Canada Start-Up Visa


You can support your family members to live, study, and work in Canada if they become permanent residents. To do this, you must be at least 18 years old and fall into one of the following categories:

  • A Canadian citizen.
  • A person registered in Canada as an Indian under the Canadian Indian Act.
  • A permanent resident of Canada.

How to Apply

The process typically involves submitting two separate applications:

  • Sponsorship Application
  • Permanent Residence Application

Both applications must be submitted for you to sponsor a loved one as a PR in Canada.

If you live in Quebec, you must adhere to Quebec’s specific sponsorship rules and requirements.

The Canada Start-up Visa program is a dynamic initiative to lure entrepreneurs and innovators to Canada. It offers a clear pathway to permanent residence for those with innovative business ideas who want to contribute to Canada’s economic prosperity. This program uniquely relies on partnerships with designated organizations, such as venture capital funds and business incubators, to identify and nurture promising start-ups. By facilitating the immigration of entrepreneurial talent, Canada aims to foster innovation and job creation while expanding its global competitiveness.


The Canada Start-up Visa program enables foreign entrepreneurs with approved business concepts endorsed by designated organizations (VCs, Angels, Incubators) to obtain a Commitment Certificate and Letter of Support (LOS). These documents and meeting language and other requirements allow applicants and their dependents to apply for Canadian permanent residence. The program welcomes start-ups from diverse industries, including IT, Technology, Healthcare, Manufacturing, Agriculture, and Consumer Products, with no concept limitations. Entrepreneurs receive guidance from experienced business advisors working alongside designated organizations, facilitating the mandatory due diligence process, typically completed in 6-8 months. Once approved, applicants can submit their Canadian Permanent Residence application with the Letter of Support.


Possess a business that meets the program’s eligibility criteria

A qualifying business implies that, when receiving a commitment from a designated organization, each applicant must collectively hold a minimum of 10% of the voting rights for all outstanding shares of the corporation (up to 5 individuals can apply as owners). Together with the designated organization, they must jointly possess over 50% of the total voting rights for all outstanding shares. Additionally, upon obtaining permanent residence, the business must be actively managed from within Canada, a significant portion of its operations must take place in Canada, and the business must be legally incorporated in Canada.

Letter of support (LOS) from a designated organization

To be eligible for the Canada Start-up Visa program, you must obtain a Letter of Support from an approved designated organization that supports or invests in potential start-ups.


Here are the key steps to get LOS:

  • Reach out to the designated organization to understand how to seek their endorsement.
  • Persuade the organization that your business concept merits their support.
  • Secure the Letter of Support from the designated organization.

The process of pitching your idea varies by organization, each with specific prerequisites, such as presenting your business concept in person or submitting a comprehensive business plan.

If you successfully garner support from a designated organization, they will issue you a Letter of Support. This document must be included with your application as proof of endorsement by a venture capital fund, angel investor group, or business incubator.

Additionally, the organization will directly send a commitment certificate to immigration authorities, and both the Letter of Support and the commitment certificate will be used to evaluate your application. You may be asked for further business information during the final application assessment.

Please include the Letter of Support or fulfill other program requirements to avoid the rejection of your application.


Satisfy the language proficiency criteria

Having the capacity to communicate and operate in either English, French, or both languages is essential for the success of your business in Canada.

You must undergo a language proficiency examination through an authorized agency, and it is imperative to include the test results in your application; otherwise, the IRCC will not process it. You must attain at least a Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) 5 in speaking, reading, listening, and writing in English or French to meet the language criteria. You can determine your CLB level by referencing your test results.

Failure to meet the minimum language skills will result in the rejection of your application.


Ensure you have sufficient funds for settlement

The Canadian government does not provide financial assistance to newly arrived start-up visa immigrants. As part of your application, you must demonstrate that you possess the necessary funds to sustain yourself and your dependents upon your arrival in Canada. These funds cannot be borrowed from another individual. The specific amount required depends on your family’s size, and these financial requirements are revised annually.

Number of family memebers Funds required
(in Canadian dollars)
1 $13,757
2 $17,127
3 $21,055
4 $25,564
5 $28,994
6 $32,700
7 $36,407
If more than 7 people, for each additional family member $3,706

Time frame and Application process (As of September 26, 2023)

    • Stage 1

During this initial phase, which typically spans up to 5 months, you should prepare a comprehensive CV for preliminary qualification and the initial mandatory documents. Additionally, you should begin drafting your business plan at this stage.

    • Stage 2

In this phase, your business plan should be finalized and presented to a designated investment organization for review and approval. As previously mentioned, this organization can be one of the designated angel investor groups, business incubators, or a designated venture capital fund.

Upon approval of your proposed plan by the designated organization(s), they will issue a support letter to you and submit a Commitment Certificate to the IRCC.

    • Stage 3

Submitting and handling the permanent residence application and the discretionary work permit application usually takes 10 to 30 months. Once you receive LOS, you can submit your application for Canadian permanent residence. Typically, the application for permanent residence is submitted at approximately the eighth month. The estimated processing time for approval is around 22 months from the application submission. Furthermore, obtaining a work permit in less than six months is possible.

Application Fee (As of September 26, 2023):CAD 2140