Start-up Visa

Canada’s newest visa, the Start-Up Visa focuses on attracting entrepreneurs and new innovative businesses to Canada (outside of Quebec). The visa links top private sector groups with entrepreneurs to provide essential resources, support, and valuable experience.


Are You Eligible for Permanent Residency the New Start-Up Visa?

Letter of Support

    1. First, a corporation must obtain a commitment for an investment from a designated angel investor group, at a minimum of $75,000, or a venture capital fund, at a minimum of $200,000. A letter of support from the investor(s) must be submitted with the application. Once the application has been submitted, the investment entity will electronically send a Commitment Certificate and Term Sheet directly to CIC.
    2. A Commitment Certificate must:
      1. (a) identify the applicant;(b) describe the nature of the business operations to be carried out by the applicant;(c) describe the applicant’s role in the business;

        (d) confirm that the applicant has control over the intellectual property or other assets that the applicant is bringing to the business;

        (e) describe the legal and financial structure of the business;

        (f) identify the role of any other person who holds or is expected to hold an interest in the business and describe their role in the business;

        (g) confirm that the designated angel investor group or the designated venture capital fund has performed a due diligence assessment of the applicant, the business and the investment;

        (h) confirm that the designated angel investor group or the designated venture capital fund is investing in a business that is a qualifying business;

        (i) specify the amount of the investment; and

        (j) specify any terms and conditions applicable to the investment or to the commitment.

    3. If there is more than one applicant for the same business, the Letter of Support and Commitment Certificate must both consistently include information on all of the applicants and identify the individual(s) the entity finds to be essential. There is no limit to the number of designated investors that may participate in one application. You may use one Letter of Support to apply for up to five visas, however, if the essential person(s) listed in the Commitment Certificate is refused, all of the applicants will be refused. On the other hand, if the essential applicant(s) is accepted, there is no guarantee that all other applicants will be approved.
    4. The commitment may come from a combination of angel investors and venture capital funds. In this instance, the investment must total $200,000 and the lead designated entity must be an angel investment firm. In order for a business to qualify it should be incorporated and carrying on business in Canada at the time of commitment, however, the incorporation as well as the commitment may be conditional on the issuance of a PR visa to one or more of the applicants. Note that there is an environmental component for businesses in the food, manufacturing, and production sectors.
    5. Furthermore, a company incorporated in Canada and who is currently carrying out business in Canada may qualify if at the time of commitment the applicant holds a minimum of 10% of voting rights attached to all shares of the corporation outstanding at the time and no persons or entities, other than qualified participants, hold 50% or more of the total amount of voting rights attached to all shares of the corporation outstanding at the time.
    6. At no point during this process will you be required to invest your own money in you venture, nor will the success or failure of your business affect your immigration status. However, a foreign national applying for this visa with no intentions of carrying through their business commitments will not be considered for permanent residency.
    7. Who are the designated investors?


In order to qualify for this visa you must submit proof that through an accepted test you have obtained a minimum of Benchmark Level 5 for the Canadian Language Benchmark.


A minimum of one year of schooling in good standing at a post-secondary educational institution or a degree, diploma, or certificate from a post-secondary institution is required. This can also include a degree, diploma, or certificate from a distance learning institution.

Settlement Funds

You must also meet the minimum requirement and have adequate funds to settle in Canada prior to receiving a salary.

For 2014, the amount of money required for different family sizes is outlined below:

Family Size Amount of Money Required (CAD)
1 $11,824
2 $14,720
3 $18,097
4 $21,971
5 $24,920
6 $28,105
7 or 7+ $31,291


Processing times

Current processing times have not yet been posted as the program has just begun.

How can you Qualify for an Investment?

Each investment firm and venture capital fund will have their own requirements for securing a letter of support. As one of the approved venture capital investors, the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) has set out some guidelines for innovators looking to receive funding.

In their selection criteria, the BDC has outlined that they are looking for innovative companies who possess proprietary knowledge, intellectual property, or technological knowledge/ownership that set high barriers to entry into their sectors. In order to maximize growth and ensure sustainability the BDC looks for a commitment to partnership from companies that work on multi-market applications for their products with clear strategies and adaptability.

To find out more about the Start-Up Visa and how FWCanada can help you with your application, fill out our assessment form.