Self-employed Persons Program

If you are self-employed and want to live in Canada permanently then you could be eligible for the Self-employed Persons Program. Find out more about the program and how to apply.

For assistance with your application get in touch with our immigration lawyers today on +1 844 290 6312.

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    What is the Self-employed Persons Program?

    The Self-Employed Persons Program is a scheme that allows overseas nationals who are self-employed to immigrate to Canada. The visa is aimed at those with relevant experience in cultural activities or athletics who can prove that they are willing to make a significant contribution to cultural or athletic life in Canada.

    One of the main appeals of the self-employed persons visa is that it offers a direct route to permanent residence in Canada. If you are able to meet the eligibility requirements then you will be able to live and work anywhere in Canada without being subject to a time restriction.

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    Who is classed as a self-employed person?

    To be eligible for the Self-employed Visa you must be classed as a self-employed person. According to the Canadian government a self-employed applicant must:

    • Have relevant experience
    • Have the ability and intent to be self-employed in Canada

    To have the level of relevant experience required for the program you will need to have had at least two years of experience either taking part in cultural activities or athletics at a world-class level or being self-employed in those fields.

    Your experience must have taken place within the 5 years prior to applying for the program and you can obtain more points if you have 3, 4 or 5 years of experience.

    As a self-employed person, you will also need to show that you are willing to make a significant contribution to cultural, athletic or artistic life in Canada.

    Self-employment selection criteria

    As well as meeting the definition of a self-employed person, there are also other requirements that you will need to meet to be eligible for the program.

    The Canadian government will grade you on certain criteria for the Self-employed Persons visa, you can score a maximum of 100 points by meeting the criteria, but the minimum you must achieve is 35 points.

    Points can be obtained by meeting the following selection criteria:

    • Education – maximum 25 points
    • Experience – maximum 35 points
    • Age – maximum 10 points
    • Ability in English or French – maximum 24 points
    • Adaptability – maximum 6 points

    You must also undergo medical exams and security risk assessments and prove that you can support yourself financially whilst in Canada to be eligible for the Self-employed Program.

    How to apply?

    When it comes to applying for the Self-employed visa, there are several steps to the application process that you will need to follow.

    Firstly you will need to fill in the Generic Application Form for Canada online, this is available on the Canadian government’s website. You will need to click to validate the form and then print the form and the barcodes page once you have done this. You should also make sure to sign and date the form where asked.

    Next, you will need to gather all of the relevant supporting documents to go alongside your application and pay the application fees.

    Finally, you will need to mail your completed application form, supporting documents and fee payment or receipt for your fee payment to the following address:

    Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada

    Self-employed Class

    Centralized Intake Office

    P.O. Box 7200

    Sydney, NS

    B1P 0E9


    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 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.

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      How can Total Law help?

      If you plan on applying for the self-employed program in Canada then you will need to navigate a rigorous application process that includes meeting certain requirements and selection criteria, completing complex application forms and gathering and submitting a large number of supporting documents. This can be difficult to do alone and any mistakes that you make could delay your application from being processed.

      Luckily, our Total Law immigration lawyers are able to support you throughout the whole process. We can assess your eligibility for the program and will ensure that you have all of the documents to prove that you meet the criteria and that all of the paperwork is completed accurately and is submitted correctly. Our lawyers will also be there to answer any questions you may have about the process of immigrating to Canada.

      For more information about how we can help self-employed people to move to Canada, get in touch with our team today on +1 844 290 6312.

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                Frequently Asked Questions

                If you are self-employed you can move to Canada permanently by applying for the Self-employed Persons Program. You can be eligible providing you have experience with participation or self-employment in cultural activities or athletics at a world-class level and that you can become self-employed in Canada.

                You will also be graded on a point system and need to meet other certain criteria to move to Canada as a self-employed person.

                There is no minimum net worth requirement to move to Canada under the Self-employed Program but you will need to show that you have enough money to finance your self-employed work and support yourself and your dependents whilst in Canada.

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

                • 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.