What does a brewery owner need to do to visit a Canadian brewery for business purposes?

With the thriving beer scene in Ontario, Canada, some New York breweries have been considering developing cross-border relationships and inquiring what they would need to do. Visits to Canadian breweries can be for any business purpose such as a collaboration beer project, attend training, or exploring an investment opportunity. The good news is that no visa or electronic travel authorization (eTA) is needed to drive to Canada for business visits if you are a US citizen. A passport or enhanced driver’s license should be adequate.

However, since your visit has a business purpose, you will need a Letter of Invitation from the Canadian brewery(ies) you will be visiting to present at the border to customs officials. If you are visiting a Canadian business, a representative of the company should write the letter and give you two originals. The letter must include the following information:

•          about the person extending the invitation: full legal name, job title and position in the company, address and telephone numbers in Canada and work email address.

•          about the company extending the invitation: complete name of the company, headquarters address, the address of all company facilities to be visited, company’s website address, the company’s date of registration/incorporation and a short description of the firm’s business

•          about the person being invited: full legal name, birthdate, company represented and title, home and business addresses and telephone numbers

•          about the visit: relationship of Canadian business to the company being represented and the visitor, length of visit and date visitor will leave, purpose of the visit, history between the Canadian company and visiting company (if any), any expenses the Canadian company is covering for the visitor and visit

As you can see, the process for visiting Canadian businesses for business purposes is fairly simple. However, attempts to “avoid the hassle” and just tell customs officials you are in Canada for pleasure or tourism or your passport can be “flagged” for potential Canadian immigration violations for an attempt to work in Canada without authorization. Once that happens, you will have a complicated experience every time you are entering and leaving Canada for many years to come, potentially requiring the services of a Canadian immigration attorney.

If you have plans to work with a Canadian brewery and need guidance, give our team a call!

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