Startup Visa Canada
The Startup Visa for Immigration to Canada targets entrepreneurs to build and manage businesses in Canada. If your business idea is innovative, can create jobs in Canada and compete on a global scale then you may be eligible to immigrate to Canada under this program. If you want to reside in Quebec then, you are not eligible to apply under this program as Quebec has its own immigration programs.
You are eligible to apply if you have:
- Support of a designated organisation and
- Fulfil business ownership requirements and
- Meet minimum language ability and
- Have sufficient funds to support yourself and your family.
Support of a Designated Organization:
To be eligible you need to get support for your idea from one of the designated organisations. These designated organisations are business groups, which are approved to invest in start-ups. If one or more of these organisations chooses to support your Startup idea they will issue you a letter of support.
These designated organisations will fall under one of the following categories:
- Venture Capital Funds: One or more of these groups must agree to invest a minimum of $200,000 in your Startup or
- Angel Investor Groups: One or more of these groups must agree to invest a minimum of $75,000 in your Startup or
- Business Incubators: You must be accepted into one of these programs.
Even if one venture capital fund invests in your idea along with one or more angel investor groups the minimum investment requirement goes to $200,000. However, if you receive support from one or more angel groups but no venture capital fund then the minimum investment level stays at $75,000. You are not required to invest any of your own money.
Find here, how to get a Letter of Support from a Designated Organisation.
The complete list of these designated organisations is given here.
Business Ownership Requirements:
A qualifying business, at the time of getting a commitment from a designated Organization must fulfil certain ownership conditions. These conditions are as given below:
- Up to 5 people can apply as owners of a single Startup business.
- Each applicant must hold at least 10 percent of the voting rights in the business and
- Collectively all the applicants plus the supporting designated organisation must hold more than 50 percent of the voting rights.
And at the time of receiving permanent residence the business must meet the following conditions:
- The Business is Incorporated in Canada
- You are actively involved in the ongoing management of the business from within Canada,
- the essential operations of the business are carried out Within Canada and
You must take an approved language test to establish your language skills level. You must have a Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) level 5 in each of the abilities in either English or French. These abilities are Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking.
The approved test for English are IELTS – International English Language Testing System, and CELPIP – Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program. You must take the General test.
The approved test for French is TEF – Test D’evaluation de Francais.
The CLB level 5 equivalent for each of these test results is given below:
|IELTS||Listening||5.0 or above|
|Reading||4.0 or above|
|Writing||5.0 or above|
|Speaking||5.0 or above|
|CELPIP||Listening||3L or above|
|Reading||3L or above|
|Writing||3L or above|
|Speaking||3L or above|
|TEF||Listening||180 or more|
|Reading||150 or more|
|Writing||225 or more|
|Speaking||225 or more|
To know more about language tests click here.
Funds to Support:
You must bring in enough funds to support yourself and accompanying family members for at least one year. The minimum amount of money you will need to bring with you is given in the following table:
|Number of family members||Canadian Dollars|
|For each additional family member||$3,361|
If you qualify these conditions you will be eligible to apply for permanent residence under Startup Visa program. Even if unfortunately your business fails, you will still remain permanent resident of Canada, provided you maintain your other residency obligations.
Once you have the required eligibility to apply under the Startup program you need to collect certain documents and basic information to fill up the application forms.
Letter of support:
The designated organisation that supports your Startup business will give you a letter of support. This letter of support will be valid for 6 months.
Language test results:
Your language test results that prove your ability of CLB 5 or above in each of the 4 modules.
Police clearance certificates (PCC)/ police certificates for each address where you have lived for more than 6 months since the age of 18.
Proof of Funds:
Bank Certificate mentioning the account number, date of opening, current balance and average balance of last six months. Also details of all investments like fixed deposits mentioning the initial amount deposited, maturity date, maturity amount and current value. The amount total should be in local currency as well as Canadian dollars as per the effective conversion rate.
Two photographs for each family member. The photographs must be according to the specifications provided here.
Passport with over six months validity.
Marriage Certificate or Divorce/Annulment or death certificate of spouse if applicable.
Birth Certificates of the applicant and all the family members.
Translations of all documents that are not in English or French. The translator must also provide an affidavit mentioning the names of original documents that were translated.
All the photocopies must be attested by Notary or Oath Commissioner.
- Your complete work history in the last ten years or since the age of 18 years if your age is less than 28 years.
- Your travel history in the last ten years or since the age of 18.
- Details of your Spouse, Dependent Children and their dependent children even if they are not accompanying you.
- Where do you intend to live in Canada?
