Permanent Residence by Investment: USA or Canada?

Permanent Residence by Investment: USA or Canada?

Are you an entrepreneur who wants to relocate to North America through investment pathways? If the answer is “yes,” you’ve probably already thought about the “USA or Canada?” dilemma in your search for the best country to live and invest in.

In this article, we want to compare the US “Permanent Residence by Investment” program (EB-5) and the Canadian Entrepreneur pathway (C11). Both programs potentially lead to permanent residence status/Green Card through investment and operating a business. 

Chart that compares permanent residence options in Canada and US

What is the US EB-5 Visa Program?

In the US, the EB-5 program offers immigration options for foreign investors. This investor visa requires you to invest in a new or existing American business. Once your EB-5 application is approved, you will receive a conditional temporary residency for two years and become eligible for a Green Card (permanent residence).

Canadian Entrepreneur Program

Canada, in general, offers more flexibility in business immigration than the US. There are numerous immigration pathways available for foreign business owners. 

In Canada, the C11 Entrepreneur Stream is one of the immigration programs tailored for foreign investors, business owners, and entrepreneurs. Through this program, you must start a new business or buy an existing one in Canada. Once your C11 application is approved, you will receive a Canadian work permit for two years and be eligible for permanent residency.

Here are some additional programs that also offer a pathway to permanent residency in Canada:

So, US or Canada for Permanent Residence by Investment?

The US EB5 Program and Canada’s Entrepreneur streams are not the same. They offer the same result – permanent residency. However, the entire process differs dramatically! Canadian Entrepreneur stream (C11) seems to provide more flexibility to foreign entrepreneurs, investors, and companies and a faster and smoother process. 

USA (EB-5)Canada (C11)
Investment Amount From $800,000 USD to $1,050,000 USDNo minimum investment, but recommended minimum amount – $250,000 CAD
Job Creationat least 10 jobs 2+
Processing TimesStage 1: at least 18-29 months3 weeks – 4 months
Family Members (spouse and children)Eligible to join the principal applicantSpouse: eligible to get a work permit; Children: free schooling (not post-secondary education)
Time to Permanent Residency4+ years 2+ years
English/French LanguageNot requiredMay be required

Things to Consider: Canada vs US Immigration

Although Canada’s Entrepreneur stream has many advantages over the American EB-5 program, you should also consider other important factors that may affect your decision to immigrate to Canada or the US. 

Canada in general offers more flexibility in business immigration than the US. There are numerous immigration pathways available for foreign business owners. For example, you can transfer your company, buy a franchise, or start a new company in Canada – there are many business immigration options.
The cost of education is significantly cheaper in Canada compared to the US. This would make Canada’s residency by investment options more attractive than the ones in the US. This is especially important when your children are planning on attending college or a university. Additionally, Canadian provincial and federal governments provide subsidies and grants for students.

In Canada, the average yearly university tuition is CAD $6,700. On the other hand, in the US it is USD $10,230 for state residents and USD $26,290 for out-of-state students. Also, private non-profit colleges on average cost USD $35,830 a year.

Canada offers free public healthcare, which is not the case in the US. If in Canada you will generally contribute to your healthcare through yearly taxes, then in the US you can expect to pay between USD $540 to as much as USD $800 per person per month – depending on your location and health history. This is a crucial factor to consider when you are reviewing your options for citizenship by investment and the reason why some are reconsidering their US residence by investment plans.

How Does Business Immigration Work?

Regardless of whether you are applying for an EB5 Visa or an Entrepreneur Visa, the idea of business immigration is the same in both countries. You will have to invest in a business in a country that you are planning to immigrate to. You may choose to invest in an existing business, start a brand new one, or perhaps bring the business from your home country to Canada or the US. Not all business immigration paths are the same, though, and it is crucial to consider all of the details.

At the core of business immigration is the idea of investing in the economy of the desired country by building a business. This is one of the most important requirements to meet and one that some simply cannot afford.

  • Canada: There are no official investment requirements set by the government for the Entrepreneur Visa. However, you should have at least CAD $250,000 to invest into Canadian business and approximately CAD $100,000 for operating expenses during the initial year.
  • USA: The amount can vary between USD $1,800,000 and USD $900,000. The lower amount of investment is only applicable to Targeted Employment Areas. ription
Accordion Sample DesYou must have the available funds but what if the entire process takes much longer than you expected? This can have significant effects on your business, your life, and the life of your family. Processing times are something that sets Canada miles apart from its neighbours south of the border.

  • Canada: You can expect your Entrepreneur Visa application to be reviewed in around 90 days. This time may change slightly depending on the workload of the IRCC.
  • USA: The EB-5 Visa generally takes between 30 and 60 months to review, which is another reason why some choose not to apply.cription
Since these business immigration programs are meant to bolster the economy the immigrant entrepreneur is required to create some job opportunities for domestic residents.

  • Canada: The Entrepreneur Visa does not require you to create new jobs per se. Though you are required to show that your investment can create a “significant benefit” for the economy and the community. You can achieve this, amongst other ways, by creating a few job opportunities.
  • USA: On the other hand, the EB5 Visa requires you to create at least 10 full-time positions for domestic residents. This requirement can add quite a lot to your already high investment amount.