Canada Startup Visa FAQ

The Frequently Asked Questions below should provide everything you need to know about Canadian Startup Visa Program but if you have any questions not answered here please reach out to contact@zenlaunchpad.com. Note this FAQ only covers the Canada Startup Visa program please consult the incubator FAQ if you have questions about the Zen Launchpad Incubator


What is the Zen Launchpad & Spring Activator Product and Technology Accelerator Program? The Zen Launchpad & Spring Accelerator Program is a partnership between Zen Launchpad and Spring Activator which offers participation in the Canada Startup Visa program for companies that want to relocate to Canada.  As a government-designated organization Spring Activator provides the required letter of support and Zen Launchpad provides the incubation.


What is the Canadian Start-up Visa program? The Canadian Startup Visa Program allows entrepreneurs to obtain Canadian permanent residence by launching their startups in Canada. Successful applicants and their families will be granted permanent residency, allowing them to live and work in Canada while building their businesses. In order to obtain a Canadian Startup Visa, you must obtain a letter of support from a designated training organization, that's where we come in. If you are accepted to our incubator and your business would be best served by relocating to Canada we will support you to obtain the Canada Startup Visa.


Can I get the Canadian Start-up Visa without completing the Zen Launchpad Incubator? No. We will only support companies that are enrolled in or have already completed the three-month incubator stage of our program. You can learn more about the Zen Launchpad incubator via the incubator FAQ.


Who is eligible for the Startup Visa Program? For full details on eligibility please refer to the IRCC website but the core requirements for the startup visa program are:


Am I eligible for the program if I am already in Canada? Yes! The Startup Visa is designed to support innovative entrepreneurs within and outside of Canada wanting to start, move, or establish a business. As a result, if you’re currently in Canada under a  temporary visa and are interested in obtaining your permanent residency status, you can do so via the  Startup Visa.

What countries are eligible for the Canadian startup visa? Citizens of almost every country are eligible for the Startup Visa Program. For exact details please refer to the IRCC website.


Can I apply if my company is idea stage, MVP, series A, etc.? Yes. The Canada Startup Visa program is open to a wide array of startups. Our target startup is earlier stage somewhere between idea and Series A but we are open to talking to anyone.

Can founders bring their family on the startup Visa? Yes. The Canada Startup Visa program provides an open work permit to the spouse of the founder and children join as dependents on the same visa application.


Can I live anywhere in Canada on the Canada Startup Visa? Yes. The Canada Startup Visa program has no restrictions on where you reside. 


Can I apply and register a subsidiary company in Canada as part of the SV Program? No. As part of the Startup Visa requirements, your business will need to be incorporated in Canada with its head office in Canada, and not as a subsidiary.

How do I get the Startup Visa? Once you are accepted to the Zen Launchpad incubator we will work with your RCIC to issue the Letter of Support needed to get the visa.

How long does it take to get a Permanent Residency? Once your visa application is submitted and approved by IRCC you will first receive a work permit that allows you to relocate to Canada and begin launching your company.  The work permit generally takes 3-6 months but it is dependent on IRCC capacity which can be affected by global events.  The processing time for PR applications is updated on the Government of Canada website.

Can I travel in and out of Canada when I have my work visa? Yes, you are able to travel in and out of Canada but there is an expectation that you are settling in Canada and will be spending your time here to build your business.

What English Language proficiency is required for the Canada Startup Visa? To apply for a Canada startup visa, you must show that you have reached Canadian Language Benchmark 5 in listening, reading, writing, and speaking. Details on the accepted tests are available from the Government of Canada website.

Are there any costs associated with the Canada Startup Visa? There are a few fees associated with the Canada Startup Visa. These are the program fees paid to Zen Launchpad, visa fees paid to the government of Canada, and consultant fees paid to your immigration consultant (RCIC). Zen Launchpads Program Fee depends on the number of founders in your startup: 

Consultant and Visa fees need to be discussed with your consultant and will vary based on your specific circumstances. 

In addition to the fees above you will be required by the government of Canada to demonstrate that you have sufficient funds to support yourself in Canada. The exact amount you are required to demonstrate varies based on family size, you can get the exact requirements for your situation from the Government of Canada website.

Will you take equity in exchange for the Program fee? We are open to taking a significant portion of the Program Fee as equity via a SAFE note. If you would like to explore this route please let us know in your initial application. We will almost always require that you complete the first three months of the incubator remotely before agreeing to support your application in exchange for equity.


What is an RCIC and do I need one? An RCIC is a registered Canadian Immigration Consultant. You are required to hire an RCIC to complete your Canada Startup Visa application. You are free to hire any RCIC but Zen Launchpad reserves the right to choose not to work with a given consultant if we are not comfortable they will be able to successfully complete your application. 


How do I get started? To get started simply send your application to apply@zenlaunchpad.com.  In your expression of interest please include details on your company, current stage, founding team, and if you want visa support. Pitch decks are not necessary but are appreciated.