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Business visitors

Visa requirements

In what circumstances is a visa required for business visitors?

Business visitors do not require a work permit. A work permit is required only if:

  • the visitor will be in Canada for more than six months;
  • the visitor’s main place of business, source of income and profit is in Canada; or
  • the visitor intends to complete an activity – including volunteering – that is in direct competition with the activities of Canadian citizens or permanent residents.

There are some exemptions where work activities are allowed without a work permit.


What restrictions are imposed on business visitors in terms of the work that they may undertake and their period of stay in your jurisdiction?

Many tasks can be completed in Canada without a work permit if certain conditions are met, including business meetings, installation work or after-sales services. Business visitors cannot participate in any hands-on activity unless an exemption applies. Every business visitor must receive payment from outside Canada and the principal place of business and profit of their employer must remain predominantly outside Canada.

Application and entry

How are business visitor visas obtained and what is the typical turnaround time?

Entry requirements vary by country. The processing time for visas for business visitors varies depending on the jurisdiction and ranges from around two weeks to six months.

Are any visa waiver or fast-track entry programmes available?

Business visitors from visa-exempt countries (such as most European countries, Australia and South Korea) do not require a visitor visa to enter Canada. Some may require an Electronic Travel Authorisation (eTA) before boarding a commercial flight.

Short-term training

What rules and procedures apply for visitors seeking to undertake short-term training in your jurisdiction?

Internal company training falls under the business visitor category. Training that is provided outside the company may require a work permit. Evaluations are made on a case-by-case basis as there may be exemptions, such as an after-sales service contract.


In what circumstances is a transit visa required to pass through your jurisdiction? How is it obtained?

Most people who travel through Canada need a visitor visa, a transit visa, or an eTA.

The documents required depends on:

  • the type of travel document with which the visitor is travelling;
  • the country that issued the travel document;
  • the visitor’s nationality; and
  • how the visitor will travel to Canada.

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