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Canada Residency By Investment Visas, Startup Visa, Golden Visa, & Investor Visa

Mark Damsgaard

Mark Damsgaard

Founder of Global Residence Index

Last updated: February 15, 2024

Canada’s Startup Visa (SUV) program is a unique opportunity for foreign entrepreneurs to gain permanent residence in Canada through business immigration. Often likened to a Canada Golden Visa, this program has become increasingly popular, attracting entrepreneurs worldwide to invest in the Canada SUV program, thereby securing a path to permanent residence (PR) and potential citizenship.

In this guide, I will share detailed insights into obtaining the Canada Golden Visa, including strategies to avoid common pitfalls. The process of applying for the Canada residence by investment program can be complex, involving extensive paperwork and numerous challenges.

My journey into this field began years ago, helping clients navigate this intricate process.

Thanks to several years of experience and numerous success stories, my team and I have developed an effective method to streamline the Canada SUV residence application process.

I have written this guide based on our extensive experience and insights, aiming to provide valuable information and practical advice to those interested in moving to Canada via the country’s investment visa programs. Keep reading to discover how you can successfully navigate the path to Canadian residency through investment.

 

Brief History on Canada’s Golden Visa Equivalent 

The Canada Start-up Visa program, launched in 2013, aims to attract global entrepreneurial talent to Canada to boost innovation, create jobs, and drive economic growth. This program provides a pathway to permanent residence for qualified immigrant entrepreneurs seeking to launch high-potential startups in Canada. Through this program, immigrant founders can obtain Permanent Resident (PR) status by having their start-up business proposal validated by a designated Canadian organization. 

Once approved, Start-up Visa recipients benefit from mentorship, funding opportunities and a network of business accelerator programs to help establish and scale their ventures in Canada. With faster processing times and flexible eligibility requirements, the Start-up Visa offers a streamlined route for ambitious entrepreneurs to gain PR status while building innovative companies and contributing to the Canadian economy.

 

Eligibility for the Canada Investment Visa and SUV 

The North American and Commonwealth Realm country enjoys a global reputation as a highly desirable place to reside, offering its citizens a host of exceptional advantages that set it apart from many other nations. 

Moreover, Canada has emerged as an appealing hub for aspiring founders and entrepreneurs, courtesy of the alluring Canada Startup Visa (SUV) Program implemented by the Federal government.

Below is the list of requirements as set by the Canadian immigration authorities for entrepreneurs who wish to apply for permanent residence in Canada under the SUV program:

  • Foreign nationals must get a Letter of Support or investment commitment from one of the Designated Organizations in Canada;
  • Each foreign national must own at least 10% of the shares in the startup. Foreign nationals and their Designated Organization must jointly have more than 50% of the total shares (voting rights) in the startup venture;
  • Each applicant must meet the minimum English or French language skill at CLB level five and
  • Each applicant must have sufficient funds to settle in Canada (CAD$12,960 – $34,300, depending on the size of the applicant’s family).

In addition to the above, to be successful in this program, entrepreneurs should be prepared to meet the following essential criteria:

  • Ownership of an innovative or successful business that is generating scalable and sustainable revenue or has strong market validation;
  • Access to capital fund the entrepreneur, investor startup venture, between CAD$75,000 to CAD$200,000 at a minimum per applicant;
  • Have highly specialized knowledge or unique experience in a field or have solid managerial experience; and
  • Have an upper-intermediate level of English or French language skill(s).

Costs for the Canada Investor Visa and SUV

There are fees involved, and it will cost around CAD$50,000 for a family of four for legal, administrative, government services, and residence requirements. As described above, the cost to participate in the program will be around CAD$200,000. 

Sometimes, clients do not pursue the business and classify their investment as a sunk cost to obtain Permanent Residence (PR) with citizenship, which is very attainable for themselves and their families. 

If the applicant opts for the designated organizations for the Canada residency by investment, the cost to obtain residence will be around CAD$250,000. It is important to note that the program is not a classic passive investment Golden Visa. The costs can be non-recoverable depending on the success of the business. 

 

Designated Organizations

If the entrepreneur, investor, or executive does not have the required capital, they can seek funding from a Designated Organization. 

Designated organizations are instrumental in the Canadian Startup Visa program for investors. The Canadian government approves these organizations to support and nominate foreign entrepreneurs for the Canada Startup Visa program.
 

Seeking expert immigration guidance?

Navigating through immigration programs can be complex and overwhelming, regardless of the country or program you’re interested in. If you’re struggling to find clear, accurate information, you’re not alone. Our team is here to offer you clarity and reliable advice across a wide range of immigration programs.

By scheduling a consultation, you’ll receive personalized guidance tailored to your unique situation. We’re dedicated to helping you understand the details of various immigration programs, making them more straightforward so you can proceed with confidence.

