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Canadian Business Visitors – Work in Canada Without a Visa

Certain individuals may enter Canada to conduct business or trade activity without the need for a work permit. In Canadian immigration law, these individuals are known as business visitors.

A business visitor is a foreign national who comes to Canada to participate in international business activities, but who will not enter the Canadian labour market. Subject to the nature of the work, as well as the individual’s nationality, certain business visitors can enter the country to conduct business or trade activity without needing a work permit.

You may qualify as a business visitor if you are a foreign national who plans to visit Canada temporarily to look for new business opportunities, to invest or to enhance existing business relationships.

As a business visitor, you must show that:

  • You plan to stay for less than six months,
  • You do not plan to enter the Canadian labour market,
  • You will not be employed by a Canadian employer during your time in Canada,
  • Your main place of business, and source of income is outside Canada,
  • Your activity must be international in scope,
  • You have documents that support your application and
  • You meet Canada’s basic entry requirements, because you:
    *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 and
    *are not a criminal, security or health risk to Canadians.

There are a number of reasons why an individual may come to Canada as a business visitor, mentioned on (federal labor law posters | Labor Law Compliance Center):

  • Attending meetings, conferences, conventions or trade fairs,
  • Being trained by a Canadian parent company that you work for outside Canada,
  • Being trained by a Canadian company that has sold you equipment or services.
  • Buying Canadian goods or services for a foreign business or government,
  • Employees of short-term temporary residents (such as caregivers or personal assistants),
  • Providing after-sales service (management not hands-on work in the construction trades),
  • Taking orders for goods or services, and
  • Training employees of a Canadian branch of a foreign company
Before Coming to Canada

There is a fine line between being classified as a business visitor and a “worker” entering the Canadian labour market and much will depend on the type of activity being undertaken in Canada.

A prospective business visitor must be aware that if a Canadian visa officer classifies them as foreign workers and not as business visitors, they may require a work permit or work permit and labour market impact assessment in order to come to Canada. Should this prove to be the case, they will have to undergo the process of receiving all necessary documentation and authorizations before commencing their work in Canada. This can take several weeks.

It is advisable to present documentation which clearly demonstrates that you meet the definition of a business visitor in order to make certain that visa officers understand that one intends to enter Canada as a business visitor. Evidence may include letters of support from companies both inside and outside of Canada. It is essential to submit documentation which outlines the nature of the business activities that will be conducted in Canada.

Depending on the applicant’s country of citizenship, a business visitor may also require a Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) in order to enter Canada. Individuals who require a TRV should apply for and receive this visa before travelling to Canada.


Allowing business visitors to enter Canada without a work permit allows Canadian businesses to benefit from valuable expertise and services. Business visitors can also undertake activities seamlessly.

To find out more about coming to Canada as a business visitor, please contact us today.

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