch base with me schedule a consultation feel free to do so um thanks so much for your time and I’ll see you in the next live stream bye for now you

Spanish Retirement Visa

This is the story of how Kurt got the retirement visa for Spain, the so-called ‘non-lucrative’ visa. In this article, Kurt explains the process and the income requirements for the retirement visa for Spain.

The Spanish non-lucrative visa is an ideal option if you are retired and do not intend to work (indeed, the visa is also sometimes called the “Spanish retirement visa”. However, you can work in Spain remotely with your own business or with an employer or with clients who are not based in Spain. I would suggest carrying out your financial transactions in your home country. You can also invest as you wish. While in Spain on your non-lucrative visa, you can travel to other nations on your passport with whatever restrictions apply but additionally travel throughout the Schengen area with no restrictions. You are also able to enroll in universities if you are interested. 

All foreigners who wish to reside in Spain for longer than three months need a long-term visa, unless they are citizens of the European Union, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland. The Spanish “non-lucrative” visa, issued by the Interior Department of Spain, is one visa route to live in Spain temporarily or permanently. The visa is called the retirement visa or “non-lucrative” visa because you cannot work for a Spanish employer while on the visa (unlike, for instance, a student visa or a work visa). However, you don’t need to invest in Spain to get the visa. 

The process for obtaining the non-lucrative visa is very manageable but it takes significant planning, preparation and patience to navigate both your home country and the Spanish bureaucracy. In this article, I provide below advice and guidance for the process.

Income requirements for the retirement visa for Spain

To be eligible for the Spanish retirement or ‘non-lucrative’ visa, you must have sufficient income from either investments, retirement income or income from work conducted in other countries. As you cannot work while living in Spain with the retirement visa, you need to prove you can support yourself. The public policy is clear with this as with many of the other requirements – you as a non-citizen resident of the country should not be a burden on the Spanish society, just an asset. The minimum amount you must show you have is four times the current year’s IPREM, or Indicador Público de Renta de Efectos Múltiples. In 2018, that meant I had to prove that I had at least €25,816.12 in the bank to apply for my yearlong non-lucrative visa. Though the IPREM is adjusted year on year, the level has stayed the same for the past three years. So for 2020 an individual had to again show they had €25,816.12 (or around $31,000). There are numerous documents that are accepted as proof of sufficient income such as: government social security documents, private pension documents, bank and or investment documents that give you access to sufficient cash in any combination to reach the minimum requirement. 

The next crucial requirement is that you must register and make arrangements to pay for private Spanish health insurance. This is to prove that you won’t be a burden on the Spanish health care system. For Barcelona in the Autonomous Region of Catalonia where I moved to, the insurance one purchases must have the equivalent coverage for services as the CatSalud public health system for Catalonia and include no co-pays except for medications. The cost of this insurance does vary depending on the insurance provider but can run between €150 and €200 per month.

The specific steps and documentation required is clearly outlined on the websites for the Spanish embassy and consulate(s) in your country, which are assigned by region in your county based on your home residence. There can be some small variation in requirements from consulate to consulate such as number of copies needed or which documents require official translation but below there is an outline of the generic requirements adapted from the US Spanish Consulates:

  1. Two National Visa Application forms completed and signed.
  2. Two recent pictures, passport size pictures (white background) glued to the application forms.
  3. Passport with a validity superior of one year and at least two empty pages (copy of all pages).
  4. Permit to return to the home country in the form of: a resident card, or a student/work visa that is stamped on the passport and is valid for a period of three months beyond the expected duration of stay in the Schengen area, or the period of validity of the visa, whichever is longer. (N/A TO US CITIZEN).
  5. Driver License or Government photo I.D. with current address.
  6. Original certificate of good conduct (police clearance). In the U.S. issued by the U.S. Department of Justice – Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) or by your state of residence criminal background check. Contact FBI at (304) 625-3878 or at http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/background-checks/background_checks This document, either the FBI one or the Department of Law Enforcement one, has to be translated into Spanish and legalized with the Apostille Certification where police clearance letter was issued.
    If the applicant has spent six month or more during the last five years in another country, he/she must submit the police record from that country, legalized with the Apostille Certification and translated into Spanish. If the country is not part of the Hague Convention the document must be legalized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and then by the Spanish Consulate of that country.
    This certificate cannot be older than 3 months from the application date. Note: Local municipality police reports or on-line reports are not acceptable.
  7. Local Health Certificate with letterhead, stamp, and signature of the doctor translated into Spanish.  Health certificates submitted to this office must verify that applicant/patient is free of any illnesses that could have serious repercussions to public health and that could easily spread internationally. The first list includes smallpox, poliomyelitis by wild poliovirus, the human influenza caused by a new subtype of virus and the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS). The second list includes cholera, pneumonic plague, yellow fever, viral haemorrhagic fevers (e.g.: Ebola, Lassa, Marburg), West Nile Virus and other illnesses of special importance nationally or regionally (e.g.: Dengue Fever, Rift Valley Fever and meningococcal disease). There may be new Covid-19 requirements. For this reason, the mandatory health certificate that should be submitted must verify the information listed above in a manner similar to the following:
    “This health certificate verifies that Mr. /Mrs. /Ms (…) does not suffer from any illnesses that could cause serious repercussions to public health according to the specifications of the international sanitary regulation of 2005.”
    This certificate cannot be older than 3 months from the application date.
  8. Original certificate of a public or private institution certifying that you receive a retirement settlement, specifying its monthly amount, translated into Spanish.
  9. Proof of any other type of income in Spain or USA (bank statements of the last year and investments).
  10. Proof of accommodation in the city where you want to live as follows:
    1. Notarized invitation letter from a family or friend where he/she assumes responsibility for lodging, or
    2. Lease, or
    3. Deed of the property or
    4. Letter explaining the reason why you have chosen that city in particular.

It is a bit tricky demonstrating where you will be living in Spain. You need to prove you have a valid lease or rental contract or show ownership of property where you will reside. To get a lease however, you need to have your NIE (National Identitad de Extranjeros number) that you only get with your approved visa and a Spanish bank account. This was a daunting task months before I was prepared to move so I had my name added to my son’s rental contract until I could get established in Spain. You may initially or permanently be living with a friend or relative and can prove that by having your name on the contract that may require a processing fee be paid. If you are moving in with someone who owns their property you may need them to write an affidavit that attests to that and have it validated with a notary. 

  1. Proof of private health insurance with full coverage in Spain.
  2. Authorization of residence application EX-01 
  3. Authorization of initial residence Fee. Tax form 790-052
  4. Visa Fee ($152), payable with money order to the order of “CONSULATE GENERAL OF SPAIN”.
  5. Some consulates require a personal statement that explains why it is that you want to move to Spain with a non-lucrative visa.   

Timing of the Spanish retirement visa

You need to apply for the Spanish non-lucrative visa at least three months before you would like to leave for Spain at your local embassy or consulate. You’ll need to book an appointment at which you submit your documentation and make the application. (Note that appointments can often be for many weeks or months away and your visa application can take up to two months to be processed and approved, so it’s wise to plan ahead and book early.) Some consulates do not require making appointments in advance but take people first come first served within certain hours and days of the week.

All the documents listed above must be brought (some times with copies) to your appointment. The documentation you bring to the appointment must meet all the specific guidelines as to how recently they were completed. Your health certificate and police records (which often take a few weeks to process and be apostilled as well) must be dated no more than three months prior to your appointment date.  It can take up to two months for your visa application to be processed and approved. My recommendation is to set the appointment date and start the clock back from there to figure out when to complete your paperwork for the appointment. As an example you need to schedule a doctor’s appointment to get your medical certificate that is required. And, you need to schedule that with enough time to get a certified translation into Spanish. I created a calendar with the key dates to help me navigate the various deadlines.

