Tips for Qualifying as a Business Visitor to Canada
Canada’s Business Visitor visa is an innovative and streamlined immigration process that allows visitors from the US and other countries to stay for up to six months – but meeting the requirements and entering Canada successfully can be a tough process. In this article, we take a look at the Business Visitor program and the requirements you’ll need to fulfill to take advantage of it.
Do You Qualify as a Business Visitor?
Canada’s IRPA (Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations) and the NAFTA free trade agreement between the US and Canada specify certain types of activities that will let you qualify as a business visitor. The specifics of these categories can be really complex, and working with a professional to see if you’re eligible would be wise before you even think about submitting your application.
If you’re planning a trip to Canada to install equipment, provide after-sales service or render services that you’ll be paid for in your home country – and these are just some of the many categories- you may qualify as a business visitor. Entering the country using this special visa type will save you time, money and effort – as long as your documentation is in order.
Where Do I Apply?
Since US citizens can enter Canada without a visa, you’ll need to receive Business Visitor status from an immigration officer at the Canadian border and not at the Canadian embassy. The officer will want to see proof that you’re a legitimate business visitor. Before you pack your bags, it’s in your best interests to work with an immigration professional to help you prepare the necessary paperwork.
You’ll have to present the immigration officer with several documents, including: a letter of invitation from the Canadian company or entity you’re rendering services to, proof that you’re employed outside of Canada and receive remuneration in your home country, a document proving that the activities you’re carrying out relate to a lease or sale agreement between your business and a Canadian company, and (for non-US citizens), an Electronic Travel Authorization, or eTA.
What’s Your Business in Canada?
Don’t be surprised if an immigration officer asks you this question when you request Business Visitor status – in fact, knowing exactly what type of activities you’ll be doing in Canada will boost your chances of qualifying.
For every category in the Business Visitor regulations, there are rules and restrictions that only allow certain activities to qualify. For example, after-sales service qualifies as a Business Visitor activity – but only if the product is newly-leased or bought and no hands-on installation (or installation supervision) is involved.
Understanding and interpreting the complicated set of laws that govern Canadian visa applications is a huge task – and for most people, it’s far safer and easier to hire an immigration lawyerto confirm that they will be able to enter Canada hassle-free.
If your Business Visitor application is denied at the border, you’ll have to go through the cost and inconvenience of returning home and applying for a Canadian work permit. To avoid this inconvenience, it’s essential to confirm that you qualify ahead of time.
The Canadian government’s Business Visitor program is the ideal way for qualifying business people to visit the country for up to six months. Once you’ve received legal advice and have the right documentation, you’ll be in a great position to benefit from this convenient immigration policy.