how to register a business in Canada- even as a non-resident

If you intend to carry on business in Canada in a name other than your real name then the simplest and cheapest way to do so is to register as a sole proprietorship. 

Canada allows its citizens and landed immigrants to register a business name under any province subject to the laws of that province. 

For non-Canadian residents, the province with the most flexible and supportive laws for non-resident businesses is the province of British Columbia.

This is why we would be discussing how to register a sole proprietorship in British Columbia. 

This tutorial applies generally to non-residents as well as landed immigrants and Citizens who wish to register a Sole Proprietorship in British Columbia, Canada.

Time needed: 28 days.

How to register a sole proprietorship in Canada BC

  1. Name reservation;

    you’d need to check that you have an acceptable name here.

  2. Apply to reserve the name;

    Apply to reserve the name. If approved, name reservation lasts for up to 56 days from the day of the name approval! You’d need to register the approved name within 56 days else the name reservation expires. 

  3. Registration of business name;

    there are different ways to register a Sole proprietorship in BC; in person, by mail or online. To register your business name online, you’d need to create a one stop account then fill and submit the Sole proprietorship registration form within your one-stop account. This is what a BC business registration form looks like;

If you’re a non-Canadian resident, I’d point out a few things about filling the registration form and advise what you can do;

The BC business registration form requires you to provide a Canadian office address (not a POX box). The address must be within British Columbia. 

If you have never been to Canada but have a friend who lives in Canada BC, you could ask their permission to fill in the address in the form. Alternatively, you get a virtual office address  In Canada BC online, this costs around $50.

The British Columbia business registration form provides for two types of addresses. An office address, which must be an address within British Columbia and A mailing address (which does not have to be an address in Canada). 

The mailing address is your communication point between Canada and your business. For example; this is where any hard copies of your business document is mailed to.

If you’re a Canada non-resident, we recommend filling your actual home or business address in your home country on the mailing address field of your BC business registration form. 

Cost of registering a sole proprietorship in British Columbia, Canada

  • Name request form submission; CA$30
  • Business name registration form; CA$40
  • Total cost;  CA$70

Duration of registering a Sole proprietorship in BC, Canada

Approval of Name request; it takes 7-14 days for BC registry to approve your name request after you’ve submitted the name reservation form. 

Delivery of business registration document; if you registered at the BC registry or by mail, it takes another 7-14 for BC to deliver your certified statement of registration of Sole proprietorship after your registration. 

If you registered online via your one-stop account as detailed above, then the delivery of your certified statement of registration for sole proprietorship would usually be a softcopy sent to your email inbox immediately. 

The certified BC statement of sole proprietorship would contain a National business number and corporate registry registration number assigned to your business. 

Therefore, It takes an estimated total of 28 days to register a Sole proprietorship in British Columbia Canada.

There is the option to pay for priority processing time. The fee is CA$100 if you want your name approval processed within 2 business days and another CA$100 if you want your certified Statement of Sole proprietorship delivered within 2 business days.

How to open a Canadian business bank account online with a registered sole proprietorship;

You can open a business bank account online in Canada, UK, US, Australia amongst other countries even if you are a non-resident of these countries.

You can open an international business bank account online on Transferwise or Payoneer using your business documents.

You’d be able to give out your account details and receive payment via deposit or bank transfer just like any resident of that country.

You can also apply for a debit card if you’ve reached certain eligibility requirements, the debit card will be sent to your home address.

You can use the debit card to withdraw at any ATM, Shop online and make POS payment at a grocery store, gas station or anywhere that allows POS payments.

If you are an ecommerce or dropshipping business, I do recommend opening a bank account with Transferwise because you’ll be able to give your account details to both individuals and companies and get paid like a local.

Whereas, For Payoneer, you cannot receive money from individuals by just giving your account details. Individuals can only send money to make a transaction on the Payoneer global payment page. 

As an ecommerce or dropshipping business, your customers are mainly individuals, so using Payoneer will give them reasons to suspect that you’re not a local business.

Payoneer allows only companies to send money by a simple bank transfer or cash deposit using the recipient account details.

If you are an affiliate marketer, blogger or other online businesses that receives payment mainly from companies, then Payoneer is a better option because most companies have Payoneer as a Payment option for their international partners.

I hope you found this tutorial helpful, if you have any questions, please leave a comment and we’ll respond shortly..

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