At your appointment at the consulate, the consulate staff will review your documentation primarily for its completeness, legibility, properly apostilled when required and translated when required, with the copies if required. If there is anything lacking in your application you will be asked to supply it before they accept your application as completed. From that point, the processing of the application generally takes from 4 to 8 weeks but it can take longer. You will need to go back to the consulate to pick up your visa. Therefore, it is reasonable to think the process altogether might take 6 months from beginning to your ticket to Spain.

Translations of documents for your Spanish retirement visa

It is very important to remember that some of the documents required for the application need to be translated into Spanish. These documents need to be translated by a translation service that’s recognized by Spain’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which will put an official stamp on your translations.  Translations are done by a translator in possession of the certification of sworn translator-interpreter granted by the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation. (Most consulates will allow you to submit PDFs of the stamped, translated documents.)

The documents that need translation are:

  • police records and apostille
  • health certificate (content specified in the requirements list above)
  • personal statement (no specified format suggested)
  • your financial documentation of sufficient income for the year
  • and medical insurance (policy summary with start date)

It’s sensible to make arrangements with a translation service well in advance and get a good idea about the turn-around time and price, which can be as much as €140. There is a list of official translation services on the consulate website as well as many found simply through a Google search. Many services can conduct the whole translation process online. 

Traveling to Spain on the retirement visa

You have to temporarily hand over your passport to the embassy or consulate at your visa application appointment in order for them to process the visa and put it into your passport. However, they won’t finalize your visa unless you’ve booked your travel to Spain, as this becomes your visa start date. (Remember this date because it’s when the 90-day window begins to get your residence card in Spain, that means you need to travel to Spain within 3 months of getting your visa – on which, more below.)

Therefore, it’s best to book your travel after you have been notified of your approval but before you go back to the embassy or consulate to pick up your visa. If you need to travel while your passport is held by the Spanish embassy or consulate while processing your visa application, you can apply for a second passport that can be issued for situations like this. Alternatively, you can see if the embassy or consulate will choose to not take your passport while processing the visa.

Private Medical Insurance in Spain

If you’re willing to spend a lot of money, you can get an international plan from an international health insurance provider. However, if you plan to be primarily in Spain this is really not necessary because there are numerous private health insurance companies that you can select from. Additionally, it is required that the plan you purchase be one with no deductibles or co-pays.

One thing to watch out for is that you can be disqualified for pre-existing conditions, or pre-existing conditions will be exempted from the coverage. It is advised that you comparison-shop early for price, covered services and whether or not you qualify or have exemptions. Allow yourself enough time to wade through all the policy information, applications and the wait to see if you qualify.

WARNING

Before your visa appointment, check, check, check and quadruple check that you have all the paperwork you need (both originals and multiple copies) and everything is completely filled out. If you don’t (OMG!) you are sent to the end of the line for a new appointment, which often takes weeks to secure and might put some of your documents out of date, not to mention your desired departure date.

Bringing dependents on the Spanish retirement visas 

One of the advantages of the retirement or non-lucrative visa is you can bring your spouse and children with you, by including them on your visa application. To bring your family with you need to demonstrate that you have sufficient funds to support them. For each additional member of the family you must have an additional 100% of the IPREM, which this year would be €6,454.03. So if you bought your partner and one child, you’d need to demonstrate an additional €12,908.06, on top of the €25,816.12 for yourself. Marriage and birth certificates are required for those applying as dependents, and these certificates must be translated and apostilled. 

Once you have your visa…

Congrats! You’ve been approved, booked your flights and picked up your visa and passport… but if you look carefully at your visa, you’ll see that it’s good for only 90 days.

You now need to get your Tarjeta de Identidad de Extranjeros (TIE), also known as Permiso de Residencia (residency card) from the Spanish government. You need to start this process within 30 days of your arrival in Spain. This residency card will be valid for your first year. The TIE is akin to any government photo ID that has your Numero Identificacion de Extranjero (NIE) (which is assigned to you on your visa).

Getting the TIE

Soon after you arrive in Spain, you need to book appointments (often made on line) at two agencies, the municipality where you are living in Spain and the Spanish National Police that may take some time.  

At your municipality you will need to register your domicile and take with you your NIE visa and passport, your stamped Modelo 790-012 tax form (you can get the tax form stamped at any bank where you pay the tax) and the original of your lease or whatever document you used to prove your accommodation for your visa.

Now, to get your plastic ID card (Tarjeta de Identidad de Extranjeros or TIE) you have to submit your documents to the National Police in person. (Don’t be alarmed if you have to make several attempts on-line before you are able to secure an appointment.)

When you have successfully made an appointment you will receive an email with your confirmation document attached. You will need to print it out and bring it to your appointment along with the following documentation:

  • Three recent passport-sized photos
  • Your passport, and a copy of the main page
  • Your resolution letter from the Spanish government (which is the visa)
  • Fee Form Modelo 790-012 (paid and stamped)
  • Solicitud de la Tarjeta de Identidad de Extranjero (EX-17)  

At the appointment you will be fingerprinted and given a temporary residency document and a date when your card will be available. It is usually about a month before you can pick up your card, though timing may vary depending on where you file. You will notice this card will expire on the one-year anniversary of the start of your non-lucrative visa.

And there you have it! But if you plan to spend more than one year in Spain, it will be important to start working on the renewal process 60 days before your Permiso de Residencia (or TIE) expires.

To renew your visa…

If you plan to continue living in Spain past one year you must renew your visa and TIE. After that, you can then renew your non-lucrative visa for two years at a time. The required paperwork is somewhat less complicated than your original visa. After five years, if you have not spent more than 10 months outside of Spain in the five years, you may apply for permanent residency. 

  • Your current TIE (Tarjeta de Identidad de Extranjeros)
  • Two copies of the application form EX-01*
  • Paid/stamped tax form Modelo 790-052
  • Your passport, with expiration date at least one year from expiring
  • Copies of all the pages of your passport as they want to assure you have spent 6 months in Spain
  • Financial documentation of sufficient annual income (again, more than four times the current year’s IPREM)
  • Proof of private medical insurance
  • A copy of your address registration in Spain, no more than three months old 

All documents must be officially translated into Spanish and duplicated and submitted to the Oficina de Extranjeria.

Once you have approval from the immigration office—your letter of resolution—you have 30 days to apply for a new TIE following the exact same procedure outlined above.

*On the EX-01 form there is a check box that states: Solicito/Consiento que las communicationes y notificaciones se realicen por medios electronicos. Do not check this box unless you have applied for and been accepted into the electronic notification system which is an entirely different process.

How to get permanent residency in Spain 

After five years of living continuously and legally in Spain on the non-lucrative visa, you may be able to apply for permanent residency. The permanent residency card is valid for five years and can be renewed. Permanent residence allows you to live and work in Spain, both as self-employed or as an employee. 

You can also become a Spanish citizen by naturalization if you’ve lived in Spain for ten years.

Si, si , si! All of this is a bit daunting. Yes, but my experience was generally positive keeping in mind the need for patience. The most anxiety producing issue was getting the appointment with the National Police because it took multiple attempts on-line to  get an appointment.

I came to Barcelona, Spain to be near my son and his family who have lived there for years. For that reason alone it has been good. But, there is so much Barcelona and all of Spain have to offer from the Mediterranean life to beautiful architecture, incredibly rich culture, tapas, Spanish guitar, ancient cities and amazing countryside. The people are warm and friendly and willing to be helpful to foreigners. Having a working knowledge of Spanish (not fluent) takes you a long way too, but many people speak English and love to practice with you. Finally, living in a foreign country inevitably opens you up to the wonderful different ways of doing things and experiencing life.

To learn more about how Kurt succeeded, and how you can succeed in your Spanish retirement visa, check out the course we have prepared with Kurt, with a step-by-step process for success.

