Immigrate with a start-up visa: Who can apply

Who can apply

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

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)

      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
  • 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

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.

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 we won’t process it.
You must meet the minimum level of the Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) 5 in either 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, we’ll refuse your application.

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.

Number of
Family Members
Funds Required
(in Canadian dollars)
1 $12,475
2 $15,531
3 $19,093
4 $23,181
5 $26,292
6 $29,652
7 $33,014
For each additional family member $3,361

How much money should you bring?

Find out how much it costs to live where you’re planning to settle in Canada.

Bring as much money as possible to make moving to Canada and finding a home easier.

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