Canada’s Start-up Visa Program targets immigrant entrepreneurs with the skills and potential to build businesses in Canada that are innovative, can create jobs for Canadians, and can compete on a global scale.
If you can get support for your idea from one of the designated organizations, you may be able to immigrate to Canada.

Qualifying business

A qualifying business means you created a business that meets the following conditions.

  • At the time you get a commitment from a designated organization:
    • each applicant holds 10% or more of the voting rights attached to all shares of the corporation outstanding at that time (up to 5 people can apply as owners)
    • applicants and the designated organization jointly hold more than 50% of the total voting rights attached to all shares of the corporation outstanding at that time
  • At the time you receive your permanent residence:
    • you provide active and ongoing management of this business from within Canada
    • an essential part of the operations of the business happens in Canada
    • this business is incorporated in Canada

Letter of support from a designated organization

You must get a letter of support from a designated organization (a business group that has been approved to invest in or support possible start-ups).

The organization will also send a commitment certificate directly to Immigration. They’ll use both your letter of support and the organization’s commitment certificate to assess your application.

Temporary Work Permit option

While your application for permanent residence is being processed, you can apply for a temporary work permit to get to Canada and start building your business.

Language requirements

You must take a language test from an approved agency (IELTS, CELPIP, TEF) and include the results with your application, or they won’t process it.
You must meet the minimum level of the Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) 5 in either English or French in all of these four areas:


Settlement funds

The Government of Canada does not give financial support to new start-up visa immigrants.
When you apply, you’ll need to give proof that you have the money to support yourself and your dependants after you arrive in Canada. You can’t borrow this money from another person.
The amount you need depends on the size of your family. They update these amounts every year.

Stevens and Associates have helped hundreds of businesspeople successfully immigrate to Canada from around the world. If you are interested in coming to Canada as a businessperson, please complete our basic information form and send it to us for a free assessment.