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San Marino High Tech Startup program

San Marino High Tech Startup program

The tiny state of San Marino is the latest European state to introduce a Startup program in 2014. San Marino is landlocked in Italy and has a population of only 33,500 inhabitants. San Marino is not part of the EU but those that obtain a residence permit in San Marino receive a Schengen visa in order to enter and leave San Marino as international travellers need to land in Italy. The Startup visa provides many tax benefits to companies relocating to San Marino. In order to do so, first a registered company needs to qualify under the High Tech Startup definition.

Learn also about the Italy Investor visa


Companies that have the following are classified as “High-tech Start Up Companies.” Here are the objective and subjective requirements:

  1. have an incubation contract in place with the San Marino Business Incubator
  2. are companies governed by San Marino law constituted in the form of a capital company, which has obtained the first license issue no later than 24 months from the time of submission of the request for the recognition of enterprise status Startup high-tech and have in any case a total of the value of the annual turnover related to the characteristic activity of the company, as resulting from financial statements, less than or equal to €100,000;
  3. shareholders with legal personality are not shareholders in other companies under San Marino law, except for venture capital funds and members of legally recognized associations of Business Angels;
  4. they do not hold shares through a fiduciary mandate;
  5. the corporate purpose and object of the company’s license provide that the activity carried out is of a prevalent technological or innovative character;
  6. at least 35% of the shares of the company are in the charge of:
    • persons employed in the enterprise, in possession of three-year or magistral degrees or in possession of a secondary school diploma, with work experience of at least 2 years in the technology sectors of the high-tech startup company; or
    • a capital company that provides services or produces mainly technological goods.


The high-tech startup business regime has a maximum duration of 5 years calculated from the issue of the license. They also need to register with the Crafts and Trade Industry Office to have the relevant license attributed to their activity. In order to support the startup of high-tech startup companies with compliant tools to the flexibility needs dictated by the particular activity carried out in terms of innovative projects, a fixed-term employment contract is set up for companies with high-tech startup that includes the following features:

  1. has a maximum duration of thirty-six months;
  2. can be used by the company for recruitment only in the first three years after the issue of the license for the exercise of economic activity; once this term has expired, the general legislation applies;
  3. can be used by the company for a maximum of eight employees initiated and not initiated by start-up lists at work. The limit of eight employees refers to the simultaneous presence of personnel with this type of contract.

The fixed-term employment contract for high-tech startup employees is addressed to the founding members of the high-tech startup and to workers in possession of the following academic qualifications: master’s or three-year degree or secondary school diploma with documented professional experience of at least 2 years, in subjects directly related to development of the project content of the high-tech startup company.

From then on, founders and employees can apply for annual residence permits. The temporary residence permit also has requirements of its own, such as proof of health insurance coverage, proof of sufficient funds to support yourself, and proof of accommodation.

Get more information on the government website. 

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