Startup Visa

Business Immigration

Startup Visa

Current Status Program:

Program Description

Canada’s Start-up Visa Program falls under the Federal Business Immigration Immigrants Program.  The Start-Up Visa Program targets immigrant entrepreneurs with the skills and potential to build businesses in Canada that are innovative, create employment opportunities for Canadians, and compete globally. If you have an innovative business idea, and meet the eligibility criteria for the start-up visa program, you and your co-founders can become a permanent resident of Canada.

Key Highlights About the Program

The Start-Up Visa Program was launched in April 2013 as a five-year pilot program designed to attract innovative foreign entrepreneurs to create new companies that can contribute to economic development and promote employment prospects. In 2018, the Start-Up Visa was made a permanent program due to its success story. As of May 2019, more than 650 entrepreneurs and their family members have been approved for permanent residence. They represent about 200 start-ups that have been launched in Canada. To apply for this program, an individual must have a business incorporated as a company in Canada, meet the language requirements, have settlement funds, and receive support from designated organizations.

Program Eligibility Requirements

To apply for the start-up visa program, you must meet specific eligibility requirements. These are listed below:

  • You must have a qualifying business.
  • You must have a letter of support from a designated organization.
  • You must meet the language requirements.
  • You must have sufficient funds to settle and live in Canada.
  • Admissibility Requirement:

Candidates for this program must also meet the admissibility requirements. You may be disallowed from coming or staying in Canada if you are inadmissible under the Canadian immigration laws. The following are some of the reasons you could be found inadmissible:

  • Security reasons
  • Human rights violation
  • Crime and organized crime
  • Medical reasons
  •  Financial reasons
  • Misrepresentation
  • Failure to comply with the provision of the Canadian immigration laws
  •  Inadmissible family member


A Canadian immigration officer will decide if you are admissible to Canada. If you are found inadmissible, your visa application will be denied entry to or removed altogether from Canada.

Program Specific Data Analysis

2021 - 2023 immigration Levels Plans For Business Immigration

SUV Application Decisions (Principal Applicants) (2013 - 2016)

Data Source: Evaluation of the Start-Up Visa Pilot 

Key Candidates for the Program

Foreign Entrepreneur(s) and startup founders with an innovative and financially viable business idea.

Step by Step Process
Step 1

Determine Your Eligibility And Gather Your Documents

The first step in the process involves finding out your eligibility. This is done by answering some questions on the Government of Canada website. Follow this link to find out your eligibility:


Check your Score: You can also have an idea of what your overall score might be using this calculator on the Comprehensive Ranking System:

Step 1
Step 2

Get Your Application Package And Documents Checklist​

Before you apply, you need to get the application package and documents checklist. The application package for a start-up visa includes an instruction guide and a document checklist. Read the instructions carefully.

Step 2
Step 3

Fill Out Your Application Form

Apply for a Permanent Resident Visa after receiving an invitation to apply through the express entry online system. Fill out the form and upload your documents.

Step 3
Step 4

Pay Your Application Fees And Submit Your Application

The estimated application fee per adult is $2,075. This includes a processing fee of $1575 and the right of permanent residence fee of $500.

Step 4

Apply Now!

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  • Certain steps must be completed before you apply. These are listed below:
    • Have a qualifying business: The business must be incorporated in Canada, and the applicant must hold a minimum of 10% voting rights attached to the shares of the company. Furthermore, the applicants and the designated organization must jointly hold more than 50% of the total voting rights attached to the company’s shares.
    • Receive letter of support from the designated organizations: The designated organizations will issue you a letter of support and send a certificate of commitment directly to the Immigration, Refugee, and Citizenship Canada. There are three categories of a designated organization for the Start-Up Visa program to receive support from. They are venture capital funds, angel investor groups, and business incubators. The minimum required investment from a venture capital fund is $200,000 and $75,000 from angel investor groups. There is no minimum investment amount for business incubators, but the entrepreneur must be accepted into the business incubation program. See a list of designated organization for start-up visa.
  •  Meet the language requirement:

English and French are the official languages in Canada. Applicants for the start-up visa are required to take a language test to prove their language skills. Get minimum Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) 5 for speaking and listening, reading, and writing. Language Test results are valid for 2 years.

 Acceptable English language test:

  • Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program (CELPIP). Note:  Register for the CELPIP-General test.
  • International English Language Testing System ( IELTS). Book your test at British Council IELTS Online Application. Note: Register for the IELTS English General Training Test.

    Acceptable French Language Test:

  • Test d’evaluation de français (TEF)
  • Test de connaissance du français (TCF)

   Link to Language requirement.


  • Proof of Funds: Every applicant for a start-up visa must provide evidence of funds to support themselves and any family member. The number of funds you need will depend on the size of your family. This minimum amount is updated yearly. Proof of funds is the evidence that shows candidates have enough funds to settle in Canada. Find below a breakdown of the minimum funds you must have to immigrate to Canada.
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


Examples of acceptable proof of funds include official Bank statements, investment certificates, gift deeds, etc. The money must be readily available to you when you submit your application and receive your start-up visa.


After completing the above steps, it is time to apply for a start-up visa.

First, get your application package and documents checklist and read the instructions carefully.


Secondly, fill out your application forms entirely on a computer, validate the forms, print out all the forms, including the barcode page, date, and sign the forms.


Thirdly, pay your application fees. The estimated cost per Adult is $2,075. See the break down below:



Canadian dollar

Application Processing fee ($1575) and right of permanent residence fee ($500)


Application without right of permanent residence fee


Spouse or partner

Processing fee ($825) and right of permanent residence fee ($500)


Spouse or partner without right of permanent residence fee


Include a dependant child

$225 (per child)

    Data Source: Fee list

Submit your application by mailing your complete application. See mailing instructions.


Applicants may be required to give their biometrics for permanent residence applications. You must give your fingerprints and photos.  Visit this link to learn more about how to give your Biometrics. Estimated Cost – $85 Individual, $170 Family.

Processing time:

The processing time for a start-up visa application is 12 to 16 months.

Latest Program Updates

Foreign entrepreneurs applying for a start-up visa program can now apply for work permits while processing their start-up visa application. This will enable them to enter Canada and manage their business. Learn more about your eligibility for the work permit and how to apply.

Historical Program Data

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