Federal Start-up Visa

About the process

Federal Start-up Visa: 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
  • can compete on a global scale

Do you have an innovative business idea? If you can get support for your idea from one of the designated organizations, you may be able to immigrate to Canada.

Who can apply?

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

  • have a qualifying business
  • get a letter of support from a designated organization
  • meet the language requirements
  • bring enough money to settle

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
    • an essential part of the operations of the business happens in Canada
    • 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
  • get a letter of support from the designated organization

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 IRCC won’t process it.

You must meet the minimum level of the Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) 5 in either English or French in all of these four areas:

  • speaking
  • reading
  • listening
  • writing

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 update these amounts every year.