NAFTA Work Permits

Under the North American Free Trade Agreement, American and Mexican citizens may be eligible to work in Canada without the need to obtain a positive LMIA (Labour Market Impact Assessment).


American citizens do not require a TRV nor an eTA to work in Canada. Mexican citizen only need an eTA to work in Canada. And though both American as well as Mexican citizens may not need an LMIA to perform paid work in Canada, they must comply to the stipulations pertaining the performance of temporary work in Canada.


NAFTA work permit applications can be made by American citizens online, or on paper at a port of entry (airport/harbor/border crossing). The same applies to Mexican citizens too but they must first obtain an eTA to enter a Canadian port of entry. The following category of professionals/businessmen fall under the NAFTA when it comes to working in Canada: 


NAFTA Professionals


Professionals from the USA and Mexico can work in Canada without an LMIA supported job offer from a Canadian employer, provided they:

  • Have an arranged employment offer from a Canadian employer; AND
  • Can substantiate his or her education and/or work experience in the relevant field; AND
  • Their field of employment falls under the NAFTA professionals’ category.


NAFTA Traders


Under this category, traders must be able to successfully demonstrate “substantial trade” between his or her country of citizenship (that is, USA or Mexico) and Canada. The trader must also be able to prove that the trade meets or exceeds:

  • A minimum of 50% by value traded, OR
  • A minimum of 50% by the trade volume.

To be eligible under the NAFTA trader category, the employing company must also be of American or Mexican origin.


NAFTA Intra-Company Transfers


When it comes to Intra-Company Transfers, the employees (transferees) must have either US or Mexican citizenship. They can be transferred to an affiliate/branch/subsidiary/head office/headquarters of the company in Canada without needing to secure a positive Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). To be eligible, the employee must have been working with the company for a minimum of 1 year (12 months) prior to the date the application is made. It is also important to note that the employee must be working with the company while the application for Intra-Company Transfers (ITC) is made under the NAFTA category. Also, the nature of work the employee is going to perform in Canada must meet the definitions of either managerial, executive, or Subject Matter Expert (SME) levels. To know learn more about Intra-Company Transfers, click here.


NAFTA Investors


Work permits under the NAFTA investor category are granted to individuals who can successfully demonstrate that he or she has made “substantial investment” in a new or existing Canadian business, and that he or she will need a work permit to develop and/or run (operate) the business in Canada. Work permits under the NAFTA investor category are also issued to employees of the primary investor who can be considered as key employees.

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