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  • Writer's pictureCalver Immigration Consulting Inc.

How to be Successful with a Canadian Start-up Visa Application in 2024

Canada’s Federal Start-up Visa Program is an excellent way for innovative business entrepreneurs to bring their business to Canada. The program is aimed at start-ups who have a scalable business that they will operate from within Canada.

Up to five founders and their immediate family are able to join them in Canada. It is a direct permanent residency program and it also offers an optional work permit that entrepreneurs can take advantage of in order to come to Canada while they await a decision on their permanent residency application.

As the program continues to grow in popularity, applicants need to be mindful of how the program works, and ensure that they are hitting milestones that Canadian Immigration officers will review during the application process.

The first step in the process is to pitch to a designated entity. This can be a Business Incubator, Angel Investor or Venture Capital Fund. If they like your idea, they’ll give you a Letter of Support, which is valid for 6 months. This Letter of Support allows you to apply for both Permanent Residency and an optional work permit if there are urgent reasons for you to come to Canada.

Processing times for the Candian Start-up visa are currently posted at 37 months (as of December 2023) but IRCC has committed to reducing this wait time. Often when an application is submitted to IRCC, there is little information that you will receive back from the government, it often takes about 12 months for you to receive an acknowledgement of receipt (AOR) from the Canadian government.

One of the most important tips for securing PR in this process is to ensure that you start working on your Canadian venture from the date that you get the Letter of Support, IRCC expects that the applicant is legitimately trying to start their business in Canada, and that you are truly an entrepreneur. Their review of your file is built on this concept, as they want to avoid applicants who are applying just for the sake of immigration and who do not truly intend to operate their start-up in Canada.

After about 1.5 years, an applicant under the start-up visa program can expect to hear from the government with a permanent file number. During processing, the officer will ask for your Immigration Medicals, Biometrics (fingerprints), as well as updates regarding your business. These requests regarding the updates on your business is the most crucial part of the application, as often this is what will render an application successful.

While an officer can ask for anything from an applicant during processing, below are three main themes that we see when it comes to the requests of applicants under the Start-up visa stream:

Innovative Nature of the Business

As mentioned above, the start-up visa’s goal is to bring businesses to Canada that are innovative in nature. As such, officers will almost always ask about your Intellectual Property plans and what you’ve done to protect your ideas. This process can be somewhat lengthy and expensive and as such we suggest that it be one of the first items that the team explores when starting the Start-up visa immigration process.


Whilst not explicitly in the program instructions. We find that officers will want to see in the business plan that you are going to hire Canadians in the first 3 years of business. They also want to see that you are actively trying to scale the business and that it’s not a small-scale business. As such we often want to see initial turnover be at least $300,000CAD in the first year.

Progress on the business

Lastly, IRCC will always ask for updates on the progress of the business, including proof of working prototypes, signed contracts, revenue, and other important achievements. IRCC with its current wait times expects that applicants will be able to make progress in the business from the time that the Letter of Support is issued up until the officer requests an update, which can be anywhere from 1.5 to 3 years after submission. These submissions are done in writing and the applicant must put together a comprehensive response to the government, and often the final decision is made based on this information.

The Start-up visa program is unique and offers entrepreneurs an excellent direct permanent residency opportunity to come to Canada. Those who are dedicated to progressing their business will see success in this type of application.

Using a representative who is familiar with the start-up visa process can help you to avoid costly delays in the process as well as refusals of your visa.

At Calver Immigration Consulting Inc., we have helped hundreds of businesses set-up and bring their teams to Canada. Schedule a consult with us online to benefit from our expertise.

Book an online consultation with us today to get the help you need. book an online consultation with us here.


Our Services

Calver Immigration Consulting Inc. is rated Canada's number one boutique immigration consultancy. We serve clients across Canada and internationally. Our Registered Canadian Immigration Consultant has over 10 years of experience in Canadian Immigration law serving those in Canada and abroad.

We can assist with applications for both temporary and permanent residency in Canada. We handle applications for study permits, permanent residency, family class sponsorship, visitor visas, work permits, and Canadian citizenship. We also handle criminal inadmissibility cases by developing remedies for refusal.

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