In a world where many countries have officially entered recession, Canada still maintains a good business standard, therefore, businessmen still prefer to invest in the country, hence, you can invite business associates to Canada using either an eTA or visitor visa
Of course, this means that you have the opportunity to invite business associates to Canada. In turn, these associates can help to improve the Canadian economy.
However, many associates who come to Canada just come for either business meetings, conferences, seminars. As such, they don’t normally stay long in Canada.
Meanwhile, before you invite business associates to Canada, you must, first of all, investigate their business track record, assets and liabilities, reputation as well as current legal status. This is to avoid any problems in the future.
Thereby, protecting your company’s interests and reputation. In addition, with the inquiries you make, you will find out if your potential partner’s background will cause problems for your business in the future.
In this article
- Who qualifies to be a business associate?
- Who is eligible to invite a business associate to Canada
- Document checklist to invite a business associate to Canada
- Letter of invitation for a business associate in Canada
- Steps to invite a business associate to Canada
- Step 1: Exercise due diligence
- Step 2: Know Canada’s COVID-19 and entry requirements for business visitors
- Step 3: Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA)
- Step 4: visitor visa
- Step 5: Your company’s responsibilities
- How to prepare your business partner for arriving in Canada
- Frequently Asked Questions
Who qualifies to be a business associate?
A business associate is someone who comes to Canada to take part in international business activities without being part of the Canadian labour market. Generally, as a business visitor, you may stay in Canada for a few days or a few weeks, however, depending on the situation, you can stay for up to six months.
Furthermore, business visitors can be any of the following group of people: existing or potential buyers
- a trade show or conference visitors,
- individuals coming for training at the company’s facilities
Who is eligible to invite a business associate to Canada
Canadian companies can invite business associates to Canada. Also, individuals can as well invite business visitors. Of course, it is compulsory to write a letter of invitation before you can have a business visitor from abroad.
Document checklist to invite a business associate to Canada
Below is the list of documents needed to visit Canada as a business associate or visitor.
- a passport or travel document that is valid for your entire stay
- a valid visitor visa, if applicable
- if you need an eTA, you must travel using the same passport you used in your application
- letters of support from your parent company and a letter of invitation from the Canadian host business or a Letter of Recognition from the Canada Border Services Agency
- other documents such as warranty or service agreements, or contracts, if relevant to your visit
- 24-hour contact details of your business host in Canada
- proof that you have enough money for both your stay in Canada and your return home
- proof of COVID-19 vaccination
Letter of invitation for a business associate in Canada
Usually, before Canadian companies will invite business associates to Canada, they must first of all, write a letter of invitation.
Sometimes, your business visitor may need a visa, and unfortunately, a letter of invitation does not cover for a visa. Therefore, whenever necessary, advise your business associate to apply for a Canadian visa.
To apply for a visa, you may need to contact the Canadian visa office in your visitor’s country to find out if this is required.
Moreover, make sure that you notify your visitor on time. This will allow him to have enough time to process his visa.
Letter of invitation must contain the following information:
Generally, the letter of invitation must contain information about the visitor, the person extending the invitation as well as the company. Therefore, before you invite business associates to Canada, you must include the following information in your letter of invitation.
The letter of invitation must have the following information about your business associate. They include
- date of birth whenever it is known
- the company represented and the person’s position
- the person’s address and telephone number (both work and home)
- your company’s relationship to the invitee and your business history together
- whether you know the visitor personally, and if you are related
- the purpose of the trip
- the length of time the person will be visiting your company in Canada
- accommodation and living expenses that your company will cover
- the date the person intends to leave Canada.
Person extending the invitation
The following information is needed about the person extending the invitation:
- complete name
- job title and position in the company
- address and telephone numbers in Canada and
- work email address.
In addition to the information above, the following information is needed about the company extending the invitation.
- complete name of the company
- headquarters address
- the address of all company facilities to be visited
- the company’s website address, if available
- the company’s date of registration/incorporation and
- a short description of the firm’s type of business
Steps to invite a business associate to Canada
Step 1: Exercise due diligence
You must investigate your potential partner. Therefore, before you invite business associates to Canada, you must know their business track record, assets and liabilities, reputation and current legal status.
Step 2: Know Canada’s COVID-19 and entry requirements for business visitors
Secondly, you must also let your potential business partner know about the COVID-19 protocols and requirements in Canada.
Step 3: Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA)
Sometimes, your partner may need an eTA. Therefore, they must apply online for eTA to book their flight to Canada.
Most of the time, you will get an approved eTA within minutes of applying. However, some requests may take several days to process.
Step 4: visitor visa
If your visitor needs a visa to visit Canada, they must apply for a visitor visa just like any other temporary visitor to Canada. There is no separate application for business visitors. The visitor visa covers all visitors, including those coming to Canada on business.
Step 5: Your company’s responsibilities
Next in line is your company’s responsibility. This includes:
- Performing due diligence checks on your potential business partner.
- Liaising with the Canadian Trade Commissioner responsible for the sector and country your visitor is coming from.
- Providing your potential visiting business partner with 2 copies of a letter of invitation.
- Providing your potential visiting business partner with 24-hour contact information for a representative from your business.
How to prepare your business partner for arriving in Canada
Normally, with an eTA or visitor visa, you can invite business associates to Canada. However, sometimes, the border services officer at the point of entry may find out that your visitor may need a work permit. However, this depends on whether the visitor’s circumstances have changed upon arrival. Sometimes, it may be as a result of the information got during the interview.
Meanwhile, this may not be a serious issue since the letter of invitation can explain the situation and help to avoid such problems.
Secondly, your visitor can give them a Canadian contact that can help to explain the reason. However, you must be sure that the person contacted must be able to answer the questions.
Therefore, you must provide your visitor with all the necessary documents before inviting him or her to Canada.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the processing time for a business visa in Canada?
It takes about 3 to 4 months to process a Canadian visa. However, when certain documents are missing, you may have some delays. Apart from that, if you fail to pay the compulsory application fee of CAD 150, your application will not be processed.
What to do if your invitation, eTA or visitor visa is refused
Generally, there is no formal process to follow when your invitation or visitor Visa is rejected. However, you can submit another invitation and ask your partner to reapply for a new visa.