What is Start-up Visa Program?

The Start-up Visa Program helps immigrant entrepreneurs to set up a business in Canada while being able to apply for permanent residency. The add-on benefit to getting a Start-up Visa is that once you acquire a temporary work permit, you can launch your business in Canada and meanwhile apply for a PR.

The Canadian economy has statistically sustained economic growth and the Start-up visa program is one amongst many immigration initiatives that is designed for aspiring entrepreneurs to grow as a Canadian workforce.

The Start-up Visa was launched as a pilot program in 2013 and was made a permanent program in 2017. Since then, it has made residing and running a business in Canada possible for hundreds of immigrant entrepreneurs.

There are two broad categories of Start-up Visas, one for Canadian entrepreneurs and the other for foreign investors. In order to be eligible for an immigrant investor, he/she should have an already running business and a secured commitment from a designated investment incubator or organization.

In order to be eligible for the start-up visa, the foreign entrepreneur must qualify for four major requirements, as discussed below.

What are the qualifying factors for a Start-up Visa program?

1. Have a qualifying business

In order to be eligible for the start-up visa, the applicant must have an already existing business in which the applicant must hold a total of at least 10% voting rights attached to all shares of the business corporation.

The applicant entrepreneur and the designated organization he is committed to must hold more than 50% of the voting rights of the business. Also, up to 5 partners can apply together as owners.

Furthermore, the applicant must note that in order to procure a PR via start-up visa, the business must be incorporated in Canada with its essential management activities taking place in Canada by the foreign investor.

2. Secure approval from a Canadian Designated Entity

One of the most important steps before applying for a Start-up visa is to secure a commitment from a designated organization that shall help your business development in Canada.

A designated organization’s commitment is considered only through a Letter of Support which must be included as part of your application. The Letters of Support that you receive are valid for 6 months from the date of issue.

There are three categories of designated organizations:

Designated Angel Investor Group: A designated angel investor group has to invest a sum of at least $75,000 into the applicant’s business. The immigrant applicant can also qualify with more than one investment from the following angel investor groups that can total up to $75,000.

  • Canadian International Angel Investors
  • Ekagrata Inc.
  • Golden Triangle Angel Network
  • Keiretsu Forum Canada
  • Oak Mason Investments Inc.
  • VANTEC Angel Network Inc.
  • York Angel Investors Inc.

Designated Venture Capital Funds: A designated venture capital fund must confirm an investment of at least $200,000 into the applicant’s business. Here too, the applicant can qualify with more than one commitment from designated venture capital funds totaling up to $200,000.

  • 7 Gate Ventures
  • Alt Ventures
  • Amplitude Ventures Inc.
  • York Entrepreneurship Development Institute (YEDI) VC Fund
  • Apex Innovative Investments Ventures
  • Arete Pacific Tech Ventures (VCC) Corp
  • BCF Ventures
  • BDC Venture Capital
  • Extreme Venture Partners LLP
  • Golden Venture Partners Fund, LP
  • INP Capital
  • iNovia Capital Inc.
  • Intrinsic Venture Capital
  • Lumira Ventures
  • Invest Nova Scotia
  • PRIVEQ Capital Funds
  • Real Ventures
  • Red Leaf Capital Corp
  • Relay Ventures
  • Tangentia Ventures
  • Top Renergy Inc.
  • Vanedge Capital Limited Partnership
  • Version One Ventures
  • WhiteHaven Venture
  • Westcap Management Ltd.
  • Yaletown Venture Partners Inc.

Designated Business Incubators: A designated business incubator must accept the candidates into its business incubator program. The applicant can refer to the list below for their business venture.

