If you want to move to Canada and work as a self-employed person, you will likely need a Canada self-employed visa, which is an immigration visa for Canada.
Canada’s self-employed program is available to anyone with cultural or athletic experience which allows them to be self-employed.
NOTE: The Canadian government is not accepting applications for agriculture under the self-employed section as of March, 2018.
However, having one of those professions is not enough for your self-employed visa application to stand a chance and be accepted. You must also prove that you have sufficient experience in those two fields to make a significant contribution to Canada.
Read on to find out who is eligible for the self-employed Canadian visa, what are the requirements, and how you can apply for one.
Who is Eligible for the Canada Self-Employed Visa?
You are eligible to apply for the self-employed visa for Canada if you meet the following conditions:
You have sufficient experience and skills
You must have both the experience and skills needed to work as a self-employed person in Canada.
The minimum amount of experience needed for a self-employed person is two years. You must have gained this experience within the five years prior to your application.
Because the Canada self-employed visa is assessed with a point-based system, more experience means more points.
You must have the following experience:
- Two years of being self-employed in cultural activities/athletics.
- Two years of participating at a world-class level in cultural activities/athletics.
- One year of experience in (A) in addition to one year experience in (B).
You have to meet the point-based selection criteria
The visa officers who process your self-employed Canadian visa application assess you on a point-based system. The maximum amount of points is 100 and you will need a minimum of 35 points.
They look at your:
- Experience (35 points)
You get the maximum amount of points if you have at least 5 years of experience.
- Education (25 points)
You get the maximum amount of points if you have a Master’s Degree or Ph.D. and at least 17 years of full-time studies.
- Age (10 points)
You get the maximum amount of points if you are between 21–49 years of age. They want people who will be able to contribute to Canada’s culture and athletics for a longer amount of time.
- Language abilities (24 points)
They will assess your ability to write, speak, read, and listen in either English or French. You can choose the language you are better at to be your first official language. You can take a language test from a designated agency such as IELTS or CELPIP for English, or TEF Canada or TFC Canada for French.
- Adaptability (6 points)
You get adaptability points based on: your spouse’s education level; whether you previously worked/studied in Canada; whether you have relatives in Canada. They look at this to see how well you would potentially immerse yourself in Canada’s culture.
How to apply for a Canada self-employed visa?
Just as with other types of Canada visa, the application is done online.
Check your eligibility
Essentially, you must check whether you are eligible for the visa based on an online questionnaire on the official website of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). If you are, they will send you an application package to your email address. The application package includes a guide, application forms, and a list of documents you need. Follow the instructions on the guide.
Fill the forms and compile the document file
You have to fill all the necessary forms included on the package. Then, if you are applying online, upload them to your online application.
If you are applying on paper, print them and sign them. Then, gather all the required documents and attach them to the application. You will have to mail the completed application to an address that you will be provided with.
You also have to pay the processing fees and attach a copy of the receipt to your application.
- The standard required documents for all Canadian visa applications.
- Proof of educational status such as a certificate, diploma, or transcripts.
- Proof you have passed the language test.
- Proof of relevant work experience.
- Proof of adaptability.
- Copies of travel documents/passports. They must show the name, date of birth, photo, expiry date, or changes in name, birth date, expiry date etc.
- Police clearances.
- Birth certificates.
- Marriage certificate/divorce or annulment certificate (if married more than once, provide documents for each). (If applicable)
- Death certificate for former spouse/common-law partner. (If applicable)
- If you have a common-law partner: Statutory Declaration of Common-Law Union (IMM 5409 – original) and proof you have lived together for a minimum of 12 months (shared apartment lease, shared bills, shared address on documents.)
- Information on your child like birth certificate, adoption papers, or proof of custody. (If applicable).
- National IDs or family or household registry/book. (If applicable).
- Police Certificates and Clearances. They should be from every country/territory you’ve lived in for six or more months.
- Canada visa pictures.
- Fee receipts of Canadian Visa.
- If applying as Quebec-selected applicant: Certificat de Sélection du Québec (CSQ)
Make sure you are not missing any documents, forms, or fees. If you are, your visa officers will send the application back to you and ask you to fix any mistakes/attach documents you forgot.
You have to provide your biometric information
Applicants between 14 and 79 years old have to provide their biometric information. This includes fingerprints and pictures.
You provide the biometric information after you send the application.
The officers processing your visa application will inform you when they have received your completed application. Then, they will tell you when you should send them your biometric information.
You should have already paid your biometrics fee when you first sent your application.
You can give your biometric information at a Canada visa application center in your country. If you are from the US, you can do this at an application support center.
If Your Canada Self-employment Visa Application is Accepted
If you acquire the self-employment visa for Canada, when you travel to the country, an officer from the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) will be waiting for you.
You must have your passport and other travel documents with you, a valid permanent resident visa and your Confirmation of Permanent Residence (COPR), as well as proof you can financially support yourself and your family.
The officer will ask you questions that are meant to evaluate whether you still qualify for the self-employment visa. If you give incomplete or false answers, you may not be allowed entry to the country.