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Canada Start-Up Visa (SUV)

If you are an entrepreneur with an innovative business idea, you may be eligible to immigrate to Canada through the start-up visa program. 

Canada is looking for talented entrepreneurs that are interested in starting businesses that will stimulate the Canadian economy while creating employment opportunities for its residents.

Read on for everything you need to know about Canada’s start-up visa program, including a step-by-step guide to the application process.

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What is the start-up visa program?

Canada’s start-up visa program gives entrepreneurs the opportunity to immigrate to Canada in order to establish a new business. Immigrant entrepreneurs must demonstrate that their business is innovative, will create new jobs for Canadians, and can compete on a global scale.

What are the requirements for Canada's start-up visa?

There are four requirements you need to meet in order to be eligible for a Canadian start-up visa:

  1. Have a qualifying business:

    • You must hold at least 10% of the voting rights attached to all shares of the company
    • Together with the designated organization, you must hold at least 50% of the voting rights attached to all shares of the company
  2. Have a letter of support from a designated organization:

    • You need to demonstrate that you have the support of a venture capital fund, angel investor group, or business incubator
    • In order to do this, you must pitch your business idea and convince the organization that it is worth supporting
    • The process of pitching your business idea will be different for each organization
    • If your pitch is successful, you will receive a letter of support from the organization which must be included in your start-up visa application
  3. Meet the language requirements:

    • You must take a language test from an approved agency and show that you meet the minimum level of the Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) 5 in either English or French in speaking, reading, listening, and writing.
  4. Proof of funds:

    • You need to show that you have enough money to support yourself and any dependents once you arrive in Canada. The amount you need depends on the size of your family.

Number of
family members
Funds required
(in Canadian dollars)
1$12,960
2$16,135
3$19,836
4$24,083
5$27,315
6$30,806
7$34,299
For each additional family member$3,492

Designated organizations for start-up visa

As part of the eligibility requirements, you will need to provide proof (Commitment Certificate and Letter of Support) that your business is in fact supported by a designated organization. These documents will cover the relevant details of your arrangement with one or multiple designated organizations, and are paramount to your startup visa application. Unlike federal and provincial investor programs, where applicants must invest their own capital, no investment of their own funds will be required.

Instead, those who meet the eligibility requirements must secure a minimum of $75,000 from a Canadian angel investor, or a minimum of $200,000 from a Canadian venture capital fund recognized by the government of Canada. If the applicant is accepted into a recognized Canadian business incubator, no investment capital is required.

List of designated organizations

How to apply for a start-up visa

  1. Fill out the application form:

    • Fill out the Generic Application Form for Canada
    • Click the “Validate” button on the form, and make sure that you have completed all required fields
    • Print the validated application form, making sure to include the barcode page
    • Sign and date the form
  2. Complete the document checklist

    • Gather all documents listed in the order specified in the document checklist
    • Place all necessary documents in a sealed envelope
    • Print out the document checklist and sign it
    • Include the document checklist as the cover page of your application
  3. Pay your application fees

    • Application fees include processing fees for you and anyone included on your application
    • Right of permanent residence fee 
    • Third-party fees including fees for medical exams, police certificates, and language testing
    • Biometrics fees:
      Type of ApplicantCost
      Individual applicants$85 CAD
      Families applying togetherMaximum total fee of $170 CAD
      Groups of 3 or more performing artists and their staffMaximum total fee of $255 CAD
  4. Submit your application

    • Before submitting your application, ensure that it is complete
    • Make sure you have signed all forms
    • Pay your processing fees and include receipts in your application
    • Include all supporting documents

    Put all documents in a 9” x 12” envelope, write ‘start-up visa’ on the outside of the envelope, and mail to the appropriate address

What-is-the-processing-time-for-Canadas-start-up-visa

The current processing time for the start-up visa is between 12 and 16 months.

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If you are an entrepreneur or an investor, we can help you immigrate to Canada. Simply complete our free assessment for business immigration and a business associate of Attorney Dery will review your eligibility and contact you to discuss your options.

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