Start-Up Visa - Canada

Canada's Start-up Visa Program helps immigrant entrepreneurs to establish a business in Canada by allowing foreign businessmen owners and their families to apply for permanent resident status.

Immigrant entrepreneurs must demonstrate that their business is innovative, will create new jobs for Canadians, and can compete on a global scale.

While waiting for their permanent residence, foreign entrepreneurs who have applied to the Start-up Visa Program are eligible for a temporary work permit, allowing them to travel to Canada to launch their business

This article focuses on Start-up visa, an investment-based immigration program in Canada. For inquiries regarding visitor visas for business purposes, email us at: or contact us.

The Start-up Visa program when established was the first of its kind in the world. Canada is always looking for talented entrepreneurs that are interested in starting business that will stimulate that Canadian economy while creating employment opportunities for its residents. Since launching as a pilot program in 2013, the Start-up Visa Program has admitted hundreds of immigrant business owners to Canada, with the number of admissions increasing each year.


To qualify for the Start-up Visa Program, you must meet all four eligibility requirements, as well as the admissibility requirements to enter Canada. The requirements are stated below.

  1. You must have a qualifying business.

A qualifying business means you created a business that meets the following conditions:

  • Each applicant holds 10% or more of the voting rights attached to all shares of the corporation outstanding at that time (up to five 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 the time you get a commitment from a designated organization.

  • You provide active and ongoing management of the business from within Canada, an essential part of the operation of the business happens in Canada, and the business is incorporated in Canada at the time you receive your permanent residence.

  1. You must have a Letter of Support from a designated organization.

A Letter of Support is given to an applicant by the designated angel investor group or venture capital funds. It is proof that they will support your business idea. It is the proof you will need to show a designated venture capital fund, angel investor group, or business incubator is supporting your business idea.

You get a letter of support from a designated organization.

To get the letter of support you will need to do the following:

  • You will need to contact the designated organization to find out how to get its support.

  • You will need to convince the organization that you have a business idea that is worth supporting.

  • You will need to get a letter of support from the designated organization.

You are required to pitch your idea, and that process is different for each organization. Each organization has its own requirements. If you reach an agreement with a designated organization, it will send you a letter of support.

We here at Advocates Immigrations Office will help prepare your application and documentation and assist & guide you throughout the process to help you succeed.

  1. You must meet the language requirements.

One of the most important requirements for entrepreneurs is the ability to communicate. The ability to communicate and work in English and/or French will help your business succeed in Canada.

You must meet the minimum level of the Canadian Level Benchmark (CLB) 5 in either English or French in all of the four areas (speaking, reading, listening, and writing).

  1. You must have enough money to settle and live in Canada before you make money from your business.

You must have enough money to settle in Canada. The Government of Canada does not give financial support to new start-up visa immigrants.

Proof of funds is required to prove that you have the money to support yourself and your dependents after you arrive in Canada. The amount depends on the size of your family. These amounts are updated every year.

  • Number of family members: 1

    • Funds Required: 13,213 Canadian Dollars

  • Number of family members: 2

    • Funds Required: 16,449 Canadian Dollars

  • Number of family members: 3

    • Funds Required: 20,222 Canadian Dollars

  • Number of family members: 4

    • Funds Required: 24,553 Canadian Dollars

  • Number of family members: 5

    • Funds Required: 27,847 Canadian Dollars

  • Number of family members: 6

    • Funds Required: 31,407 Canadian Dollars

  • Number of family members: 7

    • Funds Required: 34,967 Canadian Dollars

  • Number of family members: For each additional family member

    • Funds Required: 3,560 Canadian Dollars

What are Designated Organizations?

There are three groups of designated investors under the Start-up Visa Program, namely:

  • Designated Angel Investor Group

  • Designated Business Incubator

  • Designated Venture Capital Fund

A Designated Angel Investor Group is a private organization that has been designated by the Minister to participate in Start-up Visa. Angel Investor groups are made up of members who invest their own capital in start-ups, usually in exchange for equity. Angel Investor groups help their members in a variety of ways, which can include identifying investment opportunities, pooling their capital, and standardizing the investment process for angel investors.

A Designated Business Incubator is a private organization that has been designated by the Minister to participate in Start-up Visa. Business incubators help start-ups grow by offering a range of services, which can include physical space and facilities, business mentoring, and networking connections.

A Designated Venture Capital Fund is a private organization that has been designated by the Minister to participate in Start-up Visa Program. Venture capital funds raise and manage capital to place equity investments in start-ups with high growth potential. Venture capital funds support start-ups through their investment and can also provide operational experience, technical knowledge, networks, and mentorship.

Note: Some/Parts of the information on this page is sourced from the resources of the Government of Canada and Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).In case of any feedback, comment, or inquiry, please, email us at: