For the last few years, entrepreneurs have no longer been limited by borders when pursuing business ventures. Securing the proper visa is a crucial first step for expanding into international markets.

Entrepreneur visas provide the legal framework for individuals to establish, manage, and grow their businesses in foreign countries. They allow for innovation and contributions to the global economy. These visas facilitate business expansion and open doors for personal and professional growth in new and diverse environments.

This article highlights some of the best entrepreneur visas available worldwide, focusing on countries known for their supportive ecosystems and favorable conditions for business development.

What is an Entrepreneur Visa?

e2 visa document checklist existing business minimum investment startup visas national or international acclaim central and active role world bank pay taxes foreign employer international acclaim new company substantial ownership non immigrant visa permanent residence bank account new businesses rapid growth foreign employer international acclaim startup visas national or international acclaim world bank non immigrant visa labor certification residence permit sustained national specialty occupation exceptional ability active role operational control bachelor's degree new business temporary basis key differences substantial potential immigrant version new venture important consideration san francisco only people green card temporarily liveAn Entrepreneur Visa is a specialized visa category designed to attract foreign nationals who want to establish, develop, and manage a business in a host country. These visas are part of broader economic strategies governments implement to stimulate economic growth, create jobs, and foster innovation.

An Entrepreneur Visa typically requires applicants to present a viable business plan, demonstrate sufficient financial resources, and sometimes show evidence of relevant business experience or qualifications. The primary goal is ensuring the business will contribute positively to the host country’s economy.

Unlike standard work visas, which are often tied to employment with a specific company, Entrepreneur Visas allow individuals to operate their businesses. This can range from starting a new enterprise to investing in or expanding an existing business.

In return, visa holders often enjoy benefits such as living and working in the host country, bringing their immediate family members, and eventually applying for permanent residency or citizenship if certain conditions are met.

Countries offering Entrepreneur Visas typically aim to attract high-caliber entrepreneurs who can introduce innovative products, services, and technologies, enhancing the country’s competitive edge in the global market.

This type of visa is crucial for fostering a dynamic business environment and driving long-term economic development.

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8 Best Visas for Entrepreneurs in 2024

From the United States’ EB-5 Immigrant Investor Visa to Portugal’s D2 Visa, each option presents unique benefits and requirements tailored to attract high-caliber entrepreneurs.

Whether you aim to innovate in tech hubs, expand into emerging markets, or benefit from strategic locations, understanding the best entrepreneur options can be your gateway to global success.

Here are some of the best entrepreneur for business people in 2024, delving into the specifics of these visas, highlighting the key features, eligibility criteria, and advantages they offer to help you make an informed decision about where to launch your next big venture.

1. United States: E-2 and EB-5 Visas

immigrant visa san francisco start a business immigrant visa new company business investment one year first year labor certification The United States offers two prominent visa options for entrepreneurs: the E-2 Treaty Investor Visa and the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Visa. The E-2 visa is available to citizens of countries with which the United States maintains a treaty of commerce and navigation.

This visa requires a substantial investment in a bona fide enterprise and is aimed at individuals who wish to develop and direct business operations.

The investment must be significant enough to ensure the successful operation of the enterprise, typically starting from $100,000, though there is no set minimum amount. The E-2 visa is initially granted for up to two years but can be extended indefinitely as long as the business remains operational.

The EB-5 visa, on the other hand, is a pathway to permanent residency (Green Card). It requires an investment of at least $1.8 million in a new commercial enterprise, or $900,000 if the investment is in a targeted employment area (TEA) with high unemployment or in a rural area.

The investor must also create or preserve at least ten full-time jobs for qualified US workers within two years of the investor’s admission to the United States. The EB-5 visa is highly attractive due to its direct route to a Green Card for the investor, their spouse, and unmarried children under 21.

This program facilitates the investor’s ability to live and work in the US and grants access to a broader range of business and lifestyle opportunities within the country.

Both visa types require meticulous documentation and a well-prepared business plan to meet US immigration standards.

2. Portugal: D2 Visa

d2 visa portugalPortugal’s D2 Visa, also known as the Entrepreneur Visa, aims to attract foreign entrepreneurs and investors to start or expand their businesses in the country.

This visa suits individuals interested in creating a new business, investing in an existing Portuguese business, or moving their business operations to Portugal.

To be eligible for the D2 Visa, applicants must submit a viable business plan demonstrating their venture’s potential economic and social impact.

They must also demonstrate sufficient financial resources to support themselves and their business operations. The D2 Visa application process provides detailed documentation, such as the business plan, proof of financial means, and evidence of relevant business experience.

Once approved, the D2 Visa allows entrepreneurs to live in Portugal and work on their businesses. Successful applicants can apply for permanent residency and Portuguese citizenship after five years.

Portugal’s favorable tax system, strategic location within the European Union, and high quality of life make it an appealing destination for entrepreneurs wishing to establish a presence in Europe.

