Work with Canada's best business immigration lawyers at the most affordable rates available.
It’s not easy to navigate Canada’s immigration system while simultaneously looking to establish a new business in Canada. This is where Goodlawyer can provide your competitive advantage.
- The Goodlawyer Start-up Visa (SUV) Bundle connects you with a specialized immigration lawyer who will guide you every step of the way. The SUV Bundle is a full-service solution to your business immigration needs.
- Your lawyer will collaborate extensively with you to assemble key documents, complete applications, make a compelling case for your admittance and even communicate on your behalf with Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).
- The Goodlawyer SUV Bundle contains a suite of legal supports to help bring your business and your family to Canada on time and on budget. Work Permit applications are included to expedite your entry to Canada while waiting for a Permanent Resident (PR) decision.
This article is a comprehensive guide for everything you need to know about immigrating to Canada with the Goodlawyer Startup Visa Bundle.
Table of Contents
- What is the IRCC's SUV Program?
- Who should apply for the SUV?
- What is included in the Goodlawyer SUV Bundle?
- Pricing & Government Fees
- What is the Goodlawyer SUV Bundle Process?
- Services Included
- Services not included in the SUV bundle
- Get Started
- Frequently Asked Questions
What is the IRCC's SUV Program?
The Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) SUV program is the only direct to permanent residence pathway for immigrant entrepreneurs looking to establish a business in Canada. It is designed for innovative businesses that create jobs for Canadians and can compete globally. Your business must meet all SUV program eligibility requirements set out by the Government of Canada, including securing a Letter of Support from one or more incubator, angel investor, or venture capital fund designated by the Government of Canada (a Designated Organization).
A SUV application for PR status can include up to 5 founders, along with their immediate dependent family members. Founders who qualify as essential employees of the business can apply for a work permit for themselves and their dependents, which enables them to come to Canada and work for their business while waiting for government approval of their PR application.
Who should apply for the Start-Up Visa?
The SUV is suitable for:
- Innovative businesses that aim to create new jobs and compete on a global scale
- Founders who have the support of a business incubator, angel investor, or venture capital group designated by the Government of Canada
- Up to five founders, and their dependents, who would like to establish their business in Canada and become Canadian permanent residents
- Must have a Certificate of Support from a Designated Organization
- Must meet the SUV program eligibility requirements set out by the Government of Canada
A full-service solution for founders
Goodlawyer’s SUV Bundle is designed for founders and includes everything you need to develop a personalized immigration strategy, ensure you put your best foot forward in your Permanent Resident and Work Permit applications, and properly establish your business in Canada.
There are four phases to the bundle. New applications begin with the Viability Phase, during which the lawyer will learn about your situation and verify that Canada's SUV stream is the right immigration program for you. Your lawyer will provide you with a roadmap and formal estimate of costs for your immigration. The Foundational Phase is when your lawyer will build a personalized strategy suited to you and your business. This is followed by the Permanent Residency and Work Permit Phases, which may occur sequentially or simultaneously depending on the needs of the applicant(s).
*Each phase is a standalone service, so you can progress at a pace that works for your team and your budget.*
1. Viability Phase:
2. Foundational Phase:
- Upgrade to Goodlawyer Pro (one-year subscription)
3. Permanent Residency Phase:
- Permanent Residency application(s) for up to 5 founders
- Dependent PR application(s)
- Gathering and collating supporting documents
4. Work Permit Phase:
- Work permit application(s) for founders who are essential to the business
- Dependent Work Permit application(s)
- Gathering and collating supporting documents
- IRCC Employer Portal Setup
- Drafting of IRCC Qualifying Offers of Employment and Letter of Support
- eTA/TRV applications
Across all phases, you can depend on Goodlawyer’s best-in-class client support services, which includes:
- Communication, guidance and support throughout the process
- No additional fees just for asking questions
- Legal Analysis and Research
- Management of communications between client and IRCC
The price of Goodlawyer’s complete SUV Bundle typically ranges from $21,000 to $41,000 not including associated government fees. Goodlawyer will provide you a detailed quote, proposal and roadmap after learning about your team and business during the Immigration Viability Assessment. Your price will be based on the number of co-founders, dependents, and whether there are complicating factors such as a criminal record or a previous rejection of an immigration application.
Goodlawyer's fees are 30-40% lower than traditional firm rates on average. We are proud of our competitive pricing and strongly believe Goodlawyer offers the best value of any legal service provider in Canada. Our SUV Bundle also includes legal services that might not be included in other providers’ quotes but are core to the success of your SUV application, such as incorporation, dependents applications, and a business plan review.
