Canada startup visa requirements

Roxana Acosta Sosa 13 July 2021 92 views 5 min. read

Canada is one of the most attractive countries to find work and live in, so it is not surprising that every day more opportunities open for foreigners to have the opportunity to move to that country.

One of these options is a startup visa for Canada, aimed at foreign entrepreneurs with the skills and potential to build businesses in this North American country and create jobs for Canadians.

If you are wondering how to apply for startup visa Canada, please read this informative post.

What is startup visa Canada?

canadian flag

Looking to know what is startup visa Canada? You are in the right place!

The startup program in Canada aimed at foreign entrepreneurs began in 2013 with a 5-year pilot program. Despite the relatively small number of cases processed (68 new companies) and $3.7 million invested during its initial period, the Government of Canada considered that the pilot program had been a success with permanence. Finally, the regulations for the startup visa came into force on April 11, 2018.

This startup visa for Canada favors foreign entrepreneurs with the skills and potential to create companies in Canada that are innovative, capable of creating jobs for Canadians, and/or have the potential to compete on a global scale.

Keep in mind that the government of Canada does not give financial support to applicants for the startup visa. The applicants must show that they have at least 12,960 Canadian dollars to support themselves upon arrival.

Canada startup visa requirements

canadian passport

To be eligible, you must meet the following Canada startup visa requirements:

Have a qualified business

A business will be rated as long as it meets the following points:

• Each applicant owns at least 10% of the voting rights corresponding to all the company’s shares.

• No one owns 50% or more of the total voting power. But together the applicants and the Investment Company, necessary to access this program, must own more than 50% of the voting rights.

• Up to 5 people can request it as owners.

• When obtaining the Canada startup visa permanent resident, the management must be continuous and an essential part of the company's operations must take place in Canada.

Get a letter of support from a designated organization

Designated Organization is understood as a business group that has been approved to invest or support potential startup companies: you can find the list of organizations designated by the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration of Canada.

The immigration officer will need this letter as proof that your business has a supporter. In addition, the designated company will also need to send a certificate of commitment.

You should keep in mind that they may require more information about the company to make a final decision on your application.

Meet language and academic requirements

Communication skills are an essential part of the Canada startup visa process to achieve business success in the country, which is why you need to have the necessary skills to work in English and/or French.

You will have to take a language test with an authorized agency and include the results in the application.

The minimum level you must achieve is 5 on the Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) in English or French in 4 areas: speaking, reading, listening and writing.

Additionally, you must have completed at least one year of post-secondary education.

Prove that you have the funds to settle in Canada

When you apply for your startup visa in Canada you will need to show that you have enough money to support yourself and your dependents once you are in Canada. The amount you need depends on the size of your family and is updated every year.

Keep in mind that the Canadian government does not provide financial support to applicants for the startup visa. Applicants must show that they have at least CAD $12,960 to support themselves upon arrival.

Can I include my family in the Canadian startup visa application?

canada visa application

Yes. The applicant's partner and children can also apply for a startup visa under the same application and must intend to live in a province or territory other than Quebec. Entrepreneurs who want to live in Quebec must apply under the Quebec Entrepreneurs Program.

After application, selected applicants will receive the Canada startup visa permanent resident in less than 6 months. If you need to get to work in Canada before receiving your permanent resident status, you must apply for a startup Business Class Work Permit. Spouses and domestic partners of holders of such a work permit can apply for an open work permit.

How much should I invest to get the Canada startup visa permanent resident?

green plant

The startup visa program in Canada differs from existing options for investors and entrepreneurs in that the entrepreneur is not the source of investment capital. This program allows foreign entrepreneurs to establish newly created companies with capital contributed by third parties. Moreover, this program offers permanent residence to the foreign entrepreneur as long as he has received considerable investment from venture capital companies or investors, or is accepted in:

• An investment of at least $ 75,000 from a designated group of angel investors;

• An investment of at least $ 200,000 from a designated venture capital fund; or

• Acceptance into a business incubator program by a designated business incubator.

Canada startup visa process

officer using laptop

If you meet all the requirements to obtain a startup visa, you must follow the next Canada startup visa process steps:

You will need to fill out the online Generic Application Form for Canada (IMM 0008), validate and print it to date and sign it.

• How to apply for startup visa Canada? Gather all supporting documents and information in the order listed on the document checklist. It must include all forms, supporting documents, signatures, language test results, and proof of payment of processing fees.

• In most cases, you will need to include your biometric data in the application (fingerprints and photo).

• You and your family members, whether they accompany you or not, must undergo a medical examination and pass it in order to come to Canada. To pass the medical examination, you and your family members must not have a condition that constitutes a danger to public health or safety, or causes excessive demand for health or social services in Canada.

• Finally, you must send the documents in a 23 cm x 30.5 cm sealed envelope to one of the addresses that appear in the links.

How much are the Canada startup visa fees?

canadian dollar

If you decide to apply for your startup visa in Canada, you should bear in mind that the procedure will cost CAD $1,575. In addition, if this is the case, you will have to pay the processing fee for the Permanent Residence right, around CAD $500, which includes the price of taking biometric data.

The expenses for taking biometric data are CAD $85 per person or CAD $170 for a family of two or more people included in the same application.

If you want to include your partner, you will have to pay an additional CAD $825, and an additional CAD $500 if you include the right to permanent residence.

Adding a child to your application Canada startup visa fees will cost CAD $225.

Canada startup visa processing time


The Canada startup visa processing time is from 12 to 16 months. This is the time it takes for the Canadian immigration department to recognize whether or not you are the right candidate to obtain said visa.

What is the startup visa Canada success rate?

canada on the old globe

The startup visa Canada success rate is high for those who get a letter of support; otherwise, it can be more complicated if you do not send this document. Still, the rejection can be for different reasons. However, there is not an exact SUV success rate but it is estimated that in 2019, out of more than 100 applicants, around 80% of them have been approved.

Some reasons why a startup visa can be denied

visa denied

• Lack of documents. The lack of documents is a very obvious reason for the rejection of your visa application. You must have all the documents of your business that support your request. As we mentioned earlier, one of the primary requirements to obtain an SUV is that you have the funds to move to Canada.

• You do not have the financial means to support yourself.

• You have a criminal record. The safety of Canadian citizens is paramount so the government will not put their integrity at risk.

• You do not meet the health requirements. You must prove that you are in good health. This must be proven by an immigration medical exam and of course, it must be part of the documents that you will send with your application.

• You don't meet the necessary scores for the language. Language is very important for your business to be successful

• Documents forgery. The specialized immigration team will thoroughly investigate your application.

Do you want to get a Canada visa easily?
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