USMCA Work Permits

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Beginning July 1, 2020, it has been replaced by the United States-Mexico-Canada (USMCA) agreement.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.

USMCA 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.

There are 5 categories for USMCA Work Permits

  1. USMCA Professionals
  2. USMCA Intra-Company Transferees
  3. USMCA Investors
  4. USMCA Business Visitors
  5. USMCA Traders

USMCA 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 USMCA Professionals List of Occupations

USMCA 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 USMCA 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 USMCA professional occupations

USMCA 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

USMCA 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

USMCA Business Visitors

If you are an American or Mexican businessperson 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

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.

USMCA 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
  • USMCA 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.

The 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 VisaPath, our representatives are highly trained and experienced with USMCA 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.

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To get started, call and schedule a consolation with one of our representatives.

Frequently Asked Questions

What does USMCA stand for?

This acronym stands for United States of America (U.S.), Mexico and Canada Agreement. It is a trade agreement between the three countries. This new agreement was implemented to replace the North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

This trade agreement will maintain key elements of the trading relationship and implement a new provision that addresses trade issues and created opportunities. The purpose of this new trade agreement is for economic growth and help raise the living standard for everyone who is a member of the three parties involved.

If you are from Canada than you can refer to this agreement as Canada – United States – Mexico Agreement (CUSMA), if you are from Mexico than you will refer to this agreement as Mexico, Estados Unidos y Canada (T-Mec).

When will the USMCA agreement be implemented?

The trade agreement was officially implemented on July 1, 2020. The new trade agreement will help strengthen the rules and regulations that each country must abide by, give clearer and concise procedural guidelines for trade and investment, and build a solid foundation for Canada’s trade liberalization.

What are the key changes from NAFTA to CUSMA (USMCA)?

The new trade agreement directly imposes the key changes of the following issues:

  • Proof of origin procedures
  • Refunds
  • Importing goods
  • Textile and apparel
  • Tariff treatments
  • Taxes
  • Incentives and remedies