Surprised by our transparency? Upfront pricing is part of how Goodlawyer is doing law differently. Learn more here.
The Government of Canada charges fees for a Start-up Visa Program application. These fees typically range from $5,000-$15,000 depending on the number of applicants and dependents. Your lawyer will provide full transparency on the fees applicable to you.
Applicants may incur costs while gathering supporting documents such as medical evaluations, police records, and having these documents translated. See more details in our FAQ.
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An Initial Consultation on Goodlawyer is a free meeting with a lawyer in our network. These meetings are intended to meet a lawyer, give them information about you, your legal issue, and discuss how they can help you.
Learn more about Initial Consultations.
In this Immigration specific Initial Consultation, your lawyer will perform a very high-level assessment of your fit for the SUV program. If it seems like you're a good candidate your lawyer will move you into an in-depth Immigration Viability Assessment.
Immigration Viability Assessment (IVA) ($299 + tax)
There are two objectives of this session: 1) to confirm that the SUV program is the best immigration pathway for you, and; 2) to start crafting a strategy to develop the strongest possible application.
This is an hour-long assessment conducted by the lawyer with whom you will be working throughout the entire SUV process. An intake form will set the stage for a productive conversation, during which your lawyer will ask you detailed questions about the founders and dependents intending to move to Canada. They will also want to learn about your business, financial resources and motivation to come to Canada.
You'll come out of the IVA with a document outlining your immigration roadmap complete with suggestions from your lawyer.
Please note that the Immigration Viability Assessment is conducted before you make the decision to proceed with the SUV Bundle. Because of this, we charge a $299 fee for this service. If you decide to proceed with the SUV bundle, the $299 will be counted as payment toward the total bundle fee.
Your lawyer has extensive expertise in the law, policy, and practice of Canadian immigration. They will put these skills to work for you, working collaboratively with you to provide a comprehensive SUV application strategy. This strategy will highlight your application's strengths, shore up its weaknesses, and make sure it is backed up by sound and convincing legal arguments for why it should be accepted.
Your legal strategy will be developed before you begin the application process. However, the application process is dynamic — your lawyer will be continually ensuring your strategy evolves and changes throughout the application process to account for any new information that may arise.
SUV PR Application(s)
Canadian immigration can be complex, opaque, and unfamiliar. With the SUV Bundle, your lawyer will empower you throughout your immigration application process. Your lawyer will provide expert help in understanding the SUV program requirements and up-to-date information on your application’s status. You will have a professional guide when gathering your supporting evidence and completing detailed immigration forms. We designed the Goodlawyer SUV Bundle to create solid immigration applications that give you the best chance of success.
Drafting of IRCC Qualifying Letters of Employment and Letter of Support
IRCC expects an SUV application to include an offer of employment and a letter of support from the employing business. These letters must include specific information requested by IRCC, without which an application may be refused. We will include a draft of both of these documents for your business as part of the SUV Bundle.
Work Permit Application(s)
Some founders of an SUV business can apply for a work permit allowing them early entry to work for their business in Canada while their PR application is pending. An SUV work permit is useful for opening bank accounts, attending accelerator or incubator programs, getting familiar with the Canadian market, and setting the groundwork for you and your business to succeed in Canada once its founders receive PR.
Application(s) for Dependent(s)
Are you a founder with a spouse, common-law partner, or dependent children? Your lawyer can help them join you in Canada. In most cases, immediate family members are eligible to apply for Permanent Residency and obtain an open work permit or visitor record. Dependent children are those under 22 years old, or those who are over 22 years of age and have continuously been unable to support themselves financially due to a physical or mental condition. Founders’ parents, grandparents or non-immediate relatives are not eligible as dependents through the SUV application.
Note: If applicants wish to sponsor their parents or grandparents once they have been awarded Permanent Resident status, Goodlawyer would be happy to assist.
All non-Canadians require authorization to enter Canada under a Work Permit. Depending on your country of nationality, you may need either a TRV or an eTA in order to be authorized to enter Canada.
Gathering and Collating Supporting Documents
Your lawyer will advise you on the documents that applicants are required to gather to support their applications. Documents required typically include educational credentials, police records, medical exams and more.
Please note that these extra documents are not covered in the Goodlawyer SUV Bundle and may incur additional costs at your expense.
