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Canada’s Start-up Visa Program targets immigrant entrepreneurs with the skills and potential to build businesses in Canada that are innovative, can create jobs for Canadians, and can compete on a global scale.

Successful applicants link with private sector organizations in Canada, where they can receive funding, guidance and expertise in opening and operating their enterprise in Canada.

Am I eligible to apply for a Start-up Visa?

To be eligible for the Start-up Visa Program, you must:

  • Have a qualifying business

  • Get a letter of support from a designated organization

  • Meet the language requirements

  • Have sufficient money to settle

Qualifying Business

A qualifying business means you created a business that meet the following conditions.

  • At the time you get a commitment from a designated organization:

    • Each applicant holds 10% or more of the voting rights attached to all shares of the corporation outstanding at that time (up to 5 people can apply as owners) AND

    • Applicants and the designated organization jointly hold more than 50% of the total voting rights attached to all shares of the corporation outstanding at that time

  • At the time you receive your permanent residence:

    • You provide active and ongoing management of this business from within Canada

    • An essential part of the operations of the business happens in Canada

    • This business is incorporated in Canada

Designated Organization

To apply for the Start-up Visa Program, your business idea or venture must get the support of one or more of the designated organizations listed below:

  • Venture capital funds

  • Angel investor groups

  • Business incubators


Designated organizations are business groups that are approved to invest in or support possible start-ups through the Start-up Visa Program.


Organizations choose which business proposals to review. Each organization has its own intake process for proposals and criteria used to assess them. For example, you may be asked to present your business concept in person or submit a detailed business plan.


If an organization decides to review your business idea, it’ll assess the potential of your proposal and whether or not it’ll succeed.


If an organization chooses to support your business idea, it’ll give you a Letter of Support.

Language Requirements

The ability to communicate and work in English, French or both languages will help your business succeed in Canada. You must meet the minimum level of the Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) 5 in either English or French in all of these four areas:

  • Speaking

  • Reading

  • Listening

  • Writing

Settlement Funds

You’ll need to give proof that you have the money to support yourself and your dependants after you arrive in Canada. You can’t borrow this money from another person. The amount you need depends on the size of your family.

Contact Lumen Immigration for more information or assistance applying for a Start-up Visa. 

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