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How to Work as a Business Visitor to Canada

Blog posted on by Evelyn Ackah in Business Travel to Canada and Business Visitors

How to Work as a Business Visitor to Canada

Recent #Megxit conversations about moving to Canada from England or America have mentioned the option to come to Canada as a business visitor. As visitors, you can remain in Canada for up to six months without a visa - but you aren't able to work in Canada. Most Business Visitors do not need a Work Permit to enter Canada and must be able to prove that their main source of income and main place of business is not in Canada. Business visitors come to Canada come for many reasons:

  • Professional conference or meetings
  • Educational opportunities
  • Exploring new business opportunities in Canada
  • Visiting Canada-based locations or offices

Canada immigration lawyer Evelyn Ackah advises,

Employers should not send foreign workers across borders into Canada or the U.S. without a NAFTA business visitor letter confirming their activity as business visitors in case they encounter challenges at the border. If refused, it could impact their ability to enter Canada or the U.S. for personal and tourist purposes.

Employers need to ensure they prepare their employees for crossborder business visitor travel – their credibility as an employer that does this correctly could be affected and impact future business travel for all their employees.

Business Visitors to Canada

IRCC (Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada) governs the Canadian government's immigration rules and regulations. IRCC defines a Business Visitor as someone who comes to Canada:

  • for international business activities
  • does not directly enter the Canadian labour market

To enter Canada as a business visitor you typically need either a TRV (temporary resident visa) or eTA (electronic travel authorization) and you must provide biometrics. To qualify as a Canadian business visitor you must be able to meet IRCC's requirements and show

  • you plan to stay for less than 6 months
  • you don't 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
  • you meet Canada’s basic entry requirements and
    • 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
    • are not a criminal, security or health risk to Canadians

Depending on your country of origin, business visitor's professional activities are restricted.

Work as a Business Visitor to Canada

A Canadian business visitor cannot enter the Canadian labour market. However, they can get income from businesses outside of Canada.

Owners of Businesses Outside Canada
While living in Canada part of the year as business visitors, business visitors are not allowed to work in Canada. But, they can manage and get income from businesses located outside of Canada.

Canadian Taxes
Non-residents in Canada over 183 days per year (over 6 months) can be considered residents and become subject to tax on worldwide income. People who spend less than half of the year in Canada may still be considered residents for taxation purposes, depending on the sources of income.

A foreign national who wants to enter Canada is responsible for completing the correct immigration paperwork and incorrect classification can cause you to be barred from entering Canada or cause costly delays. It can be confusing whether you are classified as a business visitor, a business person or a business immigrant. Consulting an experienced Immigration Lawyer about your classification and the documentation required to enter Canada can protect you and your business. Contact us today at (403) 452-9515 Ext. 100 or 1-800-932-1190 or email us directly.


Evelyn Ackah

Founder/Managing Lawyer

Ms. Ackah is passionate about immigration law because it focuses on people and relationships, which are at the core of her personal values. Starting her legal career as a corporate/commercial ...

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In my role leading Human Resources and Corporate Services environments over the years, it has been my pleasure to work with Ackah Business Immigration Law, engaging their services and legal counsel for a wide variety of immigration matters. I have found their practice to be professional, knowledgeable and responsive, always at the forefront in educating clients on the changing face of Immigration legislation and requirements. It is my pleasure to recommend Ackah Business Immigration Law as experts in their field.

– Marci Hamilton, Manager, Corporate Services

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