The Global Talent Visa: Complete Guide for TechNation ✅ 🇬🇧

Introduction

In this article, I’m going to discuss the UK Global Talent Visa and how to apply for it. The Global Talent Visa has replaced the Exceptional Talent Visa and applications for the new visa which opened on the 20th February 2020. The UK government describes the visa as being for ‘talented and promising individuals in the fields of science, digital technology and arts and culture wishing to work in the UK.’

As with the Global Talent Visa, there are two types: ‘Talent’ applicants who are “already leaders in their respective field” and “‘promise’ applicants” who “have shown the potential to become leaders in their field” – but more on that below.

While the number of Exceptional Talent visas was capped at 2000 per year, there are no limits on the number of applicants for the Global Talent visa. Moreover, UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) will take a major role in administering the new visa programme for researchers and specialists in an effort to encourage more top science talent to the UK.

Although new specific provisions have been made for the science and research sector, the Global Talent category is also open to applicants within the digital technology sector and arts and culture (including film and television, fashion design and architecture).

Below, you will find the video transcript which discusses this topic.

TOM: 

Hi there Darpan, could you please tell us your background?

DARPAN:

Hi, I’m Darpan. I’m from Mumbai, India and I have been working in the Tech industry for the past 9 years and I recently moved to the UK. 

TOM: 

Who have you been working within the industry in London? 

DARPAN: 

I’ve worked with commercial real estate and discovery company and before that, I worked with a successful SAS based company. I also started a start-up and worked as a CTO. 

TOM: 

Could you talk about your visa history in the UK

DARPAN: 

At first, I was on a spousal visa with my wife. Then I decided to have my company sponsor me because at the time I didn’t know about the Global Talent visa. Later on, I was exploring different kindle companies I wanted to work with. I noticed that I was inclined to work with companies that were emerging start-ups. I discovered that the Global talent visa was better than the current sponsored visa I was on as I could work with these start-ups. 

TOM:

And did you go with the technical stream or the business stream? 

DARPAN:

Yes, I went with the technical stream. 

TOM: 

Great, and did you go for exceptional talent or exceptional promise route? 

 

DARPAN: 

I went with the exceptional talent route. 

 

TOM: 

When you were looking at the exceptional talent versus exceptional promise criteria- what informed your decision to chose the route you choose? 

 

DARPAN:

So basically the key criteria and qualifying criteria for both of them are the same. Basically, your evidence and the strength of your evidence matters in terms of deciding between exceptional talent or exceptional promise. Plus there is a strict criteria which you have to fulfil. For instance, if you have work experience of more than 5 years then it always makes sense to go for the exceptional talent route. This is one of the guidelines in that those who go for the exceptional promise route means that they have worked for less than five years. I think if you have more than five years of experience you should always try for exceptional talent route but there are exceptions. 

My idea was that I sat down and I had to look at all the companies I worked for so whether it is in full-time way or whether I was consulting them or helping them in some other way. I also made a list of all the people who I’ve interacted with over time so based on that I was able to come up with a long list of people and looking at their profile I was able to see that which of these people have international standing and especially if these people have their footprint in the UK because that is quite a big qualifying criteria. So, based on that I was able to see which people are more influential career-wise or if they have better industry understanding and determine who will be better to go for my recommendations. 

TOM:

For exceptional talent route, you need to have a proven track record of innovation in a digital technology sector. I was the founder/ senior executive of a product LED technology company. The second key criterion is proof of recognition of work outside of your immediate education.  For exceptional talent, you need to prove one of these criteria. Which one did you go for? 

 

DARPAN: 

Well, I submitted 4 pieces of evidence for both the criterion. First I was working as CTO of the startup which was within the law industry. Here, I worked from scratch the algorithm, I was the first person with technical skills as an engineer alongside the two creators, I also wrote code and I wot most of the fist coding for the software which as shown to the investors. So I was heavily involved.

 

TOM: 

So the criteria you have shown is (i) proven track record of innovation n digital technology sector as the founder and (ii) founder of a product lead technology company. So what was the product in this business? 

     

DARPAN: 

Yes, so the system which we created in which lawyer can easily and quickly search up key words linked to their case and so find relevant case law. 

 

TOM: 

So the criteria is to show a ‘proven track record’. So you established that with only one piece of evidence. So, how long were you working with this company? 

 

DARPAN: 

I worked with them for one and a half years. In terms of your track record, they look at your overall application, not just individual elements.  So whilst not every example is innovative, it still shows an overall picture of your work as being innovative and creating innovation within the technology industry. 

 

TOM:

Now the key criterion number two is to you have proof of recognition of work outside of your immediate occupation that had contributed to the advancement of the sector. So how did you prove this criterion? 

 

DARPAN: 

So at this famous engineering college in India, I was asked to help the facility learn android technology so that they could teach their students. So for three days, I did an orientation for the facility regarding android technology.  I also helped someone I knew to launch their start-up which they had already started when they were studying at university in the USA. 

 

TOM: 

So in terms of ‘outside your immediate occupation’- what was your occupation at the time? 

 

DARPAN:

At the time I was working at a technology company. I was working as a technical aide, so I was leading their mobile development team. 

 

TOM: 

Great, so should we move on to exceptional talent, key criteria number two.

 

DARPAN:

So the university approached me because they wanted to put bring their computer science faculty up to speed on Android. We had a three-day orientation so it was in summer so colleges were not running at that time. I had three full-day sessions for them like something that starts from 11:00 and ends at 15:00. In these three days, I taught them about mobile development, in general, the practices coding and how to set things up easily so that their students can start quickly and how to actually learn like teach them to learn it so that they can do things on their own.

 

TOM:    

I see, well that shows that those three days was work outside of your actual occupation.  So what was your third piece of evidence? 

 

DARPAN:

So it was a company that will help you with personal styling but it was more data-driven as it will help with more tailored suggestions. So I helped them with strategy as I have already worked on another start-up. 

 

TOM:

In terms of the qualifying criteria then you’ve got to satisfy two of them. The options are one: you’ve made a significant technical, commercial or entrepreneurial contribution in a digital technology sector it’s a founder. For example, to that you’ve been recognised as a leading talent in the digital technology sector right or two: you’ve undergone continuous learning or mastery of skills and then for it to be an exceptional ability in the field by making academic contributions. So which did you go for?

 

DARPAN:

I did not go for the academia one as I had not published anything. So, I focused on how I made a significant contribution to the digital technology sector. Here, I mentioned that I helped a fitness company build its mobile platform through an app.  I worked with them for less than 6 months. I also helped a travel tech star-up and help them develop their mobile technology. It was product guidance and consultancy but I also did a little bit of hands-on work. Again, I worked for them on a weekend basis for a few months. 

 

DARPAN:

I decided to go for kind of a recommendation letter from someone who could vouch that I have been recognised. So I approached the founder of the accelerator I talked about so he knew my previous work. He at least had some idea that I know what I am doing and I can help here. So I asked him to write a letter which actually encapsulates all of this.  

 

TOM: 

So the third criteria were that you had undergone continuous learning or mastery of new skills- what evidence did you rely on to prove that? 

 

DARPAN:

So when I was CTO at the start-up I worked for, I did a lot of new things such a machine learning. So I had to learn this from scratch and then teach it to my team at the company. There were many countless hours spent trying to learn that. This is how I showed them that I had undergone some learning. With each learning I showed the outcome I got out of it. So in this case, I got monetary gain for each new technology I learnt. 

 

TOM:

I see you took an outcomes-based approach. One thing to note is the letter of intent. How did you go about this? 

 

DARPAN:

Luckily, I had help from some I knew who had already applied for this visa and got accepted. So the letter of intent bands the whole application together. So you create a cohesive story which allows the immigration office to see you how you want to be seen and focus on your story. 

 

TOM:

Did you do anything else in terms of your social media profiles? 

 

DARPAN: 

So, I updated my Linkedin profile because that was a little outdated. 

 

TOM: 

Good. So for someone making an application for global talent visa now- what advice would you give them? 

