Start-up Visa

1 Program Overview

Launched on April 1, 2013, the Start-Up Visa (SUV) program was designed to attract foreign innovative entrepreneurs, who are willing to establish new, high-growth businesses in Canada and support innovation and job creation. IRCC accepts 2750 applications each year.

2 Minimum Requirements:

  • Meet the language requirements (CLB 5 in English or French)
  • Have a qualifying business and received a letter of support (valid for 6 months) from a designated entity (venture capital funds, angel investor groups, or business incubators)
  • Meet the ownership requirements for the business
  • Prove availability of sufficient funds to settle in Canada

3 Benefits and Advantages of the Program:

  • It is a good pathway for entrepreneurs with innovative business ideas to immigrate to Canada by starting a business that can contribute to Canada's job creation and economic development.
  • Applicants can get investment from venture capital funds, angel investor groups or support from business incubators
  • Processing time is fast (12-16 months)
  • The program does not require previous management experience
  • Application cost is relatively low compared to investment programs
  • Can include up to 5 applicants for one proposed business project
  • Flexibility to start a business anywhere outside the province of Quebec
  • Immigration status is not affected whether the business is successful or not

4 Suitable Groups:

The Start-up Visa Program targets immigrant entrepreneurs with the skills and potential to build businesses in Canada that: a) are innovative, b) can create jobs for Canadians, c) can compete on a global scale.

5 Eligibility Requirements:

  • Language Ability: CLB 5 in either English or French
  • Education: have completed at least 1 year of post-secondary education
  • Commitment from a Designated Organization: must get a letter of support from a designated organization (see the detailed list below)
  • Qualifying Business: create a business in Canada anywhere outside the province of Quebec, provide active and ongoing management from within Canada.
  • Ownership Requirements: 1) each applicant holds 10% or more of the voting rights attached to all shares of the corporation outstanding at that time; 2) applicants and the designated entity jointly hold more than 50% of the total voting rights attached to all shares of the corporation outstanding at that time
  • Essential Person: can have up to 5 applicants for one proposed business project including one essential person. If the essential applicant is rejected, the other applicants will be rejected as well
  • Investment: minimum financial commitment of $200,000 from venture capital fund or $75,000 from angel Investor, or acceptance into a business incubator program
  • Settlement Funds: proof of sufficient settlement funds for each applicant

6 Proof of settlement funds (POF):

The Government of Canada does not give financial support to new start-up visa immigrants. The amount depends on the size of your family and may change every year.

Number of family members Funds required (in Canadian dollars)
1 $12,960
2 $16,135
3 $19,836
4 $24,083
5 $27,315
6 $30,806
7 $34,299
For each additional family member, add $3,492


7 Designated organizations:

Venture capital funds

(You must get at least one of these groups to agree to invest a minimum of $200,000):

  • BDC Venture Capital
  • Celtic House Venture Partners
  • Extreme Venture Partners LLP
  • Golden Venture Partners Fund, LP
  • Impression Ventures
  • Information Venture Partners Management Inc.
  • Innovation Platform Capital International LP
  • iNovia Capital Inc.
  • Lumira Capital
  • Nova Scotia Innovation Corporation (o/a Innovacorp)
  • OMERS Ventures Management Inc.
  • Pangaea Ventures Ltd.
  • PRIVEQ Capital Funds
  • Real Ventures
  • Relay Ventures
  • ScaleUp Venture Partners, Inc.
  • Top Renergy Inc.
  • Vanedge Capital Limited Partnership
  • Version One Ventures
  • Westcap Management Ltd.
  • Yaletown Venture Partners Inc.

Angel investor groups

(You must get one or more investors connected to these groups to agree to invest a minimum of $75,000):

  • Canadian International Angel Investors
  • Ekagrata Inc.
  • Golden Triangle Angel Network
  • Keiretsu Forum Canada
  • Oak Mason Investments Inc.
  • Southeastern Ontario Angel Network
  • TenX Angel Investors Inc.
  • VANTEC Angel Network Inc.
  • York Angel Investors Inc.

Business incubators

(You must be accepted into one of these programs):

  • Alacrity Foundation
  • Alberta Agriculture and Forestry
  • Agrivalue Processing Business Incubator
  • Food Processing Development Centre
  • Biomedical Commercialization Canada Inc. (operating as Manitoba Technology Accelerator)
  • Creative Destruction Lab
  • Empowered Startups Ltd.
  • Extreme Innovations
  • Genesis Centre
  • Highline BETA Inc.
  • Innovacorp
  • Interactive Niagara Media Cluster o/a Innovate Niagara
  • Invest Ottawa
  • Knowledge Park o/a Planet Hatch
  • LatAm Startups
  • Launch Academy - Vancouver
  • LaunchPad PEI Inc.
  • Millworks Centre for Entrepreneurship
  • NEXT Canada
  • North Forge Technology Exchange
  • Platform Calgary
  • Real Investment Fund III L.P. o/a FounderFuel
  • Ryerson Futures Inc.
  • Spark Commercialization and Innovation Centre
  • Spring Activator
  • The DMZ at Ryerson University
  • Toronto Business Development Centre (TBDC)
  • TSRV Canada Inc. (operating as Techstars Canada)
  • Waterloo Accelerator Centre
  • York Entrepreneurship Development Institute

8 Application Process:

  • Aladdin assists applicant to select a designated organization (venture capital fund, angel investor group or business incubator)
  • Applicant provides required documents to the selected organization
  • Interview by the designated organization to review applicant's eligibility
  • Designated organization prepares a business plan and recommends investment programs
  • Applicant signs a formal agreement with the designated organization and receives a support letter
  • Complete and mail complete application package for permanent residence
  • Receive Confirmation of Permanent Residence (COPR) and PR Visa
  • Land in Canada and receive permanent resident card

 9 Related Expenses:


Government Fees:

  • Application fee: principal applicant: $1,540 (incl. $1050 processing fee and $490 permanent residence fee or RPRF); spouse or common-law partner: $1,040 (incl. $550 processing fee and $490 permanent residence fee); dependent children: $150/per child.
  • Biometrics (if required): $85 per person; family (2 or more): $170
  • Other third-party fees: medical exams, police certificates, language testing, notary, translation, delivery and postage, etc.
  • Aladdin Immigration professional fees (excluding any government or third party charges)