Start-up Visa

The Start-up Visa Program targets immigrants with entrepreneurship skills who have the potential to establish innovative and competitive businesses in Canada.

Processing time: 12 to 16 months

Who is eligible for the Start-up Visa Program?

Have a qualifying business

Conditions for a qualifying business:

  • At the time you get a commitment from a designated organization:
    • Each applicant holds 10% or more of the voting rights attached to all shares of the corporation outstanding at that time (up to 5 people can apply as owners)

AND

  • Applicants and the designated organization jointly hold more than 50% of the total voting rights attached to all shares of the corporation outstanding at that time
  • At the time you receive your permanent residence:
    • You provide active and ongoing management of the business from within Canada
    • An essential part of the operations of the business happens in Canada
    • This business is incorporated in Canada

Get a letter of support from a designated organization

You must obtain a letter of support from a designated organization.

Designated organizations are business groups that have been approved to invest in or support start-ups. The business groups are composed of private sector investors in Canada who will help establish their start-up business

There are three types of designated investors:

  • Venture Capital Funds
  • Angel Investor Groups
  • Business Incubators

To get a support letter from the above-mentioned organizations, you will need to pitch your business idea to them and convince them to invest in your new business. Each organization has its own requirements. For example, you may be asked to present your business idea in person or submit a detailed business plan.

Meet the language requirements

You must take a language test from an approved agency.

You must score at least CLB (Canadian Language Benchmark) 5 in either English or French in all of these four areas: speaking, reading, listening, and writing.

Bring enough money to settle

You must demonstrate enough financial resources to support yourself and your accompanying family members’ stay in Canada.

The amount you need depends on the size of your family. These amounts are updated annually by the Canadian Government.

Number of Family Members Funds required (in CAD)
1 $13,213
2 $16,449
3 $20,222
4 $24,553
5 $27,847
6 $31,407
7 $34,967
For each additional family member $3,560