Startup Visa Program Canada: Path to Entrepreneurial Success 

Startup Visa Program Canada

Are you an aspiring entrepreneur with a vision to turn your innovative business idea into reality? Do you dream of contributing to Canada’s thriving economy while enjoying the benefits of permanent residency? If that’s a “YES,” you are in the right spot! Join us on this journey, where we will unveil the Startup Visa Program key features, eligibility criteria, and step-by-step application process of this incredible opportunity. 

Whether you are an emerging tech innovator, a fervent advocate for green energy, or a forward-thinking creative, Canada is ready to embrace you and your groundbreaking business idea. Let’s delve into the intricacies of the Canadian Startup Visa Program and transform your entrepreneurial aspirations into a tangible achievement.

Table of Contents

What is the Startup Visa Program?

The Startup Visa Program is a Canadian immigration pathway designed to support immigrant entrepreneurs with innovative business ideas. This program offers a unique opportunity for foreign entrepreneurs to obtain permanent residency in Canada by establishing their startup businesses in the country. The Startup Visa Program is aimed at promoting economic growth, job creation, and innovation in Canada by tapping into the global pool of entrepreneurial talent.

The Startup Visa Program Canada is a part of the Express Entry system, which is a points-based immigration system used by Canada to select candidates for various immigration programs. Entrepreneurs who are successful in obtaining a commitment certificate and meet the program’s eligibility criteria can apply for permanent residency through the Express Entry system.

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What are the Key Features of the Startup Visa Program?

Before delving into the specifics of the Canadian Startup Visa Program, let’s check out its key characteristics:

Qualifying Business: To be eligible for the program, entrepreneurs must have a qualifying business. This business should be innovative, have the potential for growth and job creation, and be able to compete on a global scale.

Commitment Certificate: Applicants must obtain a commitment certificate from a designated organization in Canada. These designated organizations can include venture capital funds, angel investor groups, or business incubators. The commitment certificate signifies that the applicant’s business idea is supported by a recognized entity in Canada.

Language Proficiency: Adequate language proficiency in either English or French is required to ensure effective communication and integration into the Canadian business environment. Language proficiency testing is required for applicants to showcase their linguistic abilities.

Proof of Funds: Applicants must have sufficient funds to support themselves and their families while establishing their startup in Canada. The specific financial requirements may vary.

Permanent Residency: Successful applicants and their immediate family members (spouse and dependent children) receive permanent residency status in Canada. This grants them the opportunity to reside, work, and pursue education in Canada, with the possibility of applying for Canadian citizenship in the future.

Support for Designated Organizations: The program also provides support and resources for designated Canadian organizations that collaborate with immigrant entrepreneurs. These organizations play a crucial role in the program by evaluating and supporting innovative business ideas.

What Advantages Does the Startup Visa Program Offer?

The Startup Visa Program Canada offers numerous advantages, both to entrepreneurs and the country as a whole:

  • Access to Global Talent: Canada benefits from the expertise and innovation brought by entrepreneurs from diverse backgrounds.
  • Job Creation: The startups established through this program create job opportunities for Canadians, contributing to economic growth.
  • Permanent Residency: Successful applicants and their families receive permanent residency, offering a stable and secure future in Canada.
  • Thriving Ecosystem: Entrepreneurs can tap into Canada’s dynamic startup ecosystem, with access to mentorship, funding, and resources.
  • Global Business Hub: Canada’s strategic location provides a gateway to the North American market, making it an attractive destination for international entrepreneurs.

Immigrate With a Startup Visa

Canada’s Startup Visa Program is specifically designed for immigrant entrepreneurs who possess the skills and potential required to establish successful businesses within Canada. These businesses should meet certain criteria:

  • Demonstrate innovation
  • Have the capacity to create employment opportunities for Canadians
  • Display the potential to compete effectively on a global scale

If you are considering Quebec as your destination, it’s important to note that the Province of Quebec manages its own business immigration program. If your plan is to reside in Quebec, you are recommended to visit Quebec’s official immigration website for more information on their specific requirements and processes.

Who is Eligible to Apply for the Startup Visa Program?

To qualify for the Startup Visa Program, you must meet the following eligibility requirements:

1. Establish a Qualifying Business

A qualifying business is one that fulfills the following conditions.

  • At the time you secure a commitment from a designated organization:
    – Each applicant holds 10% or more of the voting rights attached to all outstanding shares of the corporation (up to 5 individuals can apply as owners).
    – Applicants and the designated organization collectively hold more than 50% of the total voting rights attached to all outstanding shares of the corporation.
  • At the time you receive permanent residence:
    – You actively and continuously manage the business from within Canada.
    – A significant portion of the business’s operations occur in Canada.
    – The business is legally incorporated in Canada.

