The Start-up Visa (SUV) program in Canada presents a compelling opportunity for entrepreneurs looking to establish or expand their business. With an innovative concept, one may be eligible to immigrate to Canada through the SUV program. Despite the competition, the benefits of being able to bring your ideas to fruition, secure funding from private investors, tap into a highly skilled workforce, and build a comfortable lifestyle make the SUV program a worthwhile pursuit for entrepreneurs from around the world.
What is Start-up Visa Program?
The Start-up Visa program is an immigration initiative established by Canada in 2013, aimed at attracting and supporting talented and ambitious entrepreneurs. The program is designed to help spur job growth and bolster the economy by facilitating the immigration process for foreign entrepreneurs or start-up founders looking to establish and operate a business in Canada. Those who are successful in their application for the Start-up Visa program are granted permanent residence in Canada, in addition to receiving support through funding, guidance and expert assistance in setting up and running their business in Canada.
The Start-up Visa program has certain requirements that must be met in order for an applicant to be eligible for the program. In order to qualify, the proposed business must be:
Additionally, a letter of support from a designated organization is required, and the applicant must establish their business venture in Canada. If necessary, a temporary work permit may be obtained to allow the applicant to come to Canada and set up their business.
How to Obtain a Letter of Support from a Designated Organization
Before you can apply for the Start-up Visa program, it is essential that your business venture or idea receives support from one or more designated organizations pre-approved by the SUV program to invest in or support start-ups. This support is also known as a “commitment.”
The list of designated private sector businesses is divided into three categories: venture capital funds, angel investor groups, and business incubators. Each category provides different levels of support to make your business venture eligible to apply to the SUV program.
If a designated organization decides to support your business, they will provide you with a letter of support, which must be submitted as part of your SUV application. Each letter of support is valid for six months from the date it is issued, which means that your application for permanent residence under the Start-up Business Class must be submitted within six months of the letter of support being issued.
Securing support from a designated organization in order to apply for the Start-up Visa program requires a significant amount of preparation to prove that your business idea is viable. It is important to research the submission requirements for the different designated organizations as they vary. While some organizations have an online application process, others require personal contact.
For instance, some venture capital funds have dedicated online forms for SUV program applicants that request information about your professional qualifications and business idea. You should expect to provide your professional and personal background (CV), business plan and pitch deck as part of the application process. Similarly, angel investors will require similar information to evaluate whether they will invest in your company. For example, York Angels has an online validation process for the Start-up Visa program, which evaluates the business venture by accessing information such as the company’s founders, the market problem, the venture’s solution, market, path to profit and business model.
If an agreement is reached with a designated organization, it will send you a letter of support, which you will need to include with your SUV application. This letter serves as proof that a venture capital fund, angel investor group, or business incubator supports your business idea and will help you establish your venture in Canada. The organization will also send a commitment certificate directly to the IRCC on your behalf. Additional business information may be requested before a final decision is made on your application.
To qualify for the Start-up Visa (SUV) program, it is necessary to demonstrate proficiency in English or French. This is achieved by taking an approved language test (not an academic level test) and obtaining a score of Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) level 5 or higher in speaking, reading, listening, and writing. the language test results will remain valid for 2 years from the date of the test.
Proof of settlement funds
The Government of Canada does not give financial support to new Start-up Visa immigrants.
When you apply, you need to provide proof that you have the money to support yourself and your dependents after you arrive in Canada. You cannot borrow this money from another person.
The amount you need depends on the size of your family and is updated by the government every year. Independently of the amount required by IRCC, it’s a good idea to get a clear idea of what it will cost to live where you plan to settle in Canada, as it will vary across regions and cities.
Number of family members
Funds required (in Canadian dollars)
For each additional family member
How to Apply for Canadian Permanent Residency under Start-up Visa Program?
