Start-up Visa Program

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

Fees: $2,075


Processing Time: 12 – 16 months




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


  1. 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)


  • 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
  1. 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

The process to pitch your idea is different for each organization. Each organization has its own requirements. For example, you may be asked to present your business concept in person or submit a detailed business plan.

If you reach an agreement with a designated organization, it will send you a letter of support. You need to include this letter when you submit your application to us. This is the proof you need to show that the venture capital fund, angel investor group, or business incubator is supporting your business idea.

The organization will also send a commitment certificate directly to us. Both your letter of support and the organization’s commitment certificate will be assessed while processing your application. Please note, you may be asked for more business information in order to take a final decision on your application.

If you don’t include the letter of support or meet any of the other requirements, your application will be refused.


  1. 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 it won’t be processed.
You must meet the minimum level of the Canadian Language Benchmark(CLB) 5i neither English or French in all of these four areas:

  • speaking
  • reading
  • listening
  • writing

Use your test results to find your CLB level.

If you don’t meet the minimum language skills, your application will be refused.


  1. 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 dependants 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. We update these amounts every year. These amounts are updated every year.

Application Process:


  1. Get the application package


The application package for a start-up visa includes an instruction guide and a document checklist.


Application Form:


  • Fill out the generic application form for Canada [IMM 0008] on your computer.
  • Click the “validate” button on the form. If there are any fields you still need to fill out, they will be highlighted in red
  • Print the validated application form. Make sure to print all pages of the application form and barcode page. The barcode page will come up after you validate the form. If you have more than one package, place a separate barcode page on each one.
  • Sing and date the form where asked


Complete the document checklist:


You must include all the forms, supporting documents, signatures, language test results and the proof of payment of the processing fees. If any are missing, your application will be incomplete. It will be sent back without processing.

All of your answers must be complete and true. If it is found that you submitted false information or left out important details:

  • Your application could be refused
  • You could be found in admissible and
  • You could be barred for five years from applying to come to Canada for any reason


  1. Pay your application fees


In most cases, your fees will include:

  • processing fees for you and anyone you include on your application
  • the Right of Permanent Residence Fee (RPRF)
  • biometrics
  • third-party fees (may be applicable for: medicals exams, police certificates and language testing)
  1. Submit your application


To make sure you have a complete application, you must:

  • answer all questions
  • sign your application and all forms
  • pay your processing fees and attach a copy of the receipt to your application
  • include all the supporting documents

If you forget something, your application will be sent back to you. You’ll have to fix any errors and resubmit it.

Mail your complete application to the address in the instruction guide.

Don’t send your application to any other processing centre or visa office.