Startup Visa Program

Launch your startup in Canada with the Startup Visa Program

If you’re a foreign entrepreneur looking to establish an innovative startup in Canada, the Startup Visa Program Canada could be the perfect pathway to permanent residency.

How does the Startup Visa Program Work?

The Startup Visa Program is a fast-track immigration program that allows eligible foreign entrepreneurs to establish innovative startups in Canada.

To qualify, you must meet specific criteria, such as proving that your business is innovative, demonstrating proficiency in either English or French, meeting financial requirements, and passing security and medical checks.

If successful, you and your family can become Canadian citizens and benefit from a thriving startup ecosystem, lower business costs, and a high quality of life.

Startup Visa Program Benefits

For qualified applicants, the startup visa program offers a life-changing series of opportunities including:

In addition, by choosing Kadri Law to support your application, you will gain additional benefits including:

Startup Visa Eligibility Criteria

In order to qualify you must meet the following four requirements:

  1. You must have a qualifying business:
    • You must own at least 10% of the business
    • All applicants together with the designated organization must hold at least 50% of the total voting rights attached to all shares of the company at that time.
  2. You need a letter of support from a designated organization:
    • You must get at least one Venture Capital Firm to agree to invest a minimum of $200,000 or
    • You must get one or more Angel investors to agree to invest a minimum of $75,000 or
    • You must be accepted into one of the business incubation programs approved by the IRCC.
    • Kadri Law can introduce you to designated organizations and refer you to our partner Entrepreneur Village, who will help you plan, research, and develop your business while offering industry leasing business consulting and advisory support services.
    • You will have the opportunity to collaborate with Startup Central to help validate the tech component of your startup within the Canadian Market and turn your innovative business concept into reality.
    • Kadri Law will also help you provide the necessary documentation to prove that you have the support of one of the designated organizations.
  3. You must meet the program’s language requirements
  4. Proof of Funds
    • You need to prove that you have enough money to settle in Canada.
    • Approx $ 13,000 CAD plus approx $3,500 per additional family member. 
    • These funds cannot be borrowed from another person.

Startup Visa Designated Organizations (DCO)

Designated organizations are Canadian venture capital funds, angel investor groups, and business incubators designated by the Canadian government to participate in the program. They have experience and expertise in identifying innovative business ideas that have the potential to succeed in Canada.

To receive a Letter of Support from a DCO, you need to submit a detailed business plan that will be evaluated based on its innovation, market potential, and other relevant criteria. If the DCO believes that your business idea has the potential to succeed, they will issue a Letter of Support that will allow you to apply for permanent residency in Canada through the Startup Visa Program.

The list of designtated organizations is maintained by IRCC and is subject to change. The latest version can be found here.

Canada Startup Visa Process

We have partnered with numerous consultants and professionals across fields such as finance, accounting, business development, real estate, engineering, web and software development, marketing, PR, communications, product development and more to offer you everything you need to make your business a success in Canada.

  1. Preparing your pitch deck
    • Estimated duration: 1 – 2 weeks
    • We will work with you to turn your idea into a pitch deck, which can be submitted to one of the designated organizations.
  2. Submit your application
    • Estimated duration: 1-2 weeks
    • We will submit and champion your application to a designated organization that best matches your business idea.
  3. Obtain a letter of support from the designated organization
    • Estimated duration: 1-3 Weeks
    • If approved, you will receive a letter of support, which will be included in your application.
  4. Prepare and Submit your Permanent Residence and Work Permit applications.
    • Estimated duration: 3-8 Weeks
    • We will prepare, submit and support your permanent residence and work permit application with IRCC.
  5. Arrive in Canada and begin the onboarding process.
    • Estimated Wait Time: 5-11 Weeks for the Work Permit processing
    • You will have the opportunity to work with Entrepreneur Village and its network of leading professionals who will you plan, research, and develop your business while offering industry leasing business consulting and advisory support services.
    • You will have the opportunity to collaborate with Startup Central to help validate the tech component of your startup within the Canadian Market and turn your innovative business concept into reality.
  6. Receive your Permanent Residence Status
    • Estimated Wait Time: 18-33 months
    • While you wait for your PR status, you will be hard at work, along with Kadri Law, Entrepreneur Village and Startup Central, setting up your business.
  7. Apply for your Canadian Citizenship
    • Within 3 years of obtaining your Canadian permanent resident status, you will be eligible to apply for Canadian Citizenship. 
    • We will walk you through the application process and submit all the required documents with IRCC for you.
  8. Ongoing Support
    • You will retain a permanent competitive advantage by being part of Entrepreneur Village and Startup Central. 
    • You will receive ongoing support, training and a diverse network of professionals that will be able to help you conquer any challenge that may arise.

Canadian Startup Visa FAQ

To qualify for the program, your business must be an innovative startup that has the potential to compete on a global scale. It must also be supported by a designated Canadian organization (DCO).

There is no specific requirement for previous business experience to qualify for the program. However, having experience in the industry and a proven track record of success can help support your application.

There is no specific educational requirement for the Startup Visa Program Canada. However, having a higher level of education and expertise in your field can strengthen your application

Yes, you can bring your spouse or common-law partner and any dependent children with you to Canada if your application is successful.

No, the purpose of the Startup Visa Program Canada is to support foreign entrepreneurs who want to establish their businesses in Canada. Working for another company while running your startup in Canada is not permitted under the program.

The processing time for the Startup Visa Program Canada can vary depending on the complexity of your case. However, the program is designed to provide a fast-track pathway to permanent residency for eligible foreign entrepreneurs.

Up to date processing times can be found here.

Start your Journey with Kadri Law

Kadri Law has accumulated a wealth of knowledge and expertise in all areas of Canadian immigration and business law. For almost 2 decades, we have successfully processed over 10,000 Canadian Immigration cases utilizing every possible Immigration program Canada offers.  We are committed to finding the right program for you, the one that best meets your goals and objectives while optimizing your prospects for success.

We offer credible and trustworthy legal representation while continuing to set the bar high with an industry leading commitment to client satisfaction and delivering exceptional results.

If you want to begin your startup business in Canada, contact Kadri Law using the form below to begin the process of analyzing your circumstances and determining the viability of Canadian Immigration benefits that can be derived from business strategies. 

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