Please note: This post was written in 2017 and does not include information related to business travel during the COVID-19 pandemic. Please visit Travel and Transport's COVID-19 information center for the latest updates.
Business travelers must meet certain requirements in order to enter Canada from the United States. This applies to travelers entering Canada by air as well as at physical border crossings. In addition to a valid passport, travelers are strongly advised to bring the following documents with them:
- A letter of invitation from the Canadian company or party the traveler will be visiting
- A business letter from the traveler's employer documenting the purpose for the trip and approximately how long the traveler will be in Canada.
Is this really necessary?
If you're a frequent business traveler to Canada and you're reading this, you may be thinking, "I have never had to show these documents in order to enter Canada." That may be true.
All travelers are asked the question “what is your reason for visiting Canada?” upon their arrival in the country. If the traveler states that they're traveling on business, the agent will ask additional questions. If the agent is not satisfied with the answer, a letter may be required from the corporation with an official explanation of the reason why the traveler is visiting. If the traveler does not have this document, the agent can either allow the traveler to enter the country or deny them entry.
While these requirements are not new, Travel and Transport has received reports that Canadian officials are enforcing these rules more frequently. Not having the proper documentation could mean delays at the border and the possibility of being detained or turned away. We recommend being prepared rather than putting your Canadian business trip at risk.
If you're a Travel and Transport customer, our international travel counselors have been trained on Canadian entry requirements and will advise travelers on what they need to enter the country.
There are certain requirements that should be present in each letter. Travel and Transport partner PVSglobal offers templates that will help get you started in drafting them:
More information on entry requirements for Canada can be found at the Government of Canada's Immigration and Citizenship website.
This post was originally published on March 30, 2017 has been verified and updated on August 24, 2018. Thank you to Travel and Transport's International Services department, PVSGlobal, the Canadian Consulate and Canada Border Services for their input and expertise on this topic.