  • Alacrity Foundation
  • Alberta Agriculture and Forestry
  • Alberta IoT Association
  • Altitude Accelerator
  • Bhive
  • Biomedical Commercialization Canada Inc. (operating as Manitoba Technology Accelerator)
  • Brilliant Catalyst
  • Creative Destruction Lab
  • DMZ Ventures
  • Empowered Startups Ltd.
  • Extreme Innovations
  • Foresight Cleantech Accelerator Centre
  • Genesis Centre
  • Highline BETA Inc.
  • Invest Nova Scotia
  • Innovate Calgary
  • Innovation Cluster - Peterborough and the Kawarthas
  • Innovation Factory
  • Interactive Niagara Media Cluster o/a Innovate Niagara
  • Intrinsic Innovations
  • Invest Ottawa
  • ISM Arts & Culture Ltd
  • Knowledge Park o/a Planet Hatch
  • Global Startups Accelerator
  • Launch Academy - Vancouver
  • LaunchPad PEI Inc.
  • Millworks Centre for Entrepreneurship
  • NEXT Canada
  • Niagara Business & Innovation Fund
  • North Forge East Ltd.
  • North Forge Technology Exchange
  • Pacific Technology Ventures
  • Platform Calgary
  • Pycap
  • Real Investment Fund III L.P. o/a FounderFuel
  • Red Leaf Capital Corp
  • Roseview Global Incubator
  • Spark Commercialization and Innovation Centre
  • Spring Activator
  • The DMZ at Ryerson University
  • Think8 Global Institute
  • TiE Toronto
  • Toronto Business Development Centre (TBDC)
  • Treefrog
  • TSRV Canada Inc. (operating as Techstars Canada)
  • University of Toronto Entrepreneurship Hatchery
  • ventureLAB Innovation Centre
  • Waterloo Accelerator Centre
  • York Entrepreneurship Development Institute
  • YSpace (York University)
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3. Qualify your Language Proficiency (in English or French)

Every immigrant applicant must have proficiency in one of Canada’s official languages, English or French. To be eligible for the Startup visa program each candidate must take a language proficiency test from an approved institution:

For English:


For French:

  • TEF
  • TCF

The qualifying test result must be of a CLB (Canadian Language Benchmark) Level 5 or higher. The test result must not be older than 2 years at the time of application.

4. Meet IRCC’s proof of funds requirement

Foreign immigrant applicants must show that they have enough monetary funds to settle in Canada for themselves and their sponsored families.

Number offamily members Funds required(Canadian dollars)
1 $13,757
2 $17,127
3 $21,055
4 $25,564
5 $28,994
6 $32,700
7 $36,407
For each additional family member $3,706

A step-by-step guide to applying for a Start-up Visa Program:

If a foreign entrepreneur meets all the qualifying eligibility mentioned above, they must prepare and submit an application using form IMM 5759 on the IRCC website.

All the components of the application form must be compiled together and sent by mail or courier directly to IRCC’s Centralized Intake Office in Sydney, Nova Scotia.

Step 1: Complete your application form:

  • Fill out the Generic Application Form of Canada.
  • Go to the option “validate” on the form, and make sure that you filled all the required fields.
  • Print the completed application form, and make sure you include the barcode page.
  • Put your signature and date on the form.

Step 2: Check all the documents list

  • Gather all requested documents.
  • Place all necessary documents in a single sealed envelope.
  • Print out the document checklist and date it along with your signature.
  • Include the checklist of all the documents as the cover page of your application.

Step 3: Pay your application fees

  • Application fees include your processing fees along with anyone else’s too listed on your form.
  • Another fee includes the right of PR fee.
  • Any third-party fees including that medical exams, police certificates, and language testing.
  • The biometrics fees.

Step 4: Submit your application

  • Verify everything before submitting your application form.
  • Ensure that you have put your signature and the right date on all forms.
  • Pay all the necessary processing fees and include receipts in your application.
  • Include all supporting documents to complete the process.
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What are the application fee for the Start-up visa?

The application fee for the Start-up Visa Program is $CAN 2,140, which includes a processing fee ($CAN 1,625) and a right of permanent residence fee ($CAN 515).

Including your spouse or partner will cost you another $CAN 1,365, which includes a processing fee ($CAN 850) and a right of permanent residence fee ($CAN 515). The fee to include a dependent child in your Start-up Visa application is $CAN 230 (per child).

What is the processing times for the Start-up visa?

Processing of applications generally takes 12-16 months. However, as mentioned above, the applicant can apply for a temporary work permit enabling them to start their business in Canada before the approval of their permanent residence application.

Once your application is approved, the principal applicant and the sponsored family members will receive Canadian permanent resident status.

How Nationwide Visas Can Help You?

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We at Nationwide Visas have assisted thousands of individuals to successfully Immigrate To Canada with their families through the Express Entry Program. Our qualified and experienced Immigration Experts are equipped with the proficiency to accurately assess your case and advise the most suitable course of action for best serving your needs.

Nationwide Visas has accumulated a treasure of goodwill and exhaustive experience over the last 16+ years in this dynamic immigration industry and has constantly facilitated a wide range of aspiring immigrants to achieve their overseas goals.

We are among the top-most brands in the Immigration sector being a highly reliable immigration firm with an outstanding track record of several thousand triumphant PR Visa applications. The following major factors make us the Best Immigration Consultant for a Canada PR Visa:

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