What Are The Requirements for The Start-Up Visa Program?

Start Up Visa Program (SUVP) is designed to encourage entrepreneurs to start and grow their businesses in Canada. The program aims to help entrepreneurs (and those deemed to be essential to their businesses) establish, work, and grow their businesses.

IRCC (Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada) grants permanent residence (PR) guidance to business owners whose businesses have the potential to:

  • Creating jobs in Canada;
  • Innovate within a sector or industry;
  • Compete on a global scale.

In the event that a business venture fails after immigration to Canada, the successful applicant will retain PR status.

Criteria for Eligibility

It is required that you (as an owner) own at least 10% of the voting rights of a qualifying business in order to be eligible for the program. Furthermore, at least 50% of the voting rights must be owned collectively by all owners (up to five may apply together) and by the designated investment organization in Canada (at all times).

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The individual who owns such an interest must then:

  • A Canadian-based organization must sponsor and support its business;
  • English or French language proficiency is required;
  • Having sufficient funds to settle and live in Canada; and
  • Obtain security clearance and medical clearance from immigration.
  • Providing proof of an organization’s support

To qualify for the program, you need the support of a designated organization in Canada, including proof of funding. A designated organization is a business entity that is approved by the government to invest in or support entrepreneurs.

As part of your PR application, you will need a letter of support from these designated organizations. Furthermore, the designated organization must provide IRCC with a commitment certificate outlining its expectations and support of the project.

Syndication means that multiple organizations can provide support and sponsorship simultaneously. In these cases, all designated organizations must be identified, and will jointly submit a letter of support and commitment.

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A Proof of Funding is Required

As a participant in the SUVP, you are not required to invest your own money, but you must provide proof of funding and investment.

If your business is backed by a venture capital firm or angel investor group, you may have to show proof of funding. However, if your business is backed by a business incubator, you won’t need to show proof of funding.

  • It is required to present CAD $200,000 in confirmed funding if sponsorship has been obtained from a designated venture capital group.
  • The amount of confirmed funding from an angel investor group must be CAD $75,000 if sponsorship has been obtained.
  • Multiple sponsorships will require higher proof of funding criteria.

To ensure compliance with the SUVP, a peer review will also be conducted by a governing third body at your designated institution.

Having Sufficient Funds to Settle in Canada

Prior to arriving in Canada, you will need to prove that you and your family have sufficient funds to support you and your family.

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Required Language Skills

Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) levels of 5 or higher are required for applicants to qualify for the SUVP. The CLB is a Canadian system for evaluating listening, reading, writing, and listening skills. English tests can be conducted through IELTS or CELPIP, whereas French tests can be conducted by TEF or TCF.

Security and Medical Clearance

Applicants must also undergo standard security and medical clearance checks before being allowed to enter Canada. An Immigration Medical Exam (IME) may be needed for medical approval while a police clearance certificate/check may be required to prove security clearance.

To begin working in Canada, applicants under the program can also apply for a temporary work permit.


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