In certain conditions, eTA travel authorisation can be used for one or multiple business trips to Canada. However, for other work-related activities, a business visa, work permit, or study permit is required. Additionally, Canada has several programs that allow young people from several countries to travel to Canada to live and work there (International Experience Canada, IEC).
Business trips often possible with an eTA
As long as travellers meet all requirements for travel with the eTA Canada, they can use this travel permit for a holiday, business trip, or transit in Canada. For work-related travel to Canada, it is also not always required to apply for a special visa or work permit.
Requirements business trip with an eTA
Trips with an eTA can under no circumstances take longer than six consecutive months. This also applies to all business trips with an eTA Canada. You are also not allowed to enter into employment with a company or organisation in Canada with an eTA.
For a business meeting in Canada, you always have to carry an invitation letter with you, and it is also recommended to bring a statement from your own employer just in case. This does not only apply to travel with an eTA, but also for travelling with a work permit or business visa. It is also advisable to ensure that your business contact in Canada can be reached by phone at the time of your arrival in the country.
Allowed business activities with an eTA
The eTA may be used to practice a number of professions, including those of journalists, employees of film crews, judges, athletes, coaches, artists and other performers. Guest speakers and academics are also eligible for the eTA under specific conditions. In addition, travellers with an eTA are allowed to engage in the following activities in Canada, among others:
- visit a (potential) business partner
- organise or attend a fair, conference or other business event
- buy or sell products and/or services
- provide aftersales service to customers in the country
- pursue an education or training for a job outside Canada
- give a training to employees of the Canadian branch of your own employer outside Canada.
Visa or eTA for a business trip to Canada?
For carrying out certain activities, the eTA is not sufficient. Physical work, for example, is not allowed with this travel authorisation. Thus, while you may attend a trade fair in Canada with the eTA, you are not allowed to set up or take down a trade fair stand. If the eTA is not sufficient for the work you want to do in Canada, you will need a work permit or Canada visa.
Visitor visa for business and work permit
If the planned business trip or business traveller does not meet the eTA requirements, it is also possible to apply for a visitor visa for a business trip. This Canada visa generally allows the same activities as the eTA. Similarly, this visitor visa does not allow you to stay in Canada for more than six consecutive months. Like the eTA, this visa does not authorise you to work for a Canadian employer. Entering into employment with a Canadian employer is only allowed with a work permit.
If you are not travelling to Canada for business, but want to study in Canada longer than six months and work a side job in addition to your studies, you will need a study permit. With a study permit, you are allowed to work up to 20 hours a week, but only on campus. When applying for either a work permit as a study permit, the application will automatically receive an eTA (or another travel authorisation if they are not eligible for the eTA).
International Experience Canada
Canada offers youngsters between 18 and 30 years of age, and in some cases up to 35 years of age, the chance to travel to the country and live and work there temporarily through one of the three International Experience Canada (IEC) programs. Special work permits are issued for this. It depends on the nationality of the travellers which program he or she is eligible for. For each programme within the IEC, they then have to meet certain requirements.
Working Holiday, Young Professionals and International Co-op
For example, both Irish and British travellers aged 18 to 30 are eligible for the Canadian Working Holiday Programme. In addition, Irish travellers in this age group can also opt for the Young Professionals programme to gain work experience. However, British travellers are not eligible for this programme. A third programme within the IEC is the International Co-op, where one gets a work permit for an internship in Canada. Only Irish travellers are eligible for this programme.
As mentioned earlier, with a study or work permit, a traveller automatically receives an eTA Canada. If the traveller is not eligible for an eTA, then he or she will receive an official invitation to send his/her passport to apply for the required visitor visa in this case.