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Canada’s Start Up Visa Program, also commonly referred to as the SUV program of Canada, is a Canada immigration pathway for qualified entrepreneurs.

Linking innovative entrepreneurs with private sector investors in Canada, the SUV program specifically targets immigrants that have the potential of successfully establishing their business in Canada.

Initially coming to the country on a Canada work permit – supported by their designated Canadian investor – such candidates will be qualifying for acquiring Canada PR once their business in Canada is fully operational.

During the processing of their Canadian permanent residence application, the SUV candidate will be able to apply for a temporary work permit for entering Canada and begin building-up their business in the country.


To be able to immigrate to Canada through the Start Up Visa program, a candidate will be required to fulfil 4 eligibility requirements.

These are – having a qualifying business, meeting the specific language requirements for the SUV program, securing a Letter of Support from any of the designated organizations, and possessing sufficient funds for settling in Canada with family.

By a “qualifying business” is implied a business that fulfils certain specific requirements laid down by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada [IRCC].

Do note that at the time of receiving their permanent resident visa for Canada, the individual must be providing “active and ongoing” management of that particular business from within Canada. Additionally, an essential part of the business operations must be conducted within Canada.

For the language requirements, the individual will be required to have secured at least a Canadian Language Benchmark [CLB] Level 5, in either English or French, in each of the 4 abilities assessed [speaking, reading, listening, writing].

Language tests accepted by IRCC –


IRCC designated tests

Level required for SUV program

For English

International English Language Testing System [IELTS]

Canadian English language Proficiency Index Program [CELPIP]


For French

Test de connaissance du français [TCF Canada]

Test d’évaluation de français [TEF Canada]


Now, for acquiring a Letter of Support as part of the SUV program eligibility process, an individual will have to get any of the IRCC designated organizations to support their business idea.

A Letter of Support will be issued by the organization supporting the individual for the SUV program.

A designated organization for the Start Up Visa program for Canada can be either a business incubator, an angel investor group, or a venture capital fund.

The support of 1 or more designated organizations can be taken.

The process of pitching a business idea differs from organization to organization. The specific designated organization must be contacted directly for finding out the way to getting its support for the SUV program.

The Letter of Support will have to be included at the time of application submission to IRCC.

Lastly, proof of funds – for supporting yourself as well as your dependents after arriving in Canada – will be needed. The amount required will be as per the total number of members planning to relocate to Canada along with the principal applicant.


Generally, if an entrepreneur has a viable start up business plan, the processing timeline is as follows –

4 to 6 months for securing a Letter of Support, and

18 months for finalizing the visa application.


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