Startup visa – more flexible migration rules for founders of startups creating high value added
// February 28, 2019
Since 2017, citizens of third countries (i.e. the non-EU Member States), who are going to engage in introducing new technologies or other innovations significant for the development of the Lithuanian economy and its social development, can obtain permits for temporary residence in Lithuania (the so-called “startup visas”) under the simplified procedure. This novelty has actually proved to be useful as according to data for 2017, as presented by the Government, in 2017 the number of startups, founders of which are citizens of third countries, increased by 39.1 percent compared to 2015. Below please find a more detailed description of the “startup visa” and the procedure for obtaining it.
Startup visa – who can ask for it?
A permit for temporary residence in Lithuania can be issued to a foreigner (a citizen of a third country), who is going to engage in lawful activities related to introduction of new technologies or other innovations significant for development of the Lithuanian economy and its social development, e.g. introduction of new or materially improved products (goods or services) or processes, new marketing or organisational methods, which will have a positive effect on the development of the Lithuanian economy and its social development, in the areas of biotechnologies, nanotechnologies, information technologies, mechatronics, electronics or laser technologies, in the practices of private legal entities or of Lithuanian state and municipal institutions and authorities.
A permit for residence in Lithuania is issued to a foreign citizen for one year. This permit can be extended once for another year.
Procedure for issuance of a startup visa
For the sake of convenience, we have divided the “startup visa” issuance procedure into several steps.
First step: submission of documents
A foreign citizen, who wants to get a “startup visa”, must submit the following to VšĮ Versli Lietuva electronically:
- an application of the approved form;
- a copy of a valid travel document.
Upon receipt of the said documents, VšĮ Versli Lietuva performs an initial evaluation of the application. If the application and all other requested documents have been submitted properly, VšĮ Versli Lietuva accepts the application.
Second step: interview
VšĮ Versli Lietuva holds an interview with the applicant by use of information and electronic communication technologies (video conferences, teleconferences, etc.). During the interview, the image of the applicant’s face and the demonstrated original of the travel document are recorded. Other persons, who are going to find the company together with the applicant, can take part (upon request of VšĮ Versli Lietuva, must take part) in the interview. A video and audio record can be made during the interview, which must be stored along with the documents and other information presented by the applicant.
VšĮ Versli Lietuva, no later than on the next business day after the indicated interview, gives the Applications Evaluation Commission all information and documents available to it: the application, a copy of the travel document, information received during the interview, other documents and information submitted by the applicant.
Third step: evaluation by the Applications Evaluation Commission
The Applications Evaluation Commission, consisting of representatives of VšĮ Versli Lietuva, the Agency for Science, Innovation, and technology (MITA) and venture capital funds and business accelerators, evaluates whether the applicant and his activities meet requirements of legal acts. The number of points given during the evaluation may range from 1 (one) to 5 (five).
Each member of the Applications Evaluation Commission assesses the following criteria describing the applicant and his activities and gives each of them a relevant number of points:
- a possibility in one’s activities to introduce new or materially improved products (goods or services) or processes, new marketing or organisational methods in the practices of private legal entities or of Lithuanian state and municipal institutions and authorities in the areas of biotechnologies, nanotechnologies, information technologies, mechatronics, electronics or laser technologies and the significance of these products (goods or services) or processes, new marketing or organisational methods for the development of the Lithuanian economy and its social development;
- a high potential of development of the relevant activities;
- qualification and financial possibilities to start and develop the activities;
- feasibility of the company’s business plan for one year and the strategic plan for two years;
- the necessity for the applicant, who will be a member of the company planned to be found, to be present in the Republic of Lithuania for the performance of activities of the company.
It is deemed that the applicant and the activities that he intends to perform meet requirements set in legal acts if the average number of points given by a member of the Applications Evaluation Commission is at least 3 (three) and such or a higher number of points is given by at least four members of the Applications Evaluation Commission.
The Applications Evaluation Commission presents its conclusions to VšĮ Versli Lietuva.
Fourth step: decision making
In case of a positive conclusion of the Applications Evaluation Commission, the head of VšĮ Versli Lietuva takes a decision confirming that the applicant and his activities meet requirements of legal acts.
VšĮ Versli Lietuva informs the applicant about the decision. Copies of the decision are presented to the applicant and the Migration Department electronically. The permit for temporary residence in Lithuania is issued by the Migration Department. For the Migration Department to issue the permit, the applicant must submit to it an application of the approved form for issuance of a permit for temporary residence in Lithuania, a valid travel document, a document about the availability of funds sufficient for living, etc. and pay state levies. A decision to issue a permit is usually made within 2 months (in 1 month, if urgent) from the date of submission of the application and the necessary documents. The permit is issued within 10 business days (5 business days, if urgent) from the date of the decision.
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