Startup Visa Approved by Lithuanian Government

2016 April 14

Startup Visa Approved by Lithuanian Government

Lithuania's Cabinet of Ministers has approved legislation amendments that will ease the process of acquiring rights for permanent residency to citizens of non EU/EEA countries who wish to run innovative businesses in Lithuania. The legislation is still due to be approved by the Lithuanian parliament, and yet both the Ministry of Economy and the Ministry of Interior support it.

(Update 2017: you can now learn more and apply at: www.startupvisalithuania.com)

The so-called Startup Visa amendment has been advocated by Startup Lithuania, among others. The legislation will remove much of the bureaucratic burden for startup founders and skilled employees to relocate to Lithuania, Verslo žinios, the main Lithuanian business daily, reports.

Startup Visa will help entrepreneurs relocate and grow high-impact startups in Lithuania. The presence of foreign entrepreneurs in Lithuania will create economic growth, employment, and global startup network connections. Talented entrepreneurs are expected to reinvent industries, create jobs and ignite the local startup ecosystem by spreading innovative ideas.

New immigration rules will fast-track permanent residency process for high-tech, early stage startups that will have a scalable and innovative product or business model. A panel consisting of certified institutions such as venture capital funds and accelerators will form so called Startup Visa Committee and will assess if an applicant is eligible for the visa. A residency permit would then be issued to startup founders for one year with a possibility to extend it for another one and even more if a startup demonstrates sufficient progress and sound economic activities. Exact prerequisites and procedures will be constructed after the approval of Lithuanian parliament.

Rimantė Ribačiauskaitė, senior project manager at Enterprise Lithuania’s Startup Lithuania division, says the new legislation will boost entrepreneurship by increasing the supply of willing and able entrepreneurs from non-EU countries.

‘Every year we are witnessing a huge and ever increasing interest to relocate or to start companies in Lithuania whilst organizing LOGIN Startup Fair, the main startup event in the Baltics. For instance, non-EU startups will make up almost a third of the portfolio at the Startup Fair this May. At the same time, an increasing amount of Russian, Belorussian or Ukrainian startups, in particular from the area of game development, are relocating to Lithuania which offers great talent pool, a vibrant scene and an access to EU market. The ecosystem has already hugely benefited from these companies and we believe that fast-tracking the immigration process will take our technical, creative and venture capital scene to yet unseen heights”, - R. Ribačiauskaitė said.