Canada Business Visa - Your Business Immigration Opportunities

Business Visa

Invest in Canada

We are assuming that you clicked on this page today because you are a successful business owner or entrepreneur who realized that their business has not reached its full potential. Yes, your business is successful, but maybe not to the degree that it could be.  

Whether you have read about the potential of Canada immigration business programs, or you are simply curious to see what benefits you could gain from Canada investor visas, you will find all the information you need to make a calculated decision for your business.

Let’s start with some background, eh?

Canada Investor Visas (or business visas) enable potential investors, entrepreneurs, business owners, and/or self-employed immigrants with the desired business abilities to immigrate to Canada. To succeed with business immigration to Canada, you are expected to be innovative, your business should create Canadian jobs and compete on a global scale.

Canada Investor Visas, such as the Start Up Visa or Self-Employed Persons Program, were issued by the Canadian government to drive Canada’s economic growth and create new job opportunities for Canadians. These visas come with special benefits: low taxes and operation costs, access to business consultants, international networking and business expansion, permanent residency, social benefits, and more.

Below you will find detailed explanations about these Canada immigration business programs, the eligibility requirements and application process.

As a business owner, investor, or entrepreneur, there are endless business opportunities for you and your family in Canada. Below is an introduction to each of the business immigration visas that are available to you (the province of Quebec has a separate business immigration program with its own requirements):

  1. Start Up Visa Canada
  2. Self-Employed Persons Program

Start Up Visa Canada (Overview)

This Start Up Visa is aimed at business owners or part-owners with at least 3 years of experience of running a successful business. This visa does not have minimum investment and net worth requirements – but you do need to have settlement funds, as well as sustainable funds for necessities in Canada prior to your arrival.

If you qualify for the Start Up visa, you will be able to live anywhere in Canada, become a permanent resident, and eventually apply for Canadian citizenship. Your business partners (up to 5 partners) will also be eligible for Canada immigration and permanent residency status.

The Start-Up Visa Requirements

To become eligible for the Start Up Visa Canada and start your business immigration process, there are several requirements you must complete. For example:

  1. You should have an existing business or be at the ideation stage for your business.
  2. Your business or business plan need to be financially and ideologically supported by certain designated Canadian organizations (such as a Venture Capital Fund, an Angel Investor Group, or a Business Incubator).
  3. To obtain support from the designated Canadian organizations, you need to present a business plan for your idea or existing business. You will need to convince one of these organizations that your business or business idea is worth supporting because of how it will contribute to the growth of Canadian economy and impact Canadian lives.

Note that you might need to present your business plan differently for each designated organization. This is because each organization has its own set of requirements, even down to the smallest details. For example, one organization might ask you to present your business plan in person and the other will request it on paper.

If your business presentation is successful, the designated organization will provide you with a letter of support and that letter will become an integral part of your Start Up Visa application. To garner support from a business incubator, you must be accepted into a designated Canadian business incubator program.

Your business immigration process gets easier once you and your business become associated with one of the designated organizations after they have invested in your business.

For example, a Venture Capital Fund must confirm an investment into your business of at least $200,000. An Angel Investor Group must confirm an investment into your business of at least $75,000. It is also possible for you to receive a syndicated (joint) investment from more than one designated organization (your personal investment in your business is of no relevance when determining your eligibility for this visa).

Similar to other immigration streams, you will need to comply with language requirements in either English or French. A minimum Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) of 5 is required.

The fees for your Start Up Visa Canada application will involve the following:
Canadian Business Immigration fee, Biometric fees, permanent residency fee, medical/police certificate/ language fees as well as the application fees for your spouse or common-law partner and children.

The processing time for a Start Up Visa application is normally between 14 to 16 months.

It’s important to note that the Canadian government understands that not all businesses survive the test of time. Even if your Start Up business fails, it will not affect your permanent resident status and you will still be eligible to become a Canadian citizen.

Self-Employed Persons Program (Overview)

Canada’s Self-Employed Persons Program is aimed at people who want to immigrant to Canada as self-employed. You must have 2 years of relevant experience, prove your intent to become self-employed in Canada, and meet several other program requirements.

If you qualify for the Self-Employed Persons Program, you will be able to become a permanent resident and bring your family with you (the province of Quebec runs its own business immigration program with its own requirements).