- Your complete current mailing address including Postal/Pin/Zip Code
- Your parent’s following details:
- Full name (First name and Family/Sur name)
- Date of Birth
- Town/City and Country of Birth
- Date of Death (if applicable)
- For each level of your education:
- Degree, Diploma or Certificate
- Start and completion of the course/program
- Name of the Institution
- Address of the institution
Filling your Form:
- Download the form and open in Adobe Acrobat reader
- You are applying under Economic Program
- Your category is Startup Business
- All you personal information like name, address etc. must match with your passport details.
- Do not leave any blank periods in your history. If you were neither studying nor working for any period, then mention what you were doing like preparing for an entrance exam, job interview or vacationing etc.
- All the information MUST be accurate and true.
- After completing the form you must validate it and generate a barcode page(s). You must then print all the pages.
You have to pay processing fee at the time of filling the application. You have a choice of paying your Right of Permanent Residence Fee along with this or at a later stage but before visa is granted. Paying it along with processing fee will save time and in case your application is rejected, you will get a refund of your Right of Permanent Residence Fee.
You have to pay the fees online through credit or debit card and print the receipt to attach with your file.
|Principal Applicant||Canadian $ 1050|
|Spouse||Canadian $ 550|
|Each dependent child||Canadian $ 150|
Right of Permanent Residence Fee:
|Principal Applicant||Canadian $ 490|
|Spouse||Canadian $ 490|
|Each dependent child||Canadian $ 0|
You need to mail your application along with proof of fees paid and all required documents to:
Via Normal Post:-
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada
Centralized Intake Office – Start up Business Class
P.O. Box 8700
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada
Centralized Intake Office – Start up Business Class
49 Dorchester Street
Once your application processing begins and is near approval you will receive instructions for your medical. You will need to contact one of the approved doctors convenient to you and schedule an appointment for you’re and all accompanying family members.
Once the medical results reach the visa-processing officer and they are found to be ok, you will be asked to send in your passport(s) for visa.
Now you should submit your passport(s) and start preparing for your move to Canada.
How to get a Letter of Support from a Designated Organization?
You will need to contact any of the designated organizations and convince them that your business idea is innovative and worth supporting.
Each organization has their own requirements to pitch your business. Contact the organization directly for their specific requirements.They may ask you to present your concept in person or to submit a detailed business plan. In either case you must be totally prepared to answer any queries and clarify any doubts.
Once you have convinced any of the designated organizations to support you, it will issue a letter of support to you. The organization will also send a certificate of commitment directly to the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, Canada.
Which are the designated organizations to issue a letter of support for Startup Visa?
These Organizations are business groups which supports startups by investing in them. The designated organizations are approved for Startup Visa Program of Canada.
These organizations are classified into 3 groups:
- Venture Capital Funds
- Angel Investor Groups
- Business Incubators
The organizations designated for each group are given below:
Venture Capital Funds
You must get a minimum investment of $200,000 from at least one of these groups:
- BDC Venture Capital
- Celtic House Venture Partners
- Extreme Venture Partners LLP
- Golden Venture Partners Fund, LP
- Impression Ventures
- Information Venture Partners Management Inc.
- Innovation Platform Capital International LP
- iNovia Capital Inc.
- Lumira Capital
- Nova Scotia Innovation Corporation (o/a Innovacorp)
- OMERS Ventures Management Inc.
- Pangaea Ventures Ltd.
- PRIVEQ Capital Funds
- Real Ventures
- Relay Ventures
- ScaleUp Venture Partners, Inc.
- Top Renergy Inc.
- Vanedge Capital Limited Partnership
- Version One Ventures
- Westcap Management Ltd.
- Yaletown Venture Partners Inc.
Angel Investor Groups
You must get one or more investors from these groups to invest a minimum of $75,000:
You must be accepted into one of these programs:
- Alacrity Foundation
- Alberta Agriculture and Forestry
- Biomedical Commercialization Canada Inc. (operating as Manitoba Technology Accelerator)
- Calgary Technologies Inc.
- Creative Destruction Lab
- Empowered Startups Ltd.
- Extreme Innovations
- Genesis Centre
- Highline BETA Inc.
- Interactive Niagara Media Cluster o/a Innovate Niagara
- Invest Ottawa
- Knowledge Park o/a Planet Hatch
- Launch Academy – Vancouver
- LaunchPad PEI Inc.
- NEXT Canada
- Real Investment Fund III L.P. o/a FounderFuel
- Ryerson Futures Inc.
- Spark Commercialization and Innovation Centre
- Spring Activator
- The DMZ at Ryerson University
- TSRV Canada Inc. (operating as Techstars Canada)
- Waterloo Accelerator Centre
- York Entrepreneurship Development Institute