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Entrepreneurial Immigration: Start-Up Visa

Q. I have a business idea and would like to open the business in Canada, is that possible? Submitted by Stuart L.

Do you have an innovative business idea?

Canada’s Start-up Visa Program targets immigrant entrepreneurs with the skills and potential to build businesses in Canada that are innovative, can create jobs for Canadians, and can compete on a global scale.

If you can get support for your idea from a designated organization, you may be able to immigrate to Canada!

Who is eligible to apply?

To be eligible for the Start-up Visa Program, you must:

· have a qualifying business

A qualifying business means you created a business that meets the following conditions.

At the time you get a commitment from a designated organization, each applicant holds 10% or more of the voting rights attached to all shares of the corporation outstanding at that time (up to 5 people can apply as owners) AND applicants and the designated organization jointly hold more than 50% of the total voting rights attached to all shares of the corporation outstanding at that time.

At the time you receive your permanent residence, you provide active and ongoing management of this business from within Canada, you are an essential part of the operations of the business and this business is incorporated in Canada.

· get a letter of support from a designated organization

You must get a letter of support from a designated organization (a business group

that has been approved to invest in or support possible start-ups).

You’ll need to contact the designated organization to find out how to get its

support, convince the organization that you have a business idea that is worth

supporting and get a letter of support from the designated organization.

The process to pitch your idea is different for each organization. Each organization has its own requirements. For example, you may be asked to present your business concept in person or submit a detailed business plan.

If you reach an agreement with a designated organization, it will send you a letter of support. You need to include this letter when you submit your application. This is the proof you need to show that the venture capital fund, angel investor group, or business incubator is supporting your business idea.

The organization will also send a commitment certificate directly to the government. They’ll use both your letter of support and the organization's commitment certificate to assess your application. Please note, that they may ask you for more business information to take a final decision on your application.

If you don’t include the letter of support or meet any of the other requirements, they will refuse your application.

· meet the language requirements

The ability to communicate and work in English, French or both languages will

help your business succeed in Canada. You must take a language test from an

approved agency and include the results with your application, or it won’t be

processed. You must meet the minimum level of the Canadian Language

Benchmark (CLB) in either English or French in all of these four areas:

Speaking, Reading, Listening, and Writing

If you don’t meet the minimum language skills, your application will be refused.

· bring enough money to settle

The Government of Canada does not give financial support to new start-up visa

immigrants. When you apply, you’ll need to give proof that you have the money to

support yourself and your dependents after you arrive in Canada. You can’t borrow this

money from another person.

The amount you need depends on the size of your family. The Government of Canada

updates these amounts every year. Bring as much money as possible to make moving

to Canada and finding a home easier.

How to apply:

There is an available application package that needs to be completed as well as an accompanying document checklist. You must include all the forms, supporting documents, signatures, language test results, and proof of payment of the processing fees. If any are missing, your application will be incomplete. They will send the application back to you without processing it.

Fees begin at $2140.00. In most cases, your fees will include:

· processing fees for you and anyone you include on your application

· the Right of Permanent Residence Fee (RPRF)

· biometrics

In most cases, you must pay a biometrics fee when you submit your application. Otherwise, you may experience delays. The biometrics fee covers the cost of collecting fingerprints and a digital photo. Depending on your situation, you may need to pay third parties for medical exams, police certificates, and language testing


All your answers must be complete and true. If you give false information or leave out important details your application can be refused, you could be found inadmissible, and you could be barred for five years from applying to come to Canada for any reason.

Please Note: If multiple people are applying for permanent residence (PR) as partners in a qualifying business, no applications will be processed until all have been received.

Each business partner must submit their own application. Do not submit all applications in one envelope. If a team member will no longer be submitting a permanent residence application, you must inform the government of Canada as soon as possible.

After you apply, there are several things you need to do:

· Get your fingerprints and photo taken

If you’re between 14 and 79 years old, you need to give your fingerprints and photo (biometrics) for every application for permanent residence you submit. Even if you gave your biometrics in the past and they’re still valid.

Get this done as soon as you get the letter telling you to give biometrics. You have 30 days to do this from the date on the letter.

· Medical Exams

You must have a medical exam before you come to Canada. Your family members must also have one, even if they aren’t coming with you. Your application will be refused if your health is a danger to Canada’s public health or safety or would cause too great a demand on health or social services in Canada.

· Police Certificates

If you have a criminal record, you may not be allowed to enter Canada. People who pose a risk to Canada’s security also aren’t allowed to come to Canada. To immigrate to Canada, you and any family members 18 years of age and older must provide police certificates, if asked to do so. You must get a police certificate from each country or territory where you have lived for 6 or months in a row since the age of 18. It is strongly recommended that you take steps to get your police certificates now to avoid future delays.

Processing Times

The total processing time is approximately 32 months.

*This includes the time needed for biometrics.

Your application will be delayed if:

· there are criminal or security problems or there is a need to do more background checks

· your family situation is not clear; reasons could include divorce or adoption that is not yet complete or child custody issues that have not been resolved or

· the visa office must contact other visa offices in Canada or abroad to verify the data you gave

If your application is approved, you’ll be asked to send your passport so they can issue your permanent resident visa. This visa includes your Confirmation of Permanent Residence (COPR) and your entry visa.

Your COPR will have information about who you are, as well as your photograph. Please check to make sure it’s correct. It should be the same as the information on your passport.

You must have your COPR and your visa with you when you arrive in Canada. Your COPR will NOT be extended, so please make sure to use it before it expires.

Already in Canada?

You’ll have to do a short interview with an immigration officer.

You have two options for your interview:

· make an appointment at one of the offices in Canada

· go to a Canadian “port of entry” (border crossing), and present proof that you have the funds to support yourself and your family, your Confirmation of Permanent Residence, and your permanent resident visa (if you have one).

Outside of Canada?

Use ArriveCAN to provide mandatory travel information required for entry into Canada.

Make sure you’re using the newest version of ArriveCAN. You must download the latest version and resubmit your information.

When you arrive, you must have:

· a valid passport and/or travel documents

· a valid permanent resident visa and your Confirmation of Permanent Residence

· proof that you have enough money to support yourself and your family after you arrive in Canada

You won’t be allowed into Canada:

· if you give false or incomplete information or

· if you don’t convince the officer that you meet the conditions to enter Canada

Immigration Station Canada will work with you and guide you through the best process to achieve your goals, wherever they lead!


About Us

Immigration Station Canada is a dedicated, professional Canadian Immigration firm practicing out of Northumberland County, just east of Toronto, Canada. We serve clients from Kingston, Belleville, Brighton, Cobourg, Oshawa, the GTA, Guelph, Milton, Stratford, and St. Catharines and around the world. Our Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant, Anne C. McCaughey (Annie) is an experienced immigration services provider and a fifth-generation Canadian who values the immigration process and the unique individuals who immigrate to Canada to become part of the fabric of this wonderful country. If you would like to submit a question to Ask Annie, use the contact form.

How Can We Help? We do work permits, study permits, visitor visas, Express Entry, spousal sponsorship, family class sponsorship, and Canadian citizenship with expertise in Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) applications and Global Talent Stream applications. Please contact us if you would like assistance with your immigration application or to book an appointment.

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