Federal Self-Employment Entry Process – My Story

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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.

Canadian Federal Federal Self-Employment Entry Success Story

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
  • Musicians
  • Painters
  • Sculptors and other visual artists
  • Technical support and other jobs in motion pictures
  • Creative designers
  • Craftspeople

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.

self employed immigration - canada

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?

My Timeline

  • 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:-

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.

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27 thoughts on “Federal Self-Employment Entry Process – My Story”

  1. HI, Abi,

    thank you for sharing. this was really very helpful. I am a fashion designer and this falls under the cultural aspect. I intend to apply to the self-employed stream in April when I get my IELTS result but I was thinking of using a consultant but I no longer see the need to do so after reading your article.

    do you think your application moved very fast because you were applying from Nigeria? I reckon there are not so many self-employed applications from Nigeria.

    lastly, is it okay if I contact you privately? thanks once again for your kind support.

    Reply
    • Hi Bola, I’m glad you found this helpful. I honestly don’t think anyone whose first language is English or French needs a consultant to apply. The forms are a lot but not that difficult.

      Read Can I Apply for Canada Immigration on My Own? if you’re still on the fence about using a consultant.

      I applied from UAE and my application was processed in London. I’ve never met anyone applying from Nigeria under self-employed but I have met people from Kenya, Uganda, and SA who applied under this stream.

      As long as you can prove your experience in cultural activities is on a world class level and you can continue to support yourself via this root once you immigrate, it shouldn’t be a problem. You can contact me HERE.

      Reply
  2. Hello Abi,

    congratulations on getting COPR, i went through your blog and it is awesome keep this work up,
    you didn’t mention your NOC and did you include the business plan in your profile.?

    Reply
    • Thanks. My NOC is 5121. Yes, I included a basic business plan. They didn’t ask for it but I felt it was important to show that I knew what I was doing and had a plan in place. A future post will share the template I used.

      Reply
  3. Hello Abi,

    congratulations on getting COPR, would you tell me how many pages are there in your business plan? have you ever been to canada for a business trip?

    Reply
    • My business plan was about 25 pages or so but yours doesn’t have to be that long. I’m a writer so I tend to ramble. Your business plan should be as long as it needs to be. HTH.

      Reply
      • hi Abi,
        Your story gave me motivation to apply…thank you for sharing.
        i am VERy much confused about what to add in bussiness plan what are the main POInts to be covered
        also is it should BE designed and written like proper company plan or can be written In simple narration / eassy STYLE.

        Reply
  4. Hello abi
    thanks for sharing.
    I would like to ask what the chances are for someone without any travel experience on a passport. because I think your 25 pages on passport might have also influenced your success.

    Reply
    • My passport had nothing to do with it. The strength, temerity and substance of my application, however, had everything to do with it. Travel experience is a very small part of the entire application.

      Reply
    • No, I didn’t. I wanted to and did put in an application for a visit visa but it was refused so I just went ahead and applied in good faith.

      Reply
  5. Hi,

    When we applying this program , at a same time we have to submit pcc and medical or else we have to wait when they asked to submit ….

    REGARDS
    pRAKASH pATEL

    Reply
    • You can submit police certificates at the same time but I advise waiting until IRCC requests for medicals since the medical report is only valid for 1 year and this process could take up to 2 years.

      Reply
  6. Hi, you have given interesting information!
    I am applying for the federal self-employed stream as author and writer. I have academic IELTS and some publications in the field. Will it serve the purpose or they can refuse my application due to general IELTS requirements?
    One more question please: How to make the payment online or send them my debit card details in some format. I did not find any specimen for it.

    Thanks

    Reply
    • Academic is for people going to school I believe. In order not to have your application refused after spending a lot of money, I advice providing what was requested, which is general IELTS. They specifically stated they require general IELTS. Do not send DC or CC details. They specifically mentioned not to do that. There is a portal to choose your stream and make appropriate payment through a secure online portal here – http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/information/fees/pay.asp. Please go through the checklist before you submit your application.

      Reply
  7. Hi Abi,
    How can you prove your cultural activity is on world class? I am a journalist, novelist and short story writer from egypt. Thanks in advance and sorry for cap LETTERS MY KEYBOARD WENT CRAZY.

    Reply
  8. HELLO aBI,
    I AND MY HUSBAND PLAN TO IMMIGRATE THROUGH THE SELF EMPLOYED PROGRAM AS INDUSTRIAL DESIGNER AND A CERAMIC ARTIST COUPLE. WE HAVE AN ONLINE BUSINESS AND A PHYSICAL CERAMIC DESIGN SHOP. WE HAVE AN EXPERIENCE OF LIVING IN TWO COUNTRIES SO FAR. AND WE TRAVEL OFTEN BUT HAVE NEVER BEEN IN CANADA. DO YOU KNOW IF THAT’S AN IMPORTANT CRITERIA FOR APPROVING OUR APPLICATION? THANK YOU (SORRY, FOR SOME REASON I CAN ONLY TYPE WITH CAP LOCKS).

    Reply
    • I am an events photographer in Nigeria. although I have been doing this since the year 2011, After my Graduation, but I didn’t register my business until the year 2018. Do you think I should apply for the the Self Employed Stream or I should go for the Express Entry? Thanks

      Reply
      • You don’t necessarily have to have a registered business but you should have documentation and proof of the work you’ve been doing. How did you bill people? You provided invoices to receive cash or bank transfers as payments, yes? Website? Client testimonials? That’s what will support your application best, not having a registered business. I can’t speak to Express Entry. Don’t have experience with that. HTH.

        Reply
  9. Hi ABI, DO WE REALLY NEED TO ADD NARRATIVE STATEMENTS OF BOTH PRINCIPLE APPLICANT AND SPOUSE ?? IF YES ! WHAT ALL SHOULD I ADD IN IT, CAN I GET PROPER FORMAT FOR THE SAME.

    Reply
  10. very nice article i have one question only if someone can help me should i show the fund and bank statement amount with application or it is required only when we travel to canada

    Reply

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