Top 8 Tips for Preparing a Successful Canada Startup Visa Work Permit Application

Submitting a Canada #StartupVisa Work Permit application? Do you have an application in process or an application that was recently refused?
I’ve spent 100+ hours over the past 2 months with dozens of founders whose SUV Work Permit applications have been refused and in preparing a legal strategy for these applications to get the best result in Federal court.
While we have been successful in getting resolution for our clients, in this process, I’ve reviewed 50+ refused applications for all kinds of start-ups. I’ve put together the list below of the key considerations when submitting a successful SUV work permit application.
**NOTE: If your start-up visa work permit was recently refused, please read more about your options to overcome the refusal here)
1. Letter of Support/Commitment Certificate: check your LoS and CC to ensure it is valid. These documents are valid for ONLY 6 months from the date of issue, irrespective of the validity written on the document by the Designated Entity.
2. Essential: it must be clear why you are essential and what you need to accomplish by being physically present in Canada. Provide details and supporting documents.
3. Offer of Employment: prepare your offer of employment carefully. While I would normally advise you to follow the IRCC guidelines carefully, the problem is that the IRCC website guidelines are contradictory. Review everything carefully and ensure you demonstrate you qualify under the SUV program.
4. Choose the right LMIA Exemption Code: As of 15 December 2022, IRCC finally created a specific exemption code for SUV work permits. This code is A77 and can be found by scrolling down in the Employer Portal dropdown menu when selecting your LMIA Exemption Code.
5. Ownership: make sure you provide clear proof you meet the ownership requirements for the SUV program in your application. These can include: shareholder ledgers, term sheets, shareholder agreements.
6. Proof of funds: The SUV work permit is a one year, closed, employer-specific work permit. That means you can only work for your own start-up in Canada and so you must provide proof that you have savings to cover your living expenses for one year. Make sure that you provide proof of your funds, source of funds and exchange rates if your funds are in a currency other than Canadian dollars.
7. Help the officer understand your file: These applications are complicated and by providing explanations you can help the visa officer understand your start-up. While the LoS/CC is necessary, it provides minimal info so it will be your job to explain things clearly for the officer.
8. Submit your application & keep a complete copy: Review and read EVERY single word in your application. Even a small discrepancy can have important legal consequences. Save a complete copy of your application when you submit it as you will not be able to download them from the IRCC website later.