 

DARPAN:

So my advice would be to make sure you write everything down. Also, go through the official guide and list examples for each criterion that is explained in the guidance. Be systematic. Also see for each example, which people you will need to approach for reference and approach them as early as possible. 

 

TOM: 

OK, and did they come back to you with any additional questions or information? 

 

DARPAN: 

No this was not the case. But they did mention that if they wanted clarity they may ask additional questions- but this was not needed for my application. 

 

TOM: 

And could you mention an exact time frame from the point in which you applied through to getting the endorsement and eventually getting the visa? 

 

DARPAN:

It took me close to 30 to 35 days to complete the application. Then for my application to be processed it took 22 days because I handed it in just before lockdown which is most likely why it took less time than usual.  Essentially, it took 35days to prepare my application and then it took another  22 days for my endorsement. 

 

TOM: 

Thank you for speaking with me today!

 

Full course that contains Darpan’s experience and example documents can be found here.

 

Key Features

Here are some key features of the Global Talent visa:

    1. A visa holder doesn’t need to have a job before arriving in the UK.
    2. They can move freely between organisations, locations, jobs and roles.
    3. No minimum salary is needed to be eligible.
    4. Unlike the UK startup and investor visas, no minimum maintenance funds are required.
    5. Applicants can choose how long they wanted to apply to come to the UK for, from a minimum of one to year a maximum of five years. The visa can be further extended as long as the holder meets certain requirements.
    6. Subject to eligibility requirements, dependents have full access to the labour market
    7. Applicants can apply without having to pass an official English Test Qualification, although having sufficient knowledge of the English language may be a requirement of the organisation that hosts or employs them.
    8. Visa holders for science, engineering, humanities and medicine will be able to apply for indefinite leave to remain (settlement) after 3 years regardless of whether the applicant is granted the visa under the ‘promise’ criteria, the ‘talent’ criteria or the new endorsed funder option. Under the old exceptional talent visa, ‘exceptional promise’ holders had to wait 5 years before they were eligible for settlement.
    9. However, note that the qualifying period to apply for settlement under the “promise” criteria for digital technology and arts and culture applicants will remain as 5 years. I’ll talk more about residency below.

Requirements:

[Here are the general requirements for all applicants [plus W3 and W4 of Appendix W)]] All applicants need to be endorsed by an official endorsing body, but there are different routes to get this endorsement. Applicants apply first to the Home Office, but the applications are considered by the specialist endorsing body. The endorsing body then makes the decision on whether to endorse you and then tell the Home Office their decision. Below are the general conditions for application from the Immigration Rules, Appendix W:

W7.1 Endorsement (assessment by endorsing body)

  1. (a) Applications for endorsement must be made to the Home Office but are considered by the endorsing body. Applicants should not contact the endorsing bodydirectly following the submission of their application.
  2. (b) In all cases the endorsing body will advise the Home Office whether or not it endorses the applicant. If the applicant is not considered by the endorsing body to have met the endorsement requirement set out in these Rules, or sufficiently demonstrated that their presence in the UK will contribute to the advancement of their sector, the application will not be endorsed.
  3. (c) If successful, the decision maker will provide the applicant with a dated endorsement letter.

W7.2  Initial Application Criteria (assessed by the Home Office)

The applicant must meet all of the following:

  1. (i) They have been endorsed in this category by a Global Talent endorsing body named in Part W7.
  2. (ii) The date of application for entry clearance or leave to remain must be no later than 3 months after the date of issue on the endorsement letter.
  3. (iii) The endorsement must not have been withdrawn by the endorsing body.

W7.4 Endorsement Criteria (General evidential requirements)

Evidence required to demonstrate the applicant meets the endorsing body criteria must be submitted as part of the endorsement application. To allow the applicants skills and experience to be accurately assessed, the endorsing body require specific forms of evidence set out in W7.5 to W7.7. Our course with example documents will help you to achieve this.

  1. (a) Where an applicant is required to provide a documentation from a third party, the documentation must:
    1. (i) be dated
    2. (ii) show the organisation logo and registered address, if written on behalf of a third party organisation
    3. (iii) be signed by the third party, or an individual authorised by a third party organisation to respond on its behalf
    4. (iv) be typed, not hand-written
    5. (v) contain full contact details, including telephone number and email address, of the third party to allow the document to be verified if required
  2. (b) Evidence submitted for endorsement cannot include objects, Digital Versatile Discs (DVDs) or Compact Discs (CDs), digital files or documents that only show web links. If an applicant wishes to use the content of a webpage as part of their supporting documents, they must provide a printed copy of the page which clearly shows the Uniform Resource Locator (URL) for the page.
  3. (c) Documents must be written in English or Welsh, or accompanied by a full translation that can be independently verified if required.
  4. (d) The endorsing body will independently assess whether the evidence provided appropriately and adequately supports the applicant’s claim that they meet the relevant criteria.
  5. (e) Where these Rules require applicants to provide a letter of recommendation from a UK based individual or UK organisation, or to hold a UK based research fellowship, specified evidence from the Isle of Man is also acceptable.
  6. (f) Where these Rules require applicants to provide a letter of recommendation, this letter must:
    1. (i) specifically refer to and support the Global Talent application, not be a general, all-purpose letter
    2. (ii) be a maximum length of 3 single sides of A4 paper, excluding the authors credentials and/or curriculum vitae.
  7. (g) Where an applicant is required to provide a curriculum vitae, the curriculum vitae must be a maximum length of 3 single sides of A4 paper.

 

In this article, I begin by taking a look at the requirements for science and research. If you’re interested in the requirements for arts and culture, film and television, architecture or digital technology you can skip straight to those sections.

Global Talent Course with example documents

How I got the Estonian start-up visa

Kashef and Genia both got the start-up visa for Estonia, and share their stories here.

The Estonian start up visa is for foreign entrepreneurs residing outside of the EEA. It allows you to enter Estonia for the purpose of setting up a technology-based start-up business. It does lead to permanent residence (PR) and Estonian citizenship if you wish to apply.

In this video, Kashef talks about his experience successfully applying for the Estonian start-up visa with a mobile analytics app business idea:


 

 

In this video, Genia shares her tips and experience on how to easily apply for an Estonian start-up visa, and her business idea of a travel market place:


 

Start-up visa course

Eligibility for the Estonian start-up visa

You will need to prove that you will be able to set up a start-up company registered in Estonia:

  1. with global growth potential;
  2. that is innovative and replicable; and
  3. which shall significantly contribute to the development of the Estonian business environment (section 62(4) Aliens Act).

There is no requirement for you to show evidence of business funds or provide a formal business plan (section 192(2)(1)(2), 192(3)(1) & 192(6)(1) Aliens Act). However, you do need to include information about your business plan in the endorsement application itself. This covers the same areas as a business plan (market research, etc), so is really closer to a business plan than a simple pitch deck.

Also, whilst not formally acknowledged in the legislation, the business must produce a product or provide a service which utilises cutting edge technology at some stage of the business i.e. in developing the product or in delivering the service.

To get the visa, you will need to first submit an application to the Estonian Startup Committee (“the Startup Committee”) (section 16(3) & 16(4) Procedure for Application for Temporary Residence Permit and its Extension and Long-Term Resident’s Residence Permit and Its Restoration and Rates of Legal Income). The application requires you to enter information about the business profile, team, product/service you intend to provide, the intended market and strategy for the product/service. Once approved, you will receive an expert committee “opinion” / approval, that you will have to submit with your application.

You will also need to prove that you have sufficient income and comprehensive health insurance for yourself and any dependents (section 117(3) & 117(4)). The subsistence level for you as the main applicant will be €150 per month, the subsistence level for each minor family member (i.e. a child under the age of 18) is €180 per month and the subsistence level for each subsequent adult member of your family (i.e. your spouse/civil partner) is €120 per month.


