With its strong economy, diverse job market, and exceptional social services, Canada offers a prosperous environment for personal and professional growth. The nation’s world-class healthcare system, safe communities, and excellent education system make it an ideal place to raise a family.
Additionally, Canada’s reputation for political stability and inclusivity fosters a sense of belonging, creating a welcoming atmosphere for newcomers.
For those in pursuit of a high standard of living and a brighter future, Canada is a compelling choice, making it a popular destination for international entrepreneurs to build businesses. An increasingly popular way to immigrate to Canada is via the Start-Up Visa (SUV) program.
In this article, we will explain what the Start-Up Visa is, what the benefits are, and why you should consider hiring an immigration lawyer if you intend to apply.
What is the Canada Start-up Visa program?
The Canada Start-Up Visa program, also known as the Canada Investor Visa, is a unique Government of Canada program designed to attract foreign entrepreneurs from around the world with an innovative business idea to establish their start-up businesses in Canada, with the additional aim of driving economic growth in the nation. As such, it connects innovative entrepreneurs with private sector investors. The program provides a clear pathway to permanent residency.
What are the benefits of the Canada Start-Up Visa?
- The Start-Up Visa program is known for its efficient and streamlined processing, ensuring that your application is handled promptly and professionally, giving you more time to focus on building your business.
- Your spouse or common-law partner and dependent unmarried children under the age of 22 will also receive permanent residence and will be able to work and study in Canada. They will also have access to public healthcare.
- One of the most significant advantages of this visa is that it provides a direct path to permanent residence in Canada.
- Successful applicants and their family members gain permanent residence status, having access to various social benefits and a high standard of living.
- Unlike other entrepreneur visa programs, this visa does not link your permanent residency status to the performance of your business. Once you receive permanent residence, you are free to pursue any entrepreneurial or professional opportunities within Canada.
- With permanent residence status, you may qualify for Canadian citizenship after residing in Canada for three years. Canadian citizenship offers additional benefits, including the right to vote and unrestricted access to work and study.
What are the requirements for the Canada Start-Up Visa program?
The main requirements for the program are as follows: Having a qualifying business, getting a supporting letter with a commitment certificate from a designated organization (validated by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada), meeting the language requirements (in English or French), and bringing enough money to settle in Canada. In this article, we will examine each of these items in detail.
Have a qualifying business
Your business must be innovative, scalable, and have the potential to create significant economic benefits for Canada. Two of the main broad criteria are that the business must be able to compete on an international scale and create jobs. A panel of designated organizations will assess your business concept, viability, and growth prospects.
A “qualifying business” must fulfill all of the following criteria:
At the time you get a commitment certificate from a designated organization:
- Each applicant holds 10 percent or more of the voting rights attached to all shares of the corporation outstanding at that time (up to five people can apply as owners).
- Applicants and the designated entity jointly hold more than 50 percent 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 this 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
Obtaining a letter of support from an Authorized Government Designated Organization (either a venture capital fund, angel investor group, or business incubator) is a crucial step in your Start-Up Visa application. This letter, which is typically accompanied by a commitment certificate, demonstrates that your business idea has been endorsed and supported by a recognized entity in the Canadian entrepreneurial ecosystem.
Secure the minimum investment
The minimum investment required depends on the type of designated organization that endorses your idea.
Venture capital fund: You must get at least one designated venture capital fund to agree to invest at least 200,000 CAD ($148,000) in your business.
Angel investor group: You must get at least one designated angel investor group to agree to invest a minimum of at least 75,000 CAD ($55,000) in your business.
Business incubator: There are no minimum investment or funding requirements for applicants who are accepted into a Canadian business incubator program; the applicant’s ideas only need endorsement by one of the business incubators to proceed with investment visa applications.
Meet the language requirements
Proficiency in English or French is essential to succeed in Canada’s business environment. You will need to provide language test results from an approved testing agency to prove your language skills.
You must meet the minimum level of the Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) 5 in either English or French in all of these four areas: Speaking, reading, listening, and writing.
Bring enough money to settle
Before arriving in Canada, you must show that you have sufficient settlement funds to support yourself and your dependent family members (spouse or common law partner) in Canada.
