How long does the application process take?
Applications are processed on a first-come, first-served basis.
The duration depends on the number of applications ahead of you
at the visa office where you apply, and any complications which
may arise during the processing of your application. Generally
speaking, it usually takes between 6 and 18 months from the time
an immigration application is submitted to finalize the case and
What happens after I receive my visa?
Your visa has a validity date on it, which is usually one year
from the date you or your dependents started the immigration medical
examination process. This date usually gives you several months
to put your affairs in order and make the necessary arrangements
in your home country before leaving for Canada. You and your dependents
must travel to Canada and present your immigration visas at a
Canadian port of entry before the validity date. Your dependents
may choose not to accompany you when you leave for Canada but
to follow later. This is permissible, providing they arrive in
Canada before their visas expire. Your dependents cannot, however,
travel to Canada before you do to present their visas. You must
report any births, deaths, adoptions, marriages, separations,
divorces, serious illnesses or criminal proceedings involving
immigrating family members that take place after your visas have
been issued and before you depart for Canada to the office which
issued your visa. Failure to do so may render your visas invalid.
The visa office will instruct you what steps to take in regard
to these new developments. When you arrive in Canada, you must
present your visa to a customs/immigration officer who will complete
landing formalities. You and your dependents who accompany you
to Canada will become landed immigrants and accorded the status
of permanent residents of Canada at that time.
What if I or my dependents are unable to travel to Canada before our visas expire?
The validity of a visa cannot be extended. If your visa expires
before you present it at a Canadian port of entry, it is void.
If you are still interested in immigrating to Canada, you must:
· return your unused visas to the visa office and make a new application.
Why would my immigration application be
refused? What are the consequences of a refusal?
Among the most common reasons for refusal are failure to meet the following requirements of Canada immigration law:
· you are unable to prove to the visa officer that you meet the immigration criteria;
· you and/or your dependents fail to meet the prescribed medical standards
· you and/or your dependents do not pass criminal or security checks.
If your application is refused, a visa officer will advise
you in writing by of the reasons for the refusal. You are free
to apply again for immigration to Canada anytime. The fact that
they have previously refused you will not affect your subsequent
application. However, you must show that you have overcome the
reasons why they refused your first application.
What are the rights and obligations of a permanent resident of Canada?
As permanent residents, you and your dependents have the right
to live, study and work indefinitely in Canada. Your permanent
resident status gives you the right to apply for Canadian citizenship,
and to hold a Canadian passport, once you have met citizenship
requirements. Meanwhile, as a permanent resident you are entitled
to all social benefits accorded to Canadian citizens. You are
obligated as a resident to pay Canadian income tax on your worldwide
earnings. There are very few limitations imposed on you in Canada
by virtue of your permanent resident status. You may be unable
to vote in certain Canadian elections or ineligible for certain
jobs requiring high-level security clearance. You may be deported
if you or your dependents commit serious crimes while you are
permanent residents. You may also be deported if you were issued
a conditional immigrant visa and have failed to abide by the terms
and conditions of that visa. Your permanent resident status is
in effect until you become a Canadian citizen or until you abandon
Canada as your place of permanent residence. Short trips outside
Canada for business reasons will not normally affect your permanent
resident status. However, if your absences are frequent and/or
lengthy enough to indicate that you are living somewhere other
than Canada, you may be deemed by law to have abandoned Canada
and will lose your permanent resident status. Traveling to Canada
to present your visas for landing and then returning to live in
your home country (or elsewhere) indefinitely will, except in
the few exceptional and specific circumstances permitted by law,
result in loss of Canadian permanent resident status.
If I choose to apply in one business immigration category and later decide to switch to the other, can I do so?
You may - it depends on the timing of your decision. If it is early enough in the processing of your application, you can generally switch from entrepreneur to investor or vice versa without any consequences. You must inform the responsible visa office in writing of your request.
Note: If you wish to switch from the investor to the entrepreneur
category, and have already committed funds to an investment offering,
before contacting the visa office, you should get in touch with
the manager of the investment offering to find out if, and under
what circumstances, your funds may be returned to you. Once you
have been issued a visa, you cannot, under any circumstances,
switch categories. If you are issued an entrepreneur visa, you
must establish a business within two years. If you are issued
an investor visa, your money will, by law, remain locked into
your chosen investment for the five year holding period.
Should I apply as an entrepreneur or as an investor?
You should first carefully assess the definitions to determine
if you meet both of them, and therefore have this choice available
to you. If you do, the decision is up to you. The categories are
accorded equal priority in terms of visa processing times. Each
category has its own particular characteristics.
Can I make any kind of investment in Canada I want in order to qualify in the investor category?
No. You can only invest in a business or fund that: a) has
qualified under the Business Immigration Program and b) has an
investment proposal whose offering period has not yet expired
and whose maximum subscription level has not yet been met. An
investment offering qualifies under the program after it has passed
a two-stage process. First, the province where the investment
will be made reviews the proposal. If it is established that the
project will make a positive contribution to the province economic
development, the proposal passes on to a review by federal government
officials, primarily to ensure the project set-up complies with
Canada Immigration Act and Regulations. Offerings which pass this
review process can be placed on the market and sold only for a
defined time period. Once the marketing period has expired, the
offering is no longer an eligible investment that is, they may
neither market nor sell subscriptions. A list of all currently
active investment offerings is available on request from visa
How do I prove my qualifications to the visa officer?
At some point in the selection process, you will be called
upon to provide documentation to help prove to the visa officer
that you do meet the entrepreneur definition. Proof of a successful
business management background will help establish that you have
the ability to set up and operate a business venture in Canada.
You should be prepared to provide business and personal income
tax records, audited financial statements, business records, official
company organization charts and other documents of this nature.
You must also satisfy the visa officer that you have sufficient
assets available for your business venture and to establish yourself
and your dependents in Canada, for example, bank statements, property
and business valuations, share certificates and other documents
of this nature. The visa office will tell you what documents to
provide and when to submit them. You may be asked to explain any
ambiguities, inconsistencies, shortcomings or gaps in these documents
in a personal interview with a visa officer.
What role do provincial governments have in the entrepreneurial immigration process?
The provinces' role is primarily one of guidance and counseling
for applicants who are considering setting up businesses within
their borders. It is in your best interest as a prospective business
immigrant to be aware of the particular province's business development
needs and available programs to assist entrepreneurs in setting
up businesses to meet those needs. With the exception of the province
of Quebec, provincial officials are not directly involved in the
selection of entrepreneurial immigrants. The final responsibility
for approving or refusing the applications of persons not destined
to live in Quebec lies exclusively in the hands of visa officers
representing the federal government. Most provinces are eager
to meet with prospective entrepreneurial applicants who are visiting
Canada or who approach their representatives overseas. Several
hold formal counseling seminars for this purpose. We suggest you
contact provincial officials well in advance of any planned visit
to Canada to arrange an appointment for information on the assistance
they can offer and their particular needs and expectations.
Should I make an exploratory visit to Canada before submitting my application?
You are under no obligation to make an exploratory visit. However, we do recommend such visits as many applicants find them beneficial. As well as providing the opportunity to meet with provincial officials, they give you a chance to acquire first-hand knowledge about living and doing business in Canada, knowledge which can only assist you when the time comes to proceed with a specific business project. You may need a Canadian visitor visa to travel to Canada for an exploratory visit. Please contact our office for assistance.