Start-Up Visa Program

If you are an entrepreneur who wants to set up a new business in Canada, you may be able to achieve your goal with a Start-Up Visa, if you get support from a designated organization for your new venture.

For assistance with applying for a Start-Up visa, call Total Law’s specialist immigration attorneys now on 0333 305 9375.

    Request a call back from our immigration experts

    What Is The Start-Up Visa Program?

    Canada’s Start-Up Visa Program allows entrepreneurs and their families to emigrate to Canada as permanent residents (PR) to set up a new business. The business must be a qualifying one which means it must:

    • Be innovative
    • Be able to compete on a global scale
    • Create new jobs for Canadians
    • Have the support of or investment from a designated entity

    If you are granted a Start-Up Visa, you are allowed to bring your dependent spouse, common-law partner, and children under 22 years of age who do not have a spouse or common-law partner with you to Canada.

    While waiting for PR to be granted you are allowed to obtain a temporary work permit, which will enable you to visit Canada to set up your business, if you wish.

    There are several advantages of the Canada Start-up Visa Program:

    • Direct path to PR – can live, work and study upon approval
    • Dual citizenship is permitted
    • The processing time is relatively quick
    • Access to subsidized education for children
    • Access to health and welfare systems
    • Sponsorship of relatives to Canada is allowed.
    • The opportunity to apply for Canadian citizenship after 3 years of permanent residence
    Immigration Advice Service 4.7 rating 414 reviews Logo

    If you require assistance with the Start-Up Visa Program as a Canadian, contact our team today Contact Us

      Request a call back from our immigration experts

      Requirements For The Start-Up Visa Program

      There are four main eligibility criteria to be eligible for the Start-up Visa, as follows:

      1. Qualifying business – In order for your business to qualify for this visa, you must hold at least 10% of the total voting rights of the company, and along with the designated organization, you must jointly hold more than 50% of the voting rights. Additionally, the business must be incorporated in Canada and it must be operated and managed from Canada.

      2. Designated organization – You must gain the support of a designated organization and provide a letter of support to show this. A designated organization is one of the following: a venture capital fund, angel investor group, or business incubator.

      In order to gain this support, you will need to make appointments with potential designated organizations and pitch your business idea to them.

      3. Language requirement – You will need to take an English or French language test from an agency approved by the Canadian government. The level you must meet is a minimum level 5 of the Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) in speaking, reading, listening, and writing.

      4. Proof of funds – For the Start-Up Visa, no personal investment in your business is needed, as the funding or support comes from the designated organization. However, you do need to have sufficient settlement funds to support yourself and your family (if applicable) upon arrival in Canada. The amount of settlement funds you need to show you have is determined by the size of your family, as follows:

      • Single applicant – $13,213 CDN
      • 2 family members – $16,449 CDN
      • 3 family members – $20,222 CDN
      • 4 family members – $24,553 CDN
      • 5 family members – $27,847 CDN
      • 6 family members – $31,407 CDN
      • 7 family members – $34,967 CDN
      • For each additional family member: $3,560 CDN

      In addition to the above requirements, you must also meet the admissibility requirements for Canada.

      Designated Organizations For The Start-Up Visa Program

      To meet the Start-Up Visa requirements, your business must have the support of a designated organization.

      A designated organization is a business entity that the Canadian government has approved to provide investment or support to start-ups through the Start-Up Visa Program. The amount you need to secure is as follows:

      • Angel Investor Group – at least $75,000 CDN
      • Venture Capital Fund – at least $200,000 CDN
      • Business Incubator Program – no investment capital is required, instead, you need acceptance into a designated business incubator program

      You can find a list of designated organizations here, which you can look through to find potential matches for your new business. Note that organizations may differ in respect of their pitching process and requirements they need businesses to must meet. As an example, some may require you to present your business idea in-person or to submit a comprehensive business plan.

      If you gain the support of a designated organization, you will be sent a letter of support, which will be valid for 6 months from their date of issue. It needs to be included in your visa application.

      The designated organization will also send a Commitment Certificate directly to IRCC.

      entrepreneur visa canada

      How To Apply & Supporting Documents

      Supporting documents for the Start-Up Visa Program

      Along with the application form, you will need to submit significant supporting documents for the Start-Up Visa Program.

      You’ll need to submit evidence that you meet the four main requirements plus provide other documentation. The full range of documents may vary depending on your business proposal and your individual circumstances, but generally-speaking the following documentation will be required:

      • Proof of a qualifying business
      • Letter of Support from a designated organization
      • Language test result
      • Proof of settlement funds (such as bank statements)
      • Passport
      • Photographs
      • Birth certificate
      • Marriage certificate (if applicable)
      • Police certificates and clearances
      • Receipt of payment of Start-Up Visa fees

      How to apply for the Start-Up Visa Program

      You can choose to send your application via hard-copy via mail, or apply online.

      Here are the instructions for sending your application by mail:

      • Make sure to sign and date it
      • Send your completed forms, supporting documents and fee payment to one of the IRCC’s addresses in Sydney, Nova Scotia on this page
      • Use a single envelope of size 23 cm x 30.5 cm (9″ x 12″)
      • Write ”Start-up business visa” on the outside of the envelope.
      • Print and send the document checklist as the cover page of your application.
      • Enclose 2 self-addressed mailing labels
      • Keep a copy of your application and supporting documents

      Unless specifically requested, only copies, not originals of documentation should be sent.

