Start-up Visa Program (SUV) – Is this the right program for me?

Start-up Visa Program (SUV) – Is this the right program for me?

If you are an entrepreneur who wishes to establish business in Canada, then you might want to consider the Start-up Visa Program. In 2017, the federal government introduced a new business immigration pilot program to link successful applicants with a list of government recognized private sector organizations in Canada who are able to provide funding as well as guidance on establishing business in Canada. An applicant, if successful, would be granted their Canadian permanent residency which would allow them to live and work in Canada (not including Quebec, which does not participate in the Federal Start-up Visa Program). A foreign entrepreneur must meet five requirements to be considered eligible for this program.

Calgary Start-up Visa Program (SUV) – Is this the right program for me

The Eligibility Requirements for Start-up Visa

  1. Letter of support and commitment certificate

An Applicant must first obtain a letter of support from a designated investor organization, which are government approved Venture Capital Funds, Angel Investor Groups or Business Incubators (List of designated organizations ). In order to obtain this letter, the applicant must pitch to an investor and convince them to set up a designated venture capital fund to invest in the proposed venture. The designated investor organization will have to provide a commitment certificate to Citizenship and Immigration Canada, which will summarize the details of the venture and the nature of the business.

Applicants must secure an initial investment in excess of 0,000 CAD, or a minimum of ,000 if the investment is from a designated angel investor group.

  1. Ownership requirements

Up to five people can be the owners of a single business for the purpose of Entrepreneur Start-up Visa, with each applicant holding at least 10 percent of the voting rights in the business. In addition, the designated organization and the applicants must jointly hold more than 50% of the voting rights in the business.

  1. Satisfy language requirement

Applicants must be able to communicate and work in at least one of Canada’s official languages, and meet the minimum level of CLB5 in either English or French. The following tests have been accepted by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC):

  • IELTS (English)
  • CELPIP (English)
  • TEF (French)
  • TCF (French)

The applicant must provide proof of language proficiency to the IRCC.

  1. Sufficient settlement funds

Applicants must be able to prove that they have enough money to support themselves and their family to settle in Canada. The Chart is as follows:

Number of
family members
Funds required
(in Canadian dollars)
1 ,960
2 ,135
3 ,836
4 ,083
5 ,315
6 ,806
7 ,299
For each additional family member ,492


  1. Business activity

At the time the applicant receives their Permanent Residence, the business must meet the following criteria:

  • The applicant must provide active and ongoing management of their business from within Canada;
  • An essential part of the operations of the business happens in Canada; and
  • The business must be incorporated in Canada.

The Application Process

If an applicant meets all the requirements, then they must prepare an application package using Form IMM5759, along with documentation demonstrating the eligibility of the principal applicant as well as any accompanying family members. Once the applicant have completed the application process, they will then have to send the application package to IRCC’s Centralized intake Office in Sydney, Nova Scotia to process and verify. The IRCC will contact the applicant and inform them of the next step.

Applications are typically processed within 12 to 16 months, however, applicants can apply for a temporary work permit to work in Canada prior to approval of their PR application.

If you would like to bolster and strengthen your application and ensure you application meets the requirements, please Contact Osuji & Smith Lawyers to set up a consultation.

Author: Roger (TJ) Zhang