This financial requirement ensures that you can settle comfortably, invest financial resources into your company, and focus on growing your start-up,
The minimum amount necessary depends on the number of accompanying family members who are moving to Canada. If you move by yourself, you will need to demonstrate you have at least CAD$ 13,757 in your bank account.
This amount increases to 17,127 CAD for two people, 21,055 CAD for three, and so on.
Fees and costs
The application fees for the Start-Up Visa program can vary depending on your circumstances. The permanent residence application fee is CAD$ 2,140 for the main applicant, CAD$ 1,365 for your partner, and CAD$ 230 for each dependent child. The biometrics appointment costs CAD$ 85 for a single person or CAD$ 170 for a family of two or more people applying together.
Please note that there are additional costs for medical exams, language tests, authentication and translation of documents (when necessary), legal assistance, and so on.
- Detailed resume (CV) of the candidate
- Draft business proposal
- Copy of passport or legal travel document
- Birth certificate
- Marriage certificate (if married)
- Police Clearance Record from your country of origin and residence
- Proof of sufficient funds: a recent bank statement covering at least six months
- Bank reference letter
- Language test results (IELTS CLB Level 5 or NCLC Level 5)
- Medical examination confirmation from a certified health institution
- Letter of support from a designated entity in Canada
All supporting documents for your application must be legally translated into English or French and certified or apostilled from the corresponding country. This list is not exhaustive, as the immigration office may request additional supporting documents if necessary.
Now that you understand the requirements, let’s walk you through the step-by-step process of obtaining a Canada Start-Up Visa.
- Develop the business concept and prepare your business plan: Take the time to refine your business concept and create a comprehensive business plan that showcases its potential.
- Obtain a letter of support from an authorized, government designated organization: Connect with designated organizations and secure a supporting letter and a commitment certificate, demonstrating their belief in your business.
- Prepare your file and application: Gather all the necessary documents and forms to prepare your application for submission.
- Submit the application for permanent residence: Submit your application for the Start-Up Visa program through the Canadian immigration authorities.
- Attend the medical and security verification: Undergo medical examinations, security background checks, and biometrics appointments as part of the permanent residency application process. If you’re between 14 and 79 years old, you need to provide fingerprints and photos (biometrics) for every application for permanent residence you submit.
- Receive Permanent Visa: Once your application is approved, you will be issued a Permanent Resident Visa.
Should you work with a Canada Startup Visa lawyer?
While you are not legally required to work with an immigration lawyer (or immigration lawyers) or an immigration law firm for your Canada Start-Up Visa program application, it is highly advisable to do so.
The Canada Start-Up Visa program has a lot of requirements, and there is a lot of evidence that you have to provide in order to have the best chance of being approved. Hiring a lawyer won’t mean that your application will get special attention from the Canadian government, and it won’t guarantee that your application will be approved.
However, because the process can be complex, getting advice from a lawyer with expertise in Start-Up Visa applications can be extremely valuable in terms of helping you to avoid common mistakes, ensuring that you have the best possible chance of being one of the successful applicants.
Why work with Global Citizen Solutions on your application?
If you think the Canada Start-Up Visa program may be the right option for you and your family, don’t hesitate to contact us and book a complimentary 30-minute call with one of our experts.
Avoid the difficulties and pitfalls that foreign nationals and foreign investors encounter when applying for the Canadian Start-Up Visa. Have a Global Citizen Solutions expert on hand to provide personalized Canadian Visa assistance throughout the application process.
Our specialists can help you with the following:
- Minimize the visits you have to make to the designated country.
- Have someone who works solely on your behalf.
- Reduce the hassle associated with putting your application together.
- Acquire insider knowledge from someone with years of experience in the market.
Frequently Asked Questions about the Canada Start-up Visa
What is the Canada Start-up Visa Program?
The Canada Start-up Visa program provides opportunities for immigrant entrepreneurs to gain permanent residency in Canada, provided that they can create a business that is innovative, creates jobs, and can compete on an international scale.
What is a letter of support from a designated organization?
A designated angel investor group or venture capital fund will provide you with a letter of support, which serves as proof that they will support your business idea.
Are there any language requirements for the Canada Start-Up Visa program?
You will need to provide language test results from an approved testing agency to prove your language skills. You must meet the minimum level of the Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) 5 in either English or French in all of these four areas: Speaking, reading, listening, and writing.