Canada Investor Visa: Learn How Investment Immigration Can Lead to PR and Citizenship

Canada Investor Visa: Learn How Investment Immigration Can Lead to PR and Citizenship

As a foreign entrepreneur or investor, you can benefit from securing a visa through investment immigration options just like Canada’s Investor Visa programs. The Government of Canada has created various immigrant investor programs that lead to permanent residency and potential citizenship. On this page, you will learn about what business immigration programs are available to you and which one will suit you best!

What are Canada’s Investor Visa and Investment Immigration Programs?

Various immigration programs in Canada are tailored to foreign entrepreneurs, investors, and companies which make applicants eligible for permanent residency. As a result, there is no single Canada Investor program; instead, there are numerous options for investor immigration. These options can be divided into federal and provincial programs, described below.

Choosing the right immigration program, federal or provincial, will play a big role in the success of your immigration strategy. It is essential to select the program that is the most suitable for your business and your personal background. Our free instant assessment tool will certainly help you make the right decision, and if you need further guidance, you can always rely on valuable advice during our 60-minute strategy meeting with our top business immigration lawyers.

Canada’s Federal Investor Programs

The following are business immigration programs that are created on the federal level.

If you have an already established qualified business in your home country, you can transfer and expand it to Canada using the ICT program! You will generally be eligible for permanent residency after 1 year of business in Canada.
Owners of innovative foreign businesses can benefit from Canada’s Start-Up Visa, which makes up to 5 founding partners eligible for permanent residency in Canada. It is important to note that established start-ups that focus on fostering innovation are preferred for this program. This program requires outside investors like venture capital funds. It can take up to 2 years to obtain permanent residency.
The C11 Entrepreneur stream is perfect for individuals who want to invest in an existing Canadian business or start a new one. After one year of operating your business in Canada, you will become eligible for permanent residency.
Entrepreneurs and investors can receive a work permit through the LMIA pathway and eventually permanent residency after 2 years of employment in Canada. This program is tailored more towards hiring foreign workers. Other, above-mentioned programs are usually preferred over this one.

Provincial Investor Immigration Programs 

On the provincial level, Canadian provinces offer various immigration programs to invest and settle permanently in various parts of the country. These Provincial Nominee Programs (PNP) are listed below.

Alberta’s PNP program is known as the Alberta Immigration Program (AAIP). It is one of the most popular programs in the Canadian prairies due to Alberta’s ever-growing economy in the region.
In this province, you could be eligible for the BC PNP immigration pathway. This province’s PNP pathway is one of the most popular ones in Canada along with Ontario’s program. These two provinces have the biggest provincial economies in the country. Learn more about it in our video!
Manitoba offers a few PNP options, Farm Investor Pathway and Entrepreneur Pathway. In this province, you could be eligible for the BC PNP immigration pathway.
This eastern province has a well-developed New Brunswick Provincial Nominee Program (NBPNP). Learn more about it here.
In Nova Scotia, immigrant entrepreneurs can benefit from Nova Scotia Nominee Program (NSNP). Learn more about it with us.
This province has one of the most popular PNP programs due to Ontario’s economy. Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program is highly popular amongst foreign investors. Learn more about it.
The smallest Canadian province offers the PEI Provincial Nominee Program for foreign investors, entrepreneurs, and companies alike. Explore the program with us.
This prairie province offers the Saskatchewan Immigrant Nominee Program, most often targeting which is ideal for entrepreneurs and farm owners/operators.
The province of Quebec does not have a PNP program but it has a similar investor program. As an investor-Quebec immigrant, you can start a business or invest in an existing one and live in Quebec. Learn more about Quebec’s investor program.

Federal Immigration Programs vs Provincial Immigration Programs

As a business immigrant, you have a wide selection of possible pathways. Depending on your business goals, some immigration schemes may suit you better than others. It is important to compare and see whether a federal or provincial program would be the best for you, your business, and your family.

Federal Investor ProgramsProvincial Investor Programs
Minimum InvestmentCAD $250,000 to CAD $350,000 recommended$350,000 recommended
CAD $250,000* - $1,000,000

Plus additional net worth requirements in each province

*Some industry-specific programs don’t have qualifying investment requirements
Processing Times1 – 3 months6 – 8 months
Time to Permanent Residency2+ years2+ years
Family MembersYesYes for some
Program LimitNoYes
Restrictions and CommitmentYou need to show that you have sufficient liquid funds to execute your business plan.Keep an eye out for restricted and preferred businesses in each provincial program! Most provinces restrict franchise businesses or prohibit certain automated businesses.

