As a business visitor coming into Canada, it is important to know the type of business visa permission you may need. In this article, you will explore your options and requirements for a Business Entry visa.
Canada is one of the most business-friendly countries in the world. According to the World Bank’s ‘Ease of Doing Business Index’, Canada was rated above many other nations such as Japan, Ireland, France, Israel, and just behind Germany.
One of the reasons for the ease of doing business in Canada is the immigration system which makes it extremely straightforward to gain business visas with the permission needed as a business visitor. On this page, we will take a look at how to gain an entry visa for Canada as a business person.
Before making a business trip to Canada, it is important to check the type of business visa permission you will need to enter at the border. In most cases, you will be able to carry out a business trip in Canada if you have an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA). An eTA enables visa-exempt foreign nationals travelling to Canada by air to enter at the border for authorized reasons, including for a short business trip of up to six months or less. Because an eTA is digital, it is electronically linked to the business traveler's passport and is valid for up to five years.
In some cases, you may need a business visit visa rather than an ETA. To check which type of document you need, complete the questionnaire on the Canadian Government website.
In order to be granted entry at the border, you must meet the definition of a business visitor. As a business visitor, you must:
· Be travelling to Canada to take part in international business activities
· Not be employed by a Canadian employer
· Be visiting Canada temporarily to look for ways to grow your business, invest, or advance your business relationships
Business visit visa holders in Canada typically stay for days or weeks, but it is possible to stay for up to six months. As a business visit visa holder, you will be able to carry out the following types of tasks or activities:
· buying Canadian goods or services for a foreign business or government
· taking orders for goods or services
· going to meetings, conferences, conventions or trade fairs
· giving after-sales service as part of a warranty or sales agreement
· being trained by a Canadian parent company that you work for outside Canada
· training employees of a Canadian branch of a foreign company
· being trained by a Canadian company that has sold you equipment or services
The Canadian immigration rules state that if you are travelling to Canada as a business visitor, you will need to provide:
· a letter of support from your parent company, and;
· an invitation letter from the Canadian host business or a Letter of Recognition from the Canada Border Services Agency
The invitation letter should include the following details:
· Details of the person being invited
o complete name
o date of birth
o the company represented and the person’s position
o the person’s address and telephone number (both work and home)
o your company’s relationship to the invitee and your business history together
o whether you know the visitor personally, and if you are related
o the purpose of the trip (if part of a longer-term project, please provide context)
o the length of time the person will be visiting your company in Canada
o accommodation and living expenses that your company will cover and
o the date the person intends to leave Canada, if known.
· Details of the person extending the invitation
o complete name
o job title and position in the company
o address and telephone numbers in Canada and
o work email address.
· Details of the company extending the invitation
o complete name of the company
o headquarters address
o the address of all company facilities to be visited
o the company’s website address, if available
o the company’s date of registration/incorporation and
o a short description of the firm’s type of business.
You may need a business visitor visa rather than an eTA, depending on which country you are from. To check which type of document you need, complete the questionnaire on the Canadian Government website. If you are from a visa-exempt country but you are entering Canada by air, you will need an eTA. If you are not from a visa-exempt country, you will need a business visit visa.
According to the Canadian immigration rules, an eTA and a visitor visa are both valid for single and multiple trips (as long as you do not exceed the time permitted). The eTA rules state, “You can come to Canada as many times as you wish as long as your eTA remains valid”. The visitor visa rules state, “You can generally stay up to 6 months per visit with a valid visa. A visa is valid for up to 10 years or until your passport expires. All visitor visa applications are considered for multiple entries”.
Most business travelers need either a business visit visa or eTA if they are flying to Canada unless they are Canadian citizens, permanent residents of Canada, US citizens, or permanent residents of the US. There are some limited eTA exemptions, including for French citizens who live in Saint Pierre and Miquelon and are flying directly to Canada from St. Pierre and Miquelon.
To enter Canada as a business visitor, you will need either a visitor visa or an eTA. You will also need to take the following documents with you:
Which documents are required for a Canada business visit visa?
· a passport or travel document that is valid for your entire stay
· a valid visitor visa, if applicable
· if you need an eTA, you must travel using the same passport you used in your application
· letters of support from your parent company and an invitation letter from the Canadian host business or a Letter of Recognition from the Canada Border Services Agency
· other documents such as warranty or service agreements, or contracts, if relevant to your visit
· 24-hour contact details of your business host in Canada
· proof that you have enough money for both your stay in Canada and your return home
As the Canadian immigration authorities advise, you should ensure these documents are not packed away in your suitcase, as you will need to provide these at the immigration border.
A visitor visa that will enable you to travel to Canada for business purposes currently costs CAN$100. You will also have to pay CAN$85 to have your biometrics (i.e. fingerprints and photo) processed.
No, in order to work legally in Canada as a business visit visa holder, you will need a Canadian work permit.
Ordinarily, to apply for a work permit, business visit visa holders are required to return to their country of origin and submit an application from there. As the immigration rules explain, it is only possible to apply for a work permit from inside Canada if:
· your spouse, common-law partner, or parents have a valid study or work permit;
· you’re eligible for a post-graduation work permit, and your study permit is still valid;
· you have a temporary resident permit that is valid for six months or more;
· you’re waiting on a decision on an application for permanent residence from inside Canada;
· you made a claim for refugee protection;
· you’ve been recognized as a convention refugee or protected person by the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada;
· you’re allowed to work in Canada without a work permit, but you need a work permit to work in a different job (this does not apply to business visitors); or
· you’re a trader, investor, intra-company transferee, or professional under the Canada – United States – Mexico Agreement (CUSMA).
If you are currently located in Canada on a business visitor visa or eTA and wish to remain to work, speak to an immigration lawyer who can explain your options. It is important that you remain within the conditions of your current visa or authorization at all times, as failure to do so may jeopardize your chances of making a successful application in the future.
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