Once you are determined eligible to apply for permanent residence through the Start-up Visa program, you have the option to submit the application online or on paper, whether you are within Canada or in your home country. It’s important to keep in mind that the letter of support you received from the designated organization is only valid for six months, so you should ensure to submit your application for permanent residence before the letter’s expiration date, whether you’re applying for a temporary work permit or not.
To submit your application, use the document checklist provided by the IRCC. Make sure to gather all the required supporting documents and information in the order specified in the checklist, and ensure that you check off each item as you include it in the application. If you are submitting a paper application, you should print, sign the document checklist, and include it as the cover page of the application.
When applying for permanent residence under the Start-up Visa program, you will be required to submit the following documents:
In order to complete your application, all questions must be answered, and you must sign your application, as well as all forms. Additionally, you will need to pay all fees associated with the application, including a biometrics fee, processing fees, and the Right of Permanent Residence Fee (RPRF).
If multiple individuals are applying as partners in a qualifying business, applications will not be processed until they have all been received. Each business partner must submit their own application in separate envelopes, even if the business partner is a spouse.
Upon meeting the eligibility criteria, completing biometrics, passing the medical exams and police background checks, the government will take a decision on the application. If approved, you will receive a Confirmation of Permanent Residence (COPR) and, if you’re outside of Canada, you’ll be asked to get a visa stamped on your passport.
If you are currently living in Canada, you will be required to attend a short immigration interview at an IRCC office in Canada, where you will need to provide proof of funds to support yourself and your family, as well as your Confirmation of Permanent Residence (COPR) document. Your Permanent Resident (PR) card will be sent to you by mail after the interview.
If you are living outside of Canada, your immigration interview will take place at the port of entry when you first arrive in the country. During this interview, you will be required to provide the same proof of funds and COPR document. You will also be required to present your passport and other required documents. The immigration officer will ask you questions to verify your identity and to confirm the information provided in your application and will process your entry into Canada as Permanent Resident.
when submitting an application for the Start-up Visa program, the processing fee must be included. The total processing fee for the primary applicant is $2,140 CAD, which includes a processing fee of $1,625 CAD and the Right of Permanent Residence fee of $515 CAD.
If you are applying along with your family members, the fee for your spouse/partner is $1,365 CAD (including the Right of Permanent Residence fee of $515 CAD) and for each dependent child is $230 CAD, children are exempted from right of Permanent Residence fee
It is important to note that these fees are subject to change. Please refer to the IRCC website for the most up-to-date fee information.
It’s essential to pay fees on time and in the correct form of payment or your application could be returned as incomplete or refused.
The processing time for Start-up Visa (SUV) applications can vary depending on a variety of factors. The completion status of your application, the ease of verification of your information, and any backlog of pending applications can all impact the processing time.
The IRCC updates processing time on regular basis, Currently, the processing time of Start-up Visa application is approximately 32 months. But it’s important to note that these processing times are estimates and not guaranteed, your application may take less or more time to be processed depending on various circumstances. It’s best to check the IRCC website for up-to-date information on processing times for SUV applications.
It’s also important to note that submitting a complete and accurate application with all required documents can speed up the processing time and avoid any delay in processing.
Apply for a temporary work permit through Start-up Visa Program
Submitting your self-employed offer of employment as a Start-up Visa (SUV) program applicant is a crucial step in the process of obtaining a temporary work permit. In addition to submitting the offer of employment, you will also be required to pay an employer compliance fee of $230 CAD.
The method of submitting your offer of employment depends on whether or not you have already registered with the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) and obtained a CRA business number.
-You must submit your offer of employment through the Employer Portal. Enroll in the portal as an employer, log in and select ‘Submit an offer of employment’ to begin the process.
-You will need to complete four forms: Business information, Foreign worker, Job details and Wage and Benefits
-Business information : Provide the physical address of the business location, business details, and primary contact information for your business.
-Foreign worker: Provide personal information as it appears on your passport.
