Start-Up Visa Program: How to Apply For Canada’s Start-Up Visa?

Often referred to “Entrepreneur visa”, the Canadian Start-Up Visa program allows foreign entrepreneurs to start their business in Canada and become permanent residents

30 Sep 2021, 5:05 pm


min read

Start-Up Visa Program

Canada has been voted as the 3rd-most startup-friendly country in the world by CEOWorld Magazine. The ease of doing business, availability of resources, a growing economy, and liveability make Canada among the best destinations to settle and work. 

And most likely many entrepreneurs around the world are wondering how to get Canadian residency by investment. And the Start-Up Visa would be the right answer for them. You can also bring your family and contribute to the growth of Canada in the international sphere. 

What Is Canada Start-Up Visa?

The Start-Up Visa program started in 2013 and is still going strong, with multiple applications being filed each year. The Canadian government made the program permanent in 2018 and opened a sure-shot way for entrepreneurs to immigrate to Canada. 

The Start-Up Visa lets foreign entrepreneurs build a business in Canada and get permanent residency. It’s a far easier and assured way to get PR if you got the business skills and meet some other Start-Up Visa requirements. 

You can also settle anywhere in Canada (except Quebec) and get a work permit while you wait for permanent residency.

How to Apply For Canada’s Start-Up Visa?

There are few important requirements entrepreneurial applicants must meet in order to apply for a start-up visa:

Step 1: Have a Qualifying Business

There are few main requirements to qualify for Start-Up Visa:

  • You need to have a business where you hold 10% or more voting rights for your shares. A total of 5 people can apply as partners of the business, each with 10% voting rights. 
  • the applicants and the organizations must have over 50% of voting rights. 
  • After your application is accepted, you have to ensure that your business is incorporated in Canada, and The majority of the operations should also take place in Canada. 

In short, you need a business that constantly supports the growth of Canada.

Step 2: Hiring an RCIC (Optional)

The immigration process can be challenging. Hiring an RCIC is highly recommended as they will walk you through your journey.

They will answer your questions, advise you, ensure your documents are completed correctly and submitted on time.

The immigration process is a costly one and a simple mistake can result in a significant setback, both financially and in the approval of your application.

RCICs are dedicated professionals who specialize in Canadian immigration, you cannot go wrong with seeking their services.

3: Have a Letter of Support From a Designated Organization

You need to be supported by a designated Canadian investment agency or incubator to qualify for the Entrepreneur Visa.

You can approach one or more designated institutions to gain support. If you are able to convince them, you will get a Letter of Support. You need to submit this Letter of Support with your application to be eligible for the Start-Up Visa program. 

You Can Approach Three Types of Agencies: 

  • Venture capital funds
  • Angel investor groups
  • Business incubators

remember that angel investors and venture capital fund agencies will need to commit to a minimum investment. For a complete list of designated agencies, visit the Canadian IRCC website.

Things to Consider

  • Each agency or organization has different guidelines and rules for approving start-ups
  • You need to get in touch with an agency to find out how to obtain their support
  • Entrepreneurs will have to convince the agencies about the viability of their business
  • You will need to submit business plans and other documents

remember that angel investors and venture capital fund agencies will need to commit to a minimum investment. For a complete list of designated agencies, visit the Canadian IRCC website.

Required Investment

The minimum investments for Start-Up Visa are as follows:

  • Angel investors: at least CAD 75,000
  • Venture capital funds: at least CAD 200,000
  • Business incubators: No investment required

Note: In the case of business incubators, you need to be incorporated into the incubator group.

Step 4: Take a Language Test

Foreign entrepreneurs will need to prove their skills in either French or English.

You need to take designated language tests and score at least 5 in Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) , Which consists of several factors – Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking.

The approved tests are:

  • CELPIP: Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program (English)
  • IELTS: International English Language Testing System (English)
  • TEF Canada: Test d’évaluation de Français (French)
  • TCF Canada: Test de Connaissance du Français (French) 

Step 5: Submit Proof of Funds

You will need to submit proof of funds to show you have enough money to support yourself and your family in Canada

. Applicants will need to show extra funds for each family member they bring along. Here’s what you will need to have in your bank account:

Note: You should also have enough money to find accommodation and live in Canada. 

Number of ApplicantsFunds
Single applicant (one family member)$12,960
2 members$16,135
3 members$19,836
4 members$24,083
5 members$27,315
6 members$30,806
7 members$34,299
Each additional member$3,492

Step 6: Download and Submit Your Forms

You will need to fill out several forms and submit them in hard copy to IRCC’s Centralized Intake Office in Sydney. Check the address mentioned in the form to know where to send your application. 

Download the forms from the IRCC application package page

Additional Documents

You will also have to provide the following document for each applicant and family member:

  • Medical exam results
  • Language test results
  • Police certificates

Step 7: Pay the Fees

You will need to pay the following fees along with your application:

  • Application fee -$1,050
  • Right of Permanent Residence Fee (RPRF) – $490
  • Application fee for spouse – $550 + $490 (as RPRF)
  • Per dependent child – $150
  • Biometrics fee 
  • Third-party fees for medical exams and police certificates

Entrepreneurs can pay the fees online to avoid any hassles.


