Start-up Visa

The Start-up Investor Visa Program facilitates immigrant entrepreneurs in establishing businesses in Canada with the opportunity to apply for Permanent Residency. One of the key advantages of this program is that it allows entrepreneurs to not only obtain a temporary work permit but also to kickstart their business activities in Canada while concurrently seeking Permanent Residency.

With a track record of sustained economic growth, Canada offers the Start-up Visa Program as part of its array of immigration initiatives, aimed at nurturing prospective entrepreneurs into integral contributors to the Canadian workforce.

Initially introduced as a pilot project in 2013, the Start-up Visa Program was later solidified into a permanent fixture in 2017. Over time, it has enabled numerous immigrant entrepreneurs to both reside in and operate businesses within Canada.

The Start-up Visa Program comprises two primary streams: one catering to Canadian entrepreneurs and the other catering to foreign investors. For foreign investors to qualify, they must demonstrate an already operational business and a confirmed commitment from a designated investment incubator or organization.

Eligibility for the start-up visa necessitates foreign entrepreneurs to meet four pivotal requirements, as delineated below.

What criteria need to be met to qualify for the Start-up Visa program?

1. Possess a Qualified Business

To meet the criteria for the start-up visa, candidates should already possess an established business. It’s imperative that the applicant maintains a minimum of 10% voting rights attributed to all shares of the business corporation.

Both the entrepreneur applicant and the designated organization they are aligned with should collectively hold over 50% of the business’s voting rights. It’s also noteworthy that the option exists for up to five partners to jointly apply as proprietors.

Moreover, it’s crucial for applicants to recognize that to secure Permanent Residency through the start-up visa route, the business must be legally incorporated within Canada, and its core managerial activities should be conducted by the foreign investor within Canada’s borders.

2. Obtain Approval from a Designated Canadian Entity

A pivotal requirement preceding your start-up visa application is to secure a commitment from a designated organization that will facilitate the growth of your business in Canada.

This commitment from a designated organization is acknowledged through a Letter of Support, a crucial component of your application. It’s important to bear in mind that the Letters of Support remain valid for six months from the date of issuance.

These designated organizations fall under three distinct categories:

  • Designated Angel Investor Groups: To fulfill this category, a designated angel investor group must invest a minimum of $75,000 into the applicant’s business. Alternatively, an immigrant applicant can qualify by aggregating investments from various angel investor groups, with the cumulative amount reaching up to $75,000. Examples of such groups include York Angel Investors Inc., VANTEC Angel Network Inc., TenX Angel Investors Inc., and more.
  • Designated Venture Capital Funds: In this segment, a designated venture capital fund must confirm an investment of at least $200,000 into the applicant’s business. Likewise, the applicant can satisfy this criterion by accumulating commitments from different designated venture capital funds, totaling up to $200,000. Notable examples encompass Your Entrepreneurship Development Institute (YEDI), BCF Ventures, BDC Venture Capital, and others.
  • Designated Business Incubators: To meet the requirements of this category, a designated business incubator must accept the applicant into its business incubator program. An extensive list of such incubators includes Alacrity Foundation, York Entrepreneurship Development Centre, Waterloo Accelerator Centre, Empowered Startups Ltd., Innovacorp, Invest Ottawa, and numerous others.

By aligning with a designated entity from one of these categories, aspiring entrepreneurs enhance their prospects of qualifying for the start-up visa program, initiating their business journey in Canada.

3. Demonstrate Language Proficiency (English or French)

Proficiency in either English or French, both of Canada’s official languages, is a fundamental requirement for all aspiring immigrants. For eligibility under the Start-up Visa program, each applicant must undergo a language proficiency evaluation administered by an approved institution.

For English proficiency, the accepted tests are:


For French proficiency, the accepted tests are:

  • TEF
  • TCF

The attained test result should align with a minimum CLB (Canadian Language Benchmark) Level 5 or higher. It’s crucial to note that the test outcome must not be older than two years at the time of application. This language proficiency criterion underscores the applicant’s ability to effectively engage and thrive in Canada’s linguistic landscape.

