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Federal Self-Employed Program

Self-Employed foreign citizens, athletes, and individuals who specialise in the arts and culture industry might be eligible for a Self-Employed Visa to Canada. Find out more about the requirements for the Federal Self-Employed Program and how to apply.

To receive assistance with applying for a Self-Employed Visa, call our lawyers today on +1 844 290 6312.

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    What is the Federal Self-Employed Program?

    The Federal Self-Employed Program is intended for applicants who want to become self-employed in Canada. To qualify as self-employed, you need to have at least two years of relevant experience. You also have to get at least 35 points on a scale designed to determine whether your work will make an economic contribution to Canada.

    When assessing your eligibility for the Self-Employed Visa, immigration officers will look at your experience, education, age, adaptability, and command of the English language. If your application for the Self-Employed Visa is successful, you will be able to immigrate to Canada permanently.

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    Who is Eligible for the Federal Self-Employed Program?

    To be able to immigrate to Canada on the Self-Employed Visa, you have to:

    • Have at least two years of relevant experience
    • Intend to become self-employed in the arts of athletics
    • Meet the definition of a self-employed person
    • Get at least 35 points based on the Canada Immigration point system.

    To be considered as a self-employed person, you have to have experience in working for yourself. Relevant experience refers to having spent at least two years working as self-employed during the five years preceding the submission of one’s Self-Employed visa application. Keep in mind that the more years of experience you have, the more points you will receive.

    Those who are applying as individuals specialising in arts need to have at minimum the following experience:

    • Two one-year periods of engaging in cultural activities as self-employed
    • Two one-year periods of participating in cultural activities at a world-class level

    Alternatively, applicants can have a combination of both of the above with one year of experience in each.

    Those who are applying as athletes have to have at minimum the following experience:

    • Two one-year periods of being self-employed in athletics
    • Two one-year periods of participating in athletics at a world-class level.

    Those who have a combination of the above can also apply for the Self-Employed Visa.

    Taking part in cultural activities or athletics at a world-class level means that an individual is known internationally or performs at the highest possible level in the field.

    How Does the Canada Immigration Point System Work?

    The Canada Immigration point system selects candidates eligible for various visas and immigration programs. Each person who wants to immigrate to Canada is awarded a score out of 100. The pass mark for the Self-Employed Visa is 35, but that is subject to change, so before you apply, make sure to check the latest information published by the Canadian government or consult an immigration expert.

    If you want to apply for the Self-Employed Visa, you will receive points in the following categories:

    • Education – a maximum of 25 points
    • Experience – a maximum of 35 points
    • Age – a maximum of 10 points
    • Ability in English and/or French – a maximum of 24 points
    • Adaptability – a maximum of 6 points.

    The more experience you have, the higher the education level you complete, and the more proficient you are in English or French, the better your score will be. As for the age, the highest number of points (10) is awarded to candidates between the ages of 21 and 49. Adaptability points can be earned by completing apprenticeships or university degrees.

    To prove your abilities in each of the assessed areas, you will have to submit official evidence such as diplomas or language test results.

    How to Apply for the Self-Employed Visa?

    The application for the Self-Employed Visa can be submitted online. To begin the application process, you need to fill out and submit the Generic Application Form for Canada. Once you do that, you have to print out the form and sign it.

    Then, you can start gathering all the required documents. If any of them is missing, or if you fail to include some information, your application will be returned to you without processing. To avoid that, hire one of our immigration lawyers. They will help you prepare a portfolio of evidence and will make sure that you correctly completed all the forms.

    The next step is to pay application fees, which include visa processing fees, the Right to Permanent Residence Fee, and biometrics fees. You can pay all of them online. Sometimes you might also have to pay additional fees for obtaining police certificates, translating documents, or attending a language test.

    What is the Processing Time of the Self-Employed Visa?

    On average, most applications for the Self-Employed Visa are processed within 36 months. Examples of situations where the processing can take longer include:

    • Applicants having a criminal record
    • Immigration officers having to run additional background checks
    • Applicants being in the process of getting a divorce or adopting a child
    • Immigration officers needing more time to verify the information an applicant provided.

    Moreover, if you fail to include some required information or documents, you will need to correct your visa application and submit it again. That can lead to significant delays.

    Get in touch with our expert immigration lawyers to learn how to apply for the Self-Employed Visa. Contact us

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      How to Prove Intent and Ability to be Self-Employed in Canada?

      All individuals wanting to apply for the Self-Employed Visa have to prove their intention and ability to create their own employment in Canada. They can do it either through arts and cultural activities or through athletics.

