Event organizers and Canadian businesses - bring business guests to Canada

Follow these steps to avoid problems or delays when you bring foreign business guests to Canada:

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Step 1: Carry out your responsibilities

Step 2: Register your international event with us and get certain support services (if applicable)

Step 3: Find out if the person you’re inviting needs a visa or an electronic travel authorization (eTA)

Answer a few questions to find out what your participant may need to apply for, and what documents they’ll need to come to Canada. They will also need to

Step 4: Prepare a letter of invitation for the person you are inviting

Step 5: Encourage your participants to apply as early as possible and before booking their flights

Electronic travel authorization (eTA)

If your visitor needs an eTA (or is eligible for one), they must apply online before travelling to Canada by air. It’s best for travellers to apply for their eTA before booking their flight to Canada.

In most cases, applicants will receive an approved eTA within minutes of applying. However, some requests may take several days to process. If this is the case, applicants can expect an email from us within 72 hours of applying that tells them what the next steps are.

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.

If they’re applying for the first time, your visitor needs to give their fingerprints and photo (biometrics), unless they’re exempt.

If the visitor gave biometrics before, they ’re probably still valid. If so, they don’t have to give them again. They can check when their biometrics expire by using the check status tool.

We issue multiple- entry visas whenever possible because it makes it easier for business partners or contacts who need to make repeat visits to Canada. However, there may be circumstances when only a single-entry visa is issued.

Your visitor’s application may be delayed or refused if it’s not complete, or if required documents are missing or suspect. For example, applicants will need to give their fingerprints and photo (biometrics) to support their visitor visa application. Check application processing times to find out how long it takes to process most complete applications.

Step 6: Consider these things when organizing an international event or a meeting in Canada

Protocol for heads of state, ministers or diplomats

If you invite high-level government officials such as heads of state, ministers or diplomats to your event and you have questions about protocol and reception services, contact the Office of Protocol at Global Affairs Canada. For more information, visit the Office of Protocol’s website.

Reception counter

You may consider setting up a reception counter at the airport, where your representatives can greet delegates. Contact the airport in advance if you plan to do so.

Border requirements

All equipment and goods brought into Canada for the event must be reported to the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA). Contact the CBSA for information on border requirements for

Contact the nearest CBSA office in your province or area, or visit the CBSA International Events website.

Minors travelling with business guests

Canada has laws and regulations to protect children. Delegates who plan to travel with a child (17 years of age or younger) should consult the entry requirements for minors.

What to do if an eTA or a visitor visa is refused

If your potential partner’s eTA or business visa is refused, please see How do I get help if my application is refused?

If there is new or additional information that should be considered, your partner can re apply and submit this new information. There is no minimum amount of time to wait before they can apply again.

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