Start-Up Visa Program

The federal Start-Up Visa program links entrepreneur applicants with private investor organizations in Canada who are able to offer funding as well as direction and their expertise on starting and running a business in Canada. The program encourages budding entrepreneurs to expand their business in Canada and also create jobs for Canadian residents.

Successful applicants under this program will be granted Canadian permanent residency.

This is a pilot project that will run for the next 5 years with a possibility of becoming a permanent category basis the success of the program.


To be eligible for the Start-Up Visa Program, the applicant must:

  • Receive a letter of support by the designated angel investor group or venture capital fund or business incubator
  • Minimum financial commitment of $200,000 from venture capital fund or $75,000 from angel investor, or acceptance into a business incubator program
  • The organization will send a letter of support to the candidate and a commitment certificate to CIC
  • Must meet the minimum language requirement of CLB 5+ in English or French
  • Demonstrate that they have sufficient funds to support self and family once they arrive in Canada
  • Applicant & accompanying family members must clear the security and medical checks
  • Have an intention to reside outside Quebec

Applicants are not needed to invest their personal funds. Also, applicants are not required to secure funds from a business incubator. However, they should be accepted into a Canadian Business Incubator Program.

Up to 5 applicants can apply for permanent residency for one proposed business project, if each holds 10% voting rights and jointly with the designated organization hold more than 50% voting rights. If the essential applicant is rejected by IRCC, the other applicants will be rejected as well.

Support from Multiple Investors

The business can receive funds from multiple investors’ organizations, known as syndication. In such a situation, all involved organizations have to be declared and a single Commitment Certificate and one Letter of Support should be provided to the applicant.

The business should receive the minimum financial commitment from the respective designated organizations as per the set threshold, even if there are multiple organizations funding the same business. If a venture capitalist is involved, the minimum investment received should be $200,000 even if a designated angel group also funds the same business. Similarly, in case of angel group, they have to invest a minimum of $ 75,000.

Peer Review

With the intention to guard the Start-Up Visa program against fraud and to ensure the commitments are legitimate the Canadian Government has designated associations to review the commitments between the investor organizations and the applicants. The Visa Officer may request for a commitment to be assessed independently by a peer review forum. These forums are formed by an industry association that represents the type of investment organization making the commitment.

In case the Canadian Start-up business is not successful, the applicants of this program who were granted Canadian permanent residency will retain their permanent residence status.


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