Application Process

There are three different ways in which you can apply for an Estonian start-up visa. You can either:

  1. apply directly for a residence permit (this route is for applicants who have already set up their start-up business in Estonia prior to submitting their application). This residence permit is granted for a period of 1-5 years and can be extended; or
  2. apply for a short-term Schengen Visa, which would allow you to travel to Estonia for a period of 90 days the purpose of setting up your start-up business. Prior to the expiry of the 90 day period you would then apply for the residence permit in-country; or
  3. apply for a long-term visa, which would allow you to travel to Estonia for a period of 12 months for the purpose of setting up your business. Prior to the expiry of the 12-month period, you would then apply for the residence permit in-country.


Process if you are applying for a temporary residence permit as a start-up founder:

STEP 1 – Set up a company in Estonia and set up an Estonian company bank account online (if you have not done so already);

STEP 2 – Complete and submit your application to the Startup Committee. The Startup Committee will review the application and make a decision within 10 working days. If successful, you will receive a verification letter with a unique application code which you will require for the visa application;

STEP 3 – Schedule an appointment at the Estonian embassy or consulate in your country of origin;

STEP 3 – Attend your appointment and submit your application for a temporary residence permit, along with your supporting documents and your unique code from the Startup Committee; and

STEP 4 – Receive your residence permit and travel to Estonia.


Process if you are applying for a short-term (Schengen) visa as a start-up founder:

STEP 1 – Complete the Schengen Visa (C) application form and submit your visa application online and gather your supporting documents;

STEP 2 – Schedule an appointment with your local Estonian embassy or consulate online;

STEP 3 – Attend your appointment and submit your supporting documents; and

STEP 4 – Receive your 90 day visa and travel to Estonia.


Process if you are applying for a long-term (national) visa as a start-up founder:

STEP 1 – Complete the Long-Stay (D) Visa form and gather your supporting documents;

STEP 2 – Schedule an appointment with your local Estonian embassy or consulate;

STEP 3 – Attend your appointment and submit your application and supporting documents; and

STEP 4 – Receive your Long Stay Visa and travel to Estonia.


Required documents if you are applying for the temporary residence permit as a start-up entrepreneur:

  1. a completed temporary residence permit application;
  2. 1 colour photo (40 x 50mm);
  3. a document certifying payment of the application fee;
  4. passport or other travel identity document;
  5. copy of the Startup Committee opinion;
  6. bank statements showing that you have sufficient legal income;
  7. evidence regarding your planned accommodation in Estonia; and
  8. a medical insurance policy with coverage of at least €30,000.


Required documents if you are applying for the short-term (Schengen) visa or long-term (national visa) as a start-up entrepreneur:

  1. a completed Schengen Visa (C) application form/Long-Stay (D) Visa form;
  2. 1 colour photograph (40 x 50mm);
  3. passport or other travel identity document;
  4. copy of the Startup Committee opinion;
  5. return flight tickets;
  6. a medical insurance policy with coverage for your period of stay of at least €30,000;
  7. evidence of your planned accommodation in Estonia; and
  8. evidence of sufficient means of subsistence for you and your dependents.


Can I bring my family members?

Yes, your spouse or minor child (aged under 18) may apply at the same time as you and receive a visa on the same terms (Section 64(4)(3) & 64(4)(4) Aliens Act).


Pathway to Estonian citizenship as a start-up visa applicant:

STAGE 1 – If you have applied for the Short-Term or Long-Term Visas (see above) you will need to apply for the residence permit in-country before the end of the 90 day/12 month term.

STAGE 2 – If your initial temporary residence permit was granted for a period of less than 5 years then you will need to apply for an extension (it is recommended that you do this at least 2 months before the end of your current residence permit term). An extension will be granted so long as you continue to comply with the criteria set out for the grant of the initial residence permit (Section 122 Aliens Act).

STAGE 3 – After you have resided in Estonia for 5 years on a temporary residence permit, you may apply for permanent residence (PR) (Section 232(1) Aliens Act). To be eligible for PR, you will have to continue to comply with the criteria for the grant of the residence permit and meet the required maintenance levels for you and your dependents (discussed above). You will also need to have knowledge of the Estonian language at least at level B1 (Section 234 (1) Aliens Act).

STAGE 4 – After 5 years with PR, you can apply for Estonian citizenship. In addition to the requirement for PR (above), you will need to provide a certificate on passing the examination on the knowledge of the Constitution of the Republic of Estonia and the Citizenship Act (Section 6 Citizenship Act). You may not hold dual citizenship (Section 1(2) Citizenship Act), so you will have to renounce any other citizenship upon applying.

N.B. You must be 15 years of age to apply for Estonian citizenship (Section 6(1) Citizenship Act).

The extension applications and PR application for your spouse and children may be processed at the same time which you process your applications for the same.


The cost of the Estonian start-up visa (visa fees):

Main Applicant for the start-up visa applicant:

  1. The fee for a temporary resident permit is €190 (when applying out of country) and €160 (when applying in country);
  2. The fee for an extension of a temporary residence permit is €64;
  3. The fee for a long term visa is €100;
  4. The fee for a short-term (Schengen) visa is €80; and
  5. The fee for applying for Estonian citizenship is €13.

Spouse of the start-up visa applicant:

  1. The fee for a temporary resident permit is €95 (if applying out of country) and €64 (if applying in country);
  2. The fee for extension of a temporary residence permit is €64;
  3. The fee for a long term visa is €100;
  4. The fee for a short-term (Schengen) visa is €80;
  5. The fee for applying for PR is €64; and
  6. The fee for applying for Estonian citizenship is €13.

Child of the start-up visa applicant:

  1. The fee for a temporary resident permit is €95 (if applying out of country) and €64 (if applying in country);
  2. The fee for extension of a temporary residence permit is €24;
  3. The fee for a long-term visa is €40 for a child between 6-11 years of age;
  4. The fee for a short-term (Schengen) visa is €40 for a child between 6-11 years of age; and
  5. The fee for applying for PR is €24 for a child under the age of 15.

These fees are also set out here on the Estonian government website.


How start up visas are issued:

The issuance of start-up visas in Estonia is governed by section 62(4) of the Aliens Act:

Issue of visa related to start-up business

(1) A visa for engagement in start-up business may be issued if the stay of an alien in Estonia is related to foundation or development of a start-up company in Estonia. An alien may be issued a short-stay or long-stay visa for engagement in start-up business.

(2) A start-up company for the purposes of this Act is a business entity belonging to a company registered in Estonia, which is starting activity with the purpose to develop and launch such a business model with high global growth potential, innovative and replicable that shall significantly contribute to the development of the Estonian business environment.

(3) If an alien is issued a visa for engagement in start-up business, a visa may be issued to the spouse, a minor child or an adult child who due to his or her health status or disability is unable to cope independently, under the same conditions as to the specified alien.

(4) ) If an alien is issued a visa for engagement in start-up business, a short-stay or long-stay visa may be issued to the spouse, a minor child or an adult child who due to his or her health status or disability is unable to cope independently.”


Your start-up visa conditions: 

The conditions of the temporary residence permit you get with the start up visa are explained in section 117 of the Aliens Act:

Conditions of issue of temporary residence permit

(1) The general conditions of the issue of a temporary residence permit to an alien are the following:
1) the purpose of application for the Estonian temporary residence permit is justified;
2) the actual place of residence is Estonia;
3) sufficient legal income which would enable an alien and the family members of an alien the subsistence in Estonia and;
4) a medical expenses insurance contract in compliance with the requirements provided for in § 120 of this Act unless otherwise provided for in this Act.

(2) The general conditions for the issue of a temporary residence permit must be met for the issue of a residence permit on any basis.

(3) The supplementary conditions for the issue of a temporary residence permit on a specific basis have been provided for in this Act separately.

