Reopening the borders: How to organize your trip to Canada?

While Canada allowed vaccinated Americans to cross its land border again as of August 9, it is September 7 that all fully vaccinated foreign travelers can enter the country.

As a reminder, Canada’s air borders were closed to foreigners in mid-March 2020. From now on, to enter Canadian soil, travelers must have received two doses of a vaccine authorized by Health Canada, at least 14 days before entering the country. They must also take a test on their arrival.

This reopening heralds the resumption of prospecting trips for entrepreneurs and businesses wishing to settle in Canada. Coming there remains the best way to check local opportunities and effectively prepare for a possible arrival.

Prepare the ground with the right visa

Foreigners exempt from visa requirements such as Belgians or French people must still complete the electronic travel authorization (eTA) to travel to Canada. “This essential document, specifies Jérôme Blanchet, immigration lawyer, will allow you to prospect with complete peace of mind. “The eTA is in fact valid for stays of up to a maximum period of six months at a time. “The online process is simple,” continues Me Blanchet. It only takes a few moments and the result usually arrives in a few minutes via email. “

Residents of other countries such as Morocco, Tunisia or Algeria, for example, must obtain a visitor visa to enter Canada. This document is generally valid for up to ten years or until the passport expires, and it also offers the possibility of staying in the country for up to 6 consecutive months. You just have to remember to ask for it beforehand (ideally 9 months before).

The eTA or the multiple entry visitor visa, therefore, allows you to come as many times as you want to explore the neighborhoods where you would like to settle, discover the services, locate schools and daycares, feel the atmosphere at different seasons, meet personal and professional, ask questions …

Tracking and networking

During your prospecting stage, this is also the time to take a close look at the regions where you could establish your business, the state of employment in your sector, the employment opportunities.

In Quebec, business networking allows you to strengthen your contacts and broaden your horizons. See if there might be some networking events in your area when you visit. It is not uncommon for chambers of commerce, professional associations or business groups to organize happy hours, conferences or round tables to allow business people to meet and discuss.

Your exploratory stay is also an opportunity to get to know lawyers, tax specialists, bankers, real estate agents, in short, anyone who could help you during your establishment.

> The right steps for the first contacts

  • Linkedin is widely used in Canada to make contact with local contacts
  • Make an appointment 3 to 4 weeks in advance. Not everyone will be available when you disembark
  • Just explain your approach, without pretending to be there for something else. The professional culture in Canada is geared towards transparency and efficiency.
  • Make it clear that you are there to settle down for the long haul, not just to visit. It will change the perspective of your interlocutors.

Is it possible to work as a visitor to Canada?

It is possible for foreigners visiting Canada to work temporarily under certain conditions without a work permit. If your company has activities or subsidiaries in Canada, you can come to work for less than 90 days. It can be a great opportunity to see if you like the work climate.

“Note that your visitor visa does not allow you to work in Canada,” says Jérôme Blanchet. But it is of course possible for you to consult potential employers, to build links with partners, to start administrative and legal procedures, to do research to rent your offices or build your facilities. “

The first steps and the first steps having been taken, all you have to do is validate the right immigration program that will allow you to settle permanently in Canada.

Need help planning your trip to Canada? Just write to us, we’ll be happy to help you apply for permissions and meet the right people on site.