Lithuania Entrepreneur Visa
The Republic of Lithuania (official name for Lithuania) is a Baltic region nation situated in the north-eastern part of Europe. It is considered to be the largest among the three Baltic states which are bordered by the Baltic Sea. Lithuania borders Latvia, Belarus, Poland and Kaliningrad Oblast (a Russian exclave). Total land area is 65,300 square kilometers.
Lithuania has a population of about 2.8 million people according to a 2017 census. The capital city of Lithuania is Vilnius. Other major cities in the country are Kaunas and Klaipėda. Lithuanian is the official language, but there are other recognized ethnic languages. The system of government is unitary semi-presidential republic and the national currency is the Euro.
The country is uniquely positioned at the heart of Europe. Before the worldwide financial crisis experienced in 2007-2010, Lithuania had one of the best developing economies in the EU. The country is a member of the European Union (from 2004), North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the Council of Europe (from 14th March 1993). It joined the Schengen Agreement on 21st December 2007.
Benefits of Living in Lithuania
- In Lithuania you have quick access to all major European destinations because of the international airports in Vilnius and Kaunas, which provide regular flights to European countries.
- Vilnius was ranked one of the least expensive European cities for expats to live in by Mercer Cost of Living Index in 2015.
- In addition to that, Vilnius alongside Barcelona, Cape Town and Copenhagen was considered a hip and well-managed place to stay by the New York Times.
- The 3 largest Lithuanian cities provide a vast range of international cultural events every year.
- Lithuanians are keen on healthy living. The country attained 1st position in the Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) region under the Green City Index. The country has a long, established history of offering ecologic and organic choices for everyday consumable products, beauty products and organic medicines.
- You’ll be glad to know that this country offers world-class health care. It has the biggest number of physicians per capita in the entire Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) area, of which many are multilingual and are experienced in working in other countries.
Lithuanian Education System
Education in Lithuania is free of charge and mandatory from 6 or 7 years to 16 years of age according to the national Law on Education. Students go through primary and basic education.
Children go through preschool education until age 5/6. They advance to pre-primary education for 1 year between ages 5-7. Primary education takes 4 years for children aged 6-11 years. Thereafter, they go through basic education for 6 years between 10-17 years of age and receive a Basic Education Certificate upon completion. Upper secondary education takes 2 years and applies for children aged 16-19 years. This upper secondary education finalizes on the Matura examination, leading to tertiary education.
Vocational and technical studies begin at the 5th year of basic education for students aged between 14-15 years. The program takes a maximum of 2 years and then the students are awarded a Basic Education Certificate. From there, students can advance to vocational upper secondary education (2/3 years period) and undergo Matura examination at the end. However, to reach tertiary education, vocational students must undergo an additional post-secondary education program for a period of 2 years.
Tertiary education is divided into university and college. Colleges provide vocational studies and since 2006, they have been awarding professional bachelor degrees. On the other hand, universities provide academic studies that lead to international Bachelor, Master, and postgraduate degrees.
The school year begins on the 1st day of September for all levels of education.
The Startup Visa is a new scheme that lets entrepreneurs from non-EU nations to acquire residency and start a business in Lithuania. It is an immigration law that is aimed at attracting innovative and ambitious startup owners from across the globe and help them establish and grow their start-ups in this European nation.
This visa scheme provides temporary permission to self-employed expats to live and work in the country for up to 1 year. Family members can accompany the start-up owner. The residence and work permit can be extended for one extra year. After that, you should note that normal immigration processes apply.
You are not required to invest a certain amount of capital into the start-up business, only what is sufficient to start and operate the business. Also, your start-up is not required to hire a certain number of employees.
Temporary Residence and Work Permit for startup entrepreneurs
- To acquire a startup visa, your start-up company should be working in one of the following fields:
- Information technology (IT)
- Laser technology
- You should be at least a part owner of your newly formed company.
- You are required to have sufficient financial funds to reach your company goals for 1 year. There is no set capital amount by the Lithuanian authorities, you should personally decide how much start-up capital you require to reach your goals.
Application Procedure for a Startup Visa
The application process for a Lithuanian Startup Visa involves 2 main steps:
- Getting your business idea approved by Enterprise Lithuania/Startup Lithuania.
- Get confirmation that your start-up business meets the eligibility criteria. Enterprise Lithuania or Startup Lithuania will give you the confirmation.
- Complete an online application form and submit it. In the application form you fill in your personal information, staff composition and professional experience. Also, details about your new company, a 1-year action plan, capital and a 2-year company strategy should be stated in the application. Only applications written in Lithuanian or English will be considered.
- Present your business idea in a short video interview with Startup Lithuania representatives. You are given 2-5 minutes to pitch your idea. The video interview will be recorded and added as part of your full application.
