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The Self-Employed Program

Updated: January 24th, 2024

Canada's Self-Employed Program offers a gateway to entrepreneurial independence and professional fulfillment. This innovative initiative beckons individuals seeking to chart their career course in Canada, free from the constraints of traditional employment. If you're ready to take control of your destiny and explore the limitless possibilities of self-employment, this program could be your ticket to a new chapter.

Learn about the unique opportunities and challenges, discover the critical steps to application success, and gain valuable insights to navigate Canada’s Self-Employed Program!

About the Self-Employed Program

about the self-employed program

The Self-employed Persons Program enables foreign individuals to immigrate to Canada permanently as self-employed people. To be eligible to apply for permanent residency in Canada using this program, you must have experience in cultural activities or athletics and be able to contribute significantly to Canada's cultural or athletic achievements.

Who Can I Apply For The Self-Employed Program?

If you want to immigrate to Canada as a self-employed person, you must have the:

  • Relevant experience,
  • Be self-employed in Canada,
  • Satisfy the program’s selection criteria and,
  • Meet, security, medical, and other clearance conditions.

Relevant Experience

It must be during the period starting five years before the day you apply and ending on the day we decide on your application. You can get more points if you have 3, 4, or 5 years of experience.

The minimum your experience required for:

Cultural activities:

  • Two one-year periods of self-employment in cultural activities or,
  • Two one-year periods competing at a world-class level in cultural activities or
  • A combination of both prior experiences described.


  • Two one-year periods of self-employment in athletics, or
  • Two one-year periods competing at a world-class level in athletics or
  • A combination of both prior experiences described.

Selection Criteria

The maximum score possible you can get is 100. 35 points is the current pass mark.

Immigration Process

You may receive a request to be interviewed as part of the immigration process. The interview is conducted by a visa officer who will ask you to explain unclear or inconsistent information, shortcomings, or gaps in your immigration application documents.

Selection Criteria Maximum Points
Education 25
Experience 35
Age 10
English and French Language Proficiency 24
Adaptability to Canada 6

Medical and Security Checks

You may need a medical exam to enter Canada. This is to make sure you’re not medically inadmissible. You must find a Canadian-approved panel physician to do your medical exams. If your medical exam finds you have inactive tuberculosis (TB), you must get medical surveillance once you’re in Canada to get proper treatment.

Learn more about the medical reasons you may be denied entry to Canada.

Police Certificate

A police certificate certifies that you don’t have a criminal record. This helps Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) confirm if you may be inadmissible to Canada. If you have a police certificate in a language besides English or French, send the police certificate with a translation from an official translator.

Find out more about the crimes that make you inadmissible to Canada.

How Can I Apply For The Self-Employed Program

how can i apply for the self-employed program

You can apply for the Self-Employed Program by creating a permanent residence online application portal account. In your application, you will be required to fill out the following forms:

  • Generic Application Form for Canada (IMM 0008),
  • Schedule A – Background/Declaration (IMM 5669),
  • Additional Family Information (IMM 5406),
  • Document Checklist (IMM 5784),
  • Economic Classes—Declaration of Intent to Reside in Quebec (IMM 0008 Schedule 5),
  • Economic Classes—Declaration of Intent to Reside in Quebec (IMM 0008 Schedule 5),
  • Schedule 6A Business Immigrants – Self-employed persons (IMM 0008 SCHEDULE 6A),
  • Separation Declaration for Minors Travelling to Canada (IMM 5604)
  • Statutory Declaration of Common-law Union (IMM 5409),
  • Use of a Representative (IMM 5476), and
  • Supplementary Information - Your Travels (IMM 5562).

Find out more about the documents you need to prepare for immigration to Canada.

Can I Apply for the Self-Employed Program Using an Immigration Representative?

You can apply for the Self-Employed program using an immigration representative (immigration consultant or lawyer). Immigration representatives provide you with:

  • Advice with your application for a fee,
  • Guidance with the forms and documents you need to upload,
  • Answers to questions about the relevant immigration forms, and
  • Communicate or liaise with the IRCC on your behalf.

Biometric Fee

Generally, you must pay a biometrics fee when submitting your application. The biometrics fee covers the cost of collecting fingerprints and a digital photo. After paying your biometrics fee, IRCC will send you a letter confirming where to submit your biometrics. Ensure to show this letter when submitting your biometrics.

Please Note

The application fees for Canada’s self-employed program generally amount to 2,140 CAD.

What Should I Do After Applying For The Self-Employed Program?

To avoid delays in the processing of your application, ensure to inform IRCC of any changes in your personal information such as:

  • Adoptions,
  • Family births or deaths,
  • Marriages or divorces,
  • Changes to your job offer or job,
  • Educational credential,
  • Language test results, and
  • Address, telephone number, email, and other contact information.

The IRCC office responsible for processing your application will contact you if you need to send more documents or conduct an interview. If your application succeeds, you’ll receive a permanent resident visa, including a Confirmation of Permanent Residence (COPR). Ensure you have your COPR and entry visa when arriving in Canada.

Disclosure of Your Proof of Funds

When disclosing your proof of sufficient funds upon your arrival in Canada, if you have more than 10,000 CAD, inform the Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) officer. Failure to do so may result in a fine. Your funds can be in the form of

  • Money orders,
  • Cheques,
  • Cash,
  • Bankers’ drafts, and
  • Securities.

With a better understanding of what to expect when immigrating to Canada using the Self-Employed program, you can begin the process of moving to the country with the assistance of a Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (RCIC).



Where Can I Find Resources to Understand My Interests, Skills, and Abilities for Self-Employment?

Start by exploring online career assessment tools, vocational tests, and personality quizzes tailored to entrepreneurs. Your community's career counseling services and workshops can also provide valuable insights. Networking with experienced self-employed individuals and participating in industry-specific forums can also offer practical advice and real-world perspectives.

How Can I Strengthen My Application For the Self-Employed Program?

Strengthening your application involves highlighting a substantial self-employment background in cultural or athletic domains. Additionally, excelling in language proficiency tests, emphasizing educational achievements, and showcasing adaptability can enhance your competitiveness.

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