Canada welcome a large number of business visitors a year. Business visitors use the same application process as visitors who come for tourism and are not required to make a separate application or apply for a work permit.  If you are from a visa exempt country like the United States no visa is required.

In order to qualify as a business visitor the individual must:

      • demonstrate the visit will be temporary in nature and does not exceed six months,
      • have the main source of income and business located outside Canada,
      • have profits from the business accruing outside Canada and
      • not enter the Canadian labour market

The distinction between entering the Canadian labour market and activities a business visitor can engage in is highly technical and not always obvious.  Some of the common types of business dealings which are permitted are as follows:

      • foreign nationals purchasing Canadian goods or services for a foreign business or government, or receiving training or familiarization in respect of such goods or services;
      • foreign nationals receiving or giving training within a Canadian parent or subsidiary of the corporation that employs them outside Canada, if any production of goods or services that results from the training is incidental; and
      • foreign nationals representing a foreign business or government for the purpose of selling goods for that business or government, if the foreign national is not engaged in making sales to the general public in Canada.

Business visitors from visa exempt countries can state their intention at the port of entry.  There is no separate immigration document issued for business visitors from visa exempt countries.  However, business visitors should be prepared to answer questions about the nature of their work and provide documentation in support.  The following documents are typically prepared and presented at the point of entry in support of a business visitor’s visa:

      • A letter from the Canadian business that the foreign national will be visiting, specifying the nature of the visit duration and itinerary,
      • Documentation supporting the international scope of the activity and the fact the foreign national will not be entering the Canadian labour market. Typically this is done in a letter from the employer sending the individual and confirming that the source of remuneration as well as the profits from the business activity will remain outside Canada.

In conclusion, it is not always clear whether the “work” you intend to carry on in Canada is considered “work” that requires a work visa.  If you are uncertain whether you require a work permit to carry on your business dealings we highly recommend consulting with one of our trained immigration lawyers at Levine Associates who can guide you through the process.  In addition, Levine Associates can prepare a “kit” which contains all the essential information you will require in order to satisfy immigration of your intention.  Err on the side of caution and let us help you ensure your stay in Canada is both profitable and legal.