What Is The Start-Up Visa Program?

Generally speaking, Canada’s Start-Up Visa Program is explicitly designed to tie the country’s immigration policies to its economic goals. The program does this, namely, by creating a straightforward path to permanent-resident status and citizenship — for foreign entrepreneurs.

Under the tenets of the Start-Up Visa Program, would-be immigrants apply with the explicit support of venture capitalists or angel investors in Canada who pledge to invest in their business ideas.



  • Obtain Permanent Residence before landing Canada
  • Fast processing time: 12 – 16 months
  • Up to 5 applicants claiming business ownership are able to apply
  • No need for financial proof
  • One of five applicants will be appointed to present on behalf of the whole group
  • If he/she fails, applications of other members will be cancelled.

Who Can Apply For A Start-Up Visa?

Interested entrepreneurs must have a qualifying business to apply for a Start-Up Visa in Canada. This means that no more than 5 applicants claiming business ownership may apply, each applicant must hold at least 10% of voting rights attached to outstanding shares of the corporation, and (jointly) applicants must hold at least 50% of total voting rights within the firm.

How Can Apply For A Start-Up Visa?

Meet Requirements

Get support from a designated organization

Apply Permanent Residence

Apply Work Permit

Land to Canada

Establish your company in Canada

Step 1: Meeting The Start-Up Visa Requirements

  • Hold from 10% to 100% of voting rights attached to outstanding shares of the corporation and provide active and ongoing management of this business
  • Demonstrate sufficient fluency in either English or French to meet or exceed Canadian Language Benchmark 5 (for listening 5.0, reading 4.0, writing 5.0, and speaking 5.0)
  • Be subject to a criminal record check and must provide relevant, non-expired Police Certificates to facilitate this process.
  • Submit medical exam results from a panel physician (not your personal/family doctor) to ensure you are medically admissible.
  • Demonstrate proof of sufficient settlement funds

Must get a letter of support from a designated organization

Step 2:  Getting Support From A Designated Organization

Identify a designated organization

Designated organizations are business groups that are approved to invest in or support possible start-ups through the Start-up Visa Program.

  • Venture capital funds: You must get at least one of these groups to agree to invest a minimum of $200,000
  • Angel investor groups: You must get one or more investors connected to these groups to agree to invest a minimum of $75,000
  • Business incubators: You must be accepted into one of the programs in these group

Our Responsibilities:

  • Developing business plans that meet both Canadian immigration and lender requirements.
  • Establish the requisite corporate structure through our strategic corporate law partners to start business operations in Canada.
  • Apply for work permits and file permanent residency applications through our strategic immigration law partners.
  • Assist in establishing banking relationships, finding shared or dedicated office space and temporary accommodation and other logistic services required to settle in Canada.
  • Facilitate networking with potential Canadian investors.

Step 3: Applying Permanent Residence and Temporary Work Permit

Permanent Residence Application:

  • Application fee for applicant: CAD $1,540 
  • Application fee for spouse or business partner: CAD $1,040
  • Application fee for children: CAD $150/child
  • Processing time: 12-16 months

Temporary Work Permit Application:

Foreign nationals who have received a Commitment Certificate and Letter of Support issued by a designated entity may be considered for a short-term work permit. You can apply for a short-term work permit under the International Mobility Program before submitting an application for permanent residence under the Start-Up Visa (SUV) Program.

Step 4: Landing To Canada

When you arrive, you must have:

  • A valid passport and/or travel documents
  • A valid permanent resident visa and your Confirmation of Permanent Residence (COPR)
  • Proof that you have enough money to support yourself and your family after you arrive in Canada

The officer will ask you a few questions to make sure you still meet the eligibility requirements to immigrate to Canada. These questions will be similar to the ones you answered when you applied.

Step 5: Establishing Your Business In Canada

  • Establish long term business vision and goals
  • Operate and manage your business as promised

Get Experienced Advice Before You Apply For Canada’s Start-Up Visa Program

Second Passport Incubator team can help you bring your business ideas to Canada together with your family and business partners. You can focus on your business and we focus on your permanent residence in Canada. Email us or book a consultation to work with an immigration lawyer today!