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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. 

Business visitors must meet the following general criteria:

§  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

§ Provide after-sales service:
    - warranty service
    - fulfilling service contract
    - some installation activities

§ 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;

§ Take orders for foreign goods or services; no sales can be made to the general public in Canada.

Do you have a Canadian immigration law question:
 Ask A Canada Law Expert.

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.




Yes, I am a
Business Visitor

























less than 6 months:
Short term
Temporary Business



more than six months:
Long Term
Temporary Business



























Temporary Resident Visa Required
If you are a citizen of one of these Countries





Please refer to the CIC web site for more information


















No Visa Required


















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:

  1. A passport which will be valid for the duration of your stay and guarantees re-entry to the issuing country.
  2. Company letter of support.
  3. Proof that you can effect your departure from Canada at the end of your stay.

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:

  1. A completed Application Form
    Complete information on obtaining a Temporary Resident Visa, including a guide, document checklist, and application form is available at: Citizenship and Immigration Canada. The guide will assist you in deciding whether to apply for a single or multiple entry TRV.

    Please Note: Your application will be returned to you if it is not properly completed, or if all of the necessary documents have not been submitted.
  2. A passport which will be valid for the duration of your stay and guarantees re-entry to the issuing country.
  3. Company letter of support
  4. Two recent passport size photos for yourself (and each family member accompanying you);the name and date of birth of the person should be written on the back of each photo. Instructions regarding the passport photos can be found in the application kit at Citizenship and Immigration Canada
  5. Proof of temporary or permanent legal residence in the country of application, if applicable
  6. Proof of funds
    Application fee: Fees and methods of payment vary. Please verify the acceptable methods of payment with the Canadian visa office before submitting your application. Canadian visa offices are located at your nearest Canadian Consulate, Embassy or High Commission.
    Visa offices cannot accept fee payment receipts from banks in Canada nor are personal cheques acceptable methods of payment.

    PLEASE NOTE: An officer at the port of entry will decide if you still meet the requirements for admission when you arrive. A valid temporary resident visa is not a guarantee of entry into Canada; if there has been a change in circumstances between the date of your application and your arrival in Canada or if subsequent information is given which was not originally available to the visa office, you may be refused entry.


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