NAFTA (USMCA) Work Permits

Promoting Access to Job Markets in Canada, USA and Mexico

Promoting Access to Job Markets in Canada, USA and Mexico

The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) allowed workers in Canada, the United States, and Mexico to travel more easily across the borders of the three countries, and make work permits easier to obtain.

Beginning July 1, 2020, it has been replaced by the United States-Mexico-Canada (USMCA) agreement. It is also known as NAFTA 2.0 given the minimal changes to the original NAFTA agreement.

Workers in certain job sectors defined by these treaties do not require a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). This means applicants only need a job offer from an employer.

NAFTA Work Permit General Requirements

You must be a citizen of Canada, USA or Mexico. Canadian permanent residents are not eligible.

Workers in certain job sectors defined by these treaties do not require a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). This means applicants only need a job offer from an employer.

NAFTA Work Permit Application
There are 5 categories for NAFTA Work Permits
  1. NAFTA Professionals
  2. NAFTA Intra-Company Transferees
  3. NAFTA Investors
  4. NAFTA Business Visitors
  5. NAFTA Traders

NAFTA Intra Company Transferee

Citizens of Mexico and USA who are working for an employer with locations in Canada may be eligible to transfer and work at the employer’s Canadian location for up to 3 years.

  • You are a citizen of USA or Mexico
  • Must have worked at least 1 year of full time employment in the last 3 years before applying
  • Confirmation of employment from employer in America or Mexico
  • Proof of the relationship between the Canadian employer and the American or Mexican employer
Your occupation in Canada must categorized as:
  • Executive
  • Managerial
  • Specialized Knowledge

NAFTA Professionals

To be eligible, American or Mexico citizens must have (1) professional work experience and (2) a Canadian job offer to practice in one of the NAFTA Professionals List of Occupations.

NAFTA Professional List of Occupations

  • Accountant
  • Architect
  • Computer Systems Analyst
  • Disaster Relief Insurance Claims Adjuster
  • Economist
  • Engineer
  • Forester
  • Graphic Designer
  • Hotel Manager
To qualify under the NAFTA Professionals category, you must demonstrate that:
  • You are a citizen of USA or Mexico (ex. passport, birth certificate)
  • You have the abilities to work in your chosen professional field in Canada (ex. university degrees, professional certifications, professional licenses, certificate of qualification,employment reference letters)
  • Valid job offer from a Canadian employer in one of the chosen NAFTA professional occupations

NAFTA Investors

Program Details:
  • You own or work for an American or Mexican company
  • You intend or have committed to make a large capital investment in Canada
  • If you are an employee, you must show proof of working in an (1) executive position, (2) managerial position or (3) a position which requires specialized skill
  • NAFTA Investor work permits are valid for 1 year. You may extend this work permit for up to 2 years

How to Apply

You may only apply at a Canadian port of entry (POE). This means you will be evaluated at the port of entry and may not submit an application in advance.

Since you cannot submit a prior application, you must be prepared and armed with documents for examination at the Port of Entry.

NAFTA Business Visitors

If you are an American or Mexican business person who needs to enter Canada to conduct short-term business, you may not require a work permit.

Program Details:
  • Your sole intention is to enter Canada for short-term business
  • Your income and primary place of business must be outside Canada
  • Your business practice must be international in scope (not just focused on Canada)
  • There is no evidence of you intending to enter the Canadian job market

NAFTA Traders

Program Details:
  • You are a trader whose job duties involves substantial trading in goods and services
  • The trading must primarily occur between Canada, USA and Mexico
  • Your position must be (1) managerial, (2) executive or (3) specialized in nature
  • NAFTA Trader Work Permits are valid for 1 year. You may extend this work permit for up to 2 years.

Have a Question?

How We Can Help

Applying for work permits can be a tedious and often confusing process with all the requirements, fees, and steps to be taken.

NAFTA/USMCA was designed to break down barriers in economic immigration and cross-border movement of labour. To that end, if you wish to benefit from the provisions of these agreements, you will need to prepare. It is not just about obtaining the required documentation and submitting your application. To ensure you have the highest chances of success, you must go above and beyond minimum requirements.

At Visa Path, our representatives are highly trained and experienced with NAFTA work permits applications, guiding you through each step of the process to give you the best possible chances of success.

If you are ready to get started or would like to know more, please contact VisaPath at 416-477-2570.

VisaPath Immigraiton Law Firm logo Large

To get started, call 

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a NAFTA work permit?

A North American free trade agreement work permit is designed for companies to hire skilled workers due to shortage of skilled people for a certain job that can assist Canada’s economy.

This is an agreement between Canada, the US and Mexico to allow the citizens of these countries work in the respective places in order to contribute to the economic growth of that country. Many US and Mexican citizens are looking to work in Canada and have highly skilled traits that can aid any company with their business goals.

What are the requirements for a NAFTA work permit?

To apply for a NAFTA work permit you will need the following:

  • be a US citizen
  • Have a job offer from an employer in Canada
  • Have at least one year experience within the field of the job description

There are other requirements that the employer and applicant needs to meet, but it is dependent on the individual and the company itself.

What jobs qualify under the NAFTA occupation list?

There are certain jobs that qualify under this list:

  • NAFTA professionals; accountants, college teachers, economist, engineers, lawyers, research assistance, other professional occupations, etc.
  • Scientist occupations: biologists, chemist, geologists, meteorologist, zoologist, other scientist positions, etc.
  • Medical professions: dentist, dietician, pharmacist, physician, registered nurse, recreational therapist, etc.
  • NAFTA investors
  • NAFTA Trades
  • NAFTA Intra-Company transfers