      You will need to take a medical exam and provide biometrics (fingerprints and photos) before being able to move to Canada. IRCC will contact you with regard to these. Biometrics applies to anyone between the ages of 14 and 79. When IRCC has received your biometrics, they will begin to process your application.

      Applications are usually processed within a 12 to 16-month timeframe. If however, you need to visit Canada for business activities before your PR residence application is processed, then you are able to apply for a temporary work permit.

      Language Testing

      Most applicants for Canada’s immigration programs, including the Start-Up Visa, must demonstrate a level of proficiency in either English or French, Canada’s two official languages. To demonstrate you possess the required language skills, you must take a language test through an IRCC-approved agency. The test result must be included with your application.

      For the Start-Up Visa, you will need Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) Level 5 or higher in English or French. Note that the test cannot be taken more than two years before your apply.

      Currently, the following test agencies are approved to provide language tests:

      English (CELPIP G-Test)

      • Paragon Testing Enterprises Inc.

      English (IELTS)

      • Cambridge Assessment English
      • IDP Australia
      • The British Council

      French (TEF Canada)

      • The Paris Chamber of Commerce and Industry

      French (TCF Canada)

      • France Education International (FEI)

      When arranging a language test you will need to pay the required fees.

      Set up a Business in Canada

      Fees For The Start-Up Visa Program

      In the majority of cases, the Start-Up Visa fees are as follows:

      Main applicant

      • $1,575 CDN – Application fee
      • $500 CDN – Right of Permanent Residence Fee (RPRF)

      Accompanying family

      • $825 CDN – Application fee for spouse/common-law partner
      • $500 CDN – Right of Permanent Residence Fee (RPRF) for spouse/common-law partner
      • $225 CDN – Dependent child application fee

      A biometrics fee will also most likely need to be paid which is currently $170 CDN.

      Bear in mind that other fees including language tests, police certificates, medical exams, and translation of documents fees, if applicable, will also need to be paid.

      The IRCC provides a fees wizard tool that informs you of the fees you need to pay for your chosen immigration program. Fees can also be paid via this tool.

      How Total Law Can Help With The Start-Up Visa Program

      To apply for the Start-Up Visa as a Canadian you need to meet several eligibility and program requirements, such as getting a designated organization on board, compiling and submitting significant documentation, getting police certificates, and more. The application process itself also has some protocols that need to be followed to ensure a successful submission.

      At Total Law, we understand how much is at stake when planning to not just move to Canada but to set up a new business as well. Our immigration lawyers are experts in Canadian immigration programs and can assist you with every step of the process.

      We offer a tailor-made service that ensures a compelling and comprehensive application is submitted, including the following:

      • In-depth assessment of your situation and eligibility for the Start-Up Visa
      • Support with pitching to designated organizations
      • Direct handling of or supporting you at all stages of the application process including:
        • Gathering supporting documentation
        • Language testing
        • Medical exams
        • Obtaining police certificates
        • Correct submission of the visa application
        • Application for a temporary work permit (if needed)
      • Liaison with IRCC on your behalf if needed

      Contact us via our quick online enquiry form, or call us on 0333 305 9375 to get started on your Start-Up Visa application.

      Get in touch with our expert immigration lawyers to learn how you can emigrate to Canada. Contact us

        Request a call back from our immigration experts

        Advice Package icon

        Advice Package

        Comprehensive immigration advice tailored to your circumstances and goals.

        Application Package icon

        Application Package

        Designed to make your visa application as smooth and stress-free as possible.

        Fast Track Package icon

        Fast Track Package

        Premium application service that ensures your visa application is submitted to meet your deadline.

        Appeal Package icon

        Appeal Package

        Ensure you have the greatest chance of a successful appeal. We will represent you in any case.

        Advice Package image

        The Advice Package

        During this untimed Advice Session with our professional immigration lawyers in London, you will receive our comprehensive advice, completely tailored to your needs and your situation.

          Request a call back from our immigration experts

          Request the Advice Package
          Application Package image

          The Application Package

          With our Application Package, your dedicated immigration lawyer will advise you on your application process and eligibility. Your caseworker will then complete and submit your forms to the Home Office on your behalf.

            Request a call back from our immigration experts

            Request the Application Package
            Fast Track Package image

            The Fast Track Package

            Our Fast-Track Application Package is a premium service for those who need to submit their application in time with their deadlines. Your case will become a top priority for our lawyers and you will benefit from our highest-quality services.

              Request a call back from our immigration experts

              Request the Fast Track Package
              Appeal Package image

              The Appeal Package

              By choosing our Appeal Package, you can rely on our lawyers’ legal knowledge and experience to ensure you have the highest chance of a successful appeal. We will also fully represent you in any hearings/tribunals.

                Request a call back from our immigration experts

                Request the Appeal Package

                If you wish to find out how to submit a Start-Up Visa application, contact us now. Learn more

                  Request a call back from our immigration experts

                  Related pages for your continued reading.

                  Frequently Asked Questions

                  The processing time for the Canadian Start-Up Visa is approximately 12 to 16 months.

                  This includes the time needed to provide your biometrics, if applicable.

                  Those counted as dependents for the Start-Up Visa include your spouse or common-law partner, and dependent children under 22 years old who don’t have a spouse or common-law partner.

                  Quebec manages its own business immigration programs which include the Quebec Entrepreneur and Quebec Investor programs.

                  Find out more about these via Quebec’s immigration website.