(4) If the issue of a temporary residence permit on a specific basis does not require that some of the general conditions of the issue of a temporary


The legal requirements for your business activity as a start-up founder: 

The requirements for your business activity in Estonia are governed by section 192 of the Aliens Act:

Requirements for business activity

(1) A temporary residence permit for enterprise may be issued if the settling of an alien in Estonia shall significantly contribute to the achievement of the purpose of the residence permit granted for enterprise and the following conditions are met:
1) an alien has a holding in a company or he or she operates as a sole proprietor;
2) the company or the sole proprietor is entered into the commercial register of Estonia;
3) an alien has sufficient monetary resources for engaging in enterprise in Estonia

(2) An alien who has a holding in a company shall have invested at least 65,000 euros in the share capital of an Estonian company, for which real estate, machinery or equipment has been acquired and registered as fixed assets in Estonia.

(2.1) The requirement for the amount of investment specified in subsection (2) of this section shall not be applied if:
1) the company has been registered in Estonia for less than 12 months and commences operation with the support of the state or private investments, having received investment or loan from the state or a private management company licensed by the Financial Supervision Authority or a support from a public support measure;
2) in the case of a start-up company.

(3) An alien who is applying for a temporary residence permit for enterprise as a sole proprietor is required to have the capital in the amount of at least 16,000 euros invested in Estonia.

(3.1) The requirement for the amount of investment specified in subsection (3) of this section shall not be applied to a start-up company […]

(5) An alien shall submit the description of the business plan on the basis of which it is possible to assess if the grant of a residence permit to him or her shall be in compliance with the purpose of the grant of the residence permit for enterprise and provide evidence, in addition to other facts which are relevant in the proceeding, that there are no circumstances which would preclude his or her nomination as a member of the management body, procurator or the acquisition of a major holding or prohibit to be an actual beneficiary.

(6) An alien is required to submit the business plan in the Estonian or English language.

(6.1) The requirement for the description of the business plan specified in subsection (5) of this section shall not be applied to a start-up company.

(7) After one year has passed from the issue of a residence permit, one of the following conditions may be met during the period of validity of a temporary residence permit for enterprise instead of the possession condition of a residence permit provided for in subsection (2) of this Section:
1) the sales revenue of the company shall be at least 200,000 euros per year or
2) the social tax paid in Estonia monthly for the persons employed by the company shall be at least equal with the social tax paid in Estonia monthly on the remuneration equalling fivefold Estonian annual average gross wages.

(8) At the request of the Police and Border Guard Board the Tax and Customs Board shall submit the data of the remuneration on which the company has paid social tax.”

Document requirements for the original visa application and also for extending your visa as a as a start-up founder:

This is governed by section 16:

Documents submitted for business upon application for temporary residence permit

(1) Upon application for a temporary residence permit for entrepreneurship on the basis of clause 118 5) of the Aliens Act, the following shall be submitted:
1) an application;
2) photo;
3) information concerning the capital of the alien invested in Estonia and the amount of capital under the control of the alien;
4) a description of the business plan showing at least the name and registry code of the company or self-employed person, the business idea, including proposed activities, potential customers and suppliers, development plans, fixed assets, working capital, available manpower and financial forecasts for the next two financial years, including a cash flow forecast, as well as the curricula vitae of the persons performing the management and supervisory function and the applicant’s justification why his or her establishment in Estonia is important for business.

(2) In the case provided for in clause 192 (2 1 ) 1 ) of the Aliens Act , instead of the document specified in clause (1) 3) of this section, the alien submits documents or information concerning investment or loans from the state or a private management company including the time and sources of the investment, loan or grant.

(3) In the case provided for in clause 192 (2 1 ) 2 ) and subsections 3 1 and 6 1 of the Aliens Act, instead of the information and documents specified in clauses (1) 3) and 4) of this section, the alien shall submit to the Police and Border Guard including the application number of the committee of experts.

(4) The document or information specified in subsection (3) of this section need not be submitted if the Minister of the Interior has specified the relevant economic unit belonging to the company as a start-up company by a directive.”


Extending your start up visa:

The basic provision on start-up visa extensions is in section 122 of the Aliens Act:

Requirements for extension of temporary residence permit

A temporary residence permit may be extended if the conditions of the extension of the residence permit are met and there is no basis for refusal to extend the residence permit.”

Requirements for applying for the long-term residence visa as a start-up founder: 

These are set out in section 232 of the Aliens Act:

Conditions of issue of residence permit for long-term resident

(1) A residence permit for a long-term resident may be issued to an alien who corresponds to the following conditions:
1) he or she has resided in Estonia on the basis of a residence permit for at least last five years before the submission of the application for a residence permit for a long-term resident;
2) he or she has a valid temporary residence permit;
3) he or she has a permanent legal income which ensures his or her own subsistence in Estonia;
4) he or she is deemed to be an insured person for the purposes of the Health Insurance Act or a treaty of the Republic of Estonia;
5) he or she has met the integration requirement;
6) the information of his or her place of residence has been registered in the Population Register;
7) no facts which are the basis for the refusal to issue a residence permit for a long-term resident exist in respect of him or her.

(2) Clauses (1) 1)-3) of this section shall not be applied with regard to a child under fifteen years of age, who is a child of a citizen of Estonia residing in Estonia or of an alien residing in Estonia and holding a long-term resident’s residence permit of Estonia.

(21) The requirement for prior residence of an alien in the member states of the European Union on the basis of the EU Blue Card for at least five years immediately before the lodging of an application for a residence permit for a long-term resident, including the last two years in Estonia on the basis of the EU Blue Card, may be applied with regard to an alien who holds the EU Blue Card in Estonia instead of the requirement for residence on the basis of a residence permit provided for in clause (1) 1) of this section

(22) Upon meeting the requirement provided for in clause (1) 1) of this section the period of residence as an applicant for international protection immediately before the grant of international protection and the period of residence in Estonia as a person enjoying international protection shall be included into the period of residence in Estonia prior to the lodging of an application for a residence permit for a long-term resident.

(3) The requirement of residence on the basis of a residence permit provided for in clause (1) 1) of this section and clause 2) shall not apply with regard to an alien who has lost the citizenship of Estonia or who has been issued a personal identification document of the citizen of Estonia by mistake within six months as of the loss of the Estonian citizenship or the revocation of the document certifying the identity of an Estonian citizen.

(4) Subsection (3) of this section shall not be applied with regard to an alien who, upon application for the Estonian citizenship or for a document certifying the identity of the Estonian citizen, has submitted false information or falsified documents regarding the facts which are relevant to the proceedings.

(5) The conditions provided for in clauses (1) 1), 2) and 4)-6) of this section shall not be applied with regard to an alien who has settled in Estonia before 1 July in the year 1990 and who has factually resided and resides in Estonia and has not left to reside in another state and whose residence in Estonia does not pose a threat to the interests of the Estonian state.”


Language requirements for the start-up visa

This is governed by section 234 of the Aliens Act:

Integration requirement

(1) An alien who is applying for a residence permit for long-term residents is required to have the Estonian language proficiency at least at the elementary level – language proficiency level B1 or a corresponding level.

(2) The integration requirement need not be complied with by:
1) an alien under 15 years of age;
2) an alien over 65 years of age and
3) an adult alien who has restricted active legal capacity.

(3) The Estonian language proficiency is evaluated at the Estonian language proficiency level exam under the conditions provided for in the Language Act.

(4) An alien who has acquired the basic, secondary and higher education in the Estonian language is not required to take the Estonian language examination


Applying for Estonian citizenship after completing your start-up visa term: 

If you wish to naturalise as an Estonian citizen, this is governed by section 1 of the Estonian ‘Citizenship Act’:

Estonian citizen

(1) An Estonian citizen is a person who holds Estonian citizenship at the time of entry into force of this Act or a person who acquires or restores his or her Estonian citizenship in accordance with this Act.

(2) An Estonian citizen may not simultaneously hold the citizenship of another state.”