Make sure to review the residency requirements and business commitment requirements for provincial programs to understand what your short- and long-term commitments will be.

Who Should Apply to Investor Programs?

Every one of the above programs has its own eligibility requirements and application process, but most share some common elements:

  • Operate a successful business or have enough funds to buy or start one in Canada;
  • Have at least $250,000 that you can invest in your Canadian business;
  • Possess necessary skills for business development and business management; and
  • Have the ability to use your business experience to build a business in Canada.

You can use our instant assessment tool to see if you fulfill the requirements for investor immigration, as well as receive personalized advice during our 1-hour strategy meeting with you.

If you find yourself falling within the requirements of business immigration and you are from the United States, the United Kingdom, the United Arab Emirates, Australia, India, or any other country in the world – you are likely to receive approval for your business immigration application. In particular, if you are any of the below, you should consider Canada’s residence by investment programs:

  • Investor
  • Entrepreneur
  • Self-employed person
  • Executive or senior manager
  • Skilled worker and professional

If you are unsure what kind of business or investment you’d like to do in Canada, then you should research some investment immigration ideas to find suitable opportunities and inspiration.

From Work Permit to Permanent Residency to Citizenship

Every business immigrant who comes to Canada through business immigration is eligible for permanent residency. When you first receive approval for your business immigration application, you will obtain a work permit as your Canadian company will employ you. After operating your business for at least a year, you will become eligible for permanent residency. After receiving permanent residence, you can eventually qualify for Canadian citizenship.

The entire process how to get an investor visa for Canada can be summarized as follows:

    1. Establish or buy a Canadian company;
    2. Your Canadian company employs you;
    3. Apply for a work permit through a business immigration program;
    4. Operate your business in Canada for one year;
    5. Apply for permanent residency; and
    6. Become eligible for Canadian citizenship.

Flowchart that is showing how Canada Investor Visa works - you get a work permit then a permanent residency and eventually Canadian citizenship

Family Members

Many business owners want to immigrate to Canada with their families. You should note that your family members will be eligible to come with you through business immigration. Usually, your spouse or a common-law partner would receive an open work permit. Also, your children would obtain study permits or temporary residence permits, depending on their age. As the main applicant, the family members will also be eligible for permanent residency.

Advantages of Canada’s Citizenship by Investment Programs

There are numerous reasons you want to make Canada a new home for you, your business, and your family. For instance:

  • Canada has one of the fastest-growing economies in the world;
  • You can qualify for permanent residence much faster than in other countries;
  • Canada is multicultural and diverse;
  • Society is highly acceptive of all nationalities and cultures;
  • Canada supports new businesses, and often the government will provide subsidies and rebates for certain industry sectors;
  • Canada has a free healthcare system; and
  • Education in Canada is highly affordable and is of a very high standard.

How Much Do You Need to Invest to Immigrate to Canada and Get Permanent Residence? 

In our experience, you will need to invest between CAD $250,000 to $350,000+ to gain permanent residence in Canada as a foreign entrepreneur or investor. With such an investment, you could apply for one of Canada’s investment immigration programs, under which you could become eligible for permanent residency after operating your business in Canada on a work permit for some time. The amount that you invest will largely depend on various factors such as:

  • Type of Business – The amount you would invest during your business immigration may be lower or higher than CAD $250,000 to $350,000 simply because of the needs of your business. Some businesses require a significant upfront investment, as is the case with manufacturing or industrial production. On the other hand, some businesses may be easier to set up compared to others, for example, buying a convenience store franchise or a nail salon. Some business immigrants choose to expand their foreign business to Canada, while others prefer to purchase or invest in an existing Canadian business.
  • Location – Canada is a vast country with a huge market disparity from region to region. Bigger cities tend to require an investment that is on the higher end of the spectrum. While, for example, it may cost you CAD $180,000 to immigrate to Saskatoon by buying a business, in Toronto or Vancouver, it could add up to CAD $300,000. The difference in investment costs due to the location would be visible in real estate, staff, products, and service costs, to name a few.
  • Competition – Understanding your competition will allow you to gauge the costs of your business immigration more precisely. Our lawyers have extensive experience helping foreign entrepreneurs immigrate to Canada and accurately estimating the costs. We have exclusive knowledge of Canadian markets and can help you more efficiently understand the competition you might face as a foreign entrepreneur. Book a 1-hour consultation to gain tailored insights about how business immigration can work for you.

