What is the Start-Up Visa?
Welcome to the ultimate guide to the Start-Up Visa Canada, where we will take you through everything you need to know about this exciting opportunity for aspiring entrepreneurs. The Start-Up Visa, also known as the Canada Investor Visa, is a unique program designed to attract talented and innovative entrepreneurs from around the world to establish their start-up businesses in Canada.
Benefits of the 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 the Start-Up Visa is that it provides a direct path to Permanent Residence (PR) in Canada. Successful applicants and their family members become permanent residents, having access to various social benefits and a high standard of living.
- Unlike other entrepreneur visa programs, the Canadian Start-Up Visa does not link your permanent residency status to the performance of your business. Once you receive PR, you are free to pursue any entrepreneurial or professional opportunities within Canada.
- As a permanent resident, 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.
There are four requirements for the Canada Start-Up Visa. They are: Having a qualifying business, getting a supporting letter with a commitment certificate from a designated organization, meeting the language requirements, and bringing enough money to settle in Canada. We will see 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. 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 organization 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 application process. 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.
The minimum investment required depends on the type of designated organization that endorses your business idea.
- Venture capital fund: You must get one or more designated venture capital funds to agree to invest a minimum of CAD 200,000 ($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 CAD 75,000 ($55,000) in your business.
- Business incubator: There are no minimum investment or funding requirements for business incubators; the applicant’s ideas only need endorsement by one of the incubators to proceed with investment visa applications.
Meet the language requirements
Proficiency in English or French is essential to succeed in Canada’s business environment. You will need to provide language test results from an approved testing agency to prove your language skills.
You must meet the minimum level of the Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) 5 in either English or French in all of these four areas: Speaking, reading, listening, and writing.
Bring enough money to settle
Before arriving in Canada, you must show that you have sufficient funds to support yourself and your family members.
This financial requirement ensures that you can settle comfortably and focus on growing your start-up.
The minimum amount necessary depends on the number of family members who are moving to Canada. If you move by yourself, you will need to demonstrate you have at least CAD$ 13,757 in your bank account.
This amount increases to CAD$ 17,127 for two people, CAD$ 21,055 for three, and so on.
Now that you understand the requirements, let’s walk you through the step-by-step process of obtaining a Start-Up Visa.
1. Plan the business
2. Obtain letter of support
3. Gather documents
4. Submit application
5. Go through verifications
1 – Develop the business concept and prepare your business plan: Take the time to refine your business idea and create a comprehensive business plan that showcases its potential.
2 – 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.
3 – Prepare your file and application: Gather all the necessary documents and forms to prepare your application for submission.
4 – Submit application for permanent residence: Submit your application for the Start-Up Visa program through the Canadian immigration authorities.
5 – Attend the medical and security verification: Undergo medical examinations, security background checks, and biometrics appointments as part of the PR 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.
6 – Receive Permanent Visa: Once your application is approved, you will be issued a Permanent Resident Visa.
In July 2023, the processing time for new applications stands at 37 months.
Temporary work permit
While your application is being processed, you may also be eligible for a temporary work permit, allowing you to come to Canada and work on your start-up while awaiting your permanent residence.
Your immediate family members, including your spouse or common-law partner and dependent unmarried children under the age of 22, can accompany you to Canada and also receive permanent resident status.
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 documents must be legally translated to English or French and certified or apostilled from the corresponding country. This list is not exhaustive, as the immigration office may request additional documents if necessary.
Why work with Global Citizen Solutions for your Start-Up Visa 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 many expats and foreign investors encounter when applying for 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
If you want to find out about other business immigration programs in Canada and how to obtain permanent residence, check the following articles:
Frequently Asked Questions About the Start-Up Visa Canada
Can I apply for the Canada Start-Up Visa if I'm already in Canada on another visa?
Yes, you can apply for this visa while on another visa in Canada. However, to be eligible, you must have valid status in Canada as a visitor, worker, or student when you apply. Keep in mind that meeting all the program requirements, including obtaining a letter of support from a designated organization, is crucial for a successful application.
How long does it take to get the Canada Start-Up Visa after the application is approved?
The processing time for the Start-Up Visa Canada can vary based on individual circumstances and the number of applications received. On average, it takes 37 months for the application to be processed and approved. You can apply for a temporary work permit to allows you to move to Canada and start working on your start-up while you wait for your application for permanent residence to be processed.
Can I travel in and out of Canada on the Canada Start-Up Visa?
Yes, you can travel in and out of Canada, as this is a multiple-entry visa, which means you can leave and re-enter Canada as long as the visa is valid. However, ensure you maintain compliance with the residency obligations of your permanent resident status once it is granted.
What is the success rate of Canada Start-Up Visa applications?
Applications have a relatively high success rate of 75 percent in 2022. Of all designated organizations, 78 percent of start-ups were supported by business incubators, 80 by angel investor networks, and 43 percent by venture capital funds.
Can I apply for the Canada Start-Up Visa if I have previously been denied a Canadian visa?
If you have been previously denied a Canadian visa, it does not automatically disqualify you from applying for the Start-Up Visa Canada . Each application is assessed on its own merits, and previous visa refusals should not impact your eligibility, as long as you meet all the program requirements.
Can I live anywhere in Canada with a Canada Start-Up Visa?
Unfortunately, Quebec does not participate in the federal Start-Up Visa Program. Entrepreneurs interested in immigrating to Quebec can consult the Quebec Entrepreneur and Quebec Investor programs.
Who reviews the Start-Up Visa program applications?
Applications for the program are reviewed by the Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) department. The IRCC assesses the eligibility of the applicant, the business concept and plan, and the designated organization’s letter of support to make decisions on whether to grant permanent residence.
Is there a language test to apply for a Startup Visa?
Yes, to apply for this visa you must meet the language requirements in either English or French. You will need to take a language proficiency test approved by the Canadian government to demonstrate 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.
How can foreign entrepreneurs apply for the Canada Start-Up Visa Program?
The eligibility requirements for foreign entrepreneurs who plan to obtain permanent resident status in Canada by setting up a start-up venture are: Having a qualifying startup business, and being supported by one of the designated organizations defined by the Canadian government. It means you’ll need to secure support from either an angel investor group (minimum investment of CAD 75,000, or $55,000), a venture capital fund (minimum of CAD 200,000 or $148,000) or be part of a Canadian business incubator program. This way, you can demonstrate your startup is an innovative business venture that will contribute to the economic growth of the country.