During our call, we will:

  • Address any specific questions: We’ll answer your questions about the program and the application process, providing you with the clarity you need.
  • Detail every step: We’ll break down each stage of the immigration process, ensuring you know exactly what to expect.
  • Evaluate program suitability: We’ll help you determine if the chosen program is the right fit for you or suggest alternatives that may better align with your goals.
  • Connect you with local professionals: Gain access to our network of recommended local lawyers in the respective country, as well as trusted providers of eligible investment options.

 

 

Angel investor groups

Angel investment funds within the framework of the Canadian Startup Visa (SUV) program assume a pivotal role by offering essential financial support and mentorship to burgeoning entrepreneurs from across the globe. 

Angel investors infuse capital into these enterprises and provide invaluable expertise and guidance to steer entrepreneurs toward success within the dynamic Canadian market.

The minimum investment required for the Angel Investment Groups is $75,000. It should be noted that these investments are high-risk and could lead to losses in capital. We work closely with the Designated Organizations as the risk exposure is lower but does not guarantee a return on investment. 

 

Step-by-Step Process

There are several crucial steps to apply for the Canadian Startup Visa program. First, appointing an authorized representative to submit the application on the applicant’s behalf is essential, ensuring the process is well-managed and organized. The initial process starts with an initial screening and basic KYC. 

1. Language Requirement

Provide proof of language proficiency and gather other required personal documentation, which is vital for the application. Language must be in English or French at a CLB level five.  

2. Certificate of Commitment

Another critical step is obtaining a commitment certificate or letter of support from an angel investor group, venture capital fund, or business incubator, as this endorsement is a fundamental aspect of the program. These groups are known as designated organizations. 

To obtain a letter of support from a Designated Organization, one can follow the key steps below:

  • Prepare a Pitch Deck (business concept) or a Business Plan;
  • Submit the application to a designated organization for review and evaluation;
  • Undergo an interview with a designated organization;
  • Sign an agreement with the designated organization;
  • Pay the fees for the designated organization;
  • Obtain a Letter of Support from the designated organization; and
  • Submit the final application for permanent residency and work permit residence.

3. Submission

Finally, submitting the application form, supporting documents, and the necessary fees is the last critical step in the investor’s journey to pursuing the Canada Startup Visa. When followed meticulously, these steps pave the way for aspiring entrepreneurs to explore business opportunities in Canada.

  • The typical processing time for the work permit application is eight to twelve weeks, and
  • The current processing time for the permanent residency application is 33 months.

The applicant can grow their startup and business in Canada if all requirements are satisfied and the necessary documentation is provided. IRCC states that the SUV program has a general success rate above 75%.

The rate of approval varies depending on the type of designated organization:

  • 78% – for startups that are supported by business incubators;
  • 80% – for startups that are supported by angel investor networks;
  • 43% – for startups that venture capital funds support.

It is essential to have experts in Canada with an incredibly high success rate of approvals for clients who apply for the SUV residence program.

 

Action Plan to Prevent Failure of Application  

Prevention is better than failure, and an action plan can reduce the risk of rejection of an application. 

1. Failing to Provide Accurate Financials 

Applicants must provide proof of finances and have the financial means necessary to maintain a business and the cost of living in Canada.

2. Failing of International Security Clearance

Police clearance forms must be obtained, and a background check must be conducted and passed for an applicant to be considered. Before granting entry to Canada, the applicant must prove that they will not be a security risk if admitted into Canada.

3. Failing to Fulfill Health and Language requirements

Applicants for the SUV must pass a health check to ensure that they are not a danger to public safety or public health or that there is an excessive demand for available social or health services. This will generally require performing an immigration medical exam with results included with the application and failing to prove Canadian language competency in French or English at a CLB level five. 

4. Failing to Include a Letter of Support

This requirement must be met before an applicant begins completing the application process. The letter must come from an official Designated Organization. 

5. Misrepresentation

Finally, one of the surest ways to cause the application to be denied is by misrepresentation, altering documents, or otherwise.

 

Benefits of the Canada Startup Visa Program

Below are some of the pros of the SUV program:

  • A direct pathway for permanent residence in Canada;
  • Open to all nationalities;
  • There are no limitations on business activities in Canada;
  • No net worth requirement or verification;
  • Allows for a partnership of 5 individuals in the same startup (min. 10% of ownership for each partner is required); and
  • Opportunity to relocate to Canada by obtaining a work permit while the permanent residence application is processed.

Dependents may join the primary applicant. The applicant’s spouse and children may qualify as dependent family members in the SUV application. Note that children of the applicant may qualify as dependants if they:

  • are under 22 years old; and
  • don’t have a spouse or partner.

There is no residence requirement under the Canada SUV program. However, since the program requires that the applicant provides active and ongoing management, it would make sense that the applicant may be required to stay in Canada to satisfy these requirements and allow their capital to work for them. 

Investors who wish to become citizens of Canada must meet the naturalization requirements described further below. 

