Do you want to work in Canada or fly to Canada for business? In many cases, it is not necessary to apply for a work visa or Work Permit. However, you will always need to submit an eTA application. On this page you can read whether an eTA is sufficient for your travel plans.
Activities you can perform with an eTA
The eTA Canada is intended for tourists and business travellers who are planning to stay in Canada for less than six consecutive months. Business travellers with an eTA can perform the following working activities:
- Visiting a (potential) business partner, such as a customer or supplier
- Attending a business meeting, such as a trade fair or conference
- Taking a tour of a factory or other type of company
- Buying or selling products or services
- Organising a trade fair
- Providing after-sales service
- Studying or attending a training
Is your profession listed below? Then you can perform this profession during your stay in Canada. You do not need a working visa or Work Permit to do so. However, you will need to submit an eTA Canada application.
- Journalist or film crew
- Judge or arbitrator
- Athlete or coach of an athlete
- Artist or other performer, or a vital supporter of one
- Guest speaker, but only if the event lasts a maximum of five days
- Academic, but only for evaluating or examining research projects
- Company trainer, but only for training at the Canadian branch of their own employer
Manual and other physical work in Canada
Do you perform manual labour or other physical work as part of your job? Then you cannot use an eTA Canada because this is usually not permitted. You may need a working visa or work permit. Keep this in mind if, for example, you want to provide after-sales service or if you plan to present your company at a trade fair. Setting up and dismantling a stand at a fair is physical work and is therefore not permitted.
When is manual or physical work allowed?
Manual or physical work is only permitted if you are going to work in Canada at a university or at management level, when staying on an eTA Canada. However, this is subject to an additional requirement: this is only permitted once per six months for a maximum of 15 consecutive days. Or once per whole year for a maximum of 30 consecutive days. Do you want to work in Canada and perform manual or physical work more often or for longer periods of time? Then you will need a Work Permit or a Canada visa.
Apply for your eTA, visa or Work Permit
Most business travellers can use an eTA Canada. Does that not apply to you? Then you will need to apply for a Work Permit or working visa. This is necessary in the following situations:
- You are going to perform manual or physical work (longer than permitted with an eTA)
- You are going to carry out an assignment for a Canadian organisation
- You are going to set up a new company in Canada
- You enter into employment with a Canadian employer
Bring a letter of invitation to Canada
Travelling to Canada with an eTA? Then all you usually have to do is show your passport upon arrival. However, it is also possible that you will be selected for a random check. In that case, an official of the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) will ask you a few questions. The purpose of this is to check whether you meet all the conditions of the eTA. These include the rules about working in Canada, which are listed on this page.
Do you have a business appointment in Canada? Then handing over an invitation letter is the easiest way to prove that you comply with the rules. This applies not only if you are travelling with an eTA Canada, but also if you are travelling with a visa or Work Permit. To be on the safe side, also bring a statement from your employer stating what you are trying to achieve during your stay. It is advisable to ask your (potential) business partner if they can be reached by telephone when you go through passport control after arriving in Canada.
What should an invitation letter contain?
Have the invitation letter written by the (potential) business partner you are going to visit in Canada. Make sure it at least includes:
- Your first name(s), surname and date of birth
- Your home address and your business and private telephone number
- Your job title and the name of your employer
- The name and address of the main office of the company you are visiting
- The addresses of other business locations you are going to visit
- The website, date of incorporation and a brief description of the company you are visiting
- The name, address, email address and job description of the person you are visiting
- A telephone number where your business partner can preferably be reached 24/7
- Your accommodation location in Canada and an agreement on how to share the cost of the trip
- The relationship between your employer and the Canadian organisation you are visiting
- The relationship between yourself and the person you are going to visit
- The purpose of the visit and the length of your stay