Why Do We Need a Start-Up Visa?

The Canadian Start-Up Visa Program allows innovative foreign entrepreneurs to obtain permanent residence in Canada while establishing a start-up business. Unlike other immigration programs offered by Canada for foreign entrepreneurs, the Start-Up Visa does not require any minimum investment by the immigrant. Further, the foreign entrepreneur can choose to live anywhere in Canada under this program, rather than a specific province as under the Provincial Nominee Program. Finally, the Start-Up Visa Program allows recipients to live in Canada as a permanent resident for three years, before then also becoming eligible to apply for Canadian citizenship and a Canadian passport. If the foreign entrepreneur has a spouse and children, they may follow similar steps to become Canadian citizens.

The Start-Up Visa can help new businesses started by foreign entrepreneurs establish themselves and thrive with access to new markets within the Canadian and North American economies, numerous tax benefits Canadian incorporation may bring, and the quick and cost-effective immigration process offered by the program itself. The program helps foreign entrepreneurs with high potential to contribute to the Canadian economy while operating with a support system provided by private investment organizations that agreed to support the new business.

What is the Process for Getting a Start-Up Visa?

The process for getting a Start-Up Visa begins by a foreign entrepreneur meeting the eligibility requirements for the program, which includes the following steps:

  • Qualifying Business: The entrepreneurial applicant must have a qualifying business that becomes incorporated in Canada before or by the time that the applicant receives a visa through the program.
  • Support From a Designated Organization: Next, the entrepreneur must demonstrate that a designated organization, including angel investor groups, business incubators, or venture capital funds, has agreed to support the business’s development in Canada by providing a letter of support to be included with the entrepreneur’s application.
  • Prove Sufficient Fluency in Canada’s Official Languages: Applicants must also provide proof of sufficient proficiency in either of Canada’s official languages: English or French.
  • Proof of Funds to Support Settlement in Canada: Finally, entrepreneur applicants must also demonstrate they have sufficient funds to support themselves as well as their spouse and any other dependents upon their arrival to Canada. The program requires specific funding levels, including about $13,000 for an individual with an additional $3,500 for each additional family member.

Next, entrepreneurs who meet these requirements must then prepare and submit the required paper-based application and application fee while providing documentation of compliance with all four major program requirements. Applicants must also submit to a medical exam and background check. Applications will generally be processed within 12 to 16 months, although the current COVID-19 situation may delay the processing times.

How a Business Immigration Lawyer Can Help

While the immigration system can often be complicated for businesses looking to start a business in Canada, the experienced business immigration team at Sobirovs Law Firm can help you navigate this process and discuss why the Start-Up Visa program may be the right option for your goals. Our team can also help you reach out to potential investment organizations for support as well as ensure completion of your application while complying with all eligibility requirements. Contact our talented team to get started.