My journey to applying for the self-employment immigration route took longer than it should have because the first time I thought about it in 2015, I was discouraged by the timeline.
Back then, it was almost nine years. I also spoke to a few immigration consultants but they actively discouraged me from going down this route.
Additionally, I had just started my business then and was very busy so I let it fall by the wayside.
However, in 2017, I began thinking about it again for a lot of personal reasons and started to conduct some research.
What is the Federal Self-Employed Stream?
The federal self-employed stream is for self-employed persons with two years of relevant experience and with the intent to become self-employed in Canada.
People interested in this stream must fall into the following categories:-
- Have relevant experience in cultural activities or athletics and
- Be willing and able to make a significant contribution to the cultural or athletic life of Canada
Examples of professions that fall under this category include:-
- Authors and writers (this is my profession)
- Creative and performing artists
- Sculptors and other visual artists
- Technical support and other jobs in motion pictures
- Creative designers
This stream also used to include experience with farm management but this was closed/postponed on March 20, 2018.
I connected with other people who had immigrated to Canada via the self-employment program and was encouraged by their feedback and timelines.
As a result, I went back to the relevant pages on the CIC website and downloaded and studied all the application forms and requirements.
The first thing I did was ensure my occupation fell under the self-employed persons’ category.
Federal Self-Employed Stream Points
I also checked the number of points required for the self-employed stream since it’s completely different from the popular express entry.
Under the federal self-employed program, you must score at least 35 points on a selection grid to qualify.
Once, I clarified that I fit into the self-employed category and I had more than enough points, I began collating required documents and filling in the forms.
I did not use an immigration consultant because I didn’t like the idea of making someone else responsible for such an important aspect of my life.
They also discouraged me from going down this route. Additionally, the forms weren’t exactly rocket science.
The application forms were pretty straightforward and CIC provided a very in-depth page with step by step explanations on how to fill each section of every form.
It took me a few hours to fill in all the forms then I had to start putting together all the other documents such as police certificates, etc.
I also registered for the IELTS exam and started studying for it. Even though my first language is English, I still needed to study and take practice tests because the IELTS exam is weird.
Even if your middle name is Oxford Dictionary, you need to study for and take practice tests for the IELTS exam.
Related Content: Best IELTS Exam Tips & Tricks for Immigration to Canada
Once everything was ready, I compiled the documents according to CIC instructions, packed it up and sent it off via UPS.
The documents were delivered about a week later and I promptly forgot about the application.
Patience and waiting are part of the application process. If you don’t take your mind off it, you will make yourself completely mad.
I received AOR (acknowledgment of receipt) two months after I sent the application in. I linked my application online as requested then forgot about it again.
6 months later, my online application was updated with a request for more information and things started moving along at an alarming speed.
When I sent in my application, I expected it to take almost 2 years and had planned accordingly business-wise. Having it move at such a fast speed was a bit scary. However, I rolled with it.
I updated my application with all the information requested and also went in for my medical tests.
I heard back from CIC within a few weeks with instructions about submitting my passport after I passed the medical tests. I also received an invitation to access pre-arrival services.
My passport was returned with the visa stamped and COPR documents a week after I submitted it.
I’m planning to move to Canada within the next 3 – 4 months. I’m excited and scared but looking forward to it nevertheless.
How Much Did It Cost?
The application itself cost CAD 1,540. However, all the other documents required to complete the application such as the IELTS exam, police certificates, bank statements, etc came as additional costs.
You can see a complete breakdown of my costs at How Much Do You Need to Immigrate to Canada?
- Application Sent – Feb 2018
- AOR (Acknowledgement of Receipt) – April 2018
- Additional information & medical request – Oct 2018
- PPR (Passport Request) – Oct 2018
- COPR (Confirmation of Permanent Residence) – Nov 2018
You can see it was a pretty rapid timeline so I’m assuming there’s something about my application that they really loved.
Federal Self-Employed Program Application Forms
If you’re thinking of applying as a self-employed person to immigrate to Canada, here are the steps for more information on that:-
- Federal Self-Employed General Information
- Check if you meet the definition of self-employed
- Selection Factors and Criteria
- Federal Self-Employed Application Forms
- Step by step instructions for filling the forms
- How much money should self-employed persons show? It’s the same as the express entry program
- If you want to live in Quebec, they have their own self-employed program so look through their requirements HERE
If you have any questions, you can ask in the comments section.
If you require assistance with putting together a thorough application that represents all your experience and future intention, have a look at my consulting and coaching page HERE.