      To demonstrate that you are able to be self-employed in Canada, you can, for example, demonstrate that your exceptional talent and experience in the field will allow you to be successful. Alternatively, you can prove that you have enough funds to create an employment opportunity for yourself and finance your activities.

      Self-employed Program Document Checklist

      When applying for the Self-employed Program you will be expected to submit a substantial amount of supporting documents to prove that you meet the requirements and selection criteria.

      The Self-employed Persons Program document checklist includes:

      • Proof of your educational qualifications – this could include evidence of your master’s degree or other qualifications using documents such as your university degree certificate, diploma or transcripts.
      • Your language proficiency test results – this can be for English, French or both. Your results must be no more than 2 years old and from one of the designated testing agencies.
      • Proof of relevant experience – you will need to show self-employment or participation at a world-class level in cultural activities or athletics
      • Proof of adaptability – If applicable to your situation this could include proof of your spouse or common-law partner’s educational qualifications, studies in Canada, work in Canada or family ties to a Canadian citizen or permanent resident.
      • Travel documents – copies of your passport or other valid travel documents.
      • Police certificates – you will need to get a valid police certificate from each country that you have lived in for 6 months or more continuously since the age of 18.
      • Identity documents – this includes your birth certificate, national ID’s and any marriage, divorce or death certificates if applicable.
      • Photographs – you must submit 2 recent photographs for each of your family members (whether they are joining you or not)

      If you are bringing family members with you to Canada then you will also be expected to provide additional documents such as information about your children or accompanying spouse or partner.

      After your application

      After you have submitted your application, the Canadian government will verify that you have submitted everything required and will contact you to confirm that they have begun processing your application.

      You will also need to have your biometric information taken, this is your photo and fingerprints. You must pay the biometric fee when you submit your application, and you will receive a letter telling you to attend an appointment to have your biometrics taken; you must then do so within 30 days of receiving the letter.

      The processing time for the self-employment program is around 35 months, although this can vary. If you are approved for the program, then you will be issued a permanent resident visa. The visa includes your Confirmation of Permanent Residence (COPR) and your entry visa, and you must have both with you when you enter Canada.

      How can Total Law Help?

      At Total Law, our lawyers have expert knowledge of Canada’s immigration system. They can assess your eligibility for the Self-Employed Visa and can help you understand the requirements that you need to meet. If they determine that the Self-Employed Visa is the right choice for you, they will help you submit your application. They will also help you put together a portfolio of evidence proving your eligibility for the visa.

      If you go through the application process alone, you can easily make mistakes or forget to include certain information. That can lead to delays in the processing of your application.

      If your application for the Self-Employed Visa is rejected, our lawyers will help you understand why that happened and will explain to you what your options are if you still want to immigrate to Canada. Our lawyers can tell you what other visas you might be eligible for and can help you submit your application for one of them.

      To find out more about how our immigration lawyers can help, call us today on +1 844 290 6312. We will answer all your questions and clear any doubts you might have.

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                Frequently Asked Questions

                All individuals wanting to apply for the Self-Employed Visa need to have a medical exam to make sure they are not a threat to public health and that they will not excessively rely on health and social services. Similarly, if you want to apply for the Self-Employed Visa, you will have to get a police certificate stating that you do not have a criminal record.

                All individuals who are between 14 and 79 years old need to have their fingerprints and photos taken. They also must pay the biometrics fee when submitting their visa application. You will not be able to proceed with your visa application until you schedule and attend your biometrics appointment.

                There is no specific minimum amount that you need to have to apply for the Self-Employed Visa. Nevertheless, you need to prove that you have enough funds to settle in Canada and finance your work there.

                Individuals who want to apply for a visa under the Federal Self-Employed Program have to enrich Canadian culture and sports. The definition of significant contribution varies depending on the nature of work of self-employed individuals applying for the Self-Employed Visa. Nevertheless, to be eligible for it, you have to be able to prove that your activities in Canada will be beneficial to the country, even if it is at a local level.

                There are several fees associated with applying for the self-employed program; they include the following:

                • Visa processing fee – $1575
                • Right of Permanent Residence Fee -$500
                • Biometrics fee – $85

                You will also need to pay additional fees if you are bringing dependent relatives. This includes an $825 processing fee for a spouse or partner as well as the $500 permanent residence fee for them and an additional $225 for any dependent children you will bring with you. If you are having biometric information taken at the same time as your family members, then the fee for this will be $170.

                It’s also worth noting that there are several third-party fees associated with the cost of applying for this program, including the cost of medical examinations, police certificates and language tests.