Why Should You Apply for Start-Up Visa Program?

The Start-Up Visa (SUV) program is one of the most popular Canadian immigration programs to foreign entrepreneurs. This is a federal program which means that applicants can obtain Canadian permanent residency status directly if approved, bypassing the need for provincial nomination first. To be eligible to apply, applicants must:

  • have a Letter of Support from one of the designated organizations in Canada,
  • meet the minimum English or French language skill at CLB level 5,
  • hold a minimum of 10% of voting rights in the start-up, and
  • have sufficient funds to settle in Canada.

There are a variety of entrepreneur immigration programs in Canada, and they are all created to attract specific types of business immigrants to Canada. For example, the SUV program is tailored towards start-up founders, and is primarily designed and to benefit entrepreneurs who already have a scaled business or have an innovative business concept. Applicants should have a good sales record and evidence of revenue, or that they can at least show the potential to develop a start-up. Their reason to immigrate to Canada should be to further grow their start-up with support of the designated organization with the goal of benefitting the Canadian economy.

The benefits of this program include a direct pathway for permanent residence in Canada; it’s open to applicants of varying backgrounds; there is access to operate any kind of business, anywhere in Canada; there is no net worth requirement or verification process; it allows up to five people to form a partnership in the same start-up project (where each partner holding a minimum of 10% of ownership is required), and; there is an option to obtain a work permit and come to Canada faster while the permanent residence application is being processed.

The disadvantages of this program include high competition to obtain support from designated organizations in Canada – so it can be challenging to get such support; it requires a viable and scalable business model with a successful track record or evidence of ability, and; there are long processing times (32+ months) to obtain permanent residence.

The key for success in this program is ultimately answering the question of whether the applicant can propose an innovative business concept to interest a designated organization. What is an innovative business concept? Who exactly are these designated organizations and what role do they play? Let’s discuss more next time with first-hand testimonies from past successful clients.


Do you want to find out your eligibility for the Start-Up Visa Program? Contact us for a free assessment!