The Start-Up Visa Program
The Start-up Visa Program is an opportunity targeting immigrant entrepreneurs demonstrating potential to immigrate to Canada.

Although this is a national program, it must be noted that the Province of Quebec operates its own business immigration program that is separate from the federal one.


To be considered an eligible candidate, certain requirements must be met by the applicant.

The Applicant

As an applicant, you must demonstrate the ability to build innovative businesses that create employment opportunities, and that are internationally competitive.

Qualifying Business

You must ensure that the business in question meets the eligibility criteria in order to qualify.

You must also receive a commitment from a designated business-support organization located in Canada.

As concerns ownership, each applicant must hold a minimum of 10% of the voting rights attached to all outstanding shares of the corporation (up to 5 people can apply as owners).

Further, if applicable, the designated business-support organization and the applicants must hold over 50% of all voting rights attached to all outstanding shares of the corporation

Letter of Support

When applying, a letter of support from the designated business-support organization must also be provided along with your application. The designated business-support organization must be approved to invest in and/or support potential start-ups.


Before applying, it is useful to consider that processes, strengths, and preferences will vary from one designated business-support organization to the other. As a result, developing a relationship with an appropriate organization is critical.

Once an appropriate organization is found, that organization must be persuaded of the merits of your business idea in order to provide you with a letter of support.

Language Proficiency

You must possess the ability to communicate in one or both of the official languages of Canada: French and English.

A language test must be completed at an approved agency, and the results included within your application.

Sufficiency of Funds

The government of Canada does not financially support immigrants as part of the Start-up Visa program. Thus, proof of sufficient funds is required. You may be able to work in Canada temporarily during the application process.

Getting Started

The application process takes up to 32 months to complete, and includes biometrics.

Think the Start-up Visa Program may be right for you? Contact us for comprehensive assistance with your application, and further counsel as needed.
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