  • The IRCC will send you a letter with details on how to give your biometrics once your application is accepted. You will need to go in person and submit your biometrics within 30-days of the date on the letter. 
  • The IRCC will only start processing applications when it receives all forms, documents, fees, and supporting evidence. 
  • For a business with partners, the IRCC needs to get all applications of the partners to start their processing. 

Step 8: Congratulations, Canada Welcomes You!

Now that you’ve taken all the steps towards your Canadian Start-up Visa, you just need to wait for the government’s official approval.

Now it’s time to plan your arrival and move your Business to Canada.

Good luck!

Canada Start-up Incubator

One of the more exciting ways of kick starting the Startup Visa process is by getting into a business incubator.

A business incubator is essentially an organization that helps a startup get on its feet as quickly and efficiently as possible. They provide a range of services such as management training, mentorship and seed funding.

When an applicant normally applies for a Startup Visa, they need to show that their business will be viable and profitable in the long term. They also need to have financial backing either through an angel investor group (minimum investment of $75,000) or through a venture capital fund (minimum investment of $200,000).

Applicants who are successfully accepted into a Canada Startup visa incubator do not need to show investment and funds. A simple confirmation from the incubator stating the applicant has been accepted into their program is enough to be approved!

Application Process

Interested applicants can only submit a proposal to one of Canada’s 30 designated business incubators.

So do your research on which incubator is best suited for your skills and project and submit your application accordingly. Keep in mind there are different requirements for each program.

If accepted, your permanent residency is almost guaranteed. The processing time for the visa will take anywhere from 12 to 16 months.

Applicants who are currently residing in Canada while waiting for their application to be processed may be eligible for a temporary work permit.

Assistance From an RCIC

Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultants (RCIC) can offer you expert guidance and help you apply for Start-Up Visa. The consultant will help you complete your application and submit an error-free and accurate form. You can also count on their knowledge of rules and laws to stay compliant with all guidelines applicable for a Start-Up Visa. 

With a help of a professional, getting Canadian residency by investment could be a straightforward simple process.

The RCIC agents also expedite the process and coordinate with immigration officers to get your application approved on time. You can take the assistance of an RCIC agent and look forward to setting up your business on Canadian shores.

Commonly Asked Questions About Canada Start-Up Visa

Here are the answers to some of the questions you might have. Read on to ensure you don’t make the same mistakes as others and know something that can help you make the whole process of Visa obtaining simple.

Can I Bring My Family Under Start-Up Visa?
You can bring your spouse, children, and other family members and become permanent residents. 
What is The Processing Time Of The Start-Up Visa?
The IRCC generally takes 12 to 16 months to process Start-Up Visa applications. In the meantime, you can get a temporary work permit to come to Canada and conduct the groundwork for establishing your business. 

When IRCC approves your application, you will get your entry visa and Confirmation of Permanent Residence (COPR).

How Much Time Can It Take To Arrange My Documents?
Passport and travel documents: New applications may take one month to be processed. 

Language test results: You will need to wait for 2 to 3 months for your language test result that is valid for 2 years.

Letter of Support: There’s no definite timeline to get a Letter of Support. You will get it once the investors are convinced about your business. 

Medical reports: Medical reports can take a few weeks to arrive. 

Police certificates: It may take a few weeks to get your police certificates.

How Can I Get My Documents Done Faster?
You can expedite your document process by:

arranging the necessary documents in advance; applying for a Tatkal Passport if you are short on time; going to a Passport Seva Kendra for police checks; taking language tests in advance; paying all fees on time.

How To Avoid Delays In Start-Up Visa Processing?
You can avoid delays by: completing the form with accurate information, date, and sign; notifying the visa office about any change in address, contact number, or email; submitting all documents following the document checklist.
Where Do I Need To Get My Biometrics Done?
The IRCC will send you a letter notifying you about details on how to get your biometrics done. You will get this letter after your application is accepted. Be sure to get your biometrics done within 30-days of the date on the letter.
Can I Immigrate To Quebec Under Start-Up Visa?
You cannot immigrate to Quebec under Canada’s Start-Up Visa program. Quebec has its own start-up and investor visa programs that you may check out.
Top Stats You Cannot Ignore
Canada has accepted over 135 applications from foreign entrepreneurs who applied for Start-Up Visa. The entrepreneurs have given rise to 107 start-ups that are creating jobs and contributing to Canada’s economy. 

You can also apply for Start-Up Visa and pave the way towards PR.

Do I Need To Sit For An Interview For Start-Up Visa?
An immigration officer will take a short interview after your application is accepted. The officer will ask you a few questions about your business and check if all your documents are valid. He or she will also confirm your Canadian mailing address to send the PR card.
Get started on the Road to Permanent Residence
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Arriving in Canada as an international student over a decade ago, Rebecca fell in love with the country and the immigration process. she channeled her years of writing and editing experience into her love for immigration.

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