Every year, approximately 35 million people come to Canada to visit. Some come for travel and tourism, others to visit family. Some, who qualify, enter Canada as business visitors. A business visitor application is highly scrutinized as, by definition, it allows for certain exemptions that would otherwise be required if you enter Canada with the purpose of conducting business.
As a business visitor, you must show that:
- you plan to stay for less than six months,
- you do not plan to enter the Canadian labour market,
- your main place of business, and source of income and profits, is outside Canada,
- you have documents that support your application and
- you meet Canada’s basic entry requirements because you
- have a valid travel document, such as a passport,
- have enough money for your stay and to return home,
- plan to leave Canada at the end of your visit and
- are not a criminal, security or health risk to Canadians.
You must also demonstrate the nature of your intended business in Canada. Not all business is exempt under this category. If an officer determines that the business you intend to conduct requires a Labour Market Opinion and work permit, you will be denied entry into Canada until such time as you obtain these documents.
Some cross border businesses can include:
- 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 (managing, not doing hands-on labour),
- being trained by a Canadian parent company that you work for outside Canada,
- training employees of a Canadian branch of a foreign company or
- being trained by a Canadian company that has sold you equipment or services.
Note, under the North American Free Trade Agreement, a U.S. or Mexican national may also take part in other activities, such as research, marketing and general services.
Again, if you plan to stay longer than six months or plan to work in Canada, you may be considered a temporary worker and have to apply for a work permit. Further, if you need a temporary resident visa, you must send certain documents when you apply:
- a letter of invitation from your potential business partner in Canada and
- 24-hour contact details for that person.
You may also need identification cards or proof you have a job. It is always wise to include this information so that an officer is absolutely satisfied you meet the requirements.