Great North Visa Blog - How to Apply for Canada Start-Up Visa

  • Home
  • How to Apply for Canada Start-Up Visa
Businessman holding a Canadian passport.

How to Apply for Canada Start-Up Visa

“Chase the vision, not the money, the money will end up following you” – Tony Hsieh.

With those inspiring words, I want to start this blog post about Canada Start-Up Visa. Building a business takes time, effort, and faith. But to be able to progress, you also need a vision for your business. Whether the goal is to develop new technologies, provide certain services, or simply achieving financial success, there always must be something to strive for.

If you have reached a point where you feel like it’s time to step it up and expand internationally, perhaps business immigration to Canada is the perfect route for you.

Learn more about the details of the Canada start-up visa program below.

How Canada Start-Up Visa Works?

The program started way back in 2013 and has been running successfully to this day. In 2018, the Canadian government officially declared that this will be a permanent business immigration program to Canada.

The purpose of the Canada Start-Up visa is to attract dynamic business people into Canada, with at least 3 years of experience running a successful business. The goal is to support the economy in Canada, open new career opportunities for Canadians, lead to tech developments, and more.

So, how does this work?

Alongside the visa-specific requirements, there are several conditions that must be met:

  • You must have at least 3 years of experience running your business

  • You must be outside of Canada when applying for this visa

  • You are required to gain financial support from a Canadian Angel Investor Group, Venture Capital Fund, or Business Incubator.

Once your visa is approved, you will receive Canadian permanent residency. PR in Canada includes many great benefits:

  • You can sponsor your family to come live with you

  • You can work, live, and travel anywhere in Canada (except for Québec)

  • You will have access to Medicare and other social benefits

  • Your children will be eligible for free education (up to a certain age)

  • You will earn protection under Canadian law

Before getting started, it’s important to check your eligibility for this visa. Below you will find an overview of the eligibility requirements and steps to apply. However, every business and personal circumstance is different. Therefore, it is always recommended to get an in-depth eligibility assessment from an immigration professional.

Who’s eligible for Canada Start-up visa?

To be eligible for the Start-up Visa Program, you must meet the visa-specific requirements and conditions. Be sure to submit the required documentation that accurately reflects yourself and your business.

Your Business Immigration Profile

Before approaching any type of application process, you must create an immigration profile. This profile is based on several important categories which will reflect your current capabilities and personal circumstance. Every skilled worker, entrepreneur, or business owner, must create this profile.

To do so, you need to fill out the following information:

  • Age

  • Nationality

  • Education

  • Language abilities

  • Work experience

  • Family members

  • Occupation

  • Job offer

  • Income / net worth

Your answer will determine if you are eligible for any of Canada’s business and general immigration programs. If you are qualified for business immigration to Canada, you will be able to follow up on the next steps.

Canada Start-Up Visa Applicant Requirements:

  • Have an existing business or be at the ideation stage for your business

  • Have a detailed business plan and presentation

  • Obtain financial support from a government-designated organization

  • Meet health and character requirements

  • Have enough savings to sustain yourself in Canada as you get adjusted

Once you meet these requirements, you can start the actual application process, as detailed below.

How to Apply for Canada Startup Visa?

This is where you truly start your business immigration to Canada. If you want this type of entrepreneur visa, you will need to follow these steps:

1. Have an Eligible/Qualifying Business

For your business to be qualified, you must have at least 10% voting share rights. When you apply using a partnership business, each partner must at least hold 10% voting rights. Thus, the organization and the applicants must have at least 50% voting rights. 

When your Canada start-up visa and business application are accepted and approved, you need to ensure your organization must be incorporated and have the majority of operations in Canada. In short, it should constantly be supporting the welfare of Canada.

2. Hire a Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (RCIC)

Business immigration to Canada is a unique pathway with its own complexities. Regardless, it’s a long and more tedious process, relatively to other immigration programs. So, if you would like a helping hand, you should hire an experienced RCIC.

RCIC’s (Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultants) are trained professionals in matters of Canadian immigration policies and procedures. The primary purpose of RCIC is to keep you updated on the process, provide professional consultation, and ensure you have complete and accurate documents submitted promptly.

You can also take advantage of numerous immigration services to help you facilitate your visa application process.

At Great North Visa, we exclusively subcontract a team of RCIC’s and allocate them to each case depending on its complexity and requirements. The selected consultants are with years of expertise having the authorization to act on behalf of our clients before the Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).

