Canada’s Startup Visa Program – How to Apply (Explained)

Canada’s Startup Visa Program – How to Apply (Explained)

The Canada Startup Visa Program is an immigration initiative designed to attract and facilitate the entry of innovative entrepreneurs to establish and grow their startup businesses in Canada. To be eligible, applicants must have a qualifying business model with the potential for scalability and job creation in Canada.

They are required to secure a commitment from a designated Canadian venture capital fund, angel investor group, or business incubator.

Successful applicants, along with their families, receive Canadian permanent residency, allowing them to live and work in the country as they contribute to Canada’s entrepreneurial ecosystem and economic development.

Canada Start-Up Visa Program Requirements

  1. Qualifying Business Ownership:
    • Hold a minimum of 10% of the voting rights for all shares in the company.
    • Together with the designated organization, maintain at least 50% of the voting rights for all shares in the company.
  2. Letter of Support from Designated Organization:
    • Pitch your business idea to the organization and convince them of its worthiness.
    • The pitching process varies for each organization.
    • Upon a successful pitch, receive a letter of support to be included in the start-up visa application.
  3. Language Requirements:
  4. Proof of Funds:
    • Demonstrate adequate financial resources to support yourself and dependents upon arrival in Canada, with the required amount dependent on family size
Number of
family members
Funds required
(in Canadian dollars)
For each additional family member$3,492

How To Apply For Canada’s Startup Visa Program

1. Prepare Your Business

Develop a qualifying business plan that is innovative, scalable, and has the potential to create jobs in Canada.

2. Secure Commitment from Designated Organization:

Obtain a commitment from a designated Canadian venture capital fund, angel investor group, or business incubator. This commitment is crucial for your application.

3. Submit an Expression of Interest (EOI)

Express your interest in applying for the Startup Visa Program by submitting an Expression of Interest to the designated organization supporting your business.

4. Receive a Letter of Support

If the designated organization is interested in supporting your business, you will receive a letter of support. This letter is a key document for your visa application.

5. Gather Necessary Documents

Collect all required documents, including proof of language proficiency, educational credentials, and proof of funds.

6. Submit Application to IRCC

Once you have the necessary support and documents, submit a complete application to Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).

7. Wait for Processing

The IRCC will assess your application, which may involve additional requests for information or an interview.

Designated organizations for start-up visa

  • Eligibility Requirements:
    • Provide proof (Commitment Certificate and Letter of Support) from a designated organization endorsing your business.
    • These documents detail the arrangement with the organization and are crucial for your startup visa application.
  • No Personal Investment Required:
    • In contrast to other investor programs, there is no need for applicants to invest their own capital.
  • Financial Requirements:
    • Secure a minimum of $75,000 from a Canadian angel investor or $200,000 from a recognized Canadian venture capital fund.
  • Business Incubator Option:
    • If accepted into a recognized Canadian business incubator, no personal investment capital is required


Who qualifies as an eligible entrepreneur for Canada’s Startup Visa Program?

Eligible entrepreneurs are those with innovative business ideas capable of creating jobs for Canadians and competing on a global scale. They must secure support from a designated Canadian organization to apply.

What is the role of designated organizations in the program?

Designated organizations, such as venture capital funds, angel investor groups, or business incubators, play a crucial role by providing support and an obligation that validates the applicant’s business for the Startup Visa Program.

What are the specific requirements for an innovative business idea?

The business idea should be innovative, capable of creating jobs for Canadians, and have the potential to compete globally. Applicants need to demonstrate these key criteria to qualify for the program.

Is personal investment required for the Startup Visa Program?

Unlike some other immigration programs, applicants are not required to invest their own funds. Instead, they must secure a minimum investment from a Canadian angel investor or venture capital fund, depending on the designated category.

What is the process after receiving support from a designated organization?

Once an applicant secures support, they can proceed to submit their application to the Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). The application undergoes evaluation, and successful applicants and their family members are granted permanent residency in Canada.


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