If you’re an entrepreneur and want to immigrate to Canada, the Start-up Visa Program is one way to get permanent residence in Canada. Talented entrepreneurs who are fascinated with the idea to start a business are welcomed by Canada to trigger the Canadian economy and generate employment opportunities for the native people.
Launched as a pilot program in 2013, Canada’s Start-up Visa Program has accepted many immigrant entrepreneurs, with each year the number is increasing. And in 2017, the program was changed into a permanent alternative for immigrant business owners who are keen to move to Canada.
As the Canadian economy is striving to experience sustained industrial growth, the Start-up Visa Program is crafted to help skilled foreign workers find a place in the workforce of Canada.
Keep reading to know more about start-up visa programs in Canada.

What is a Start-up Visa Program?

A Start-up visa program provides foreign business owners the opportunity to migrate to Canada for establishing a new business. Immigrant business owners have to show that their business idea is innovative and it will generate new jobs in Canada also later can compete on a global level. Foreign business owners are eligible to get a temporary work permit when they apply for the Start-up Visa Program. This temporary work permit will help them to travel to Canada to inaugurate their business.
The Start-up Visa Program is perfect for business owners who already have a business that is ready for investment from investors. For being eligible for the Start-up Visa Program, the applicants need to create their business and obtain a commitment from designated organizations of Canadian business investment.
This program isn’t available for entrepreneurs who want to start a business in Quebec.

What are the requirements for a Start-up Visa Program?


The Start-up Visa Program has four main requirements which applicants need to fulfill to be eligible.

  • 1
    Should have a qualifying business
For being considered as a qualifying business, applicants should have built a business wherein each applicant for immigration has a minimum of 10 % of the voting rights linked to total shares of the company. Also, up-to 5 newcomers can apply simultaneously as business owners. The applicants and the designated organization together should hold a minimum of 50% of the total voting rights.
To get a permanent residence with the help of the Start-up Visa Program, applicants need to make sure the business becomes incorporated in Canada and the essential activities take place in Canada with the active participation of the foreign business owners.
  • 2
    Must receive assurance from a designated entity
Foreign business owners have to make sure they get a commitment from a designated organization that will assist the development of business in Canada before filling their application for the Start-up Visa Program.
Mainly there are 3 categories of designated organizations:
  • Designated business incubator
  • Designated angel investor group
  • Designated venture capital fund
Interested applicants can find their potential matches for their businesses from the above-mentioned categories. A letter of support will be issued by the designated organization if they are interested in your business idea and they find it worth supporting. An applicant must include this letter as part of the application. Keep in mind a letter of support is valid for 6 months only from the date of issuance.
  • 3
    Must fulfill the language requirements

The Start-up Visa Program applicants must exhibit their proficiency in reading, listening, speaking, and writing in either English or French. To be eligible for the program, applicants have to show the results from an approved language test proving their proficiency in Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) with level 5 or more. At the time of application, the results can’t be more than 2 years old.

  • 4
    Proof of required funds

Interested applicants need to prove that they have enough money for themselves as well as for their family members to sustain their settlement in Canada. The required funds will depend on the number of family members joining the applicant in Canada.

No. of Family MembersRequired Funds in Canadian Dollars
1 Person$12,960
2 Person$16,135
3 Person$19,836
4 Person$24,083
5 Person$27,315
6 Person$30,806
7 Person$34,299

Designated organizations for the Start-up Visa Program

This is one of the requirements of this program. You have to give proof that your business has the support of a designated organization. A letter of support along with a commitment certificate are the required documents that will cover all the needed details of your agreement with a designated organization. Here no own investment is required, unlike the Federal and Provincial Investors Program where applicants are supposed to put their capital in the business.
Rather those applicants who fulfill the eligibility requirements have to get at least $200,000 from a Canadian venture capital fund of at least $75,000 from a Canadian angel investor approved by the Canadian government. But if the applicant gets approval from a recognized Canadian business incubator, there is no need for investment capital.

How to apply for a Start-up Visa?

If a foreign business owner fulfills the eligibility requirements of the Start-up Visa Program, he has to put together and submit a paper-based application on the IRCC website using IMM 0008 form. Ensure that all the fields are filled and print the application form including the barcode page with it.
Collect all documents mentioned in the document checklist and put them in a sealed envelope. Then the applicant is required to take a print of the document checklist and sign it. The document checklist has to be included as the cover page of the application.
Besides this, the applicant has to include documents of family members for immigration to show their eligibility too.
Applicants have to include police verification certificates and medical tests demonstrating that he is completely healthy and doesn’t have any criminal background. Many applicants will also have to submit biometrics fees and translations of documents that aren’t submitted in either English or French.
Before submitting your application ensure the application is fully complete and you’ve signed all the forms. Also, attach the receipt of payment of processing fees along with the required documents with your application.
The applicants have to attach all the documents along with the application in hard-copy, put all the papers in a 9 by 12-inch envelope, and write ‘Start-up Visa Program’ on the front side of the envelope and mail or courier it to the IRCC address

Application Fees for the Start-up Visa

The cumulative application fees is:-
  • The principal fees is CAD 1,575
  • Right of Permanent Residence fees is CAD 500
  • Accompanying spouse or common-law partner fees isCAD 825
  • Accompanying partner right of permanent resilience fees is CAD 500
  • Dependant child fees is CAD 225

What’s the processing time for Canada’s start-up visa


It can take up to 12 to 16 months for processing of the Start-up Visa Program. After the approval of the application, the applicant will be issued his permanent residence soon.