 

Disadvantages of the Canada Startup Visa Program

Below are some of the cons of the SUV program:

  • There is high competition to obtain support from designated organizations in Canada. Thus, it can take time to get such support;
  • Lengthy processing times (three years) to obtain permanent residence. Although obtaining initial residence permits will take;
  • High capital investments by the founding partners are often required to secure support from a designated organization;
  • An extremely well-developed, viable, and scalable business model with a proven track of success; and
  • There is a moderate risk of refusals at the permanent residence stage or delays due to peer reviews.

 

Good Case Management

Applicants can avoid denials by following the instructions carefully, using the required document checklist in the application packet, and ensuring that all application requirements are complete before submission. 

That being said, it is best to use professional guidance to build a case file on the client’s behalf. Paperwork and administrative work can be cumbersome to complete, so having a professional in the case management process is money well spent.  

 

Avoid Using Unregulated Immigration Consultants or Visa Agents

It is also essential to avoid advice from unregulated consultant firms offering free visa evaluations or guaranteed employment opportunities. Fraudulent activity by these organizations often results in application denial and theft of identity, banking, and credit card information.

Due diligence can go both ways, and clients must be able to rely on and trust their agents fully. 

 

Path to Permanent Residency (PR) and Citizenship in Canada

Although the Canada Startup Visa is not a Canada citizenship by investment program, it can be semi-classified as a Canada Golden Visa. Based on maintaining a residence, the applicant does not have a physical presence requirement. However, the pathway to citizenship is different. 

 

1. Work Permit Application

The first step for entrepreneurs selected under the SUV program is to apply for a work permit. This work permit allows them to enter Canada and establish and manage their startup business. The typical processing time for a work permit application is around eight to twelve weeks.

 

2. Operate the Business

Once in Canada with a valid work permit, entrepreneurs can work on establishing and operating their businesses. This includes meeting the conditions the designated organization sets and the commitments made in the business plan.

 

3. Permanent Residency Application 

After establishing and operating their business, entrepreneurs can apply for permanent residency through one of the available immigration programs, such as the Express Entry system or the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP), depending on the province where their business is located. The processing time for the permanent residency application can vary but is approximately thirty-three months.

 

4. Becoming a Permanent Resident

Once the permanent residency application is approved, the entrepreneur and their family members become permanent residents of Canada. This status grants them access to various social benefits and healthcare, and they can live, work, or study anywhere in Canada.

 

5. Residency and Citizenship 

To become eligible for Canadian citizenship, permanent residents must meet specific residency requirements, including physical presence in Canada. After completing these requirements, they can apply for Canadian citizenship. Typically, individuals must have spent at least 1,095 days (three years) out of the last five years in Canada before applying for citizenship.

 

6. Canadian Citizenship 

Upon approval of their citizenship application, individuals become Canadian citizens. Canadian citizens have all the rights and responsibilities of citizenship, including the ability to vote in federal and provincial elections and travel with a Canadian passport.

Canadian citizenship allows the resident to obtain a passport for travel. As of October 2023, Canadian citizens have visa-free access to 119 countries and territories, can obtain a visa on arrival in 26, and can enter with an e-visa 38 countries and territories and require a visa for 23, ranking the Canadian passport 6th in the world in terms of freedom of travel. 

 

What are the Next Steps?

The Canada investment visa, Permanent Residence (PR), and subsequent Canada citizenship by investment through the SUV program are famous for several reasons. Canada is an open society and welcoming of investors, entrepreneurs, and persons willing to invest capital or time into their economy. 

Connect with us for a personalized consultation or if you have any questions. We’ll be on hand to assist. 

 

Canada Investment Visa FAQs

 

What is the total cost estimate for the Canada residence by investment SUV program? 

Investors can estimate a cost of around CAD$250,000 for the program. 

 

Is there an interview before obtaining Permanent Residence (PR)?

Yes, there will be an interview at the IRCC office in the country, or at port of entry when applicants arrive in Canada. 

 

Do I obtain Permanent Residence (PR) immediately? 

No, initially, investors obtain a work permit within two to three months. The Permanent Residence (PR) takes between thirty to thirty-six months. 

 

Is the SUV program a Canadian citizenship by investment program?

No, although it can be seen as a Canada Golden Visa program. The pathway to citizenship requires living in Canada for at least 1,095 days within five years. 

 

Need help?

Navigating through golden visa & citizenship by investment programs can be complex and overwhelming, regardless of the country or program you’re interested in. If you’re struggling to find clear, accurate information, you’re not alone. Our team is here to offer you clarity and reliable advice across a wide range of immigration programs.

By scheduling a consultation, you’ll receive personalized guidance tailored to your unique situation. We’re dedicated to helping you understand the details of various immigration programs, making them more straightforward so you can proceed with confidence.

GET PERSONALIZED GUIDANCE

During our call, we will:

Here is what to expect from a call with our advisory team:

1

We’ll answer your questions about the program and the application process, providing you with the clarity you need.

2

We’ll break down each stage of the immigration process, ensuring you know exactly what to expect.

3

We’ll help you determine if the chosen program is the right fit for you or suggest alternatives that may better align with your goals.

4

Gain access to our network of recommended local lawyers in the respective country, as well as trusted providers of eligible investment options.