Are you an entrepreneur? Do you want to develop your business ideas in Canada? If so, you may have considered applying for a start up visa.

The start up visa program was launched in 2013 and was made permanent in 2018. 

As of June 2021, this is the only program that allows you to immigrate to Canada and get your Permanent Residency in as little as 12 months, with no need to have your finances audited.  

The program was started by the Canadian government in hopes of attracting entrepreneurs from all over the world. It provides them with funding and appropriate support to build their businesses. In return Canadian banks invest and allow these businesses to add value to the economy, creating more jobs for Canadians.

The start up visa application process is often fast-tracked. The goal is to approve successful applicants within weeks. The Canadian Entrepreneur Visa provides permanent resident status, which can then lead to citizenship.

How it Works

Step 1: Get Your Business Supported by a Designated Investor

In order to apply for a start up visa, you are required to get a letter of support from one of the designated investor organizations. The letter needs to state that they are willing to fund your business idea.

Step #2: Meet the Language Requirements

To be able to come to Canada, you have to be proficient in English, French, or both. You need to provide Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) with proof of language proficiency. This means that you must take a language test from an IRCC approved agency and meet the minimum language requirements.

Step #3: Prove Your Business Meets Ownership Requirements

The ownership requirements are the following:

A single business may have a maximum of five owners.

Each applicant must hold at least 10% of the voting rights in the business. 

The designated investment organization and the applicant/s must together own more than 50% of the voting rights in the business.

Step #4: Have Sufficient Funds to Settle in Canada

You need to prove to the Canadian government that you have enough funds to support yourself and your family once you settle in Canada. The government does not provide any financial support for entrepreneurial immigrants.

Who is Eligible?

get a start up visa for canada
Proof of Support by a Designated Investment Organization

If you are interested in immigrating to Canada through the Entrepreneur Start up Visa program, the first step is to find a Canadian angel investor group. At least one of these entities must be willing to invest in your start up.

The investor organization must be a designated angel investor group, a qualified business incubator program, or a designated venture capital by the Canadian government to take place in the Entrepreneur Start up Visa program.

Each fund or group has its own application. Most likely, you will need to contact these groups to apply, present, and submit your business idea to them. You may or may not be required to have a full business plan.

Make sure to do your research on the investment groups. Visit their websites and analyze what sort of start ups they are interested in. On their websites, you may also find an outline of their application process and what they would like from you when presenting your business idea.

Once you submit your idea and are able to convince one of the designated incubators, angel investor groups, or venture capital funds to support your business, they will send you a letter of support.  They also must provide the IRCC with a completed Commitment Certificate. The certificate lays out the details of the agreement and commitment between the designated organization and the candidate.

If you would like, you can receive support from multiple investors. This is referred to as syndication.  In this case, the organizations supporting you will provide one joint Commitment Certificate to IRCC.

Once you have the letter from your investor or investors, you are now ready to apply for your Start up Visa.

The minimum amount you must secure for your business is:

  • 200,000 CAD if the investment is from a Canadian VC,
  • 75,000 CAD if the investment is from an angel investor,
  • 0 CAD, that’s right, zero, if your business is accepted in a business incubator program
Proof of Meeting the Minimum Language Requirement

To apply for a start up visa, you must meet the minimum language requirements. This means that you must take a language test from an IRCC approved agency and meet:

  • Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) 5 in speaking and listening and 4 in reading and writing in English
  • Niveaux de Compétence Linguistique Canadiens (NCLC) 5 in speaking and listening and 4 in reading and writing in French
Proof of Sufficient Settlement Funds

You must have sufficient funds to support yourself and your family once you immigrate to Canada. The amount depends on your family size:

financials for getting a start up visa
courtesy of IRCC

Keep in mind that start ups are investments and require huge amounts of money. You must be willing to invest that money into your start up if you hope for it to succeed financially.

Proof of Medical and Security Clearances

You and your family members need to undergo a security and medical examination in order to determine if you:

  • Pose a security threat to the country,
  • Have a severe health condition that would put a burden on the Canadian healthcare system.
Application Cost:
courtesy of IRCC
Required Documents
  • 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 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 need to be translated to English or French and certified from the corresponding country. The immigration office may request additional documents.

If you meet all the above eligibility requirements, you can apply for a Permanent Residency. The processing time takes between 12 to 18 months.  Here are the phases:

Phase #1: Draft of Business Plan (1-2 months)
Phase #2: Letter of Support (6-10 months)
Phase #3: Permanent Resident Application (8-12 months)
canada pr card

Contact Us!

At BluefoxAI, we are committed to providing our clients with the best immigration services. We carefully selected a team of seasoned immigration experts experienced in various Canadian immigration programs. They can provide the most accurate answers to your concerns or questions and help you along the way.

As your first step, our platform can shortlist our authorized immigration experts for your unique case. BluefoxAI’s support team will then connect you to one of our authorized immigration experts based on your application.

Finally, you can arrange a meeting and discuss your application in detail in a complimentary consultation session with an expert, after which you may decide to continue your immigration application at BluefoxAI.

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If you would like to create an application for a start up visa please contact us!

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