Canada has always been the global centre for innovation and entrepreneurship, and the country, with its start-up visa program, is always ready to welcome and support people with innovative business ideas. The Start-Up Visa program is a new Canadian immigration pilot project that began in 2018. Successful applicants for this new immigration program will be granted permanent residency. If you are one of the candidates residing in Dubai who is thinking about being a part of the Canada Start-Up Visa Program, then this blog post has the information that you need, starting with a startup visa checklist that has information about eligibility criteria and other obligations. Without taking much out of your busy business hours, let’s get started:  

Start-up visa checklist:

Eligibility criteria: 

Your business must fulfil several conditions to be eligible for a Canada Start-up Visa Program from Dubai:

  • If you want to qualify, you must hold 10 % or more of the total voting rights of the organisation. 
  • Moreover, the applicant and organisation should have more than 50% of the total voting rights. 
  • Last but not least, the business must be legally incorporated in Canada.


Passport: A valid passport for the applicant and any accompanying family members with a minimum validity period. 

Language Proficiency: Applicants must demonstrate language proficiency in English or French, per the Canadian Language Benchmark CLB), for speaking, listening, reading, and writing. You can enrol in a language competency exam such as the TEF, CELPIP, or IELTS. 

Letter of support:
A commitment letter from a designated organisation in Canada, such as Angel Investor Group, a venture capital fund, or a business incubator.  This letter of support serves as a validation of your business idea and demonstrates that your start-up has the potential to contribute to the Canadian economy. 

Education Credential Assessment (ECA):
This evaluation confirms whether your foreign education certificate is legitimate and meets Canadian educational requirements. 

Business Plan:
A comprehensive and well-documented business plan is essential in boosting your application’s success rate. It should outline your business idea, market analysis, revenue model, and growth strategy. It is your chance to demonstrate the potential impact and viability of your start-up business in the Canadian market.    

Sufficient Settlement Funds:
Applicants must provide evidence of their ability to support themselves and their dependents upon their arrival in Canada. This includes proof of adequate funds to cover living expenses, which vary depending on the size of your family. This may include bank statements, investment statements, and other financial documents. The Canadian government periodically updates the required amount, so it’s essential to check the latest figures.

Other Personal Documents: 

  • Medical Examination: The results of a health assessment performed by an approved panel physician to ensure that the applicant meets Canada’s immigration requirements. 
  • Police Clearance Certificate: Police clearance certificates from each country where the applicant has resided for more than six months since turning 18 are required to verify a clean criminal record. 
  • Photographs: Recent passport-sized photographs of the applicant, adhering to specific guidelines outlined by Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).
  • Forms and Declarations: Completed application forms, including the Generic Application Form for Canada and Family Information Form. 

Reasons to apply for the Canada Startup Visa Program:

Direct permanent residency:
One major advantage of the Canada Start-Up Visa is that it offers permanent residency to successful applicants and their families.  It means you can live, work, and study anywhere in Canada and enjoy the same benefits and opportunities as Canadian citizens. 

Multiple applicants for a single business:
Under this program, up to five people who own a single business can apply for permanent residency. Because of this flexibility, entrepreneurs can work with partners or co-founders to develop a successful venture by combining their resources and knowledge. 

Minimal investment required:
In contrast to certain other immigration schemes, there is no minimum investment amount or net worth requirement for the Canada Start-Up Visa. Therefore, it makes it accessible to a wide range of entrepreneurs, regardless of their financial situation. 

Requirement for Basic English Proficiency:
Although communicating in English is necessary for success in Canada, there aren’t many language requirements for the Startup Visa Program. Only a basic level of English proficiency—typically equal to Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) 5—must be demonstrated by applicants.

No Upper Age Limit:
The Canada Startup Visa does not have any upper-age restrictions on applicants, in contrast to several immigration programs that do. In this program, all age groups above 18 are welcome to apply, regardless of whether they are seasoned professionals seeking a new challenge or youthful entrepreneurs with a novel idea.

Simple qualification process:
The qualification and application process for the Canada Startup Visa are intended to be easy and uncomplicated. With clear eligibility requirements and detailed help from immigration officials, entrepreneurs may confidently manage the process.

Temporary Work Authorization
Successful applicants for the Startup Visa are granted a temporary work visa as part of the application process, which enables them to establish their businesses in Canada. In contrast, their application for permanent immigration is being processed. This makes it possible for business owners to jump in and make a name for themselves in the Canadian market.

Start-up Visa application

How to ensure the approval of your Start-Up Visa application:

Thoroughly research the program requirements:
Familiarise yourself with the eligibility criteria and requirements of the Canada Start-Up Visa program in the country you are applying to. Make sure that you meet all the criteria, including having a qualifying business idea, support from a designated organisation, language proficiency requirements, and sufficient settlement funds.

Develop a Strong Business Plan:
Craft a comprehensive and well-researched business plan that clearly outlines your proposed venture. Your business plan should demonstrate the viability and potential for growth of your startup, including market research, competitive analysis, financial projections, and a clear business strategy. The main purpose of your plan should be about how your business will benefit the Canadian economy and market.  You can also seek guidance from immigration consultants to strengthen your business plan.

Be Prepared for Interviews:
Be prepared to attend interviews and offer additional information or documentation if needed by immigration officials. Prepare thoroughly for interviews by familiarising yourself with your business plan and being able to articulate your vision and strategy convincingly.

Maintain Transparency:
Be honest and transparent throughout the application process. Provide truthful and accurate information in your application and during interactions with immigration officials. Any discrepancies or misrepresentations could jeopardise your application.

Seek Professional advice if Needed:
Consider seeking guidance from immigration Consultants in Dubai and Qatar. They can provide valuable insights, advice, and assistance to help you navigate the application process effectively. Experienced consultants can offer personalised guidance tailored to your specific circumstances, ensuring that your application is well-prepared and meets all requirements. However, research and choose reputable consultants with a track record of success in startup visa applications. Their expertise can increase your chances of approval. GMRS Consultants are one of the best in this line of business. We are a professionally managed immigration consultancy in the Gulf region that offers tailored migration and resettlement solutions for individuals and families. 

Follow Application Instructions Carefully:
Read and follow all application instructions provided by the immigration authorities carefully. Submit your application within the specified timelines and format. 

Stay Patient:
The Canada work visa application process can be lengthy and complex, so be prepared for delays along the way. Stay patient, persistent, and proactive in following up on the status of your application while maintaining confidence in your business idea and abilities.

In a nutshell: 

Applying for the Canada Start-Up Visa program provides a road to permanent residence for creative enterprises. By completing qualifying requirements, developing a sound business plan, receiving expert guidance, and keeping integrity throughout the process, applicants may increase their chances of success in launching their businesses in Canada.