Your Ultimate Guide to the Self-Employed Visa Process in Canada

By | August 13, 2023

 If you are an immigrant looking to pursue self-employment opportunities in Canada, the self-employed visa can be your gateway to success. This comprehensive guide will walk you through the entire process, from determining your eligibility to submitting your application and attending the interview. By following these steps and adhering to the requirements, you can increase your chances of obtaining a self-employed visa and realizing your entrepreneurial dreams in Canada.

What is a self-employed visa?

The self-employed visa is a program designed for individuals who possess the skills and experience necessary to establish and manage their own businesses in Canada. This visa category is open to a wide range of professionals, including artists, athletes, farmers, and entrepreneurs. By demonstrating the ability to contribute to the Canadian economy or culture, you can gain the opportunity to reside and work in Canada as a self-employed individual.

Do you qualify for a self-employed visa?

To qualify for the self-employed visa, you need to meet specific criteria set by the Canadian government. This includes having a minimum of two years of relevant experience in your field of self-employment, demonstrating that you have the intention and ability to become self-employed in Canada, and meeting the selection criteria for self-employed persons, such as your education, language skills, and adaptability. Additionally, you must also pass medical and security checks to be deemed admissible to Canada.

How to prepare your application?

Preparing a well-documented and meticulously organized application is crucial for a successful self-employed visa process. Begin by thoroughly researching the requirements and guidelines provided by the Canadian government. Collect all the necessary documents, such as proof of your experience, educational qualifications, and financial resources. Develop a detailed business plan, including your market analysis, marketing strategies, and financial projections. Additionally, ensure that your language test results, such as IELTS or CELPIP, meet the minimum language proficiency requirements.

What documents do you need?

When submitting your self-employed visa application, you will need to provide a comprehensive list of supporting documents. This may include your passport, birth certificate, educational degrees and transcripts, letters of reference, proof of relevant work experience, language test results, and a detailed business plan. It is essential to carefully review the document checklist provided by the Canadian government and ensure that all the necessary documents are included and properly formatted.

Where to submit your application?

To submit your self-employed visa application, you can either apply online through the Canadian government’s official website or submit a paper application to the designated visa office in your country of residence. It is important to carefully follow the instructions provided and pay the required application fees. Double-check that all forms and documents are duly completed and signed before submission. Delays or errors in the application can have a negative impact on the overall processing time.

How long does the process take?

The self-employed visa application process can vary in duration, depending on various factors such as the volume of applications, the accuracy of the provided information, and the efficiency of processing times. On average, the processing time ranges from 12 to 18 months. It is important to note that this timeframe is only an estimate and can vary from case to case. Therefore, it is advisable to submit your application well in advance and be prepared for potential delays.


Obtaining a self-employed visa in Canada can be a rewarding process for those seeking to establish their own business in the country. By carefully assessing your eligibility, preparing a comprehensive application, and adhering to the guidelines, you can increase your chances of a successful outcome. Remember to stay organized, gather all the necessary documents, and be patient throughout the process. With determination, perseverance, and the right preparation, you can embark on your entrepreneurial journey in Canada and contribute to its vibrant and diverse economy.