Doing Business in Canada
Do I Qualify as a Business Visitor?
You qualify as a business visitor under Canada’s temporary entry
requirements if you are a foreign national who wants to
temporarily engage in international business activities in
Canada for a period of up to six months.
§ 1. You must have no intent to enter the Canadian labour market;
§ 2. The activity you intend to pursue must be international in scope (normally there is an underlying cross-border activity that is a necessary incident to international trade and commerce such as after-sales services);
§ 3. Your primary source of remuneration must be outside of Canada;
§ 4. Your principal place of business must be outside of Canada;
§ 5. The accrual of profits of your business must be outside of Canada.
6. The term “business visitor” includes individuals travelling to Canada to:
§ Meet with business contacts
§ Buy Canadian goods or services for a foreign business or government or receive training or familiarization services in respect of such goods and services;
§ Receive or provide 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;
orders for foreign goods or services; no sales can be made to
the general public in Canada.
How long do you plan to be in Canada?
If you DO qualify as a business visitor, you must consider whether you qualify as a Short Term or Long Term Visitor, and if you will be required to obtain a visitor visa called a Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) – as indicated in this diagram.
What Kinds of Activities are Permitted?
This list provides an indication of the main kinds of activities in which short term business visitors may engage while in Canada:
§ 1. Buying of Canadian goods or services for a foreign business or government
§ 2. Taking orders for goods or services
§ 3. Corporate business activities (meetings, negotiations, etc.)
§ 4. Giving or receiving training within a Canadian parent or subsidiary of the corporation that employs them outside Canada
§ 5. Attending conferences or conventions
§ 6. After-sales service where specific criteria are met – generally only supervision, not “hands on” labour
In addition, under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), a U.S. or Mexican national may engage in the following production cycle and general service activities:
§ 1. Research and design
§ 2. Growth, manufacture and production (purchasing and production management personnel conducting commercial transactions for an enterprise located in the U.S)
§ 3. Marketing (market research; or, trade fair and promotional personnel attending a trade convention)
§ 4. Sales (sales representatives and agents taking orders or negotiating contracts for goods or services; or purchasing for an enterprise located in the U.S.)
§ 5. Distribution
§ 6. After sales service
§ 7. General service
Once I arrive in Canada.
The first government official you will encounter at the border is an officer of the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) who will ask you the purpose of your visit.
You should have all documents regarding the purpose of your visit, in hand, when you arrive in Canada. These documents include:
How do I obtain a Temporary Resident Visa (“TRV”)?
Temporary Resident Visas are not issued in Canada. Before travelling to Canada, If you require a Temporary Resident Visa, you must apply at the nearest Canadian Embassy, High Commission or Consulate that offers immigration and visa services.
To obtain a Temporary Resident Visa, you will generally be required to provide all of the following: