New Start-Up visa explained.

by Jenny Rokhline

Canadian government made good on its last year’s promise and introduced its new Start-Up visa immigration class. Through this pilot five year program Canada hopes to become a destination of choice for start-up innovators to help Canada to remain competitive in the global economy.

The program is intended to facilitate processing of permanent applications for:

  • No more than 2750 applications per year
  • No more than five persons per business
  • Persons who intend to reside in a province/territory other than Quebec
  • Persons who have the support of a Canadian business entity in the form of a Commitment Certificate
  • Persons who meet or exceed the set minimum language proficiency threshold
  • Persons who have completed at least one year of post-secondary education
  • Persons who have sufficient funds to economically establish themselves

Qualification requirements: 4 steps process

1. Get your idea funded

  • Is a two part process:

Letter of Support which is provided to the applicant by the designated entity confirming the agreement. This letter has to be included with the application.

Commitment Certificate that summarizes pertinent details of the commitment between the investing entity and the applicant. This certificate is sent directly to the entity in the form of an electronic document.

2. Meet the Language Requirements

  • Minimum level of CLB 5 in either French or English in all four language abilities. The language test must be taken from an agency approved by CIC

3. Meet the Education Requirements

  • Prove the completion of at least one year of post-secondary education
  • Prove that the applicant was in good standing during at least one year while attending a post-secondary institution
  • It is not necessary for the applicant to obtain any diploma, degree or trade or apprenticeship credentials as a result of having completed at least one year of post-secondary study.

4. Have sufficient Settlement Funds

  • The amount of money is determined by the size of your family. These amounts are updated yearly.                                                                            
   Number of Family Members

Funds  Required (in Canadian dollars)

7 or more$29,414


  •  Applications are assessed on a pass/fail basis
  • The applicant’s submissions will be assessed on an as-is basis. A final determination of eligibility will be made under the Minister Instruction in place at the time the application was received.
  • If the requirements set forth in the MI, whether or not they are met, are not sufficient indicators of whether the foreign national will become economically established in Canada, an officer may substitute their evaluation for the requirements (MI 7(12(1)). Substituted evaluation requires the concurrence of a second officer.
  • Once the officer has rendered a positive decision on selection, the principal applicant and their family members, whether accompanying or not, must pass medical examinations, criminal and security checks.

Understanding the language of the program

Start-Up business class is defined as a class of persons who may become Permanent Residents on the basis of their ability to become economically established in Canada as innovative business persons.

Start-Up business means a new business intended to be operated in Canada

  • Commitment must be received from either:
  •  Commitment must be received fromo   A designated angel investor group confirming that it is investing at least $75,000 in a qualifying business or two or more designated angel investor groups that are together investing a total of at least $75,000 in such a business; or

    o   A designated venture capital fund confirming that it is investing at least $200,000 in a qualifying business or two or more designated venture capital funds that are together investing a total of at least $200, 000 in such a business.


§  Angel One Network Inc.

§  First Angel Network Association

§  Golden Triangle Angel Network


§  Advantage Growth (No.2) L.P.

§  BDC Venture Capital

§  Blackberry Partners Fund II LP (d.b.a. Relay Ventures Fund II)

§  Celtic House Venture Partners Fund III L.P.

§  Celtic House Venture Partners Fund IV LP

§  DRI Capital Inc.

§  Golden Opportunities Fund Inc.


§  New Brunswick Innovation Foundation Inc.

§  Northwater Intellectual Property Fund

§  OMERS Ventures Management Inc.

§  Ontario SME Capital Corporation

§  Panagea Ventures Fund III, LP

§  PRIVEQ III Limited Partnership

§  PRIVEQ IV Limited Partnership

§  Quorum Investment Pool Limited Partnership

§  Quorum Secured Equity Trust

§  Rho Canada Ventures

§  Summerhill Venture Partners Management Inc.

§  Tandem Expansion Management Inc.

§  Vanedge Capital Limited Partnership

§  Version One Ventures

§  Wellington Financial LP

§  Westcap Mgt. Ltd.

§  Yaletown Venture Partners Inc.

Sindication means when there are multiple designated entities acting in syndication, only one Commitment Certificate will be issued containing all the details and requirements of all participating designated entities. There will be a lead designated entity that shall be responsible for compiling and submitting the certificate.

Qualifying Business means a corporation that is incorporated in and carrying on business in Canada is a qualifying business if, at the time of commitment is made:

  • The applicant holds 10% or more of the voting rights attached to all shares of the corporation outstanding at the time; and
  • No persons or entities, other than qualified participants, hold 50% or more of the total amount of the voting rights attached to all shares of the corporation outstanding at that time.



To determine if you qualify for a Start-Up visa, click here

To Apply for a Start-Up visa please click here


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