Portrait of successful Business people 1200x500v

Start-up Visa (SUV) Program

Start-up Visa (SUV) Program is a Canadian federal immigration program administered by the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). Applicants with a Letter of Support from one of the government designated organizations can submit work permit and permanent residence applications concurrently.

Start-up Visa (SUV) program was implemented as a pilot in April 2013. According to the Evaluation of the Start-Up Visa (SUV) Pilot published by the Research and Evaluation Branch of the Government of Canada on November 10, 2016, 80% applications were approved and 20% were refused. Refusal reasons include applicants’ lack of knowledge of their start-ups. The SUV program became a permanent immigration program in April 2018.

According to the Admissions of Permanent Residents by Immigration Category between January 2015 and December 2020 released by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) on December 31, 2020, the number of permanent residents admitted to Canada through the SUV program increased from about 60 in 2015 to about 525 in 2019. The number lowered in 2020 due to COVID-19 and application processing backlog.

According to the Supplementary Information for the 2021-2023 Immigration Levels Plan released by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) on October 30, 2020, Canada targets at admitting 1,000 permanent residents through the SUV program and the Self-employed Persons program per year from 2021 to 2023.

The current processing time for work permit application from inside Canada is about 133 days. That for a work permit application from outside Canada varies among countries and regions, such as 6 weeks in Taiwan, 12 weeks in Hong Kong, and 15 weeks in China.

The current processing time for Permanent Resident (PR) status application through the Start-up Business Class is 12 – 16 months. Please note that existing applications for permanent resident has a processing time of 31 months.


Start-up Visa (SUV) program has low to no requirement on many criteria. The highlight in this program is to have an innovative business concept and a Letter of Support from a designated organization.


An English or French test result is required. For English, the requirement of minimum Canadian Language Benchmarks (CLB) 5 is equivalent to Reading 4.0, Writing 5.0, Listening 5.0, and Speaking 5.0 in International English Language Testing System (IELTS) General Training.


There is no minimum education level requirement. Applicants with a post-secondary certificate, degree or higher education level are usually preferred by designated organizations.


There is no minimum experience requirement. Applicants with relevant experience as a business owner or senior manager are usually preferred by designated organizations.

Letter of Support

Applicants must obtain a Letter of Support from a designated organization to apply for work permit and permanent residence.

Net Worth

There is no minimum net worth requirement. However, applicants need to demonstrate that they have enough money to settle with their families such as $12,960 for 1 person, $16,135 for 2 people, and $19,836 for 3 people, etc.


There is no minimum investment requirement. We recommend applicants to invest at least $50,000 into the start-up in Canada.

Business Concept

Applicants must have an innovative business idea for the program. We recommend it is Information Technology (IT) related. A business model with traction is preferred by the designated organizations. Incorporation is not required before the application submission.

Job Creation

There is no job creation requirement. We recommend applicants to consider hiring at least one full-time or part-time employee or a freelancer to develop the start-up.


There is no residence requirement. Applicants can reside in anywhere in Canada. We recommend applicants to reside in the same region as designated organization such as Vancouver, BC.

Economic Class
Webinar Coming Up

Are you interested in immigrating to Canada through the Start-up Visa (SUV) program? Email us at info@zebraimmigration.com to schedule a free 30-minute virtual consultation or RSVP for our webinar on April 9, 2022.


April 2022


Regarding the Start-up Visa (SUV) Program

There are various fees to the service providers such as a retainer fee to a Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (RCIC) for the legal representation, fees to a designated organization for training and business incubation services, application fees to the Government of Canada for application processing, etc. A complete list of fees will be provided in the Retainer Agreement between the RCIC and the applicant.

Your spouse, common-law partner, dependent child or dependent child of a dependent child can be accompanying family members of your application and come to Canada to work or study with you.

Please note that your parents, grandparents and siblings cannot be your accompanying family members.

You can apply to sponsor your parents and/or grandparents in the future after becoming a permanent resident or Canadian citizen.

International English Language Testing System (IELTS) General Training and Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program (CELPIP) General are the only two acceptable English tests for the Start-up Visa (SUV) program.

If you want to satisfy the language requirement with a French test result instead of an English one, the test result needs to be from either Test d’évaluation de français pour le Canada (TEF Canada) or Test de connaissance du français pour le Canada (TCF Canada).

© 2019 – 2022 Zebra Immigration Consulting Limited | 488 SW Marine Drive, Suite 804, Vancouver, BC V5X 0C6