Start-Up Visa Canada
What is the Start-up Visa?
The Canadian immigration program, Start-up Visa, launched in 2013, is tailored for ambitious individuals who are eager to relocate or establish innovative enterprises in Canada with a global expansion vision.
To qualify for the Start-up Visa program in Canada, your business idea or start-up must receive support from Designated Organizations. This support is confirmed through the issuance of a Letter of Support (LOS) or an investment commitment from one of the Designated Organizations in Canada.
What Designated Organizations exist?
The Canadian government has designated three types of organizations authorized to issue Letters of Support:

  • Venture Capital Funds
  • Business Angels
  • Business Incubators or Business Accelerators
It's essential to note that not all Canadian venture capital funds or business angels can issue letters of support. Only organizations officially designated by the Canadian government have this authority.
How to Choose Designated Organizations?
Venture Capital Funds
Business Angels
Venture capital funds typically seek investment opportunities starting at $200,000. They are primarily interested in established companies operating in the North American market with substantial growth potential.

The exact equity stake a venture capital fund acquires in your company depends on its valuation, determined through their evaluation process.
Business angels, individuals part of designated communities in Canada, are required to invest a minimum of $75,000 in a project. They prefer investing in projects with existing product pre-orders or market testing, ensuring product demand.

Similar to venture capital funds, the equity share a business angel receives for $75,000 depends on your company's valuation.
Business Incubators
Business incubators support projects at various stages, from large companies entering the Canadian market to early-stage ventures with innovative ideas.

Unlike venture capital funds or business angels, business incubators do not take ownership stakes in your company. Instead, they may offer educational programs and decide on issuing a letter of support based on your progress.
What is the process like?
The process unfolds in two distinct stages: the accreditation of your business project and the immigration process itself
First Stage: Project Accreditation
Result: Upon successful completion, you will obtain a letter of support from a designated organization, allowing you to progress further in your journey.
Second Stage: Immigration
Result: Following three years of residency in Canada, you become eligible to apply for Canadian citizenship.
Who is Eligible for the Start-up Visa Program?
Eligibility Criteria
Financial Requirements
Language Proficiency
Ownership Structure
To qualify for the Start-up Visa program, you must possess a thriving business venture or innovative business concept with the potential for global expansion beyond Canada. Furthermore, your enterprise should contribute to the local employment landscape in Canada.
Applicants must demonstrate adequate financial resources to execute their business plans, with minimum funds ranging from $12,960 to $34,299, depending on the size of the applicant's family.
Each applicant is required to demonstrate a minimum proficiency level in either English or French, equivalent to CLB 5, approximately corresponding to level B1.
You and any co-founders must collectively own more than 50% of the total shares (or voting rights) in the proposed company. Moreover, each founder should possess at least 10% ownership of the company's shares or rights related to the declared business idea.
Advantages of the Start-Up Visa Program
Remote Interaction
The engagement process with Designated Organizations is predominantly conducted online, eliminating the necessity for in-person visits to Canada for participation in the Start-up Visa program.
Family Inclusion
As an applicant, you have the privilege to sponsor your spouse and children, granting your entire family Canadian resident status. However, it's essential to note that the program does not encompass sponsorship for your parents, though they can be invited to Canada separately.
Open Work Permit
Additionally, applicants can procure an open work permit, facilitating the seamless integration of business and employment endeavors.
Dependent Definition
In Canada, individuals are recognized as dependents until the age of 22 if they are not in formal marriages, allowing for family inclusion until they establish their own households.
Language Proficiency
While only the primary applicant is mandated to undertake the language proficiency examination, family members may be exempt from this requirement, streamlining the application process.
Citizenship Retention
In the event of business closure subsequent to acquiring Canadian resident status or citizenship, individuals retain their entitlement to Canadian citizenship.
Expenses Associated with the Start-Up Visa Program
In addition to other incidental costs, it's imperative to account for the following
Overall, expenses typically range between
contingent on various factors such as your business project's scope, family size, and the investment amount allocated for business development.
$30,000 to $150,000,
Duration of the Process
The entire process entails obtaining support, including negotiations with the Designated Organization and document preparation, which typically spans from 2 to 4 months. Subsequently, the processing time for your Canadian resident status request hinges on various factors and generally ranges from 1.5 to 3 years.
Should you require assistance in business development and navigating the immigration pathway to Canada via the Start-up Visa program, take the initial step by contacting us to schedule a consultation. It's worth noting that we boast a 100% success rate in securing support from Designated Organizations for our clients.
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