Business Plan Review
The viability of your business’ design and plan is an important part of your SUV application. Your business plan needs to impress your supporting designated organization, and also survive the scrutiny of an IRCC officer. That is why we’ve included a review of this essential part of your application in the SUV Bundle. Your lawyer knows IRCC’s criteria and can give you recommendations to strengthen your current business plan to secure Government of Canada support.
Please note that your lawyer will not draft or modify your business plan, they will review and provide suggestions through the lens of an IRCC officer for you to implement.
Port of Entry Package
Your lawyer will provide you with a package to help make your entry into Canada as seamless as possible. Your package will include important documentation, information on what to expect when you arrive in Canada, instructions for dealing with the border agent, and what to do in case you need assistance. You’ll have peace of mind knowing that you have all the necessary support, documentation, and legal arguments to ease your entry to Canada.
Lawyer Assisted Incorporation
Incorporation is a legal process that involves the creation of an independent legal entity that is recognized by the Canadian government. It is part of the foundation of a good business and a strong immigration application. That’s why we provide you with Goodlawyer’s most robust incorporation product in our SUV Bundle. A Lawyer Assisted Incorporation includes an Organizing Directors Resolution, a Directors and Officers Register, Simple Subscription for Shares, Bylaws and/or Articles of Incorporation, the filing of incorporation documents on your behalf, a compilation of incorporation documents into a digital minute book record and more.
Note: A custom quote may be needed if your incorporation is exceptionally complex or if the work required deviates from the scope outlined above.
Goodlawyer Pro is a subscription membership that provides incredible value to our customers. With Pro, you'll have access to our Canada-wide network of independent business lawyers who can help you in any legal area your business needs — all with no billable hours or surprise fees.
Goodlawyer Pro is for dedicated business owners that want to save money on legal services, and intend to grow various aspects of their business. Goodlawyer Pro membership is like a banana split sundae…but for your legal needs.
- The ice cream — Unlimited free Initial Consultations.
- The banana — $100 off basic Contract Reviews.
- The chocolate fudge — Half off service fees on fixed-fee and custom jobs.
- The sprinkles — $99 Legal Strategy Sessions.
Learn more about Goodlawyer Pro
Services not included in the SUV bundle
The following services are out of scope and NOT INCLUDED in the Goodlawyer SUV Bundle:
- Assistance finding a Designated Organization or preparing for a Designated Organization’s acceptance process.
- Ancillary business law advice or services (e.g. shareholders agreements, trademark applications, employment agreements). Goodlawyer would be happy to assist with these services, but they are not part of this bundle.
- Preparation of investment materials like pitch decks, business plans, etc.
- Legal assistance related to further questions or submissions to IRCC that are not part of the normal course of processing (e.g. they want clarification about the business plan or more information about an applicant’s past activities). Your lawyer will be able to support you for an additional fee.
- Applications for required supporting evidence such as police clearance certificates, educational credentials, assessments for educational credentials, and English/French language tests.
- Legal support at the Port of Entry beyond your Port of Entry Package. Should you run into trouble, your lawyer may be able to support you for an additional fee.
- Document translation.
Note: A custom quote may be required if an applicant or dependent has a criminal record, past immigration application refusal in any country, medical issue or any other admissibility issues. A custom quote may also be required if IRCC requires additional documentation, refuses an application, or if the work required deviates from the scope outlined above.
Additional note: The adjudication of all immigration matters rests with relevant Canadian government organizations, and the outcome of any particular application cannot be assured.
What is the Process?
- Get the support of a Designated Organization. Your business will need the support of one or more of an incubator, angel investor, or venture capital fund designated by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) to qualify for the SUV program. Each of these organizations has its own acceptance process and criteria. If your business is accepted by a Designated Organization, that means the organization thinks your business will succeed in Canada. You will then be provided with a Letter of Support, which is essential for SUV program eligibility.
- Develop your immigration strategy. Once you have a Letter of Support, your Good Lawyer will work with you to make sure you meet the rest of the SUV program’s criteria. They can ensure you incorporate your business the right way, have the right evidence to support your SUV application, and complete the correct forms required by IRCC.
- Draft your application(s). Compiling an immigration application can be a lot of work, but your Good Lawyer will make this process as easy for you as possible. They let you know what information and documents are needed and will use this to complete the forms and organize the evidence into a comprehensive, convincing, and accurate application package. You will have a chance to review the package before it is submitted to make sure you know and approve of what is ultimately given to IRCC.
