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Start-Up Visa Program

The start-up visa program allows entrepreneurs with innovative business ideas to migrate to Canada with their families. If you are an entrepreneur supported by a designated organization, this may be the visa opportunity you are waiting for.

You can reach us on 0333 305 9375 for any advice or help on how to get a start-up visa. We are ready to support you both offline and online.


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    What is the Start-Up Visa Program?

    The start-up visa scheme allows entrepreneurs to become permanent residents in Canada alongside family members. The program is open to all foreign nationals; however, the business idea must meet specific requirements before approval. The idea has to be innovative and ensure the creation of new job opportunities for native Canadians. It is also expected that the business can be expanded globally.

    However, the most critical requirement is that the business idea must be supported by a designated company or entity.

    The start-up visa program allows you to bring your dependents to Canada. Dependents here refers to your wife/husband, common-law partner, or children younger than 22 years who are not married or do not have a common-law partner.

    Entrepreneurs can apply for a temporary work permit in Canada while waiting for their permanent residency approval. This opportunity is granted to immigrant entrepreneurs to let them set up their businesses or get the business idea off the ground while waiting for their applications to be approved.

    Adult holding passport

    Requirements for the Start-Up Visa Program

    Immigrant entrepreneurs must meet four main eligibility requirements to qualify for start-up visas. The requirements are as follows:

    1.     Entrepreneurs must have a qualifying business idea

    You must have a minimum of 10% of the company’s voting rights across all business shares for it to be eligible. The applicant and the designated business entity must collectively have more than 50% of the business’ voting rights.

    The business must be incorporated in Canada, and the operations and management of the company must be done out of Canada.

    2.     The business idea must be supported by a designated organization

    Designated organizations include angel investor groups, venture capitalists, and business incubators. Applicants must present a letter of support from any of these designated organizations while applying for a start-up visa.

    Obtaining support from these designated organizations requires you to pitch your business idea to them and convince them of the benefits of supporting you or investing in your business.

    You should also know that, unlike other investor programs that require you to invest personal funds, the start-up visa program has no such requirements. Rather, it is acceptable and often expected that your designated organization will provide the funds for your business. However, you will still need to present proof of funds that you can support both you and your family while living in Canada.

    3.     Entrepreneurs must meet language requirements.

    The start-up visa program requires you to prove your language capabilities. To do this, you must take a French or English Language test administered by approved agencies. To qualify for the program, you must at least match the minimum level 5 requirements of the Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) for reading, speaking, writing, and listening.

    4.     Entrepreneurs must present proof of funds.

    As mentioned earlier, you must prove to the endorsing body that you have sufficient money to support yourself and your family members while your business is still in its growth stages. The size of your family largely determines the required funds.

    Here is an overview of how much you will need:

    • Applicant Only – CAN $13,757
    • 2 family members – CAN $17,127
    • 3 family members – CAN $21,055
    • 4 family members – CAN $25,564
    • 5 family members – CAN $28,994
    • 6 family members – CAN $32,700
    • 7 family members – CAN $36,407

    Summarily you will need to add about CAN $3,706 for every additional dependent or family member.

    Asides from meeting these program-specific requirements, applicants will also have to meet all the basic eligibility requirements for admission into Canada. Furthermore, you and your family must not have a criminal record and be in good health.

    We offer immigration advice sessions as face to face appointments at all of our UK offices, or via the phone.

    Designated Organizations under the Start-Up Visa Program

    Support from a designated organization is one of the requirements for your start-up visa to be approved.

    Designated organizations are business entities with the Canadian Government’s approval to support or invest in start-ups through the Start-Up Visa Program.

    Entrepreneurs must obtain support from at least one of these organizations as follows.

    • Angel Investor Groups – A minimum investment of $75,000 CDN must be made into the business
    • Venture Capital Funds – A minimum investment of $200,000 CDN must be made into the business
    • Business Incubators – There are no minimum investment eligibility requirements; however, the business idea must have been accepted into the incubator program.

    Entrepreneurs simply need to secure support from any of these organizations after pitching their business ideas. You should keep in mind that each designated organization has its pitching requirements and process that you will have to meet.

    Once you have obtained support from any of these designated organizations, they will present you with a Letter of Support which you will have to submit along with your application. The endorsement letter is proof or evidence that the designated organization has approved and is in support of your business idea.

    Note that Letters of Support are only valid for six months once they have been issued.

    Lastly, your supporting designated organization must submit a commitment certificate to the IRCC directly.

    How to Apply for the Start-Up Visa Program

    You can tender your application online or send a copy in the mail.

    You will need to provide proof or documents showing that you meet the four main eligibility requirements of the start-up visa application. Applicants will also need to provide records of their medical examination and police certificates. The required documents may vary based on your unique circumstances. However, in most cases, you will need the following documents.

    • Personal documents, for example, your passport
    • Photographs
    • Proof of Language Proficiency
    • Letter of Support from a designated organization
    • Proof of Language testing
    • Police clearance and certificate
    • Proof of funds
    • Receipt of payment for all the start-up fees (CAN $2,140 – Processing fee and right of permanent residence fee)

    If you require further information about the Start-Up Visa Program or need assistance with your application, do not hesitate to contact us at 0333 305 9375, in person or online. Our professional immigration lawyers will ensure you are compliant with government regulations as you apply for a start-up visa.

    Lightbulb concept of business growth

    We offer immigration advice sessions as face to face appointments at all of our UK offices, or via the phone.

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