2. Obtain a Letter of Support from a Designated Organization

You are required to secure a letter of support from a designated organization, which is a business group authorized to invest in or support potential start-ups.

The process for presenting your business idea varies for each organization, as they have their own unique requirements. This may include in-person presentations or the submission of a comprehensive business plan.

If you reach an agreement with a designated organization, they will provide you with a letter of support, which is a crucial document to include in your application. It serves as proof that a venture capital fund, angel investor group, or business incubator is endorsing your business concept.

The organization will also forward a commitment certificate directly to the authorities handling your application. Both the letter of support and commitment certificate will be used to evaluate your application. Note that additional business information may be requested before a final decision is made on your application. Failing to include the letter of support or meet any other requirements will result in the refusal of your application.

3. Meet Language Proficiency Requirements

Proficiency in English, French, or both languages is essential for the success of your business in Canada. If you skip this step, your application won’t be taken into account. You should achieve at least a Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) level 5 in either English or French across these four aspects: Speaking, Reading, Listening, and Writing. Failure to meet these language requirements will lead to the rejection of your application.

4. Sufficient Settlement Funds

The Canadian government doesn’t offer financial aid to new Startup Visa immigrants. When applying, you must demonstrate that you possess the financial means to support yourself and your dependents after arriving in Canada. Borrowing this money from another individual is not allowed. The required amount depends on the size of your family, and these amounts are updated annually.

Number of Family MembersFunds Required
If more than 7 people, for each additional family member$3,706

Note that meeting these eligibility criteria is crucial for a successful Startup Visa application. Failure to meet any of these requirements may result in your application being refused.

How Can I Apply for the Startup Visa Program in Canada?

Applying for the Startup Visa Program in Canada is a straightforward process. Follow this step-by-step guide to assist you along the way:

Step 1: Apply Online

As of October 14, 2022, all applications must be submitted online. This is now mandatory.

If you need special accommodations due to a disability, such as paper, braille, or large print formats, you need to make a request to the IRCC.

To ensure you complete the forms correctly, refer to the Instruction Guide (IMM 5759).

Step 2: Gather Required Documents

Collect all necessary forms, supporting documents, signatures (if needed), language test results, and proof of payment of processing fees.

Missing items will result in an incomplete application, which will be returned without processing.

Provide complete and truthful answers to all questions. Falsifying information or omitting details can lead to serious consequences. You might face a five-year ban from applying to enter Canada for any purpose.

Step 3: Complete Digital Forms Online

For yourself and family members aged 18 or older, complete the following digital forms online:

Generic Application Form for Canada (IMM 0008)
Schedule A – Background/Declaration (IMM 5669)
Additional Family Information (IMM 5406)
Supplementary Information – Your Travels (IMM 5562)

Step 4: Fill Out PDF Forms

You should complete these PDF forms as well, but there’s no need to physically sign them. Simply upload them to your online application. As the principal applicant, you will electronically sign the entire application, including those of your family members.

If these PDF forms are applicable to your situation, please follow these steps:

Step 5: Sign Your Application

After reading the declaration, personally type your name. This is a legal requirement for your application to be considered “signed.”

Authorization for Information Release

If you want to authorize IRCC to share information from your application with someone other than yourself, and this person is not acting as your representative, you must:

  • Submit an “Authority to Release Personal Information to a Designated Individual [IMM 5475] (PDF, 593.57 KB)” form.
  • Complete the form and sign it, either digitally or manually.
  • Obtain the signature of your designated individual.
  • Upload this form along with your application.

Step 6: Photo Requirements

You must provide one photograph for each person included in your application. Please refer to the online application instructions for guidance on scanning and uploading both sides of your photograph.

Step 7: Pay Application Fees

When it comes to paying your application fees, here’s what you need to know:

Fees Breakdown

Your fees generally include:

  • Fees associated with the processing of your application and any individuals included in it.
  • The Right of Permanent Residence Fee (RPRF)
  • Biometrics fees
  • Third-party fees

Paying your fees online is a compulsory requirement.

Biometrics Fee

In most cases, you will be required to pay a biometrics fee when you submit your application. This charge encompasses the expenses associated with gathering fingerprints and capturing a digital photograph. After paying the biometrics fee with a complete application, you will receive a confirmation letter. This letter will specify when and where you need to provide your biometrics. It’s essential to attend your biometrics appointment in person. If the service is available, make sure to book an appointment at a collection point near you.