4. Fulfill IRCC’s Proof of Funds Criterion

Prospective immigrant candidates from overseas must demonstrate their financial capacity to establish themselves and support their sponsored families in Canada.

Number of family members

Funds required(Canadian dollars)















For each additional family member


Step-by-Step Manual for Applying to the Start-up Visa Program:

Once a foreign entrepreneur fulfills all the aforementioned eligibility criteria, they need to meticulously arrange and submit an application using the IMM 5759 form accessible on the IRCC website.

All constituent parts of the application form must be aggregated and dispatched either by mail or courier to IRCC’s Centralized Intake Office situated in Sydney, Nova Scotia.

Step 1: Complete the Application Form

  • Fill out the Generic Application Form for Canada.
  • Utilize the “validate” feature on the form to ensure all mandatory fields are properly filled.
  • Print the duly accomplished application form and remember to incorporate the barcode page.
  • Append your signature and date on the form.

Step 2: Validate Document Checklist

  • Assemble all the required documents as listed earlier.
  • Place all essential documents within a securely sealed envelope.
  • Print and sign the document checklist with the corresponding date.
  • Utilize the document checklist as the opening page for your application package.

Step 3: Settle Application Fees

Application fees encompass various elements:

  • Processing fees for your application and any accompanying individuals mentioned in the form.
  • Right of Permanent Residence fee.
  • Any third-party fees, inclusive of expenses related to medical exams, police certificates, and language assessments.
  • Biometrics fees.

Step 4: Submit Your Application

  • Thoroughly review all components before finalizing your application submission.
  • Ensure your signature and the correct date are affixed on all forms.
  • Complete the payment of all requisite processing fees and enclose the corresponding receipts with your application.
  • Encompass all necessary supporting documents to conclude the application process

Following these steps meticulously enhances the chances of a successful application for the Start-up Visa Program, streamlining the path toward establishing a business presence in Canada.

What are the Costs and Timelines for the Start-up Visa Application?

The application fee associated with the Start-up Visa Program amounts to $1,625 CAD.

  • $515 CAD covers the permanent residence application.
  • $850 CAD is designated for an accompanying spouse or common-law partner, along with an additional $515 for the right of permanent residence fee.
  • Each dependent child necessitates a fee of $230 CAD.

Processing the applications generally takes around 12-16 months. However, it’s worth noting that applicants have the opportunity to apply for a temporary work permit, enabling them to initiate their business activities in Canada prior to the approval of their permanent residence application.

Upon successful approval, both the primary applicant and their sponsored family members will be granted Canadian permanent resident status.

How Izago Can Assist You

At Izago Immigration, we’ve successfully guided numerous individuals and their families through the Express Entry Program, facilitating their immigration to Canada. Our team of qualified and seasoned Immigration Experts possesses the expertise to thoroughly evaluate your case and recommend the optimal approach to cater to your unique needs.

With an extensive reservoir of goodwill and rich experience in the dynamic immigration industry, Izago Immigration has consistently empowered a diverse spectrum of aspirants to realize their international aspirations.

Ranked among the premier brands in the Immigration sector, we stand as a highly trustworthy immigration firm boasting an impressive track record of accomplishing numerous triumphant PR Visa applications. The following prominent factors distinguish us as the foremost choice for a Canada PR Visa consultant:

  • We provide consultation through authorized and licensed Immigration Consultants.
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  • Our framework includes a mechanism for addressing complaints at any phase of the process.
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  • Each case undergoes multiple assessments before submission, ensuring accuracy and quality.
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At Izago Immigration, we’re committed to orchestrating your journey toward Canadian permanent residency with proficiency, reliability, and a proven track record of excellence. Contact Us today for your specialized consultation!