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Executive Express Entry: How Business Owners Can Become Canadian Citizens

Blog posted on by Evelyn Ackah in Business Immigration to Canada and Entrepreneurs

Executive Express Entry: How Business Owners Can Become Canadian Citizens


If you are a foreign business owner or entrepreneur who wants to move to Canada and become a Canadian citizen, now is the time to immigrate to Canada under Executive Express Entry! Canada is actively encouraging skilled, highly educated foreign professionals to move to Canada to help rebuild the economy and create jobs. But for many foreign professionals who want to move to Canada, it may be difficult to meet some of the requirements under the Express Entry professional stream - particularly the age limits. Under the standard Express Entry, you start to lose points if you are over 35. If you are a foreign business owner or entrepreneur who wants to move to Canada and become a Canadian citizen,

  • You can invest in a Canadian business for as low as $50,000CA
  • You can buy an existing Canadian business
  • You can start a new business in Canada

What is Executive Express Entry?

Qualifying for a Canada Business or Investor Immigration Visa under the Executive Express Entry program is an opportunity for business owners, senior managers and entrepreneurs to get an extra 200 Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) points.

Business Immigration Through Executive Express Entry

Eligibility to immigrate to Canada under the Executive Express Entry program requires foreign entrepreneurs and investors to:

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FAQs About Executive Express Entry for Business Owners

  1. How Long Will It Take?
    The average pre-pandemic length of time to apply and qualify for a work permit under Executive Express Entry was 12-18 months. With a backlog due to Covid, IRCC is working to reduce backlogs and return to standard processing wait times.
  2. Can My Family Join Me In Canada?
    Yes, in most cases your spouse and minor dependent children can join you in Canada when you become a permanent resident under Executive Express Entry.
  3. When Can I Apply for Canadian Citizenship?
    You can then apply for Canadian permanent residency through Executive Express Entry as the owner/manager of an active business. There are many eligibility criteria to qualify to become a Canadian citizen, including:
    • be a Permanent Resident of Canada
    • be at least 18 years of age to independently apply for citizenship or qualify to apply for citizenship as a minor
    • spent sufficient time living in Canada
    • meet all Canadian income tax requirements
    • pass language proficiency tests
    • submit various supporting documents and fees
    • pass the Canadian citizenship test

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Other Options for Business Owners to Move to Canada

There are two pathways for business people to move to Canada:

  • Start-Up Visa Program
  • Self-Employed Persons Program

Canada's Start-Up Visa Program for Entrepreneurs
The Start-Up Visa Program for Entrepreneurs targets immigrant entrepreneurs who have the skills and resources to build businesses in Canada and:

  • who are innovative
  • can create jobs for Canadians
  • can compete on a global scale

Canada’s Start-Up Visa is the first of its kind in the world, linking immigrant entrepreneurs with experienced private sector organizations that have expertise in working with start-ups, including:

  • venture capital funds
  • angel investor groups
  • business incubators

Self-Employed Visa Program
There are 2 pathways to becoming a Canadian Permanent Resident in the Self-Employed Visa program: Cultural Activities and Athletics. Applicants must be willing and able to make a significant contribution to the cultural or athletic life of Canada.

  • Cultural Activities
    Cultural and artistic fields applicants must meet the criteria of "world class" workers and can include:
    • authors and writers
    • creative and performing artists
    • musicians
    • painters
    • sculptors and other visual artists
    • technical support and other jobs in motion pictures
    • creative designers
    • craftspeople
  • Athletics
    Self-employed applicants to move to Canada must have taken part in athletics at a world-class level or have work experience being self-employed in athletics, including:
    • coaches
    • trainers
    • athletes

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Talk To An Experienced Canadian Business Immigration Lawyer

It’s a good idea to consult an experienced Canada immigration lawyer if you have questions about Executive Express Entry and how a business owner, investor or entrepreneur can move to Canada and become a Canadian citizen. With 50+ years of combined immigration experience, our immigration legal team can identify and resolve potential problems BEFORE they happen. Contact Ackah Business Immigration Law today to discuss your situation at 403-452‑9515.


Evelyn L. Ackah, BA, LL.B.

Founder/Managing Lawyer

Ms. Ackah is passionate about immigration law because it focuses on people and relationships, which are at the core of her personal values. Starting her legal career as a corporate/commercial ...

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