Third-Party Fees

Depending on your situation, you might also need to cover third-party fees for

  • Medical exams
  • Police certificates
  • Language testing

Note: Refer to the instruction guide to get a clear understanding of which fees are relevant to your individual situation.

Step 8: Submit Your Online Application

When submitting your online application, note the following:

If there are multiple individuals applying for permanent residence as partners in a qualifying business, IRCC will not begin processing any applications until they have received all of them. Each business partner is required to submit their individual application. If a team member decides not to proceed with their permanent residence application, they need to inform the authorities promptly using the web form.

Prior to submitting your application, ensure you have:

  • Provided responses to all questions. 
  • Electronically signed your application, entering your full name exactly as it appears on your passport. 
  • Included the receipt confirming the payment of your processing fees. Uploaded all necessary supporting documents.

If your application isn’t finished, it won’t be accepted. You will have to fix any mistakes and send it again.

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What to Do After Submitting Your Application?

Once you have submitted your application, there are some important steps to follow. Schedule your biometrics collection appointment promptly to avoid processing delays. 

  • If you are between 14 and 79 years old, you must provide fingerprints and a photo (biometrics) for every permanent residence application, even if your previous biometrics are still valid.
  • Ensure you pay the biometrics fee when you submit your application to prevent potential delays.
  • Once you receive a letter from IRCC instructing you to provide biometrics, do so as soon as possible. You have got 30 days from the date on the letter.

Assessment of Your Startup Visa Application

After you have applied, IRCC will verify that you have:

  • Accurately completed and signed your application forms.
  • Paid your processing fees.
  • Included all required documents.

Failure to address any of these aspects will result in your application not being processed, and it will be sent back to you.

What Factors Affect Processing Times for the Startup Visa Program Application?

The estimated duration for processing a Startup Visa Application is approximately 37 months.

To minimize potential delays, consider the following:

  • Inform the visa office about any updates to your personal details, including changes in your address, phone number, email, or the birth of a child.
  • Avoid multiple inquiries to the visa office regarding the same issue.

Be aware that your application may experience delays if:

  • There are criminal or security concerns, necessitating additional background checks.
  • Your family situation is unclear, which could result from a pending divorce, incomplete adoption proceedings, or unresolved child custody matters.
  • The visa office must liaise with other visa offices, either in Canada or abroad, to validate the information provided.

You can track the progress of your application once the visa office commences its processing.

Final Steps to Canadian Permanent Residency

As you approach the conclusion of your journey towards Canadian permanent residency, these final steps are crucial to ensure a smooth transition. Let’s dive deeper into the details of what to expect as you prepare to make Canada your new home.

Medical Examinations

A mandatory medical examination is required prior to your arrival in Canada. This requirement also applies to your family members, even if they are not accompanying you. Your health must meet the requirements for your application to be accepted. After submitting your application to the visa office, you will receive a letter with instructions on how to undergo the necessary medical examination.

Police Certificates

Having a criminal record could potentially make you ineligible to enter Canada. Individuals who pose a security risk are also prohibited from entering the country.

To qualify for immigration to Canada, you and any family members aged 18 and above must provide police certificates to the visa office if requested. You must obtain a police certificate from each country or territory where you have resided continuously for 6 months or more since turning 18. It is recommended to obtain your police certificates proactively to prevent potential delays in the future.

Application Decision

The IRCC will assess your application if you:

  • Meet the eligibility criteria.
  • Possess sufficient financial means to support yourself and your family upon arrival in Canada.
  • Successfully pass the medical examination and provide the required police certificate.

IRCC will contact you if additional documents are needed or if you are required to attend an interview. Upon approval of your application, you will be asked to submit your passport to the visa office for the issuance of your permanent resident visa.

Confirmation of Permanent Residence

Upon approval of your application, you will be granted a permanent resident visa, which includes your Confirmation of Permanent Residence (COPR) and entry visa.

Your COPR will contain your personal information and photographs. Ensure that all details match those on your passport. If there is any discrepancy on your COPR, please contact IRCC through your account.

It is essential to have your COPR and visa with you when you arrive in Canada. Keep in mind that your COPR will not be extended, so it should be used before it expires.

What are the Arrival and Entry Procedures?

Let’s delve into the essential procedures and requirements you’ll encounter upon reaching the threshold of your Canadian dream. Whether you’re already within the country’s borders or preparing to cross them, understanding these entry processes is crucial for a smooth transition into your new life in Canada.

