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What is the Start-Up Visa Program?
The Start-Up Visa Program is intended for innovative entrepreneurs from abroad who want to start a new business in Canada. The business has to be innovative, create jobs for Canadians, and be able to compete on a global scale.
To be able to immigrate to Canada through the Start-Up Visa Program, you need to get support for your idea from one of the designated organisations.
While your Start-Up Visa Program is being processed, you might be able to obtain a temporary work permit allowing you to travel to Canada with the purpose of setting up your start up business there.
If your application for the Start-Up Visa Program is successful, you will receive a permanent residence permit in Canada and you will be able to take your dependents with you. Once you are in Canada, you will have the right to live and work there. And, after three years of permanent residence, you will be able to apply for citizenship.
Who is Eligible for the Start-Up Visa Program?
If you want to come to Canada through the Start-Up Visa Program, you have to meet the following criteria:
- Have a qualifying business – this means you have to have created a business where you hold at least 10% of the voting rights attached to all shares of the business. And, you and the designated organisation need to jointly hold more than 50% of the total voting rights in the company. In addition to that, your business has to be incorporated in Canada and a significant part of its operations have to happen there.
- Have the support of a designated organisation – you need to obtain a letter of support from a designated organisation which is a business group allowed to invest in start-ups. To get this support, you need to reach out to the organisation and present your business plan. The pitching process may vary from organisation to organisation.
- Have a good command of English, French, or both – as part of the application process, you need to take a language test from an approved agency and include the results in your documents file.
- Have sufficient resources to live in Canada – you need to demonstrate that you have money that will allow you to support yourself before you start making profits from running your business. The exact amount of funds you have to have depends on whether you are taking your family members with you and, if so, how many of them.
In your application for the Start-Up Visa Program, you need to include documents that prove that you meet these requirements.
What is the Application Process for the Start-Up Visa Program?
Depending on which way you prefer, you can apply for the Start-Up Visa Program online or via email. As part of the application, you need to provide evidence confirming that you meet the eligibility requirements, as well as additional documentation such as medical exams and police certificates. The exact documents you have to submit vary depending on your individual circumstances. Nevertheless, documents all startup founders are required to provide are:
- Valid passport
- Passport sized photographs
- Birth certificate or marriage certificate if you plan to bring your dependents to Canada
- Proof of language proficiency
- Letter from the designated organisation that confirms their support and planned investment in your business
- Proof of having enough funds (in the form of, for example, banks statements)
- Receipt confirming that you paid the relevant fees.
Once you have the portfolio of evidence ready, you can submit your application for processing. Typically, applicants for the Start-Up Visa Program need to wait between 12 to 16 months to hear a decision. If your application is approved, you and any dependents you are taking with you will immediately get a permanent residence permit in Canada. While your application is being processed, you might be eligible for a temporary work permit granting you the right to travel to Canada and start setting up your business.
What Are the Fees?
If you want to apply for the Start-Up Visa Program, you will have to pay the following fees:
- $1,625 CDN for the application fee
- $515 CDN for the Right of Permanent Residence fee (RPRF).
If you are bringing dependents to Canada, you will have to pay additional fees that are as follows:
- $850 CDN for your spouse or common-law partner’s application fee
- $515 CDN for your spouse or common-law partner’s Right of Permanent Residence Fee (RPRF)
- $230 CDN for each dependent child’s application fee.
On top of these fees, you might also have to pay the biometrics fee of $85 CDN for an individual applicant and $170 CDN for a family applying together.
And, if applicable, you will have to cover the costs of taking a language test and obtaining a police certificate.
If you are not granted your entrepreneur visa or you withdraw your application, you will receive a refund for the RPRF payments.
What Are the Financial Requirements?
The amount of funds you need to have to be eligible for the Start-Up Visa Program depends on how many family members (if any) you want to bring to Canada with you. Based on that, the financial requirements are:
- $13,310 CDN for a single applicant
- $16,570 CDN for a family of two
- $20,371 CDN for a family of three
- $24,733 CDN for a family of four
- $28,052 CDN for a family of five
- $31,638 CDN for a family of six
- $35,224 CDN for a family of seven.
After that, for each additional family member, startup entrepreneurs need to have $3,586 extra.
Get Help With your Start-Up Visa Program Application
The process of starting a new start up business in Canada can be complex as there are many requirements you need to meet and documents you have to provide.
Luckily, we are here to help. We have a team of highly qualified immigration lawyers who can guide you through each step of the application process, making it as straightforward as possible.
They can answer all your questions and offer professional support with pitching your business idea to designated organisations. Thanks to their assistance you can be sure that your application has been completed to the highest standards.
Call us on +1 844 290 6312 to find out more about how we can help.
Last modified on June 17th, 2023 at 8:15 am
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To be able to come to Canada through the Start-Up Visa Program, you need to get support from one of the designated organisations, which are business groups that have been approved by the Canadian government to invest in or offer support to new start-ups set up under the Start-up Visa Program. You can find the list of designated organisations on the website of the government of Canada.
To be eligible for the Start-Up Program, you need to provide evidence of your English or French ability at Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) Level 5 or higher.
Applications for this entrepreneur visa are typically processed within 12 to 16 months. When waiting for the decision, you might be able to get a temporary work permit allowing you to travel to Canada and set up your business.