The conditions for citizenship are set out in section 6 of the Citizenship Act:

Conditions for acquiring Estonian citizenship by naturalisation

An alien who wishes to acquire Estonian citizenship by naturalisation must:
1) be at least 15 years of age;
2) hold a long-term residence permit or the right of permanent residence;
2) 1) prior to the date on which he or she submits the application for Estonian citizenship, have lived in Estonia for at least eight years on the ground of a residence permit or by right of residence, of which at least the last five years on a permanent basis;
2) 2) have lawfully and on a permanent basis resided in Estonia on the ground of a long-term residence permit or by right of permanent residence for six months from the day following the date of registration of the application for Estonian citizenship;
2)3) have a registered place of residence in Estonia;
3) be proficient in the Estonian language in accordance with the requirements provided in section 8 of this Act;
4) know the Constitution of the Republic of Estonia and the Citizenship Act in accordance with the requirements provided in section 9 of this Act;
5) have a permanent legal income;
6) be loyal to the Estonian state;
7) take an oath: ” Taotledes Eesti kodakondsust, tõotan olla ustav Eesti põhiseaduslikule korrale” [In applying for Estonian citizenship, I swear to be loyal to the constitutional order of Estonia]


Estonian start up visa resources

You can find my full course on how to apply for the Estonian start-up visa here:

https://visa-academy.com/p/estonia-startup-visa

The documents you need for the Temporary Residence Permit, Short-Term and Long-Term Visas are set out here:

https://startupestonia.ee/visa/eligibility-foreign-founder

https://vm.ee/en/applying-visa-schengen-area

https://www.vm.ee/en/long-stay-d-visa

https://www2.politsei.ee/en/teenused/residence-permit/tahtajaline-elamisluba/ettevotluseks/index.dot

The documents you need for applying to naturalise as an Estonian citizen are here:

https://www2.politsei.ee/en/teenused/eesti-kodakondsus/taiskasvanule/index.dot

The documents you need for applying for permanent residence after completing the start up visa term are here:

https://www2.politsei.ee/en/teenused/residence-permit/pikaajalise-elaniku-elamisluba/

You need to check that you can meet the minimum Estonian Subsistence Level. For the latest figure on what this is, check here:

https://ec.europa.eu/social/main.jsp?catId=1108&langId=en&intPageId=5055

Start-up visa course

French entrepreneur visa requirements (the ‘profession liberale’ visa) with CASE STUDY

The requirements for the French entrepreneur visa (also known as the profession liberale visa) are that you are able to:

  1. set up an economically viable business, such as the example in my course on this visa route of a virtual reality game park (Article L313-10, Code for the Entry and Stay of Foreigners and the Right to Asylum (“The Code”));
  2. pay yourself the equivalent of the minimum legal wage in France for a full-time worker. This equates to around £1,539.42 per month or £18,473.04 per year (see the French Office for National Statistics (Insee) for the latest statistics;
  3. provide documents proving your ability to carry out your planned business activity (i.e. degrees/diplomas, professional qualifications, employment certificates, etc.). You can check out an example business plan for this visa route on my course;
  4. provide a criminal record certificate from your home country;
  5. provide a completed “retailer, crafts person, manufacturer” form;
  6. provide a written presentation of your project, your business plan and a multi-annual estimated budget (for an example see my course);
  7. provide a letter of guarantee from a French-based credit institution or approved insurance company or proof of a credit balance from an account opened in your name at a French-based credit institution;
  8. provide a copy of the commercial lease agreement stating the business activity or of the sub-lease contract stating the activity and where possible authorisation from the owner of the premises, or any other documents regarding the business premises and copy of the draft articles of association with a draft breakdown of share capital;
  9. provide a signed and dated application form;
  10. provide a valid travel document issued less than 10 years ago, containing at least two blank pages and at least three months longer than the expiry date of the visa requested (i.e. at least 1 year left to run);
  11. provide a France-Visas receipt;
  12. provide a passport-sized ID photograph; and
  13. if you are not a national of your country of residence, provide proof that you are legally resident in that country (e.g. residence permit).

Learn how Harsh successfully applied for this visa.

Application Process

STEP 1 – Complete the long-stay visa application form marked “Entrepreneur/independent professional” and submit with the documents above to the French consulate in the country where you reside. The processing time for a long-stay visa varies depending on the specifics of a particular application.Typically this process takes 15-20 days.

STEP 2 – Receive your entry visa.

STEP 3 – Arrive in France. You must validate your visa online via the OFII dedicated online platform within 3 months of arrival. In order to do this you will need:

• a valid email address;
• your visa information;
• your date of arrival in France;
• your address in France; and
• your card details for the online payment of the fee for issuing your residence permit.

STEP 4 – Receive your temporary residence permit.

 


Pathway to Permanent Residence

STAGE 1 – 2 months before the expiry of your temporary residence permit you must submit a renewal application. In order to meet the requirements, you must produce documents showing that you continue to meet the conditions for eligibility for which the temporary permit was granted (see above). If the conditions are met, you will be granted a 4-year visa extension.

STAGE 2 – After 5 years of uninterrupted residence, you can obtain a long-term residence card marked “Long-Term Residence CE”, this is equivalent to Permanent Residence (PR). You must have obtained comprehensive health insurance cover and continue to be compliant with the conditions for initial eligibility and sufficient financial and housing resources (above) (Article L314-8, The Code). You must also meet the requirements for knowledge of French language (Level A2) (Article L314-2, The Code). This residence card is renewable indefinitely and are issued for 10 years.

STAGE 3 – After 5 years of continuous and uninterrupted residence and you have received the residence card above, you may apply for French citizenship (Article 21-17 French Civil Code). As at Stage 2, you must have comprehensive health insurance cover and continue to show that you are able to meet the requirement for financial and housing resources. You must also speak French to level B1 and show your assimilation into French culture (you will be required to display this at an “assimilation interview” where the interview itself is conducted in French) (Article 21-24 French Civil Code). The processing time for French citizenship can be up to 18 months.

N.B. Your dependents can also apply for PR after 3 years of uninterrupted residence (Article L314-9, The Code). They may then apply for French citizenship after 5 years as above at Stage 3.

This visa route permits overseas individuals to obtain a temporary residence card that allows the applicant to stay in France, for an initial period of 1 year, to exercise a professional activity (i.e. setting up a business or working for a company as an employee). This article will focus on overseas individuals who wish to establish a business. There are no requirements for the business in question to be of a particular type, only that it is economically viable. This visa route leads to Permanent Residence in France and French citizenship, if desired.


Bringing family

You are able to bring your spouse and any children under 18 years of age into France under the “family reunification” route. However, you must have been living in France for a period of at least 18 months (Article L411-1, The Code), so you will not be able to bring your dependents to France during the initial visa term.

You must also have sufficient financial resources and housing to support your family members.

 

Visa Fees for the French entrepreneur visa / profession liberale visa

Main Applicant

• The fee for the initial entry visa is €99. You must also pay a fee of €200 to French Office of Immigration and Integration (OFII) for issuing your temporary residence permit. In addition, you must also pay stamp duty of €25 on top of the fee for issuing your temporary residence permit.
• There is an additional administrative fee of €225 for the extension application and a further €225 for the application for the PR card.
• The application for French citizenship costs €55.

Dependents

• The fee for the initial entry visa for both spouse or child (under the age of 19) is €99. The fee payable to OFII for issuing the residence permit is €269 (incl. stamp duty) for a spouse and €139 for a child (incl. stamp duty);
• the additional administrative fee for the renewal for both a spouse and for a child is €269 (incl. stamp duty);
• the fee for the PR card is €180; and
• the application for French citizenship is €55.

Useful resources to check out before applying for the French entrepreneur visa (the profession liberale visa)

You can check out my course on how Harsh successfully applied for the French entrepreneur visa (also known as the profession liberale visa).

You should also make sure that you continue to be above the French National Minimum Wage, which is a requirement for this visa pathway.

