Exploring Residency by Investment: A comparative analysis of Canada’s and the U.S. programs

Canadian flag waving with Parliament Buildings hill in the background Ottawa,Ontario, Canada

By Afshin Sarhangpour 

For entrepreneurs seeking a new beginning in North America through investment, the dilemma of "the U.S. or Canada?" is a critical decision point. This article dissects the permanent residence by investment (RBI) programs in both countries: the renowned EB-5 program in the U.S. and Canada's Entrepreneur pathway, or C11. These pathways offer routes to secure permanent residency or a green card through strategic investments in business ventures. 

USA's EB-5 Visa Program:

The EB-5 program acts as a gateway for foreign investors in the United States. Applicants must invest in a new or existing U.S. business to obtain this investor visa. Upon approval, conditional temporary residency is granted for two years, paving the way for a green card and permanent residence. 

Canada's Entrepreneur Program:

Canada, known for its diverse business immigration options, offers the C11 Entrepreneur Stream tailored for foreign investors and entrepreneurs. This program requires establishing a new business or acquiring an existing one in Canada. Upon C11 approval, a Canadian work permit is issued for two years, leading to a path to permanent residency. 


While the US EB-5 and Canada's Entrepreneur streams offer paths to permanent residency, their procedures significantly differ. Furthermore, C11 stands out for its flexibility, efficiency, and accessibility to foreign entrepreneurs, investors, and businesses. 

Factors to Consider: Canada vs. U.S. Immigration: 

1. Flexibility in Entrepreneur Immigration: 

Canada provides more flexibility in business immigration compared to the United States, offering diverse avenues for foreign business owners, including business transfers, franchise investments, or establishing new ventures. 

2. Education: 

The cost of education in Canada is notably more affordable than in the United States, making its RBI route appealing, especially for those planning their children's college or university education. 

3. Healthcare: 

Canada provides free public healthcare, a feature absent in the U.S., a critical factor for those considering citizenship by investment. 

How Business Immigration Works: 

Regardless of whether applying for an EB-5 Visa or an Entrepreneur Visa, the fundamental concept of business immigration remains consistent – investing in a business within the country of intended immigration. Investment amounts, processing times, job creation requirements, and timeframes for achieving permanent residency vary significantly. 

Choosing between permanent residency through investment in the United States or Canada demands a comprehensive assessment of factors such as investment prerequisites, job creation mandates, processing durations, and treatment of dependent children. 

Individual circumstances and objectives play a pivotal role, and seeking legal counsel is advisable to navigate the complexities of these immigration procedures. Note that this information is subject to potential changes. 

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About the Author

Afshin Sarhangpour
Afshin Sarhangpour

Afshin Sarhangpour is a Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (RCIC). He is the president of NIMARIA IT Co., an immigration and investment consultancy firm based in Vancouver, Canada.

Sarhangpour specializes in business immigration, residency, and citizenship by investment programs on a global level. With over 25 years of experience, his primary focus is assisting individuals and families in navigating complex immigration processes to achieve their goals of obtaining residency or citizenship through investment. Aside from Canada, he also serves as an immigration consultant for the USA, UK, Turkey, Portugal, Spain, Austria, Italy, Greece, Bulgaria, Malta, Austria, Dominica, St. Kitts & Nevis, Antigua & Barbuda, St. Lucia, Grenada, and Montenegro.

Sarhangpour graduated from Ege University, Turkey, where he also obtained his master’s degree.

He served as director of lobbying at Canadian Association of Professional Immigration Consultants’ BC Chapter.

Sarhangpour speaks English, Persian, Turkish, and Azeri.

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