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START UP VISA

Canada Entrepreneur Start up Visa Program

Overview

The Start-up Visa Program was introduced by Ministerial instruction as a five- year pilot project in April 2013. The Canadian Government might opt to establish the Start-up program permanently before the end of the five-year period if it proves successful. Per year up to 2750 applications will be accepted under this pilot program.

The Start-up Visa program grants Canadian permanent residence to qualified immigrants entrepreneurs and targets entrepreneurs who are:
  • are innovative;
  • can create jobs for Canadians; and
  • can compete on a global scale

Successful applicants link with Canadian private sector organizations (angel investor groups, venture capital funds or business incubators), where they can receive funding, guidance and expertise in opening and operating their enterprise in Canada.

Note: Designated entities that may support an application under the Start-Up Visa program are:

Designated venture capital funds; Designated angel investor groups; Designated business incubators

BDC Venture Capital Canadian International Angel Investors Alacrity Foundation
Celtic House Venture Partners Ekagrata Inc. Alberta Agriculture and Forestry:
Agrivalue Processing Business Incubator; and
Food Processing Development Centre
Extreme Venture Partners LLP Golden Triangle Angel Network Biomedical Commercialization Canada Inc. (operating as Manitoba Technology Accelerator)
Golden Venture Partners Fund, LP Oak Mason Investments Inc. Calgary Technologies Inc.
Impression Ventures Southwestern Ontario Angel Network Communitech
Information Venture Partners Management Inc. Southwestern Ontario Angel Group Creative Destruction Lab
Innovation Platform Capital International LP TenX Angel Investors Inc. Empowered Startups Ltd.
iNovia Capital Inc. York angel Investors Inc. Extreme Innovations
Lumira Capital Extreme Innovations
Nova Scotia Innovation Corporation (o/a Innovacorp) Genesis Centre
OMERS Ventures Management Inc. Highline BETA Inc.
Pangaea Ventures Ltd. Innovacorp
PRIVEQ Capital Funds Interactive Niagara Media Cluster o/a Innovate Niagara
Real Ventures Invest Ottawa
Relay Ventures Knowledge Park o/a Planet Hatch
ScaleUp Venture Partners Inc. Launch Academy
Top Renergy Inc. LaunchPad PEI Inc.
Vanedge Capital Limited Partnership NEXT Canada
Version One Ventures Real Investment Fund III L.P. o/a FounderFuel
Westcap Management Ltd. Ryerson Futures Inc.
Yaletown Venture Partners 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
The required commitment from a designated entity must meet the following criteria:
  • A designated angel investor group must confirm that it is investing at least $75,000 CAD into the qualifying business, or two or more commitments from designated angel investor groups totaling $75,000 CAD; OR
  • A designated venture capital fund must confirm that it is investing at least $200,000 CAD into the qualifying business or two or more commitments from designated venture capital funds totaling $200,000 CAD; OR
  • A designated business incubator must confirm that it is accepting the applicant into its business incubator Program.

The four basic eligibility requirements:

1. Get a letter of support and commitment Certificate from a designated organization

Applicants must have received a letter of support from a designated investor organization for which applicants must convince a designated venture capital fund or angel investor group to invest their proposed business. The investor organization will also have to provide a Commitment Certificate directly to Citizenship and Immigration Canada, summarizing the details of the commitment made with the applicant.

2. Show that the business meets ownership requirements, that is :

(i) 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

(ii) 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; and
  • this business is incorporated in Canada
3. Language Requirement

The applicant must be able to communicate and work in English and/or French. They must provide language test results from an approved agency, and must meet the minimum level of Canadian LB 5 in either English or French in all of these four areas:

  • Speaking;
  • Reading;
  • Listening; and
  • Writing
4. Have sufficient funds to settle in Canada

The Government of Canada does not provide financial support to new start up visa immigrants. The applicant must have sufficient settlements funds to support themselves and their family once they immigrate to Canada. They cannot borrow this money from another person. The amount of money required depends on the number of family members that will be accompanying the applicant.

Note: These amounts are updated every year.

Number of family membersFunds required (In Canadian dollars)

1 CAD $ 12,669
2 CAD $ 15772
3 CAD $ 19,390
4 CAD $ 23,542
5 CAD $ 26,701
6 CAD $ 30,114
7 CAD $ 33,528
For each additional family member CAD $ 3,414

Peer Review Process:

The Canadian government has designated panels to review the commitments between investor organizations and applicants in order to help prevent fraud and make sure that deals made between the investment organizations and foreign national entrepreneurs are legitimate. An immigration officer may ask for a commitment to be independently assessed by a peer review panel. These panels have been established by an industry association that represents the type of investment organization making the commitment. For example, in the case of an angel investor group, the National Angel Capital Organization would be responsible for establishing the peer review panel.

What if the business fails?

Participants in this program will be able to keep their Canadian permanent residence even if their business fails.


Application Process

Step 01 : Get the application package
  • Fill out the Generic Application Form for Canada [IMM 0008] (PDF, 553.83KB);
  • Complete the document checklist

NOTE: – An instruction guideand a document checklist (PDF, 372KB) are included in the application package.

– All answers must be complete and true. If Canadian Authority finds out any false information or missing important details:

  • application could be refused;
  • could be found inadmissible; and
  • could be barred for five years from applying to come to Canada for any reason
Step 02 : Pay the application fees

In most cases, fees will include:

  • processing fees of the applicants and anyone they include on their application;
  • the Right of Permanent Residence Fee (RPRF);
  • biometrics: Upon submission of application, a biometrics fee must be paid. Otherwise applicant will experience delays. The biometrics fee covers the cost of collecting fingerprints and a digital photo.
  • third-party fees

Depending on applicants’ situation, they may need to pay third parties for:

  • medical exams;
  • police certificates; and
  • language testing

The instruction guide can help applicants understand which fees are applicable to them.

Note: Fees have to be paid online

Step 03: Submit your application

The complete application should be mailed to the address in the instruction guide.

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