- Submit your application for permanent residency (and work permit). With your strategy in place and your documents prepared, your Good Lawyer will draft a cover letter for your application that explains to IRCC why your business is right for the SUV program and submit your application. Processing times can vary, and the wait can be stressful. The IRCC may select some applications for a peer review. Your lawyer will keep an eye on your profile, ask IRCC for updates when needed, and keep you updated on any changes to your application or the SUV program.
- Arrive in Canada and run your business. If your work permit application is approved, you can come to Canada early to start operating and growing your business, including participating in your Designated Organization’s programming.
- Receive your PR. If all goes well, IRCC will approve your application and you will receive PR status! After this, you can stay in Canada and, if you like, eventually apply for citizenship.
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Frequently Asked Questions
What are the SUV program eligibility requirements?
A founder’s PR application to the SUV program must:
- Be based on a business that meets the SUV program’s ownership requirements,
- Have secured a letter of support from a Designated Organization,
- Meet the minimum language requirements in English or French (At least CLB 5 in each of reading, writing, speaking and listening)
- Include a plan to settle in a province other than Quebec,
- Pass Canadian security and medical clearances, and
- Have proof of sufficient funds to settle in Canada.
To qualify for a work permit a founder must have:
- The support of their Designated Organization as essential to the operation of the business,
- Sufficient reasons for their early entry to Canada, and
- Proof of sufficient funds for themselves and their family for 52 weeks. Your lawyer will discuss the required amount during the Immigration Viability Assessment.
What are the ownership requirements for an SUV qualifying business?
A business must have the following ownership structure to qualify for the SUV program:
- each founder must own at least 10% of the voting shares, and
- all founders and the supporting Designated Organization together must own at least 50% of all voting shares.
What is a Designated Organization?
Designated Organizations are business incubators, angel investors, or venture capital groups that the Government of Canada has approved to participate in the SUV program. Only a Letter of Support from one of these organizations will meet the program’s criteria. A list of current Designated Organizations can be found here.
Does my Designated Organization need to invest in my business?
If a designated business incubator is supporting your business, the organization does not need to invest any money in your business, but they do need to accept your business into their incubator program.
If a designated Angel Investor is supporting your business, a minimum investment of $75,000 in your business is required.
If a designated Canadian venture capital fund is supporting your business, a minimum investment of $200,000 is required.
Do I need to invest a certain amount of money in my business?
Founders are not required to invest cash in their business to qualify for the SUV program. Instead, each founder must prove they have sufficient funds to support themselves and their dependents while establishing their business in Canada. The amount you need depends on the number of dependents in your family who will be coming with you to Canada. Funds needed to support your business are also required and are assessed case-by-case. Your lawyer will discuss your required funds during the Immigration Viability Assessment.
What is a Peer Review?
Some SUV applications are sent for peer review by a group of industry experts. The objective of the process is to ensure the relationship between the founders and the Designated Organization is legitimate and that the organization has completed all the proper checks and investigations according to industry standards. The results are not binding on the IRCC officer assessing an application but they do influence an officer’s ultimate decision.
An SUV application may be selected for a peer review if the processing IRCC officer wants to substantiate the selection criteria of the supporting Designated Organization. Applications may also be randomly selected for the peer review process.
What are the current processing times?
IRCC processing times are variable, depending on IRCC’s capacity and the volume of applications currently being processed. Weekly updated estimates are posted here. As of the writing of this document, SUV PR applications require 32 months for processing. Work permits may require 3 to 6 months for processing, but processing times can vary.
What is the SUV application success rate?
An application’s outcome is highly discretionary, depending on the officer assessing the application. Because of this, using the general success rates for any Canadian immigration program can be misleading. An application’s success rate depends more on its strength and how well it meets the SUV eligibility requirements. Your Good Lawyer will advise you on these requirements to ensure we prepare the strongest possible application.
What is an essential employee?
In the context of an SUV application, only founders who have the potential to be deemed essential employees can apply for a work permit. PR applications require applicants submit an explanation for why a founder is essential. Non-founders can not be deemed essential employees by IRCC.
Are there any additional fees?
The Government of Canada charges fees for all immigration applications (including your SUV PR, work permit, and all applications for dependents). In addition, costs such as medical exams, police records, document translation, biometrics, and English language testing exams should also be considered. Your lawyer will help you understand which fees may apply to you.
There may be additional legal fees if IRCC needs additional information, if there are issues processing your application, or if additional submissions on your application are required. The SUV Bundle fee includes your immigration applications and monitoring of your application, but it does not include these additional services.
Can I lose my PR status if my business fails?
If your business turns out to be unsuccessful after you have become a Canadian PR, you will get to keep your PR status.
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