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Canada - Start-Up Visa Program



The Start-Up Visa program is unique to Canada and has been implemented to encourage innovative foreign national entrepreneurs who will create new jobs and drive economic growth.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has designated a number of venture capital funds, angel investor groups, and business incubator organizations to participate in the Start-Up Visa program.
Applicants do not need to secure any investment from a business incubator. However, applicants must be accepted into a Canadian business incubator program.

Applicants are not required to invest any of their own money. If their Canadian start-up is unsuccessful, individuals granted permanent residence through this program will retain their permanent resident status.
Up to five foreign nationals may apply for permanent residence as part of the same business venture under the Start-Up Visa Program.

This program is not available for those who are interested in establishing a business in Quebec. 


Eligibility Requirements

In order to be eligible, applicants for a Start-Up Visa must meet the following requirements:



Applicants must have received a letter of support from a designated investor organization. In order to receive a letter of support, the applicant must convince a designated venture capital fund or angel investor group to invest in his or her proposed business.  The investor organization will also have to provide a Commitment Certificate directly to Citizenship and Immigration Canada, summarizing the details of the commitment made with the applicant.


Applicants must secure an investment of at least $200,000 CAD if the investment is from a designated venture capital fund or a secure a minimum of $75,000 CAD if the investment is from a designated angel investor group. Applicants are not required to invest any of their own money for this Canadian immigration program.



While up to five people can be the owners of a single business when you apply for a Canadian entrepreneur visa:
       - each applicant must hold at least 10 percent of the voting rights in the business, and 
       - the designated organization and the applicants must jointly hold more than 50 percent of the voting rights in the business.


The applicant must be able to communicate and work in English and/or French. Applicants must provide language test results from an approved agency, and must meet the minimum level of CLB 5 in either English or French.


The applicant must have completed at least one year of study at a post-secondary institution. The applicant must also be able to provide proof that he or she was in good standing for at least one year while attending a post-secondary institution. Applicants can provide transcripts, a letter of good standing, certificates, diplomas or degrees as proof for this requirement.



The applicant must have sufficient settlements funds to support themselves and their family once they immigrate to Canada. The amount of money required depends on the number of family members that will be accompanying the applicant.


As with all Canadian immigration programs, the applicant and accompanying family members must undergo a security clearance and a medical examination to determine whether they pose a security threat or have a health condition that would place an excessive burden on the Canadian health care system.


Application Process

If you meet all of these requirements, you’re ready to apply. Here are some details of the application process.




Program brochure for Start-Up Visa Program
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