You must have previous experience in one of the following streams – Cultural activities or Athletics.

The Self-Employed Persons Program requires the applicant to be able to make a “significant contribution” to these activities in Canada. The measure for the word “significant” is left to the immigration officer assessing your application. Contribution to Canada’s athletics or arts scene does not have to be up to a national standard – it may still be significant at a local level.

Self-Employed Persons Program Requirements

To start your application process for The Self-Employed Persons Program you must meet the following set of requirements:

  1. There are no regulated minimum net worth and funding requirements. However, you still need to satisfy the officer processing your file: in your Self-Employed Persons Program application, you need to show enough funds to settle yourself and your family members in Canada.
  2. You need to secure at least 35 points out of 100 under the following selection factors:
    Work Experience (max 35 points)
    Language Ability – English / French (max 24 points)
    Education (max 25 points)
    Age (max 10 points)
    Adaptability (max 6 points).

5 years of experience in your business will secure 35 points for your visa application.

When it comes to proving your language proficiency in English or French, your points will be calculated based on your results in the language exams. For English, you need to take the IELTS test, or you can take the CELPIP-G test.

For the French language, TEF Canada and TCF Canada are the two available options.
Do keep in mind that these test results are only valid up to 2 years after the date you take your test. Your test results must be valid at the time of your application submission.

As for your academic experience, the higher your education – the more points you score. It is as simple as that. If you hold a Ph.D. or a Master’s degree, you will get the maximum number of points.

Adaptability points can be secured based on the education level and work experience of your spouse or common-Law partner in Canada. If you have members of your family in Canada, they too may help you gain points for your business immigration to Canada.

Finally, the distribution of points based on your age is as follows:

21 years or older, but less than 50 years old – 10 points
20 or 50 years old – 8 points
19 or 51 years old – 6 points
18 or 52 years old – 4 points
17 or 53 years old – 2 points
Under 17, 54 years old or older – 0 points

The fees you pay for your application will involve the following: Canadian business visa application fees, Biometric fees, medical/ police certificate/ language fees, and other.

Normally, the processing time for this visa application is up to 22 months.

How to Apply?

If you made it all the way down here, that means you mean business! (see what we did there?). But in all seriousness, now we will give you a quick breakdown of the application process for Canada Investor Visas:

Before applying for either visa, you should have an in-depth eligibility assessment. This assessment will determine if and what business visas you qualify for based on your entire professional and academic background. In turn, this will set the path for your immigration process.

Next, you will need to meet the general eligibility criteria and program-specific requirements by providing evidence of your finances, business operations, current residency, letters of support from designated organizations, etc. Along the way, you will need to pay various fees, as stated earlier.

Finally, you will be able to submit your visa application to the pool of candidates.
Be aware that if you are applying for Canada Investor Visas along with a group of partners, the CIC (Citizenship and Immigration Canada) will not process your visa application until all visa applications are submitted. Each business partner must submit their own visa application.

Great North Visa offers immigration consultancy services to clients around the world. With a successful track record and a strong team of certified RCIC agents, we are here to accompany you towards achieving your goals. Contact us today for a free consultation about our services and your options.

Frequently Asked Questions

You can demonstrate the accumulation of your wealth through third-party documentary evidence such as tax returns, pay stubs, statements from stockbrokers, business and/or real estate valuations, deeds of purchase/sale, etc.

Venture capitalists manage the pooled money of others in a fund, Angel investors are often successful business people who use their own funds to invest in businesses they believe in, and business incubators help new start-up companies develop by providing services such as management training, work spaces, mentorship and more.

A business visitor visa is designed to allow people to come to Canada temporarily for the purpose of participating in international business activities, such as meeting clients, advancing your business relationships, provide training and more. This visa is valid for up to 6 months. Please note that a business visa and a business visitor visa are not the same - only individuals coming under the business visa can work in Canada.

You will need to apply for a visitor visa or an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) and meet the requirements.

The Owner-Operator pathway program is an alternative way for business investors to pursue business and investment activities in Canada. This program is intended for business investors who don't meet the requirements for self-employed applicants, or don't have the support of a designated organization to qualify for the Start-Up or the Self-Employed Persons Program.