Canada’s Startup Visa Program


Canada’s Startup Visa Program

Canada surely needs entrepreneurs for ‘Startup Visa Program’ currently and also in upcoming years. This visa program started in April 2013 and the government of Canada is willing every year to bring more and more people in its circle.

“as an applicant of ‘Canada Startup Visa’ (SUV), you may have to pay an amount of $1,540 for the visa processing”.

Applying for this visa allows you to come to Canada without having personal investments. Instead, Canadian investment business companies support you to begin your startup program. If you have a Bachelor’s degree and are innovative with skills to build a business in Canada, that can create jobs for Canadians and are also able to compete on a goal scale, yes then Canda welcomes you to start the proceedings.

“through ‘Startup Visa Program’, you directly get permanent residency of Canada instead of a temporary work visa that also allows you to bring your family”.

Who Can apply

There are just 4 simple requirements that you have to meet in order to apply for a Startup Visa:

  • English language proficiency
  • Funds availability for settlement
  • Qualifying business
  • Letter of support from eligible business organizations.

1- English Language Requirements

Your ability to have language proficiency in English or French can help you a lot get success for this visa program. Normally, you need CLB level 5 in all four modules (reading, writing, speaking, and listening). This is equivalent to CEFR B1 level of general English standards. Accepted language test scores stand as follows:


CLB level 5ListeningReadingWritingSpeaking
CELPIP (G test)5555
IELTS (General training)

*Result certificates are accepted from the British Council, ADP Australia, and Cambridge Assessment English.


CLB level 5SpeakingListeningReadingWriting
TEF Canada: Test d’évaluation de français225180150225
TCF Canada : Test de connaissance du français6369-397375-4056

*The test results have only the validity of 2 years. So bear in mind please before applying.

do you know that you can also apply for this program even with a team of up to 5 people”.

2- Funds availability for settlement

You must show enough funds for settlement in Canada. This is not the money you need for starting a business but the one for your own living expenses. The required funds depend if you are applying single or with dependants. The required level of the amount in your personal bank account should be as follows:

Number of
family members
Funds (Canadian Dollars)

3- Qualifying business

In order to get the ‘startup visa’, your business must be qualifying according to required standards which are:

At the time you receive your PR (permanent residency)

  • the business must be incorporated in Canada
  • the essential part of the operations must be based in Canada
  • the ongoing management of the business must be Canada originated

At the time you get a commitment from the eligible designated businesses (organizations)

  • designated organizations and applicant/applicants (up to 5) must hold the share of 50% of total voting rights attached to all shares of the corporation outstanding. And
  • the voting rights ratio for each applicant (up to 5)  must be more than 10% attached to all shares of the corporation outstanding at that time

4- Letter of support from eligible business organizations

The most important requirement of this visa program is the letter of support from designated organizations. They will also have to send a commitment certificate directly to IRCC. There are three designated organizations categories from which you can get a letter of support:

  • Venture capital fund (21 organizations)
  • Angel investor group (9 organizations)
  • Business incubator (29 organizations)

Each of these groups has different investment group of businesses that can provide you a letter of support for your startup in Canada.

*Remember that you need the letter of support from only one of these groups. But it could even be from two or all three.

Minimum investment required

You must make sure that you get the minimum investment requirement from these designated organizations. The minimum threshold is:

Organization Group NameMinimum Investment required in Candian Dollars
Venture capital fund$200,000
Angel investor group$75,000 (from one or more investors)
Business incubatorNo minimum investment requirement

“SUV pilot entrepreneurs received over $3.7M in investment capital from designated entities according to statistics of 2016.”

How to get a letter of support from designated organizations

You must contact personally to these designated business organizations. They will let you know how they can help you with an investment if they accept your innovative business model. Once they think and agree that your innovative business idea is worth supporting, they will issue you a letter of support. Each of these organizations has its own requirements and criteria for approval. They may also ask you to present your business plan in person.

Find here a complete list of these designated organization.

How to apply for PR (Startup Visa)

Provided that you have all documentation ready;

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada
Centralized Intake Office – Start Up Business Class
P.O. BOX 8700
Sydney, NS B1P 0G2

or courier it to

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada
Centralized Intake Office – Start Up Business Class
49 Dorchester Street
Sydney, NS B1P 5Z2

*You will also have to pay an extra amount for the police character certificate, medical examination and for language test to their respective awarding bodies. Additionally, your Biometrics (cost is $85 for one person) will also be collected in your nearest Canadian visa application center.

“startup visa program processing time is almost 12 to 16 months”.

Download here the official Document Checklist (PDF, 371.86KB) for required documents to be attached. 

Check here the official guidance notes of for the startup visa program.


SUV Principal Applicants Admitted to Canada, by Country/region


SUV Principal Applicants Admitted to Canada by education level


Designated Entity Investment Activity (April 2013-April 2016)


You may also check here sample startup business models.

50 Business Models Samples


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