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Application type

Canadian Permanent Residency with the Federal Government

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Eligible Countries


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Timeline from application sent to PR status

6 months to 2 years processing

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Level of English/French required


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Level of Education


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Program description​

The government of Canada wants to attract outstanding artists and athletes from around the world to contribute to Canada’s cultural and athletic industries. The Self-Employed Visa program has been designed to provide people who dedicate their working lives to arts and sports to become Canadian permanent residents with the condition that they will be able to support themselves financially as self-employed workers while in Canada.


As an artist or athlete applying to this program, you are expected to contribute elements that will enrich the Canadian communities where you will live. This means that your unique skills will lead to specific economic activities in Canada related to the arts or sports. You will not be seeking employment in Canadian companies, instead, you will come to Canada with a solid and specific plan to be self-employed as the value you provide will generate income in the artistic or athletic industries of the country.

Examples of Artists and Athletes include BUT NOT LIMITED TO:

Actors, singers, dancers, musicians, music teachers, sports coaches and trainers, athletes, painters, sculptors,  illustrators, film makers, freelance journalists, choreographers, set designers, theatrical directors, film producers and directors, impresarios, musical directors, authors, writers, photographers, graphic designers, web designers, conductors, composers, editors, curators and conservators.

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Minimum requirements to be eligible for the program:
In order to qualify for the program, you must score 35 points on a specific scale of points provided by the government. You can achieve these points with a combination of the criteria below: 



To be considered an artist or athlete, you must have been working within the arts or sports industries for two years within the last 5 years prior to submitting your application. You must have MINIMUM 2 years of work experience. Your experience can be one of these 3 scenarios:
I. You have been working as a self-employed person for 2 years with your art or sport activity. This means you may be a freelance worker or maybe you have a company dedicated to the arts or sports. Either way, what you earn from these activities should be enough to support yourself in your country of residency. The money you produce should be earned by your entrepreneurial efforts, and not through being an employee of another company as this would not be “self-employed”. 
II. You have been participating at world-call events in the arts or sports industries for 2 years. In this scenario, you may be employed by an organization, for example a sports team. However, you MUST have participated at WORLD class events. This means that playing in a sports team that only participated in local or national events would not qualify. However, if you play representing your team in international competitions, this would be eligible. 
III. You can also choose to combine both option I and II above to complete your 2 years of experience. 
Two years of work experience is not enough to get your 35 points. Two years of work experience will give you 20 points and you need to accumulate 15 more with some of the next criteria. 



You do not need any minimum education for this program. However, the more education you have, the more points you gain. For example, a bachelor’s degree will give you an additional 15 points while a high school diploma will only give you 5 points. As you can see, with a university degree of 3 years, you will already have reached the mandatory 35 points to be eligible for the program. But if you do not have a university degree, you still have many other ways of gaining points. Keep reading! 


Age is important because usually, younger people tend to be more likely to contribute to the economy for a longer period of time and make a greater impact (in years) on Canadian arts and sports industries. The age that provides the most points in this program is between 21 to 49 years old which provides 10 points. Once you turn 54 years old, you will no longer have any points for this program. However, if you still have lots of energy and want to be self-employed in Canada and contribute with your unique skills, you should still consider applying for this program if you are 54 years old or more.





Canada’s official languages are English and French. You will need to choose one of these two languages (your strongest one) to pass an official test. You can earn up to 24 points in language results. Although communicating in these languages is not a mandatory requirement of the program, it is always better to have at least low-intermediate command of one of these languages so that you may work better while in Canada. Remember you will be self-employed and will need to participate in the economy of the country which means communicating with others. 
For English testing: IELTS GENERAL or CELPIP
For French testing: TEF 



You can earn up to 6 points if one of the following applies to you:
• Your spouse has a university degree from any country 
• Your spouse has one year of full-time work in Canada
• You or your spouse completed a 2 years’ program of study in Canada
• You or your spouse have a family member who is a Canadian Citizen or permanent resident (parent, grand-parent, child, grand-child, sibling, uncle, aunt, niece, nephew) 



While the amount of money you have will NOT provide you with additional points, you will need to show that you have enough funds to immigrate to Canada. You must be wondering how much money you will need to not only move to Canada but also to establish your self-employed project. You will need to show proof of funds for two aspects of life: to cover for personal expenses and business expenses. For your personal expenses, this will depend on your family size. The government of Canada establishes the minimum settlement funds required based on your family size and it increases a little bit every year in January. As a single person, it is approximately $13 000 CAD, for a couple, it is just over $16 100 CAD and for a family of 4 it is just above $24 000 CAD. Please refer to the hyperlink above to see the updated and accurate full chart published by the government. 

For your business expenses, you will work together with our team at North Horizon Immigration Consulting while we build the business plan for your project in Canada and we will establish a realistic amount required for a successful execution of your plan. This will be based on your specific project and the community where you will live. 



You and your family will have to pass the Canadian Immigration Medical exam and provide your police certificates from all the countries where you have lived for 6 months or more since you are 18 years old. 

The Application Process


Once we have identified that you qualify for this program, we must prepare an application for permanent residency as a self-employed person. This application is sent to the federal government for review.


The review process may take between 6 months to 2 years and we cannot control this.


The North Horizon Immigration team will assist you in preparing the most compelling application to properly describe your achievements as an artist or athlete and to show in detail how you expect to establish yourself as a self-employed person in Canada. We will assist you along the way to maximizes your chances of success in Canada.

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The services we offer include:

Prepare a Business Exploratory Trip to Canada (when possible, after COVID19).

Coach you on how to keep track of important administrative aspects of your project in Canada including: Bookkeeping - Tax obligations - Human Resources - Busines license registrations - Bank account opening.

Connect you with a network of professionals required for your success such as: Accountants - Corporate lawyers - Marketing experts - Web designers.

We will also review your family members’ immigration status to ensure they will also be involved during the process.

If you require a work permit to operate your project in Canada prior to obtaining the permanent residency status, we can also submit an application for this.

Assess your profile for eligibility in the program.

Prepare the Business Plan for your project in Canada.

Prepare your Applicant Profile to show your unique skills and value as an artist or athlete.

Research your industry of choice in Canada to assess the contributions you will be making.

If you feel like this immigration program fits your lifestyle and career goals as an artist or athlete, we invite you to book a consultation with our regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant, Rita Benkhalti, and start your project today! 

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