3. Obtain a Letter of Support from a Designated Organization

You need support from a Canadian designated investment agency to be eligible for this type of entrepreneur visa. Set your proposal convincingly to earn a letter of support. The support letter will be added to your application for Canada Start-Up Visa.

3 Types of Investment Agencies and the Required Investment:

  • Angel investor groups – at least CAD$ 75,000

  • Venture capital funds – at least CAD$ 200,000

  • Business incubators – no investment requirement, ask your consultant for more information

Things to Remember While Choosing an Investor Group:

  • Each organization or agency has different rules and guidelines set to support an entrepreneur visa applicant.

  • Your business proposal must be feasible enough and viable for their support

  • Other documents like feasibility study, business plans, etc. are required 

The complete list of agencies designated to support you is available at the official website of Canada.

4. Undergo a Language Test

Applicants of the Canada Start-up visa must prove their language skills in either English or French. You must take the language tests and score a minimum of 5 in the Canadian Language Benchmarks (CLBs) consisting of writing, speaking, reading, and listening. 

Eligible exams you can take (if applicable):

  • Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program (English – CELPIP)

  • International English Language Testing System (English – IELTS)

  • Test d’évaluation de Français (French – TEF Canada)

  • Test de Connaissance du Français (French – TCF Canada) 

5. Submit Your Proof of Income or Funds

You’ll need to provide proof of income or funds to confirm you have the money to support yourself and/or any family members in Canada. Additionally, Canada Start-Up Visa applicants need to provide proof of extra funds designated for a family member who will come along. 

Here are the funds you need to have:

  • One applicant (one member of the family) – CAD 12,960

  • Two-member applicants – CAD 16,135

  • Three-member applicants – CAD 19,836

  • Four-member applicants – CAD 24,083

  • Five-member applicants – CAD 27,315

  • Six-member applicants – CAD 30,806

  • Seven-member applicants – CAD 34,299

Note: For each additional applicant – CAD 3,492. Also, you need to have extra funds you’re your accommodations in Canada. 

6. Complete the Forms and Submit

You must fill out the several required forms and submit a hard copy of them to the IRCC Centralized Intake Office (CIO) in Sydney, Nova Scotia. Verify the mentioned address printed in the form to know the proper ways of sending it.

Additional documents you need to provide for every applicant and member of the family: 

  • Medical exam result

  • Language skills test result

  • Police clearance certificate

7. Pay your Fees

The following fees are pertinent in your application for this entrepreneur visa:

  • Application fee – CAD 1,050

  • Right of Permanent Residence Fee (RPRF) – CAD 490

  • Application fee (Spouse) – CAD 550 plus CAD 490 RPRF

  • Per child dependent on the applicant – CAD 150

  • Biometrics payment 

  • Third-party payment for the medical exam and police certificate

Additional notes to remember:

  • Once the application is approved, the IRCC will send a detailed letter on how to submit your biometrics. You must submit it in person within 30 days from the date of the letter.

  • Processing will only start once the IRCC receives all the documents, forms, fees, etc. have been submitted. 

  • For partnership businesses, the IRCC requires the submission of all partner applications collectively before starting to process your visa application. 

Why Canada is a Good Place to Start a Business?

There is a lot to be said about this, but we will sum up the main points of why Canada is a good place to establish or expand your business:

  • Relatively lower expansion costs compared to the U.S.

  • Lower corporate taxes

  • Accessible markets to Mexico and the U.S. through NAFTA

  • Applicant friendly immigration policies

  • Highly-skilled labor force


If you want a hassle-free application process for your Canada Start-Up Visa, you can always seek professional services to walk you through this immigration process.

At Great North Visa, we’re more than happy to assist you. We can provide quality assurance that your business immigration to Canada will run as smoothly as possible. Speak with an immigration professional today to learn more about what will be required for your case.

Jessica Thompson

Jessica Thompson is a professional content writer for Great North Visa. Jessica immigrated to Canada in 2012 from the UK with her husband Jack Thompson, and their two children. As someone who experienced first-hand what the Canadian immigration process is like, combined with extensive research, Jessica can share her knowledge about Canada immigration with her readers around the world. We hope that you find Jessica’s blog valuable to your journey to the Great White Noth.

More Posts


Jessica Thompson

Jessica Thompson is a professional content writer for Great North Visa. Jessica immigrated to Canada in 2012 from the UK with her husband Jack Thompson, and their two children. As someone who experienced first-hand what the Canadian immigration process is like, combined with extensive research, Jessica can share her knowledge about Canada immigration with her readers around the world. We hope that you find Jessica’s blog valuable to your journey to the Great White Noth.