North American Free Trade Agreement | NAFTA Work Permit

The United States, Canada, Mexico and the North American Free Trade Agreement

Canada and the United States share close borders and close ties. Whether it be trade, travel or tourism; the borders that divide these great countries become more and more accessible as time passes.

One such way the Canada and the United States has developed a stronger bond is through the North American Free Trade Agreement or NAFTA. The NAFTA is a trade agreement that facilitates preferential treatment between Canada and the U.S. and was subsequently expanded to include Mexico.

The North American Free Trade Agreement was established to facilitate and therefore increase the import and export of goods and services between the agreeing countries. Additionally however; the NAFTA also incorporates provisions for individuals as well.

Individuals may enter these agreeing countries without the requirement of a visa (except for Mexico) but their stay must be temporary in nature. The NAFTA defines this temporary entry as entry without the intent to establish permanent residence. If an officer is unsatisfied that you will exit Canada at the time of your entry attempt, they have the right not to admit you regardless of the NAFTA agreement.

The NAFTA Agreement is a broad agreement that encompasses more than just trade and travel; there are other provisions as well that have an impact on Canadian Immigration.

  • Ÿ NAFTA facilitates temporary entry for business people who are citizens of the U.S. and Mexico who are involved in the trade of goods/services or investment activities
  • Ÿ NAFTA removes the need for a Labour Market Opinion for all business people who are covered under the agreement
  • Ÿ In the case of business visitors, NAFTA removes the need for a work permit
  • Ÿ For some professionals and intra-company transferees, the application process is expedited due to the fact that the application can be processed at a port of entry

If you are an American or Mexican Citizen and you wish to temporarily enter Canada, being a citizen of one of these countries does not automatically grant you entry to Canada, it simply means that you may not require a visa before entering. You will still need to satisfy a Border Official that your stay in Canada will be temporary or that you do not intend to enter the Canadian Labour Market, depending on the purpose of your travel to Canada.

An Officer at the border may want to see certain documentation to help satisfy them that your intended purpose in Canada meets the requirements of a temporary resident. These documents should be with you when you travel.