How to get an investor visa to Canada - Canada Business Immigration

How to get an investor visa to Canada - Canada Business Immigration

If you want to start a business in Canada, you may be wondering about your visa options. An investor work visa allows you to obtain a work permit in order to start a business in Canada. These types of visas are temporary in nature, and are meant to facilitate the growth of your business. However, they can also facilitate pathways to permanent residence. This is because your business can provide you with employment, and work experience in Canada is helpful when applying for permanent residence. To learn more about investor visas in Canada, read below. 

What are the eligibility requirements for an investment visa to Canada? 

  • Must be from a qualified nationality. The following countries have free-trade agreements that allow for this type of visa: 
    • Australia
    • Austria
    • Belgium
    • Bulgaria
    • Chile
    • Colombia
    • Croatia
    • Cyprus
    • Czechia
    • Denmark
    • Estonia
    • Finland
    • France
    • Germany
    • Greece
    • Hungary
    • Ireland
    • Italy
    • Japan
    • Korea
    • Latvia
    • Lithuania
    • Luxembourg
    • Malta
    • Mexico
    • Netherlands
    • Peru
    • Poland
    • Portugal
    • Romania
    • Slovakia
    • Slovenia
    • Spain
    • Sweden
    • United Kingdom
    • United States
    • Vietnam
  • The business must have a positive and significant impact to the Canadian economy (for example, create job opportunities).
  • You need to show that you will be directing and developing the business.
  • Ownership of at least 50% or have significant operational control through a managerial position.
  • An investment is deemed substantial by comparing the total amount invested to the cost of running or establishing the business.
  • Irrevocable commitment and funds at risk. 

Can I bring my spouse and children with an investor visa to Canada?

  • Spouse can get an open work visa (may work for any company or start his or her own business) and children are able to get study permits. 

How do I apply for an investor visa to Canada?

  • You will need a carefully prepared business plan and explanatory letter 
    •  detailing road map, explaining how the funds will be used and why they are substantial
  • The investment (and evidence thereof) needs to be made before applying for the visa:
    • Evidence can include: signed lease agreement, including evidence of payments; equipment or inventory purchases; evidence of intellectual property or other intangibles invested; evidence of any other funds spent to acquire and set up the business).
    • If buying a business: purchase agreement and if applicable, a binding escrow agreement, signed by both parties, that explicitly confirms how the funds will be distributed if the visa is issued, what happens when it not issued, and is signed and dated by all parties;
    • If you are purchasing a franchise, you will have to provide a signed and dated franchise agreement, a copy of your franchise disclosure document and evidence of payment of the franchise fee.
    • Evidence of how the funds invested into the Canadian venture were acquired in the form of documentation of the original source of the funds (sale of property, inheritance, loans, gift, earnings, sale of business, etc.) and evidence that the funds have been moved to Canada. Need to have a paper trail.
  • The Canadian company must be real and operational this means it is actively engaged in commercial activities and meet applicable legal requirements for doing business in province or region.
  • Recommend engaging a business lawyer to establish the legal entity. Please reach out if you need recommendations for a Canadian business lawyer. Things that they may be able to assist you with include: 
    • Legally establish entity
    • Insurance
    • Licensure
    • Business bank account
    • Business plan
  • Cannot be “marginal” businesses: this means that the business cannot be merely a means to support you as the owner/ investor because the underlying goal of program is to create jobs for Canadian workers. You will need to show what you plan is for hiring and any renewals will depend on your ability to follow-through on your plan. 

What is the investment amount required for an investment visa to Canada?

  • No minimum investment requirement but must be “substantial”
  • Recommended is $100,000+ although lower may be approved
  • Capital investment should be proportionate to the nature of the business

Where can I apply for an investor visa to Canada? 

An application should be submitted at a visa office. The Regulations allow a citizen of the U.S. to apply for a work permit either at a POE (R198) or at a visa office. However, due to the complexity of the application and for reasons of client service, program consistency and reciprocity, an application for a work permit as an investor should be submitted at a visa office. Because of reciprocal treatment for Canadians, U.S. and Mexican citizens who are granted temporary resident status can also apply for investor status from within Canada (R199).

How long are investor visas in Canada issued for? 

A work permit issued at the time of entry can have a maximum duration of one year.

Can investor visas in Canada be extended? If so, for how long?

Extensions should be granted for a duration of two years provided that the requirements are met. Business must be “substantial” to renew. 

Can I have permanent residence intentions on an investor work visa to Canada?

No. An applicant’s expression of a definite intention to return to the U.S. or Mexico when investor status terminates will normally be accepted as sufficient evidence of temporary intent unless there are indications to the contrary.

Under what circumstances can my investor status be terminated?

Investor status would end upon applicant taking another job, engaging in an activity which is not consistent with this status, closing down the business, etc.

Are there limits on the number of investor visas to Canada issued each year?

There are no numerical ceilings or visa caps for investor visas to Canada. 

Canada Immigration Lawyers - Investor Visas:

If you still have questions or need assistance with your application, we would love to help! To get started, schedule a strategy session.

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