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Bahar's Blog about Immigration to Canada & USA
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How to Obtain a Start-Up Visa

How to Obtain a Start-Up Visa

Steps on Obtaining a Start-Up Visa

Is it your dream to bring your entrepreneurial mind and ideas to Canada and to the Canadian economy? This may be a possibility with the Start-Up Visa. This visa attracts foreign nationals with business ideas to come to Canada to start their business. Of course, much like any other immigration application, you must first be eligible and meet the requirements in order to apply under this specific visa. Therefore, in this article, I will explain in detail, what a start-up visa is, the eligibility requirements for a start-up visa, how to apply for a start-up visa, and more.

What is a Start-Up Visa

A Start-Up Visa is very unique as it is specifically designed for foreign nationals that are entrepreneurs that can bring their business ideas to Canada. Furthermore, there are many advantages to this type of visa as applicants gain permanent residency upon approval. However, it is very important for them to receive and obtain appropriate financial backing within Canada in order to support their application.

Eligibility Requirements for a Start-Up Visa

First and foremost, the Start-Up Visa can only be eligible through the Start-Up Visa program. This specific program also only assesses each application on a pass or fail basis. Therefore, it is extremely important to determine whether you are eligible to apply for this visa prior to submitting your application. The four requirements that you must meet in order to be eligible for a Start-Up Visa are:

  • Obtaining a Letter of Support from a designated angel investor group, venture capital fund or a business incubator
  • Meet ownership requirements for a qualifying business, such as - applicant must hold a minimum of 10% of the voting rights in the business, and - the designated organization and the applicant must jointly hold more than 50% of the voting rights in the business
  • Receive scores of a minimum of Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) 5 in all four categories (speaking, reading, writing, listening) in either English or French, and
  • Have sufficient funds to settle and maintain a living prior to earning an income

Once these requirements have been met, then your application will be assessed and reviewed based on Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada’s (IRCC) standard admissibility criteria. This includes your state of health, your criminality, and security. In any case, IRCC may request an independent peer review to guarantee that due diligence was executed by the designated organization that issued the Letter of Support.

In order to prove that you have sufficient funds to settle and maintain a living prior to earning an income in Canada, you must ensure that you include yourself and any dependents you will bring with you when determining this. Furthermore, you cannot loan or borrow funds from another person in order to prove this. Thus, you will have to provide sufficient proof that you have these funds prior to applying. The amount of funds one needs in order to apply is as follows:

# of Family Members

Funds Required (CAD $)















For each additional family member



How to Apply for a Start-Up Visa

The application process for a start-up visa is not like any other application. The first and most important step in order to apply for a start-up visa is to pitch your business idea to a designated organization, convince them to support your business idea or venture, and lastly, to receive a Letter of Support from them. Keep in mind, you must determine if the organization is on the list of designated organizations prior to receiving a Letter of Support. This is because if they are not on the list, the Letter of Support will not be valid and you will have to start over with a new organization. Moreover, in order to properly pitch the idea to the designated organization, you must first contact the organization to find out what you need in order to seek its support.

Additionally, the designated organization must be either an angel investor group or a venture capital fund. They must invest in your business. Furthermore, business incubators may also help and provide other forms of assistance to aid in your business’ growth. Once the designated organization approves to support your business, they will send you a Commitment Certificate and then proceed to provide you with a Letter of Support.

Conclusively, if you have confirmed that you meet all of the eligibility criteria and have all of the required documentation and information, then you may proceed to submit the application that must include the Letter of Support.

What if my Business Fails

Luckily, if your business unfortunately fails, this will not affect your permanent residency status in Canada. The Canadian government recognizes that not every business in Canada will succeed and prosper. Therefore, the start-up visa program is specifically designed so that the risk is equally shared between the public and the private sector.

Contact Akrami & Associates

If you would like to apply for a start-up visa through the start-up visa program, it is important to take all of the aforementioned information into consideration before applying. Keep in mind, start-up visa applications are difficult to pursue on your own and the process can be overwhelming, especially if you are unfamiliar. It is highly recommended that you seek out professional and experienced help before attempting to apply. Here, at Akrami & Associates, we work and have experience with many different immigration issues. We have helped many of our clients become permanent residents and start their businesses in Canada. If you believe that you may be eligible to apply for a visitor visa, please feel free to contact Akrami & Associates at our office at 416-477-2545 for more information or if you would like to book a consultation with an immigration professional for more advise.

With Akrami & Associates, there is always a way!

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