3. United Kingdom: Innovator Visa and Start-up Visa

United-Kingdom-London-Big-BenThe United Kingdom provides two significant routes for entrepreneurial immigrants: the Innovator Visa and the Start-up Visa.

The Innovator Visa is designed for experienced businesspersons seeking to establish an innovative business in the UK. Applicants must have at least £50,000 to invest and need to be endorsed by an approved endorsing body that assesses the business idea’s innovation, viability, and scalability.

The visa is initially granted for three years and can be extended for another three years, with no maximum time limit. Eventually, it will lead to indefinite leave to remain (permanent residency) if certain criteria are met, including creating jobs for UK residents and achieving specific financial thresholds.

The Start-up Visa, on the other hand, targets entrepreneurs looking to set up an innovative business for the first time. Unlike the Innovator Visa, there is no requirement for initial investment funds.

However, applicants still need an endorsement from an approved body, which typically includes higher education institutions or business organizations with a history of supporting UK entrepreneurs. The Start-up Visa is granted for two years, during which the entrepreneur must work solely on developing their business.

After two years, entrepreneurs may switch to the Innovator Visa to continue growing their business in the UK.

Both visa routes emphasize the need for a robust, innovative business idea and the potential to contribute to the UK economy. They also require a detailed business plan and proof of English language proficiency.

4. Spain: Entrepreneur Visa (Ley de Emprendedores)

The Entrepreneur Visa of Spain, part of the Ley de Emprendedores (Entrepreneurs Law), is for non-EU citizens who wish to establish an innovative business in Spain.

The visa promotes entrepreneurial activities that contribute to Spain’s economic growth and technological advancement. To be eligible, applicants must submit a business plan highlighting their business’s innovative nature, potential to create jobs and economic impact.

The business plan is evaluated by Spain’s economic and commercial office to ensure that it meets the criteria.

Additionally, applicants must demonstrate sufficient financial resources to support themselves and their business during the initial phase. Once approved, the Entrepreneur Visa allows entrepreneurs to reside and work in Spain for up to two years, with the option to renew.

After five years, visa holders can apply for permanent residency. Spain’s dynamic economy, strategic location, and supportive business environment make it an attractive destination for entrepreneurs seeking to expand into the European market. The country also provides various incentives and support programs for innovation and entrepreneurship.

5. Canada: Startup Visa Program

canadaCanada’s Startup Visa Program is designed for innovative entrepreneurs who can create jobs for Canadians and compete globally.

This visa program requires applicants to have a qualifying business and secure a commitment from a designated Canadian organization, such as a venture capital fund, angel investor group, or business incubator.

Applicants must obtain a letter of support from one of these designated organizations, which will evaluate the business proposal based on innovation, potential for growth, and job creation.

Unlike some other entrepreneur visas, no set minimum investment amount is required from the entrepreneur; instead, the focus is on securing sufficient funding from Canadian investors.

In addition to business support, applicants must meet language requirements (proficiency in English or French) and have enough settlement funds to support themselves and their family members once they arrive in Canada.

The Start-up Visa Program grants successful applicants and their families permanent residency, offering the security and stability to grow their businesses within Canada.

This visa is particularly attractive because it allows entrepreneurs to live anywhere in Canada and benefit from its robust economy, quality of life, and supportive business environment.

The application process involves rigorous screening and requires a comprehensive business plan, financial projections, and a clear demonstration of the business’s innovative nature and growth potential.

Read our Guide to Canada’s Start-Up Visa

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6. Australia: Business Innovation and Investment (Provisional) Visa

australia - ideal country to liveAustralia’s Business Innovation and Investment (Provisional) Visa (subclass 188) is a popular choice for entrepreneurs aiming to establish themselves in Australia. This visa is part of the Business Innovation and Investment Program, designed to attract high-quality entrepreneurs and investors.

The subclass 188 visa is divided into several streams, including the Business Innovation Stream, the Investor Stream, the Significant Investor Stream, and the Entrepreneur Stream. Each stream has specific requirements tailored to different business activities and investments.

The Business Innovation Stream requires applicants to own and manage a business in Australia. Applicants must have net business and personal assets of at least AUD 1.25 million and an annual business turnover of at least AUD 750,000. The Investor Stream requires a designated investment of AUD 2.5 million in an Australian state or territory.

The Significant Investor Stream demands an investment of at least AUD 5 million into complying with significant investments in Australia.

Lastly, the Entrepreneur Stream is aimed at individuals who have secured a funding agreement of at least AUD 200,000 from a third party to undertake a complying entrepreneur activity.

This visa is initially granted for up to four years and three months, with the possibility of extension. Successful applicants can eventually apply for the Business Innovation and Investment (Permanent) Visa (subclass 888) if they meet specific criteria, such as maintaining their investment or business activities in Australia.

This pathway to permanent residency makes the subclass 188 visa an attractive option for international entrepreneurs looking to establish a long-term presence in Australia.

The visa program emphasizes the need for substantial investment, business acumen, and a commitment to contributing to the Australian economy through innovation and job creation.

 7. Ireland: Start-up Entrepreneur Programme (STEP)

Ireland (Personalizado)Ireland’s Start-up Entrepreneur Programme (STEP) aims to attract high-potential start-ups worldwide to set up their businesses in Ireland. The program focuses on innovative enterprises that have the potential to create a significant number of jobs and generate substantial revenue in the country.

To be eligible, applicants must demonstrate that they have a minimum funding of €50,000 and provide a detailed business plan outlining the innovative aspects of the business, market opportunities, and growth potential.

Enterprise Ireland, the government agency responsible for supporting Irish businesses, evaluates the business plan. Applicants must also demonstrate that they have the necessary skills and experience to develop the business successfully.

Once approved, the STEP visa allows entrepreneurs and their immediate family members to reside and work in Ireland. The visa is granted for two years initially, with the option of extending it for an additional three years. After five years, successful entrepreneurs can apply for long-term residency and, eventually, citizenship.

Ireland’s business-friendly environment, strong economy, and access to the European Union market make it an appealing location for start-ups seeking rapid growth and international expansion.

8. New Zealand: Entrepreneur Work Visa

new zealandThe Entrepreneur Work Visa in New Zealand is aimed at experienced business people who wish to operate their businesses there. This visa provides a route to permanent residency for successful entrepreneurs.

To be eligible, applicants must have a minimum capital investment of NZD 100,000 (excluding working capital) and meet specific criteria based on a points system. The assessment considers business experience, the amount of investment, the potential for job creation, and the business location.

Higher points are awarded for businesses outside the main urban centers, which is in line with the government’s focus on promoting regional economic development.

The initial Entrepreneur Work Visa is granted for a 12-month start-up phase, during which the entrepreneur can establish their business in New Zealand. If the business progresses as planned, the visa can be extended for 24 months.

Throughout this period, the entrepreneur must demonstrate the viability of the business, meet employment and investment targets, and positively contribute to New Zealand’s economy.

After running a successful business for two years, entrepreneurs can apply for an Entrepreneur Residence Visa, subject to meeting additional criteria such as maintaining the investment and job creation commitments.

New Zealand is renowned for its supportive business environment, high quality of life, and emphasis on innovation and sustainability. The Entrepreneur Work Visa program mirrors these values by promoting businesses that can contribute meaningfully to the economy while fostering job creation and innovation.

Applicants must present a comprehensive business plan, provide evidence of financial stability, and demonstrate the potential for long-term economic impact.

This visa program provides a structured and supportive pathway for international entrepreneurs to establish and grow their businesses in New Zealand. It ultimately leads to permanent residency and the opportunity to fully integrate into the New Zealand community.

How Can Global Citizen Solutions Help You?

Global Citizen Solutions is a boutique migration consultancy firm with years of experience delivering bespoke residence and citizenship by investment solutions for international families. With offices worldwide and an experienced, hands-on team, we have helped hundreds of clients worldwide acquire citizenship, residence visas, or homes while diversifying their portfolios with robust investments. 

We guide you from start to finish, taking you beyond your citizenship or residency by investment application. 

Frequently Asked Questions About the Best Visas for Entrepreneurs

What is an Entrepreneur Visa?

An Entrepreneur Visa is a type of visa intended to attract foreign entrepreneurs who want to start, grow, and oversee a business in the host country. These visas typically have specific requirements, such as investment amounts, job creation targets, and business plans.

What types of businesses are eligible for an Entrepreneur Visa?

The types of businesses eligible for an Entrepreneur Visa can vary depending on the country. Generally, host countries prefer businesses that have the potential to contribute significantly to their economy.

This includes innovative startups, technology companies, manufacturing ventures, and businesses that will create substantial employment opportunities for residents. Some countries may prioritize renewable energy, healthcare, and advanced manufacturing sectors.

Applicants need to review the specific industry preferences or restrictions outlined by the visa program of the country in which they are interested.

How long does it take to process an Entrepreneur Visa application?

The processing time for an Entrepreneur Visa varies widely depending on the country and the complexity of the application. It can range from a few months to over a year.

Applicants are advised to check the specific processing times for their chosen country and plan accordingly.

Can family members accompany the principal applicant on an Entrepreneur Visa?

Most Entrepreneur Visa programs allow the main applicant’s immediate family members (spouse and children) to accompany them.

The family members may also be granted visas that permit them to study or work in the host country. It’s important to note that specific terms and conditions regarding family members can vary by country and visa type.

How can one improve the chances of obtaining an Entrepreneur Visa?

Submit a thorough and persuasive application to increase the likelihood of obtaining an Entrepreneur Visa.

This involves creating a detailed business plan that explains the business concept, market analysis, financial forecasts, and potential economic effects. It is also crucial to show that there is enough funding to sustain the business and cover personal living expenses.