Frequently Asked Questions

Program Admission & Logistics

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.

We accept all businesses from all sectors. We’ve worked in food, agriculture, healthcare, sustainable energy, marketplace, app, e-commerce and different business types i.e. for-profit, non-profit as well as early to growth stage.

No—as part of the Startup Visa requirement under the Canadian government, your business will need to be incorporated in Canada with its head office in Canada, and not as a subsidiary.

If you’re an entrepreneur at the idea-stage and are interested in developing a clearly-defined Minimum Viable Product (MPV) and launch plan, you may be eligible to apply for the following two programs:

  1. IMPACT Startup Visa Incubator 
  2. IMPACT Startup Visa Premium Incubator

Due to the advent of the coronavirus (COVID-19) and the uncertainty around travel, we made the decision to adapt the Impact Start Up Visa Accelerator Program into a digital learning experience. Participants will now be able to progress their visa applications to Canada and attend the accelerator program—all from the comfort and safety of their homes, regardless of location in the world.

The time commitment varies depending on which IMPACT Startup Visa Program stream you choose to apply for:

ISV Incubator — The program runs for a period of 3 months during which you’ll be expected to attend virtual training sessions 2 days per week. 

ISV Premium Incubator — This stream is a one year commitment. During months 1 and 3, you will participate in a core incubator program during which you’ll be expected to attend virtual training sessions 2 days per week. Between months 4 and 6, you will have weekly group mentor calls and a monthly 1-on-1 session. In months 7 to 12, you will be provided with 4 investment readiness workshops and a monthly group call with your mentor. 

ISV Accelerator — The program runs for a period of 4 months during which you’ll be expected to attend virtual training sessions 2 days per week. 

Absolutely! When participants arrive in Canada—and complete two weeks of quarantine—we look forward to welcoming them in person, making relevant introductions, and inviting them to attend and be a part of community events.

At Spring, we intend to build long term relationships with our participants. We always offer community support, access to Spring knowledge base & staff, opportunities to network and connect with our stakeholders, and an invitation to be part of Spring’s online community hub.

Housing accommodation—we can make recommendations but are unable to provide designated living spaces.

Financial investments—no financial investment will be made into the business by Spring.

Business and living costs—expenses such as the cost of incorporating, business licenses, legal consultation fees, housing, and more are your own responsibility.

Legal advice—Spring doesn’t provide any legal advice but can recommend lawyers or consultants to help you with your legal queries.

Program Cost & Payment Structure

The total cost of the program depends on which IMPACT Startup Visa stream you apply for. 
 

ISV Incubator — A flat rate of CAD $30,000 + applicable taxes per company application submitted by the Founder.

ISV Premium IncubatorCAD $70,000 + applicable taxes per company application submitted by the Founder, and CAD $10,000 per additional team member (up to 5 in total).

ISV Accelerator — CAD $30,000 + applicable taxes for a one-person company application submitted by the Founder. If the company applying includes a team of 2-5 then the cost of the program is CAD $35,000, with the option of having one other applicant member participate in the program.

* Please note that the cost DOES NOT cover immigration related costs. It covers the ISV program itself, including IRCC Startup Visa administration, paperwork, ISV coursework delivery, 16 weeks of sessions, etc.

Payment Process:

We divide payments into two instalments leading up to the ISV program start date: 

  • The first installment must be paid once the term sheet (contract) between Spring and the applicant is signed. This happens after official acceptance into the program.
  • The second installment must be paid right after Spring issues the Commitment Certificate, also known as the Letter of Support, to the Canadian Government. The timing of this heavily relies on how quickly candidates can consolidate and send us the required documentation. 
 

Payment Format:

We suggest for anyone located outside of Canada to pay via a wire transfer; we don’t accept credit card payments for such a large sum. Anyone located in Canada has the additional option to pay via e-transfers.

In the event of non-compliance with applicable immigration laws, or refusal of the receipt of any required permits or visas, the following refund process applies: After issuing the Commitment Certificate and before the Program start date, Spring Activator will refund the entire amount minus a $5,000 CAD administrative fee, plus applicable taxes.

There is no charge for applying. 

Immigration Process & Pre-Arrival Support

We do not provide any legal counsel on immigration or visa-related issues. However, we can recommend an immigration consultant for you, if requested. Please also be aware that it is now mandatory to work with an immigration lawyer or consultant during this process. 

You can bring up to five team members as part of the Startup Visa program requirements. If the primary applicant or some of the team members have family that they want to bring to Canada, they need to file visas independently.

Applicants receive a Letter of Support from Spring once they’re officially accepted into the program at the end of the application process—and before they begin their classes/sessions.

When an applicant is admitted into the program, they’re asked to send in a list of information needed to write and issue the LOS. As a result, how fast we’re able to send in the LOS to the IRCC is contingent on how quickly and accurately candidates send over their information.

Once an applicant is admitted into the ISV Program, they are asked to inform us whether they’re interested in applying for a Work Permit Visa. If the answer is “yes,” we then include it in their Letter of Support to the IRCC.

We cannot offer any guarantees on your visa application decision or timeline. However, our experience has shown that the timeline can vary for each applicant for a wide variety of reasons. We strongly advise that you submit as soon as possible after acceptance onto Spring’s ISV program, given PR has taken between 4-24 months for previous cohorts. In parallel, we also recommend applying for a Work Permit, as these are typically faster to be issued and ensure you can work on your business from Canada as you wait for your PR. Each application is reviewed individually by the IRCC, and we have no control over how long it will take.

*Please note that due to the impacts of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), the IRCC is experiencing delays in processing applications and can’t provide accurate processing times. To learn more, click here.

Part of running the IMPACT Startup Visa Program includes gathering consistent feedback from previous participants to keep track of their immigration status. 

How do we do this? We send out a feedback survey every 6 months to our alumni group inquiring about their PR status, business performance and the impact they’re creating through their business. 

To date, there have been no Permanent Residency application rejections out of the alumni participants whom we’re in touch with. 

*Please note that due to the impacts of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), the IRCC is experiencing delays in processing applications and can’t provide accurate processing times. To learn more, click here.

  • Application review and guidance via email
  • Letter of Support for the visa application
  • Advice on settling & arriving in Vancouver, including our welcome guide containing valuable information on neighbourhoods, transportation, housing, banking, mobile plans, local tips etc.
  • Introductions to potential business associates
  • Introduction to an immigration consultant, if requested.

COVID-19

For a detailed list of who can enter Canada at the moment, please click here

As of 2020 until further notice, the IMPACT Startup Visa Accelerator Program is going virtual. This means that participants will now be able to progress their visa applications to Canada and attend the virtual accelerator program—all from the comfort and safety of their own homes, regardless of location in the world.

COVID-19 regulations vary by province, however, for general guidance documents from the Government of Canada please click here. For updated information on COVID-19 cases in Canada please visit here