If you are already in Canada

IRCC will contact you regarding the next steps of your immigration process. As part of this process, you will need to undergo a brief interview with an immigration officer. You have two options for your interview:

  • Schedule an appointment at one of the offices in Canada.
  • Visit a Canadian “port of entry” (border crossing) and provide the following:
    – Proof of adequate funds to support yourself and your family.
    – Your Confirmation of Permanent Residence (COPR) and permanent resident visa (if issued).

During the interview, the officer will:

  • Verify the validity of all your documents.
  • Ask you a few questions to ensure that you still meet the eligibility criteria for immigration to Canada.
  • Confirm your Canadian mailing address to facilitate the delivery of your permanent resident card (PR card).

If you change your address within 180 days of obtaining your status, you need to notify them using the web form.

If you are Outside Canada

Upon your arrival in Canada, you must have the following:

  • A valid passport and/or travel documents. Note that you cannot immigrate to Canada with a diplomatic, government service, or public affairs passport.
  • A valid permanent resident visa along with your Confirmation of Permanent Residence (COPR).
  • The officer will ensure that you are entering Canada before or on the expiry date indicated on your visa (this document cannot be extended). 
  • Additionally, you will need to provide proof that you have sufficient financial resources to support yourself and your family after your arrival in Canada.

The officer will ask you questions similar to those you answered during your application to confirm your eligibility to immigrate to Canada. Be aware that you will not be allowed into Canada if you provide false or incomplete information or fail to convince the officer that you meet the entry conditions.

If you meet the requirements, the officer will grant you entry into Canada as a permanent resident and verify your Canadian mailing address to send your permanent resident card to you.

If you change your address within 180 days of arriving in Canada, it is essential to notify them using the online tool.

Disclosure of Funds

If you arrive in Canada with more than CAD $10,000, you must declare this to the CBSA officer. Failure to do so may result in fines and seizure of your funds. These funds can be in various forms, including cash, securities (such as stocks, bonds, debentures, and treasury bills), bankers’ drafts, cheques, travellers’ cheques, or money orders.

Designated Organizations for the Startup Visa Program

The Startup Visa Program facilitates connections between Canadian business organizations and immigrant entrepreneurs who possess the skills and potential to establish innovative businesses in Canada.

With the backing of a designated organization, immigrant entrepreneurs can apply for permanent residency in Canada and commence their start-up ventures in the country. These designated organizations include various types, such as venture capital funds, angel investor groups, and business incubators, all of which have received approval to support these start-ups.

To attain the status of a designated organization, you must be a member of one of our partner industry associations and receive a recommendation from them. These associations include:

Organizations are designated by the Minister of Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship based on these recommendations. Your organization will be acknowledged as designated on the day when your organization’s name is included in the list of designated organizations.

Charting the Course to PR with the Canadian Startup Visa Program

In conclusion, the Canadian Startup Visa Program offers an exciting opportunity for immigrant entrepreneurs to establish innovative businesses in Canada, contributing to economic growth, job creation, and innovation. With a qualifying business idea, support from a designated organization, language proficiency, and sufficient funds, you can embark on this journey to permanent residency in Canada.

FAQs Related to Startup Visa Program Canada

Here are some frequently asked questions about the Startup Visa Program Canada:

Q. What is the Startup Visa Program Canada?
A. The Canadian Startup Visa Program is designed for immigrant entrepreneurs who possess the skills and potential to establish innovative businesses in Canada, capable of generating employment opportunities for Canadians and competing on a global level.

Q. Who is eligible for Startup Visa in Canada?
A. To be eligible for the Canadian Startup Visa Program, you need a qualifying business, a supporting letter from a designated organization, meet language requirements, and have sufficient funds for living expenses until your business earns income.

Q. How much money required for Canada Startup Visa?
A. For one family member, you need $13,757. For two, it’s $17,127, and it increases incrementally up to seven family members. If there are more than seven family members, you must add $3,706 for each additional member.

Q. Can I work on Startup Visa Canada?
A. Under the Startup Visa Program, if you have already submitted your application for permanent residency, you may have the opportunity to obtain an optional work permit. This work permit enables you to actively work on launching your business while your Startup Visa application is being processed.

Q. What’s the minimum investment for the Canadian Startup Visa Program?
A. If it’s from a designated venture capital fund, you need $200,000. For a designated angel investor group, it’s $75,000. No financial investment is required from a business incubator; instead, acceptance into a Canadian business incubator program is necessary.

We hope this comprehensive guide has provided you with valuable insights into the Startup Visa Program in Canada. For more information and updates on immigration programs, stay tuned to

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