NAFTA Work Permit Canada - Immigration Blog about US & Canadian Immigration matters.

Bahar's Blog about Immigration to Canada & USA

Bahar's Blog about Immigration to Canada & USA
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NAFTA Work Permit Canada

NAFTA Work Permit Canada

What is NAFTA Work Permit?

NAFTA stands for the North American Free Trade Agreement and it is an agreement between Canada, the United States, and Mexico that was established in 1994. The NAFTA work permit for Canada allows citizens from either the United States or Mexico to temporarily immigrate to Canada to work.

Business Visitor Visa

A business visitor visa allows an individual to take part in international business activities in Canada. They are allowed to stay for a maximum for up to six months. If you are a business visitor, you will not require a work permit and are not eligible for NAFTA benefits as it is not under NAFTA. Instead business people will require a work permit and are under NAFTA and the categories for business people are detailed below (are under the categories for the NAFTA work permit).

Categories under NAFTA Work Permit

There are four categories under the NAFTA work permit that require the work permit. These categories are:

  1. NAFTA professionals

  2. Intra company transferees

  3. Traders

  4. Investors

These categories have different requirements and are distinct from each other.

More importantly, the prospective employer will not need to obtain a Labour Market Opinion which is a rather extensive process.

NAFTA professionals

Canadians who want to work in the U.S. under the NAFTA list of professions can do so by applying as a NAFTA professional.

The requirements to become a NAFTA professional in Canada are:

  • To be either a U.S. or Mexican citizen

  • Received a job offer from a Canadian employer in the field

  • The position must be under the NAFTA list of professions

  • Must not be seeking self-employment in Canada

  • To be qualified to perform the job

  • To have a work permit

The documentation that you need to show in your application include:

  • Proof of your Canadian or Mexican citizenship,

  • A document that gives the details of your employer, description of profession, job duties

  • Proof of your qualifications that show you can take on the job

  • A valid job offer from your prospective employer

  • A valid work permit

The permit can be applied for prior at a Canadian consulate or visa office or at directly at a port of entry where the officer will adjudicate a decision on your application at the border. This permit can be valid for one year and can be given extensions of one year each within Canada.

Intra company transferee

The NAFTA work permit also allows a foreign company to send a foreign national to a Canadian company.

The requirements for this process are:

  • Proof of qualifying relationship between the Canadian company and foreign country as either a branch, affiliate, subsidiary, or parent bold defined below:

  • Affiliate- 1 of 2 subsidiaries both of which are owned by the same parent or individual OR one of two legal entities owned by the same group of individuals, with each individual owning and controlling approx. the equal share or proportion of each entity

  • Branch-operating division or office of the same org. housed in a different location

  • Parent- a firm, corporation, or legal entity that has subsidiaries

  • Subsidiary- Owned by a parent company and is an entity, corporation, firm that is owned by the parent by more than a half (more than 50%) and controls the entity.

  • Must have worked 1 out of the past three years continuously in the foreign country prior the date of the application and the position must be similar to the one in Canada

  • A document that shows it is a pre-arranged position, and shows the duration of stay as well as the job description

  • The position must either be a specialized knowledge employee or in a managerial/executive position and you must have worked in one of those positions in your U.S. company (you can be a specialized knowledge employee in your foreign company and work in a managerial/executive position in the Canadian company)

  • To have a valid work permit

In addition to these requirements, you have to be able to prove through documentation that there was prior possession of investment capital or there currently is possession of investment capital devoted to an enterprise owned by a Canadian company. Our team can help in this process.

The permit for an intra company transferee is at most three years but can be given extension terms of two years each time. For an individual in an executive/managerial position it can be extended for a maximum of up to seven years and for a specialized knowledge employee it is up to five years. For those transferees who are opening up a new business, the initial term will be up to a year.


The requirements to become a trader in Canada are:

  • To be either a U.S. or Mexican citizen

  • The trade for the most part is between Canada, Mexico, and the U.S

  • The enterprise you are going to work for in Canada must either be of American or Mexican nationality (owned by a U.S. or Mexican company by at least 50%)

  • The business that is in Canada engages in substantial trades and services

  • To have a work permit

  • Involved in planning as either a supervisor or executive or any other role that involves essential skills and a substantial amount of trades between Canada and your home country

The application process to become a NAFTA trader is more complicated than the other routes. Supporting documentation must be given to prove the above criteria along with the trade and work permit application.

The permit to work as a trader in Canada is one year but can be extended to 2 more years for a total of three years.


There are requirements to become a NAFTA investor in Canada and they are:

  • To either have American or Mexican citizenship

  • Enterprise you are working for must be of Canadian or Mexican nationality

  • You are an individual investor that is looking to develop and direct the enterprise in Canada

  • You will or are planning to make an investment into a business in Canada

  • Enterprise must be owned by an American or Mexican company by at least 50%

  • To have a work permit

The work permit for an initial investors NAFTA permit is one year but can be extended to a maximum of 2 years more for a total of 3 years.

The US Visas

The TN visa is similar to the Canadian NAFTA work permit but instead allows a Canadian or Mexican citizen to work in the U.S. The L-1 visa which is an intra-company transfer in the U.S allows a foreign company to send a professional worker to the U.S. The Canadian investor visa is known as the E-2 investor visa in the U.S. and the Canadian trade visa is known as the E1 visa in the U.S.

What can we do for you?

At Akrami and Associates, we have helped hundreds of clients receive the NAFTA work permit even in the most complex situations. We have helped our clients in drafting the necessary and supporting documentation and forms, guided them through the process, eased the process for them and we can help you too. Whether you have any questions, or are looking to book a consultation in person or over the phone with one of our legal representatives, feel free to give us a call today at 416-477-2545 or toll free at 1-877-820-7121.

If you are looking to file the application on your own, you can purchase our very informative and affordable Do It Yourself Immigration Kits which detail the whole process for you, what can you expect and much more. If you purchase our Elite Do It Yourself Immigration kit bundle, you will get a consultation and a final review on your application by our legal representatives. We are here to help.

With Akrami & Associates there is always a way!!

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