A graphic showing how much do you need to invest to immigrate to Canada and get permanent residence.

Once you are in Canada on a work permit operating your business, keeping your business viable is essential to switch to permanent residency. Only business owners whose companies are viable and successful are able to apply for permanent residency. Thus, for some to keep or make their business profitable and viable may take more investment compared to other business immigrants. Again, this will depend on numerous factors. However, even if your business is not successful and you are ineligible for PR, you can apply to extend your work permit and continue working on your business.

How to Succeed in Your Canada Investor Visa Application

There isn’t one particular thing that you must focus on that will make you successful in obtaining your investor visa. Each business immigration program’s requirements are different. This means that your application must be tailored toward the program that you are applying for. However, some general guidelines could increase the chances of a successful application, such as:

Documentation. The entire application process for any of Canada’s Investor Visas involves showing evidence to support your claims. For example, you will be required to show evidence of your finances and/or your company’s financial statements to show that you have funds required for business immigration. For a successful application, you will have to provide documents for almost everything ranging from your education to the projected revenue of your Canadian company. Although the government provides a list of mandatory documents, it is always advisable to go above and beyond and provide immigration officials with all the additional documentation.

Commitment. One of the critical elements of a successful business immigration application is having evidence that you have already committed to executing your business plan. This means that you must invest in your Canadian business before submitting your application. This poses a risk to some foreign entrepreneurs because you are investing your money even before knowing whether you can move to Canada or not. However, immigration officials want to see that you have already started investing in Canada and not just promising to do so in the future. Evidence of your investment commitment can be securing a lease for your business, buying a business, buying essential equipment, or even hiring staff.

Professional Advice. Securing one of Canada’s Investment Visas through business immigration is not easy. Your immigration application will be subject to a highly detailed assessment by immigration officials. Thus, your application must be pristine. For business immigrants, the stakes are high because you are investing your hard-earned money in a Canadian business with hopes of immigrating to operate that business. This is why it is crucial to have an experienced legal team to help you create an excellent case for your business immigration. You can schedule a 1-hour consultation with our lawyers, who will help you create the best immigration strategy for you and for your business.

Frequently Asked Questions

Below are some of the most asked questions based on our experience.

Can I get Canadian Citizenship By Investment?

The short answer is no. There are no immigration programs that allow you to buy Canadian citizenship. The long answer is yes, however, you are not investing in citizenship but instead investing in a Canadian business. Once you have a business in Canada, you will be eligible for a work permit to operate that business. After operating it for 1 – 2 years, you will become eligible for permanent residency, and after you fulfill the requirements, you will become eligible for Canadian citizenship.

It is crucial to understand that the investment alone will not grant you Canadian citizenship. The immigration programs that cater to business immigrants will put you on track to becoming Canadian if you fulfill numerous requirements. Do not be misled by any claims that you might see that offer Canadian citizenship for sale. Canada has never had such programs, and under the current immigration plan, there are no intentions of creating such programs.

What countries offer citizenship for investment? 

Many countries offer immigration schemes that can lead to citizenship which are often referred to as golden visas. For example, America’s EB-5 program is similar to Canada’s Entrepreneur C11 pathway. Both offer the same result, a Work Permit, then PR (green card), and eventually citizenship, but the process varies dramatically.

What are the benefits of federal investment programs? 

There are various benefits of the federal programs, such as:

  • There are no mobility restrictions, and you can build businesses in any province and expand across different provinces as well;
  • No provincial residency requirements and more freedom to explore and adjust your business without breaching a business activity commitment list;
  • They are more focused on attracting foreign investments and encouraging innovation/economic stimulus rather than mandating business success. You are not punished if your business fails, as long as you genuinely work on and try executing your plan;
  • There are no industry restrictions. Some provincial programs are specifically geared towards fostering growth in specific industries. It may limit your access to them if you don’t fit into a particular sector/category;
  • There is no minimum net worth or investment requirement for most programs – you need to show that you have sufficient liquid funds to execute your business plan.

Can You Get Canadian Citizenship by Buying Property?

No, current Canadian immigration laws do not allow foreign investors to gain citizenship by buying property. However, under federal and provincial investment immigration programs, the purchase of a property can contribute to your immigration as an entrepreneur.

If you are a foreign entrepreneur and decide to start a business in Canada, the property that you purchase can become part of your investment in the Canadian economy and your business. By no means will this land you Canadian citizenship. Instead, the investment in property may contribute to making your business more viable which would allow you to gain permanent residency in Canada, which then could lead to citizenship.