A Guide to Canada’s Start-Up Investor Visa Programme: A Gateway to Business Success and Canadian Lifestyle

Canada: A Premier Migration Destination

Renowned as one of the world’s top-ranking countries for quality of life, Canada stands as a highly sought-after destination for immigrants seeking residency. In contrast to numerous nations offering straightforward Golden Visa or Investor visa programmes, Canada’s approach is characterized by a certain complexity. The Canadian immigration programme embodies a more intricate and comprehensive framework, aligning with the country’s commitment to attracting individuals who contribute substantively to its business landscape and societal fabric. This distinctive start-up visa programme necessitates both business investment, net worth, and a specific skill set, deviating from the more common model of passive investments, such as real estate or funds, seen in many other countries worldwide.

Overview of Canada’s Start-Up Investor Visa Programme:

Canada’s Start-Up Investor Visa Programme offers a unique opportunity for high-net-worth individuals with a keen interest in business creation. Launched to bolster the country’s economic landscape, the programme seeks to harness the entrepreneurial spirit of international investors while providing them with the opportunity to become permanent residents of Canada. The SUV offers a swift, cost-effective, and reliable immigration pathway, providing Permanent Residency (PR) from the outset, distinct from other business immigration models where PR status is contingent on business success.

How the Programme Works:

  • The SUV process takes only 12-18 months, ensuring a prompt and efficient journey to Canada.
  • PR is granted upon arrival for the client and their family, including children up to 21 years of age.
  • Clients can reside anywhere in Canada except Quebec, and they benefit from a 10-year membership with an angel group for networking and additional investment opportunities.
  • The SUV’s cost is lower than the Quebec Immigrant Investor Programme, offering quicker processing times for a seamless transition to life in Canada.

Eligibility Requirements:

To qualify for the Start-Up Visa (SUV) Programme, applicants must meet specific criteria that extend to financial eligibility as an accredited investor. The financial thresholds, which emphasize the applicant’s capacity to contribute significantly to the Canadian economy, include:

  • Investment Capital Requirement: A minimum investment capital of CAD $350,000 is mandatory for participation in the SUV Programme.
  • Accredited Investor Status: Applicants must satisfy one of the following financial criteria to be considered accredited investors:
    a. Individual Income: An individual income of at least $200,000 CAD.
    b. Combined Income with Spouse: A combined income with a spouse totalling at least $300,000 CAD.
    c. Financial Assets: Possession of financial assets, either individually or jointly with a spouse, amounting to a minimum of $1,000,000 CAD.
    d. Net Assets: Ownership of net assets, either individually or jointly with a spouse, totalling at least $5,000,000 CAD.

These financial prerequisites serve as a key determinant in assessing the applicant’s ability to actively contribute to the Canadian business landscape and underscore the SUV Programme’s commitment to attracting entrepreneurs with substantial financial acumen. Investors must also be accepted by an authorized designated organization, have basic proficiency in English or French, and accreditation as an investor. Education and business ownership or management experience are preferred, while medical, security, or criminal inadmissibility may impact eligibility.

Application Process:

The application process for Canada’s Start-Up Investor Visa Programme spans a duration of 12-18 months and involves the following key steps.

  • Pass initial due diligence and sign a client agreement.
  • Develop a business concept and consult with a Designated Organization (DO).
  • Undergo training to obtain a certificate from DO and obtain a Letter of Support from an Angel Investor Group.
  • Prepare and collect documentation, undergo medical and security verification.
  • Submit the application to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) with the required government processing fee.
  • Upon approval, the client receives a resident visa, and the final payment is due.
  • Upon landing in Canada, obtain a PR card to solidify Permanent Residency.

Types of Businesses That Qualify:

Canada’s Start-Up Investor Visa Programme places a strong emphasis on investing in innovative and growth-oriented businesses. The following types of enterprises are likely to qualify:

  • Technology Start-Ups: With Canada’s thriving technology sector, investors can explore opportunities in software development, artificial intelligence, and other cutting-edge technologies.
  • Biotechnology and Healthcare: The country boasts a robust healthcare and biotechnology industry, making it an attractive destination for those interested in contributing to advancements in medical research and healthcare solutions.
  • Clean Energy and Sustainability: Canada is committed to environmental sustainability, making investments in clean energy and green technologies highly desirable.
  • Manufacturing and Export-Oriented Businesses: Businesses contributing to Canada’s export sector and fostering economic growth are likely to receive favourable consideration.

Residency & Citizenship:

Although PR is granted from day one, investors must reside in Canada for 730 days within a five-year period to maintain PR status. Citizenship eligibility is possible after residing in Canada for three out of the five years, demonstrating language proficiency, and maintaining a clean record. If you are successful in obtaining Canadian citizenship, then you will be fortunate to hold one of the strongest passports in the world. The Canadian passport offers visa-free travel to 197 countries and territories worldwide.

Summary of Key Advantages:

  • Visa-free travel to 197 countries.
  • Exceptional standard of living with access to free universal healthcare.
  • Abundant natural resources, including the world’s second-largest oil reserves.
  • Outstanding educational opportunities with elite universities and private schools.
  • A clean environment, remarkable natural beauty, and a safe place to raise a family.

Taxation in Canada:

Understanding taxation is crucial for prospective residents. Canadian residents are taxed at federal and provincial levels on worldwide income, while non-residents are taxed on Canadian-sourced income. The intricate tax system includes considerations for residency status, with a focus on a blend of income, financial assets, and net assets.

Benefits of Living in Canada:

Quality Education: Canada is renowned for its world-class education system, with top-ranking universities and research institutions. Immigrant families can benefit from access to quality education for their children, laying the foundation for a bright future.

Healthcare: As permanent residents, investors and their families have access to Canada’s publicly funded healthcare system, ensuring comprehensive medical coverage and peace of mind.

High Quality of Life: Canada consistently ranks high in global quality of life indices, thanks to its safe cities, diverse cultural offerings, and stunning natural landscapes. The country’s commitment to multiculturalism fosters a welcoming and inclusive environment for newcomers.

Nature and Landscape: Canada’s natural beauty is nothing short of spectacular, showcasing diverse landscapes that range from towering mountain ranges to expansive forests, pristine lakes, and picturesque coastlines. The country’s vast and varied geography provides an outdoor enthusiast’s paradise. With it’s abundance of outdoor activities and national parks, Canada is an ideal destination for those who relish a life immersed in nature.

Infrastructure and Connectivity: The country boasts modern infrastructure, efficient public transportation systems, and well-maintained roads, making it easy for residents to travel and conduct business. Additionally, Canada’s proximity to the United States facilitates international business relations. From Toronto’s vibrant multiculturalism to Montreal’s historic charm, Vancouver’s stunning coastal setting, and Ottawa’s political and cultural significance, Canada’s major cities seamlessly blend modern urban living with a deep sense of history and diverse cultural influences.


Canada’s Start-Up Investor Visa Programme is a golden opportunity for wealthy international investors seeking to establish and grow businesses in a dynamic and welcoming environment. Beyond the economic advantages, the programme opens doors to a high-quality lifestyle, excellent education, and robust healthcare. With its commitment to innovation, multiculturalism, and sustainable development, Canada stands as a beacon for those with an internationally minded perspective, offering a pathway to both business success and personal fulfilment. To find out more on the programme and how La Vida can assist you, please contact our expert advisors.

Tags: business visa, canada, golden visa guides

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