What is a Canada start-up visa and what’s so great about it?

Canada Start-Up Visa program started initially as a three year-pilot and became permanent in 2018. Also known as Canada Start-Up Class, the program is one of the most preferred immigration routes for international entrepreneurs due to its many benefits.

Requirements for Canada Start-Up Visa

The Start-Up Visa program is a straightforward route with only a few requirements. Firstly, you must demonstrate that the business you’re venturing into is innovative, can be internationally competitive, and can create jobs for Canadians. You also need to provide evidence that your business has the support of a designated organization in Canada. This is demonstrated via a commitment certificate and a letter of support from a designated authority. The next requirement is proof of either French or English language proficiency. And lastly, you are to show evidence of transferable settlement funds, which is roughly $13,000 CAD plus $3000CAD per family member.

There are three types of private investors for this program: angel investor, venture capital fund, and business investor. Each has its requirements for Start-Up Visa applicants. In any case, however, you must hold at least 10% of the company’s voting rights. Also, no other person can hold 50% or more of the voting rights in the company.

Why is Canada Start-Up Visa So Great?

The Start-Up Visa program offers many advantages that cannot be found in many other routes. The following are some of the reasons why it is one of the most prestigious Canadian immigration programs:

Opportunity to Permanent Resident and Established Entrepreneur in Canada

The Start-Up Visa program (SUV) offers you Canadian permanent residence and the opportunity to establish and expand your business enterprise in the ever-growing Canadian market. It is an excellent advantage to explore one of the strongest economies in the world. The good news is that you can enter Canada initially on a work permit supported by a designated Canadian-based investor. And once your business is set up and in operation, you can apply for permanent residence. In other words, you don’t have to wait until you’ve secured permanent residence before moving to Canada. The program is well-structured to connect you with a private sector investor in Canada who will help you establish your start-up business.

No Net Worth Requirement

This is one of the most attractive perks of a Canada Start-Up visa. In most other countries with similar programs, applicants are required to invest a specified minimum amount to qualify. Sometimes, these investment amounts run into hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars, which makes it out of reach for many people. However, with Canada Start-Up Visa, there is no such requirement as a minimum investment amount, neither does it require you to have a certain net worth. This makes it open to immigrants of different financial status and not only high net-worth individuals.

Fairly Easy Language Score

Unlike some other Canadian immigration routes that require various supporting documents to meet a specific Canadian CRS score, the start-up visa doesn’t have stringent conditions. You only need to demonstrate a relatively easy language test score of Canada Language Benchmark Level 5 either in English or French. You also have the freedom to live anywhere in the country.

Fast Processing Time

The visa has a fast processing time. It only takes an average of 4-6 months to secure a letter of support from a designated entity. And once you’ve secured a letter of support, you can proceed to submit your application for permanent residence. Within 18 months, the whole process – from application to visa issuance – will be finalized.

Route to Citizenship

It also offers one of the fastest routes to Canadian citizenship, as you can become eligible to apply for citizenship and a Canadian passport just after three years after becoming a permanent resident. And with a Canadian passport, you have just positioned yourself for a great international travel experience and other business opportunities. The passport grants you access to over 130 countries visa-free or visa-on-arrival. This can be leveraged for personal and business growth. Not only that, but citizenship also offers the right to vote and be voted for in an election.


Since it was made permanent in 2018, the Start-Up Visa program has benefited thousands of immigrants who are now contributing to various sectors of the Canadian economy. Its flexible application process and less stringent requirements make it a top choice among international entrepreneurs.