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Federal Business Immigration Programs

The Self-employed Persons Program allows people to immigrate to Canada permanently as a self-employed person.

If you’re interested in this program, you must:

  • have relevant experience in cultural activities or athletics and
  • be willing and able to make a significant contribution to the cultural or athletic life of Canada

Eligibility

To immigrate as a self-employed person, you must:

  • have relevant experience
  • be willing and able to be self-employed in Canada
  • meet the program’s selection criteria and
  • meet medical, security and other conditions

Relevant experience

Your experience is relevant if you have:

  • taken part in cultural activities or athletics at a world-class level or
  • been a self-employed person in cultural activities or athletics

Relevant experience for a self-employed person means at least two years of experience.

It must be during the period starting 5 years before the day you apply and ending on the day we make a decision on your application.

You can get more points if you have 3, 4, or 5 years of experience.

At a minimum, your experience must be:

  • for cultural activities:
    1. 2 one-year periods being self-employed in cultural activities, or
    2. 2 one-year periods participating at a world-class level in cultural activities, or
    3. a combination of a one-year period described in (a), and a one-year period described in (b)
  • for athletics:
    1. 2 one-year periods being self-employed in athletics, or
    2. 2 one-year periods participating at a world class level in athletics, or
    3. a combination of a one-year period described in (a) above, and a one-year period described in (b) above

Selection criteria

We assess you on selection criteria that include your:

  • experience
  • education
  • age
  • language abilities
  • adaptability

Canada’s Start-up Visa Program targets immigrant entrepreneurs with the skills and potential to build businesses in Canada that:

  • are innovative
  • can create jobs for Canadians
  • can compete on a global scale

Do you have an innovative business idea? If you can get support for your idea from one of the designated organizations, you may be able to immigrate to Canada.

Who can apply

To be eligible for the Start-up Visa Program, you must:

  • have a qualifying business
  • get a letter of support from a designated organization
  • meet the language requirements
  • bring enough money to settlequalifying business

Have a qualifying business

A qualifying business means you created a business that meets the following conditions.

  • At the time you get a commitment from a designated organization:
    • each applicant holds 10% or more of the voting rights attached to all shares of the corporation outstanding at that time (up to 5 people can apply as owners) AND
    • applicants and the designated organization jointly hold more than 50% of the total voting rights attached to all shares of the corporation outstanding at that time
  • At the time you receive your permanent residence:
    • you provide active and ongoing management of this business from within Canada
    • an essential part of the operations of the business happens in Canada
    • this business is incorporated in Canada

Get a letter of support from a designated organization

You must get a letter of support from a designated organization (a business group that has been approved to invest in or support possible start-ups).

The process to pitch your idea is different for each organization. Each organization has its own requirements. For example, you may be asked to present your business concept in person or submit a detailed business plan.

Meet the language requirements

The ability to communicate and work in English, French or both languages will help your business succeed in Canada.

You must meet the minimum language test level of the Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) 5 in either English or French in all four areas of speaking, reading, listening and writing.

If you don’t meet the minimum language skills, your application will be refused.

Bring enough money to settle

The Government of Canada does not give financial support to new start-up visa immigrants.

When you apply, you’ll need to give proof that you have the money to support yourself and your dependants after you arrive in Canada. You can’t borrow this money from another person.

The amount you need depends on the size of your family. These amounts are updated every year.

Number of
family members
Funds required
(in Canadian dollars)
1 $12,960
2 $16,135
3 $19,836
4 $24,083
5 $27,315
6 $30,806
7 $34,299
For each additional family member $3,492

Provincial Entrepreneur Programs

Self-Employed Farmer

Alberta Opportunity Stream

Entrepreneur Immigration

Entrepreneur Regional Pilot

Student Entrepreneur Program

Entrepreneur Immigration Program

Farm Investor Program

Entrepreneurial Immigration Program

Post-Graduate Entrepreneurial Immigration Program

International Entrepreneur Immigration Program

International Graduate Entrepreneur Immigration Program

Entrepreneur Immigration Program

Entrepreneur Immigration Program

International Graduate Entrepreneur Immigration Program

Entrepreneur Immigration Program

Entrepreneur-Work Permit Immigration Program

Entrepreneur Immigration Program

Farm Owners/Operators

  • Regular Stream
  • Young Farmer Stream

Business Applicant Immigration Program