The required supporting document checklist is provided by the French government here.

The legal requirements for the French entrepreneur visa or ‘profession liberale’ visa are set out in Article L313-10 of The Code

This states:

The temporary residence permit authorising the exercise of a professional activity is issued:

1. Abroad, holder of an employment contract referred to in accordance with the provisions of article L. 341-2 of the labor code.

For the exercise of a salaried professional activity in a trade and a geographical area characterised by difficulties of recruitment and appearing on a list established at the national level by the administrative authority, after consultation of the representative trade unions of employers and employees, the foreigner is issued this card without opposing the employment situation on the basis of the same article L. 341-2.

The card is marked “employee” when the activity is carried out for a period greater than or equal to twelve months. It is marked “temporary worker” when the activity is carried out for a fixed period of less than twelve months. If the termination of the employment contract by the employer occurs within three months preceding the renewal of the card marked “employee”, a new card is issued to him for a period of one year;

2. Abroad who comes to exercise a commercial, industrial or craft profession, on the condition in particular that he justifies an economically viable activity compatible with public safety, health and tranquility and that he respects the obligations imposed to nationals for the exercise of the profession envisaged. It bears the mention of the profession that the holder intends to practice. A decree in the Council of State fixes the conditions of application of this 2;

3. Abroad who comes to exercise a professional activity not subject to the authorisation provided for in Article L. 341-2 of the Labor Code and who justifies being able to live on their own resources.

The French legal requirements for your family joining you on the the French entrepreneur visa or ‘profession liberale’ visa are set out in Article L411-1 of The Code:

Foreign nationals who have been staying regularly in France for at least eighteen months, under cover of one of the documents with a validity period of at least one year provided for by this code or by international conventions, may request to benefit of his right to be joined, by virtue of family reunification, by his spouse, if the latter is at least eighteen years of age, and the children of the minor couple under eighteen years of age.

The financial and accommodation requirements you need to satisfy are explained in Article L411-5 of The Code:

Family reunification can only be refused for one of the following reasons:

1. The applicant does not justify stable and sufficient resources to support his family. All the resources of the applicant and his spouse are taken into account independently of the family benefits and allowances provided for in article L. 262-1 of the social action and family code, in article L. 815-1 of the social security code and articles L. 351-9, L. 351-10 and L. 351-10-1 of the labor code. Resources must reach an amount that takes into account the size of the applicant’s family. The Council of State decree provided for in Article L. 441-1fixes this amount which must be at least equal to the minimum monthly growth salary and at most equal to this salary increased by a fifth. These provisions do not apply when the person requesting family reunification is the holder of the allowance for disabled adults mentioned in article L. 821-1 of the social security code or the additional allowance mentioned in article L. 815-24 of the same code;

2. The applicant does not have or will not have on the date of arrival of his family in France accommodation considered normal for a comparable family living in the same geographic region;

3. The applicant does not comply with the essential principles which, in accordance with the laws of the Republic, govern family life in France, the host country.”

The residency requirements for this visa pathway are set out in Article L314-8 of The Code:

Any foreigner who has an uninterrupted residence of at least five years in France, in accordance with the laws and regulations in force, under cover of one of the residence permits mentioned in articles L. 313-6 , L. 313-8 and L. 313-9, in 1, 2 and 3 of article L. 313-10 , in articles L. 313-11, L. 313-11-1 , L. 313-14 and L. 314-9, in 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 9 of article L. 314-11 and in articles L. 314-12 and L. 315-1 can obtain a resident card marked “long-term resident-CE” if they have health insurance. Years of residence, under cover of a temporary residence permit marked “private and family life” withdrawn by the administrative authority on the basis of a marriage having only the purpose of obtaining a residence permit or d ‘acquire French nationality, cannot be taken into account to obtain the resident card. The decision to grant or refuse this card is taken taking into account the facts which he can invoke in support of his intention to establish permanently in France, in particular with regard to the conditions of his professional activity if he has one, and his means of existence.

The applicant’s livelihoods are assessed in the light of their resources, which must be stable and sufficient to meet their needs. All the applicant’s own resources are taken into account independently of the family benefits and allowances provided for in articles L. 262-1 of the social action and families code and L. 351-9, L. 351-10 and L. 351-10-1 of the labor code. These resources must reach an amount at least equal to the minimum growth wage and are assessed with regard to housing conditions.

The sufficiency of resources with regard to housing conditions is the subject of an opinion from the mayor of the applicant’s municipality of residence. This opinion is deemed favorable to the expiration of a period of two months from the referral of the mayor by the administrative authority.”

The French language requirements for the entrepreneur route are set out in Article L314-2 of The Code:

When the legislative provisions of this code so provide, the issuance of a first resident card is subject to the republican integration of the foreigner into French society, appreciated in particular with regard to his personal commitment to respect the principles that govern the French Republic, effective compliance with these principles and its knowledge of the French language, which must be at least equal to a level defined by decree in the Council of State.

For the assessment of the condition of integration, the administrative authority seeks the opinion of the mayor of the municipality in which he resides. This opinion is deemed favorable to the expiration of a period of two months from the referral of the mayor by the administrative authority.

Foreigners over the age of sixty-five are not subject to the condition relating to knowledge of the French language.”

The requirements for naturalisation as a French citizen after completing your entrepreneur / profession liberale visa term are set out in Article 21-17 of French Civil Code:

Subject to the exceptions laid down in Articles 21-18, 21-19 and 21-20, naturalisation may be granted only to an alien who proves a habitual residence in France during the five years preceding the submission of the request.”

The other citizenship requirements are set out in Article 21-24 of the French Civil Code:

Nobody may be naturalised unless he proves his assimilation into the French community, and notably by a sufficient knowledge, according to his condition, of the language, history, culture, and society of France, whose level and whose means of evaluation are fixed by decree en Conseil d’État, and of the rights and duties conferred by the French nationality, as well as an adherence to the essential principles and values of the Republic.

Upon issuance of the verification of his assimilation, the person concerned signs the charter of the rights and duties of the French citizen. This charter, approved by decree en Conseil d’État, restates the essential principles, values, and symbols of the Republic of France.”

The requirements for the issuance of residence cards to your family are set out in Article 314-9 of The Code:

The resident card is automatically issued:

1. To the spouse and children in the year following their eighteenth birthday or falling within the provisions of article L. 311-3, of a foreigner holding a resident card, who have been authorized to stay in France for family reunification under the conditions provided for in Book IV and which justify an uninterrupted residence, in accordance with the laws and regulations in force, of at least three years in France;

2. Abroad who is the father or mother of a French child residing in France and who has held the temporary residence card mentioned in 6 of article L. 313-11 or a card for at least three years of multi-year residence mentioned in 2 of Article L. 313-18 , provided that he still fulfills the conditions for obtaining this residence permit and that he does not live in a state of polygamy.

The child referred to in this article means the child having a legally established filiation, including the adopted child, by virtue of an adoption decision, subject to the verification by the public prosecutor of the regularity of this decision when it was made abroad;

3. Abroad married for at least three years with a national of French nationality, provided that he stays regularly in France, that the community of life between the spouses has not ceased since the marriage, that the spouse has retained French nationality and, when the marriage was celebrated abroad, that it was transcribed beforehand in the French civil status registers.

For the application of 2 and 3 of this article to Mayotte, the condition provided for in the first sentence of 2 of article L. 314-8 applies.”

Visa fees for the French entrepreneur visa or ‘profession liberale’ visa are set out on the French government’s sites here:

https://france-visas.gouv.fr/en_US/web/france-visas

https://france-visas.gouv.fr/en_US/web/france-visas/self-employed-person-or-liberal-activity

https://ec.europa.eu/home-affairs/sites/homeaffairs/files/10a_fance_family_reunification_final_en.pdf

Finally, if you would like to follow the example of a successful visa applicant for this visa route, then check out my course. Best of luck in your application!