- An assessment committee made up of representatives from Startup Lithuania, Agency for Science, Innovation and Technology, startup accelerators and venture capital funds will assess your application. They will evaluate your business’ potential for innovation and scalability, one-year strategy, 2-year strategy, team qualifications and capital. The role played by the applicant within the team will also be evaluated.
- In some instances where the evaluation committee may need some assistance assessing technical details, the application will be forwarded to a specialist who can assess the underlying technology. After receiving the extra assessment from the specialist, the committee will commence on their evaluation.
- Applying for temporary residence permit after your startup application has been approved
- After your startup application has been evaluated and approved by the committee, you will get an official confirmation form from Enterprise Lithuania. You can now apply for a temporary residence permit.
- You can apply for the residence permit at the Migration Department in Vilnius or outside Lithuania at any Lithuanian Embassy. In a normal procedure, it takes 2 months to process the application and grant a Startup Visa. On the other hand it takes 1 month according to the expedited procedure.
- Once you get your temporary permit, your firm should be established and continue operations in the country within 30 days.
The Startup Visa application process is free but you are required to pay a fee of 114-228 EUR for a temporary residence permit at the Migration Department. The amount you pay depends on the service type.
Temporary Residence Permit extension
To extend your 1-year permit for an extra year, you will have to submit a Startup progress evaluation form and long-term business action plan. You should do this before your current permit reaches its expiry date.
The assessment committee will once again evaluate your company, including its development and achievements over the 1st year of operation, and decide whether you deserve an extension of your residency permit or not.
In case you want to stay and work in the country beyond the 2 years of the firm’s operations, normal migration processes and conditions will apply.
With a Startup Visa in Lithuania you get to enjoy the numerous benefits that come with living in this country.
- Lithuania is home to a steadily growing number of international businesses. People travel from different nations to share their wealth of ideas in all sorts of contexts and languages forming an international work culture in Lithuania.
- Most expatriates come to Lithuania just for the wonderful work-life balance. As a matter of fact, the capital city of Lithuania was ranked as the ninth city in the globe for work life balance by Business Insider, 2015. Thanks to the country’s top-notch infrastructure, it offers quick and comfortable travel between the busy cities and with a touch of nature and loads of activities to do.
- Internet connection in Lithuania is fantastic. Rotten Wi-Fi tests in 2014 rated Lithuania as having the fastest public Wi-Fi in the globe. The country was ranked number I in the European Union fibre-to-premises penetration by Fibre to the Home Council in 2015.
- The World Economic Forum in 2016 ranked Lithuania as the third best in providing math and science education within the Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) region. Six schools in this country provide the world accredited International Bacca laureate program. All the major cities in this European nation provide secondary education in the international schools, and there are universities in 5 of the largest Lithuanian cities.
- Almost all Lithuanians know English and fifty percent of the citizens can speak a minimum of 2 foreign languages, making Lithuania the 2nd most multilingual country in the European Union.
- Travel in this country is easy. From the reliable public transport system, bicycle riding, taxis, to the car sharing services, you’ll always have many choices to travel from point A to B. moreover, the international airports in the major cities will get you to any European nation.
- Lithuania has world-class health care infrastructure with the biggest number of medical doctors per capita in the Central and Eastern Europe (CEE), many of whom can speak multiple languages and have had experience working in other foreign nations. There’s also a completely developed and cost competitive private health care system which involves everything from general medical practice to specialized surgical practices.
- There are plenty of leisure activities in Lithuania. You will find world-class concerts, indoor skiing activities, top-notch spas, seaside resorts and many more.
- According to a study done by the European Commission, Lithuanians are 98 percent with living in Vilnius, making it the happiest capital city in the European Union.
- A Mercer Cost of Living Index report done in 2015 showed that Vilnius is the among the 5 least expensive European cities for foreigners to stay in.
- This country has very many lakes, rivers, forests and sand dunes. The cities are considered to be among the most green cities in the European Union and so you will be breathing very clean air. The nature is well-preserved in this nation.
Several startup businesses under Startup Visa scheme have been established in Lithuania. There has been an increase of applications from Belarus, China, United States of America, India, South Korea, Turkey and Ukraine.
The Startup Visa is a talent attraction program that offers a smooth entry process to the startup ecosystem in Lithuania for gifted non-EU, non-EEA startup founders to establish, develop and compete in the profitable international community.
Designed for creative entrepreneurs who want to build start-ups in Lithuania, you do not have to meet certain capital and employment conditions to receive a temporary residence permit. If your business idea is seen as fitting by the expert committee, you’ll be able to apply for a permit on that basis.
You start by submitting your online application via the Lithuanian Government website, partake in an online video interview, have your application assessed by the evaluation committee, if approved, present your letter of approval to the Migration Department to apply for a temporary residence permit, and finally start your business.
You shouldn’t worry at all. It is easier than it seems and Stephen M. S Lai & Co CPA Ltd will assist you along the way. Get in touch with us today for more information.