Generally, business visitors are individuals who come to Canada for international business activities without directly entering the Canadian labour market. For those who are unfamiliar with the processes involved in entering the Great White North for work, this may sound similar to individuals who apply for work permits, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. Now, we understand that not all of you are immigration experts and will need help when it comes to navigating the world of permits and visas.
To shed some light on the matter, we will share a brief discussion on business visitors and business visitor visas. Hopefully, this information proves to be useful when it comes to understanding this process better.
What Is the Difference Between Business Visitor Visas and Work Permits?
This is most likely the first question that’s on all of your minds. And while they may seem similar at face value, the two are actually quite different. The first glaring difference is that business visitors are not allowed to enter the Canadian workforce. Because of this, Business Visitor Visa holders are usually only in the country for short-term stays due to business activities, such as industry conferences, site visits, or training.
In the case that your company transfers you to work in Canada, you’ll then need to go through the process of applying for a work permit. Under most circumstances, no non-Canadian citizens will be allowed to legally work in the country without a work permit.
Lastly, unless you are visa-exempt, business visitors will need to apply for a visitor visa just like everybody else. It’s a common misconception that the process is different, but business visitors have to follow the normal application procedure as non-business visitors.
How to Apply for a Business Visitor Visa
As we’ve stated, the process for applying for a Business Visitor Visa is the same as a regular visitor visa application. However, one key difference is that business visitors will need to indicate that they are entering the country for international business activities. Because of this, it’s not out of the ordinary for business visitors to be asked for proof of the said activities when they are at their port of entry.
Now, if you are a visa-exempt business visitor, meaning that you don’t need a visa to enter the country, you may still be asked to provide an electronic travel authorization. There’s nothing against the law about business visitors bringing along family members, but they must go through the normal visitor visa application process if needed.
What Are NAFTA Business Visitors?
North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) is a deal struck between Mexico, the United States, and Canada that allows the citizens of the other countries under the agreement to gain entry into each other’s countries, as long as it is for business or investment reasons. NAFTA is the only way that a non-Canadian citizen can work in the country without a business permit. NAFTA also aids professional and intra-company transferees, as it can help expedite the application process, so much so that one can even apply at the port of entry.
Hopefully, this information has helped you gain a better understanding of Business Visitor Visas. While it can be a little difficult to understand at first, it’s much simpler once things have been broken down into easily digestible concepts. For more specific questions regarding business visitors, it would be best to reach out to our immigration experts in Toronto, ON.
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