-Job details: Provide a brief description of the work you’ll be doing, that you are an entrepreneur seeking to establish or operate your business in Canada, and you are essential to the start-up of your business as per section 8.0 of the Commitment Certificate. Your job title should be ‘Start-up Visa entrepreneur’.
-Wage and benefits: Here is where you indicate your wages are ‘0’ and you’re a self-employed entrepreneur. You should also demonstrate that you have the required amount of settlement funds.
-An offer of employment number will then be available in ‘Employment queue’ section of the portal. This number is required for your temporary work permit application.
You must request to submit an offer of employment by emailing the Employer Portal with your:
-Full name, date of birth, and place of birth as listed on your passport
-Country of citizenship
-Business name, if known
-Business contact address, if known
-If your request is approved, you will receive an email with the Offer of Employment to a Foreign National Exempt from a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) form (IMM 5802), along with instructions on where to return the completed form. You must pay your employer compliance fee using the Pay your fees tool before completing the form and include the receipt number on the IMM 5802.
When completing the form for the Offer of Employment to a Foreign National Exempt from a Labour Market Impact Assessment, leave the section for the CRA business number blank, and enter your job title as “Start-up Visa Entrepreneur”. Follow the instructions provided to submit the form outside of the employer portal. Once the form is complete, save it as a PDF file and attach it to an email, following the instructions provided in your authorization email. It is important to note that you should not click the “Submit by Email” button.
Once you have completed and submitted your offer of employment, and have gathered all the required documents, you can proceed to apply for a temporary work permit online or through paper application. You need to provide either the offer of employment number if you applied through the portal or your completed IMM 5802 form if you applied outside of the portal, in your application. Additionally, you will need to provide results of your medical exam and police certificate as part of your application.
Work Permit Extension while your Permanent Residency Application is being processed
If your temporary work permit expires before your permanent residence (PR) application under the Start-up Visa program has been processed, you will need to apply for an extension. You can do this by submitting an application to Change Conditions, Extend Your Stay or Remain in Canada as a Worker at least 30 days prior to the expiration of your current permit. It is important to ensure that you clearly write “Urgent: Start-up Business Class Work Permit” on the outside envelope of your application, as this will help to expedite the processing of your application.
It is important to note that your temporary work permit is specific to your start-up business and is not an open work permit. It is only valid for one year, and its purpose is to allow you to establish your business in Canada while your application for permanent residence is being processed. Applying for an extension will ensure that you can continue working and developing your business while your PR application is being reviewed.
An immigration lawyer can provide specialized legal advice and representation for entrepreneurs applying for the Start-up Visa program. They can help you understand the legal requirements and implications of the program, and ensure that your application is completed correctly and all necessary documentation is included.
A lawyer can also represent you in the event of any complications or disputes that may arise during the application process. They can advocate on your behalf and help you navigate any challenges you may encounter, such as receiving a request for additional information, or a delay in processing your application.
Furthermore, Immigration lawyer can help with assessment of your business idea and the potential for success, this can be critical for your immigration application. They are familiar with the current immigration trends and what immigration officers are looking for in an application. By having a lawyer review your application and ensure that it is complete, accurate, and presents your business in the best light possible, you increase the chances of your application being approved.
Additionally, having an immigration lawyer on your side also offers peace of mind. The process of immigrating to a new country can be complex, time-consuming and stressful. An immigration lawyer can take on the burden of dealing with the legal aspects of the process, allowing you to focus on other important aspects of your business.
There are several reasons why it can be beneficial for a startup to seek help from an immigration specialized when applying for a startup visa:
In short, an immigration lawyer can help a startup navigate the complex process of obtaining a startup visa, ensure compliance with all relevant laws and regulations, and help increase the chances of success of the startup visa application.
Our team possesses a deep understanding of the startup visa program and has the skills and expertise to support you in launching your business, securing investors, and obtaining permanent residency. We invite you to contact us to discuss how we can assist you in this endeavor.