Federal Start-up visa

Do you have an innovative business idea?

Canada’s Start-up Visa Program targets immigrant entrepreneurs with the skills and potential to build businesses in Canada that:

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If you can get support for your idea from one of the designated organizations, you may be able to immigrate to Canada. The designated organizations are business groups that are approved to invest in or support possible start-ups through the Start-up Visa Program:

  • Designated venture capital funds.
  • Designated angel investor groups.
  • Designated business incubators.

Eligibility Requirements

  • Meet the ownership requirements for a qualifying business:

– The applicant should hold at least 10 percent of the voting rights in the business.

– The designated organization and the applicants must jointly hold MORE than 50 percent of the voting rights in the business.

  • Obtain a support letter from a designated organization.
  • Ability to communicate in either English or French (Minimum CLB 5).
  • Have enough money to support yourself and your dependants while settling in Canada.
  • Be admissible to Canada.

The required support from designated organizations must meet the following criteria:

  • A designated angel investor group must approve to invest a minimum of $75,000 CAD into the qualifying business: OR
  • A designated venture capital fund must approve to invest a minimum of $200,000 CAD into the qualifying business: OR
  • A designated business incubator must prove that it is accepting the applicant into its business incubator Program, without the need to secure any investment.

Program Benefits

  • Permanent residency is granted to the investor and their immediate family (a dependent child must be under 19 years old, allowing the family to share the same status.

    As a permanent resident the candidate has the right to:

    • Get most social benefits that Canadian citizens receive, including health care coverage,
    • Live, work or study anywhere in Canada,
    • Apply for Canadian Citizenship (if requirements are met),
    • Protection under Canadian law and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
  • Alternatively, if you meet the eligibility requirements, you can even apply for a work permit. You do not need to apply for permanent residence first.

Application Process

When the applicant obtains a Letter of Support from a designated organization, the application must be prepared along with required documents and sent to Citizenship and Immigration Canada for processing. Once approved, the applicant is granted Canadian permanent residency.

Frequently Asked Questions for Start-up visa program

  1. What is the minimum investment that I need to apply through the Start-up Visa Program?

    If the investment comes from a designated Canadian venture capital fund, you must secure a minimum investment of $200,000.

    If the investment comes from a designated Canadian angel investor group, you must secure a minimum investment of $75,000.

    You do not need to secure a financial investment from a business incubator. You must be accepted into a Canadian business incubator program.

  1. Do I need to have a certain personal net worth to apply for this program?

    This program does not require you to have a specific minimum net worth, however you will have to prove that you have enough money to support yourself and your dependents while in Canada.

  1. Under this program am I free to choose to live anywhere in Canada?

    Yes, when you apply for this program, you can live in any province in Canada, except Quebec.

  1. What will happen if my business fails?

    You will not bear any burden and your permanent residence status will not be affected, as the risk is shared between the public and private sector.

  1. Can my entrepreneur partner join me under this program as well?

    Yes, a letter of support from a designated organization can include 5 persons. However, if you are the essential person in the application and your application was refused, all related applicants will be refused as well.

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